On Sunday, August 24, I participated to Pedal Pittsburgh (a.k.a. PedalPGH) with my usual partner in crime. This is not a race but rather an invitation to join a happy crew of bikers and discover many areas of Pittsburgh! The guidelines are simple: you start whenever you want (but it is recommended to start early) and try to finish before the end of the party (around 3pm). Three distances were proposed: 7 miles (family friendly), 25 miles (go to around the city) or 62 miles (with a lot of hills). Another distance (45 miles) was proposed later and I ended up by doing this one. Nice way to do something else than running and explore the city on a wonderful Sunday morning.
The start is in the South Side, under the Birmingham Bridge. You can get technical support at the starting line to check your bike, chain, tire, etc. If you did not have enough time to get your breakfast, water and fruits are available. The ride go towards the North Side and explore Troy Hill and the Riverview Park. If you are looking for a good workout, this part of the ride is definitively a good one: lots of up and downhills, pretty challenging! While biking, we found an unofficial stops organized by happy bike-enthusiast packed with water, cookies, happiness and big smiles. Enough energy to help you keep going, especially because after a few miles, an official stop as provides technical support (small repairs and adjustments) and more food. The route continues towards Bloomfield (where you cross the Little Italy Days and see people getting ready for the festival), and go up the hills of Highland Park where another stop welcomes you. The ride finishes with a nice trip through Oakland (that goes along Circuit Rd – the one used by the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix) and finally the South Side. Once you finish the ride, you got a tee-shirt and are invited to visit the party at the finish line packed with food trucks and other vendors.
This non-competitive event makes a wonderful Sunday ride with more than 45 miles and 2700 feet of elevation. You can turn it into a friendly/family event and do a distance that fits your needs. In other words, it can replace your usual morning run in the week end while you discover parts of the city you are not use to see (this exploration convinced me to explore the North Side and more specifically the Riverview Park and its trails)! The support is really great: there are regular water-stops, well packed with appropriate food so that you do not have to carry too much stuff in your bagpack. The support is very appreciated: in case your bike has a defect, you can easily have an advice from an expert.
Obviously, for $25 (price to sign up), considering the support you get, this is definitively something to add on your to-do list. On top of that, by participating to the ride, you support the local and bike-friendly association. No reason for not signing up next year!