Team Bubba’s Origins
Team Bubba was conceived in the mid-90s (yes, we are really old) by a small group on Signal Mountain. Among them were Sandy Sharp and Dave Ward who continue to ride with Bubba from time-to-time on Sundays.
Team Bubba was started as a heckle. At the time, a Chattanooga women’s race team had been going for a couple of years called Team Peggy. The Team Peggy kits included the statement “Ride Like a Girl”. This statement demanded a response from Sandy whose wife Joni was a Cat. III rider with Team Peggy — and Team Bubba was born along with Bubba’s signature phrase “Whine Like a Man”.
The Bubba team name, jersey design and motto were all about the heckle. The graphic design for first Bubba jersey was provided gratis by Steve West, a heavily tattooed cyclist who once sailed into the woods on the Sawyer Road descent – and lived to tell about it. (Local legend Hugh Worthy also once sailed into the woods on that turn.) The first design Steve brought out had a very retro, bowling shirt vibe (he was probably going for a Big Lebowski thing) and it was immediately rejected by all. Next, he came up with the-historic, STP-inspired, Bubba logo, which was quickly Bubba-approved and remains on the kits today. ‘
These original, checker-board Bubba jerseys were proudly worn for the 65 mile Tour de Signal that featured Team Peggy since Rock City was both Team Peggy’s principal sponsor and the sponsor of the ride. The Tour de Signal is no more and Team Peggy merged with SCV in 2005; however, Bubba still calls the ride route the “Peggy Loop.” (Yes, we can remember stuff from like the 60s but have no idea where we parked our cars this morning.)
Team Bubba was just an extra jersey in the drawer until Boss sponsored another order of the original jersey and began organizing rides in 2000. Nicknames began to be assigned (like them or not) and the Saturday rides began to grow in size and regularity. Rides were split in 2014 into two groups the A-Team, or “Team Bubba”, and the “Elites” who tend toward shorter and somewhat slower rides. (Boss continues to circulate Team Bubba rides while Fish and King circulate Elite rides although that’s about as far as any attempt to organize Bubba goes!) The Bubba kit has evolved over the years – the last couple of which were designed by Link – although the tradition of the heckle lives on with the Bubba logo being proudly displayed on all versions of the kit.
Team Bubba became a presence in and around Chattanooga by becoming a major contributor to several local events like the Tour-de-Cure and the Prison Ministry Ride. Unattached riders also wear Team Bubba proudly in USCF events.
The Team Bubba website was launched around 2010 with help from Camel as a better way to manage communications since the Bubba mailing list crossed about 150 riders. The site was updated in 2015 (thanks to King) and again in 2018 (thanks to T-Rex) as the Bubba mailing list continued to grow.
Many of the pictures on the current web site feature Bubba’s first big road trip in 2016 to experience some of the major climbs in France including Mont Vontoux and Alpe d’Huez. This started a tradition of annual Bubba road trips, and we are hoping for another adventure in Europe in 2019.