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Civic Impact

BikeFest offers more than 80 events in 15 days celebrating bike riding in Pittsburgh

Unicycles, tandems and electric-assist bicycles are just some of the styles people can check out at the Try-A-Bike Jamboree, says Scott Bricker, leader of cycling advocates Bike Pittsburgh. And that's just one of more than 80 events (Bricker says he has lost count) at the 8th annual BikeFest August 5-19 all over the city.
"One of the things we keep hearing from people, especially those who are new to biking, is that they don't know what type of bike to buy," Bricker says. The Try-A-Bike Jamboree, Aug. 12 at the Bud Harris Cycling Track (a half-mile loop along Washington Boulevard), will offer a chance also to try mountain bikes, cross bikes (built for racing and the street), commuter bikes, tandem bikes, tall bikes, and cargo bikes.
Some of the activities joining BikeFest are weekly, while others are one-time events new even to the festival this year, and most are free and open to the public. "Part of the fun of Bike Fest is that anyone can put a ride on the schedule," Bricker says.
That includes the "Thank You For Being a Friend" scavenger-hunt ride on August 19 and three different rides that test cyclists' hill-climbing abilities. This year's bike-themed movie, which riders can bike up to, is American Flyers, about a bicycle race across the Rockies and the humans who do or do not make it.
There's also the new Babes, Tots, Kids on Board slow ride on August 6, an Aug. 16 "Pittsburgh Underwear Bike Ride," a trek to the Carrie Furnace site, and an August 9 women's mountain bike clinic. Another new ride is designed to gather cyclists' opinions on the MOVEPGH comprehensive transportation plan that the city is formulating.
BikeFest begins with PedalPgh on Sunday, August 5, a fundraising ride that had previously been run by a non-bicycling organization. "It's the first time the proceeds raised will go to making the conditions of bicycling better in the city," Bricker says. The fest also includes BikePgh's annual fundraiser on Aug. 10 at the Pittsburgh Opera.
Overall, says Bricker, BikeFest "is time to celebrate bicycling and to have fun by bike in the City of Pittsburgh."
Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Scott Bricker, Bike Pittsburgh
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