Cycling-Enthusiasts Roll Out for BikeFest

Cyclists listen to a talk during last year's Future of Downtown Bike Infrastructure Ride in downtown Pittsburgh.

Cyclists listen to a talk during last year’s Future of Downtown Bike Infrastructure Ride in downtown Pittsburgh.

BikePGH’s annual celebration of all things biking will bring thousands of cyclists onto the streets this month for more than 50 events.

The 10-day BikeFest 2015 event includes group rides, bike-themed movie screenings, neighborhood tours, skills classes, and more—and it all starts with a dance party.

The BikeFest Kickoff Party is held on Friday, August 21, at Spirit Lodge in Lawrenceville, and features three live bands, two DJs, and dancing until the small hours.

A wide range of bikes are available to ride during the Try-A-Bike Jamboree.

A wide range of bikes are available to ride during the Try-A-Bike Jamboree.

The festival continues until August 30, with events every day including a city cycling class, a Try-A-Bike Jamboree at the Bud Harris Cycling Oval, the Bridges in the Burgh tour of downtown, and the Pittsburgh premiere of mountain bike movie “unReal”.

Many of the events are community-led, with the festival program open for bike-enthusiasts to lead their own ride or offer a tour of their neighborhood. BikePGH executive director Scott Bricker said that had been one of the great features of the festival over its 11-year history. “People enjoy showing others what they love about the city and riding here, and BikeFest allows anyone with a good idea, and a knack for organizing and promotion to show off those ideas and those things they love about Pittsburgh, and have a great time doing it.”

BikeFest culminates on Sunday, August 30, with PedalPGH, the city’s largest bike ride. Three courses are offered: The Peoples Riverfront Ride, a family ride of up to 12 miles along the Three Rivers Heritage Trail; the 25-mile Highmark City Tour; and the 62-mile PJ Dick and Lindy Paving Metric Century, which takes in some of the city’s best views and newest bike infrastructure.

The event has been running since 1994, and aims to encourage riders of all abilities to explore the city by bike. BikePGH events manager Mike Carroll said the ride was one of his favorite mornings of the year. “It all starts off with a ride over the Smithfield Street Bridge in the morning light. If you want to be reminded of how great Pittsburgh is, riding with thousands of others in PedalPGH is the way to do it.”

Money raised from PedalPGH goes to support BikePGH’s bike and pedestrian advocacy work.

BikeFest Pittsburgh
August 21-30, various locations
For a full listing of events, see BikePGH.

Photographs courtesy of BikePGH

Heather McCracken is a Pittsburgh-based freelance writer