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May 12, 2011

Pitt hosts Bike to Campus day

bike rider hillmanPitt is hosting a Bike to Campus Day 8-10 a.m. May 20 as part of national Bike to Work Day.

The event, which will take place at the bicycle lockers on the South Bouquet Street side of Posvar Hall, will include light refreshments, bicycle inspections, a raffle and a resource kit for the first 30 people completing new bicycle registrations, according to Janet D. Thomas, assistant director for parking.

Beyond the Pitt campus, Pittsburgh’s Bike to Work Day events will include hydration/breakfast locations in Market Square (7:30-9:30 a.m.), Chatham University (7:30-10 a.m. at the Pond at Mellon Center), Carnegie Mellon University (7:30-10 a.m. at Merson Courtyard), REI in the South Side Works (8-10 a.m.) and Whole Foods Market in Shadyside (7:30-10:30 a.m.).

The events include an opportunity to join in bicycling advocacy group BikePGH’s letter-writing campaign thanking Mayor Luke Ravenstahl for promising 25 more miles of bike lanes and sharrows (shared lane markings) in the city, said BikePGH spokesperson Lou Fineberg.

In addition, cyclists can sign up for the car-free calculator, a tool that enables riders to track their biking and walking miles spent commuting or running errands in order to quantify the impact of car-free miles. Individuals can enter their mileage to see the amount of money, calories and carbon dioxide equivalent their efforts are saving, individually and as part of a regional total, Fineberg said.

BikePGH also has issued a CEO Bikepool Challenge to high-level corporate managers to encourage them to bike to work as part of a group. “We’re trying to organize and make bikepools more prevalent in Pittsburgh,” Fineberg said, noting that there’s safety in numbers. Biking as a group helps make riders more visible in traffic.

At the end of the day, bikers can participate in the Flock of Cycles Flock Party group ride. Cyclists gather near the dinosaur statue outside the Oakland Carnegie Library at 5:30 p.m.; the ride departs at 6 p.m. Monthly rides take place on the second-to-last Friday of each month. Information is available at

“Bike to Work was the biggest yet last year,” Fineberg said, noting that 250 bikers signed in but many more participated.

He said BikePGH is finding new ways to make people feel that bicycle commuting “is a choice they can make,” by addressing safety and bicycle parking issues that could deter would-be riders.

In conjunction with Bike to Work Day, the bicycle/walking tour company Your Active City will lead a free Commuting 101 guided ride on the Eliza Furnace Trail at 1 p.m. May 14. Space is limited and registration is required at or 412/303-0566.

Pittsburgh’s Bike to Work Day kicks off this season’s series of Car-Free Fridays. Established in 2009 by BikePGH, Car-Free Fridays promotes alternative transportation including bicycling, car-sharing, ride-sharing, walking and public transit.

Last year, 1,158 people participated in Car-Free Fridays events and activities, which were sponsored by a total of 115 organizations and businesses in 38 events in eight neighborhoods and municipalities, including Oakland. The calendar of this season’s event is posted at Thomas said Pitt’s Parking, Transportation and Services office may be supporting a Car-Free Friday event after students return for the fall term, but details have not been finalized.

Cyclists on campus will be noticing some changes. Using a grant for bicycle rack replacement, the University will be installing new racks on campus over the next several weeks. Thomas said the new bike racks are similar to the existing style, which enable riders to lock both a wheel and frame to the rack. Five bicycle lockers also are being replaced, she said.

In addition to the rack replacement project, more racks are being installed in several locations. Racks recently were installed at the University Club and University Child Development Center. The number of racks will be expanded at the Sennott Square Garage, Bellefield Hall, Clapp Hall, the Cathedral of Learning and on Fifth Avenue between Oakland Avenue and South Bouquet Street, Thomas said.

Details about biking on campus, including bike rack and locker locations, registration forms and bikepool listings, are available by clicking on “commuting alternatives” at

—Kimberly K. Barlow

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