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Revamped PedalPGH around the corner, to include car-free routes

A revamped Pedal Pittsburgh is just around the corner, and will include several twists to this annual bicycle event, the largest in Pennsylvania.

For the first time, Pedal Pittsburgh will include a car-free section, with roads closed to traffic from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m.  The goal is to allow riders of all ages and skill levels to enjoy the streets in comfort and safety.

“Taking away that barrier of car traffic is really nice for folks because they want to be able to ride, they just don't necessarily want to do it in the middle of a bunch of cars,” says Seth Gernot, of Bike Pittsburgh.

Pedal Pittsburgh was created in 1994 as an event to celebrate biking by the Community Design Center of Pittsburgh (CDCP), and was a fundraiser for that organization.  Late last year, CDCP, now called the Design Center, transferred the event to Bike Pittsburgh.

Gernot praises the Design Center for their pioneering efforts, and building the event to a peak of 2,700 riders. He says the Design Center was happy to transition Pedal Pittsburgh to a new home that could help grow the event.

“They really saw the fit and they saw the potential  that it could have aligned with our organization,”  Gernot says.

On the day of the event, August 5th, different routes will be geared for riders of varying levels, including 7-, 30-, and 63-mile routes.

The 7-mile route will be completely car free, with portions of E. Carson Street and the entirety of the Birmingham Bridge closed to vehicular traffic.  Combined with The Rivers Heritage Trail system, the day will boast up to 20 miles of car-free space.

“We're trying to close down more and more roads every year to vehicular traffic so that bikes have a little bit more room on one Sunday a year,” Gernot says.

Pedal Pittsburgh has also moved from May--where it shared calendar space with the Pittsburgh Marathon and Great Outdoors Week--to August.  Bike Pittsburgh is hoping the warmer weather will draw an even greater number of riders to the event.

The event will also feature a Finish Line Festival, soak zone, live music, and professional BMX performances.

Each ride will begin and finish at the South Side Works.  For more information, and to register, visit the Pedal Pittsburgh page here.

Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Seth Gernot, Bike Pittsburgh
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