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North Hills Monthly

Pittsburghers to Cycle through the City during PedalPGH

Jul 31, 2016 08:19PM ● By Erica Cebzanov

UPMC Health Plan PedalPGH will bring together people of all ages and fitness levels on August 28 for a noncompetitive bicycle ride through Pittsburgh. 

The Design Center, an urban planning nonprofit, started PedalPGH 23 years ago in order to highlight the city’s architecture. As the event grew and the Design Center’s focus changed, the group approached BikePGH–a nonprofit focused on making the city more bicycle friendly–about taking over in 2011. 

BikePGH Event Director Mike Carroll anticipates approximately 3,000 riders on the event’s three courses. “We try to offer beginner to intermediate to advanced courses, so that there’s something for everyone and that it’s a fun time for everyone to come out and participate,” he said.

The Peoples Riverfront Ride is a beginner-friendly option offering up to 12 miles of trails. “We want to make sure that as the bike and pedestrian advocates in the city, we are including those people who are just starting out,” Carroll said of the ride that starts between 10 a.m. and noon. “It’s important for them to get a taste of riding and see how routes sort of connect in the city and that you can get around doing these shorter trips.”

He said the 25-mile Highmark City Tour throughout the South Side, North Side and East End is the most popular course. “This intermediate ride is ideal if somebody is an avid Rails-to-Trails rider and does the Montour Trail or Allegheny Passage, but is looking to explore the city on a day where it’s highlighted with thousands of riders on the streets together,” he explained, adding that there is a clearly marked route. BikePGH recommends starting between 8-8:30 a.m. to beat the traffic and the heat. 

For more experienced riders, the 62-mile PJ Dick, Trumbull, Lindy Paving Metric Century is an option. “This ride explores every nook and cranny of the area,” said Carroll, who adds that it includes challenging climbs. The ride starts at 7 a.m. and offers Riverview Park and Mount Washington views. 

After riders complete their routes, they can head over to the UPMC Health Plan Finish Festival, which runs until 3 p.m. “It’s just a really great way to decompress after the ride, get a bite to eat and celebrate,” Carroll said. 

The festival will include free finish-line photos, live music, a Straub Brewery stand, food trucks and vendor and nonprofit booths.

Even though UPMC Health Plan PedalPGH will utilize public roadways and trails, BikePGH asks all participants to register. “If you pedal, please pay the fee, because that includes the cost for food, drinks and supplies at rest stops and makes sure we have our safety and security teams in place,” said Carroll. Remaining funds go toward BikePGH’s mission of making Pittsburgh more biker and pedestrian friendly. Last year’s event raised approximately $75,000.

Carroll said about 100 volunteers are needed to pull off the event. “Our volunteers do everything from riding the course as support, to managing rest stops, to making sure that the riders have great snacks, to helping out at registration,” he explained. Additional BikePGH volunteer opportunities exist throughout the year as well.

While helmets are strongly encouraged for everyone, they are required for children under 12, and those under 18 must have a legal guardian present. Children are permitted to ride in trailers and in tandem.

PedalPGH will occur rain or shine. Adult regular registration through Aug. 16 is $35 and late registration from Aug. 17-27 is $40. Day of registration is $45, and children’s registration is $15. BikePGH members receive discounted registration.