BikeFest promotes safe biking in Pittsburgh

In 1994 the Community Design Center of Pittsburgh began the foremost bicycling event in the Pittsburgh region, PedalPGH. The event, a mass bicycle ride, was designed to bring many cyclists together to raise money and make Pittsburgh a more bike friendly city.

In 2012 BikePGH, a bicycle advocacy group, took over the event and merged it with their signature event, BikeFest, which began in 2005. BikeFest is a city wide celebration of biking featuring not just the PedalPGH ride, but a huge number of biking themed events and a kickoff party described on their site as “an all-night rager.” The ten day celebration of bicycle culture brings the city’s cyclists together and helps BikePGH grow and advocate for making Pittsburgh a more bicycle-safe city.

Advocacy director of BikePGH Eric Boerer began BikeFest itself as a large event in 2005, but the festival reached a new level of popularity after adding PedalPGH in 2012, when it became a signature event and serves as the finale of the ten days. PedalPGH features three routes that take bike riders through the city, including a car free environment that provides the safe ride for bikers that BikePGH advocates for.

The events themselves began August 21 and will stretch over ten days. Each has its own contribution to BikePGH’s promotion of bicycle culture. Some events provide lessons, such as the Confident City Cycling class, which will teach riders how to safely navigate city streets. Others, such as Monster Trike Night and the bluntly named Unicycles Are a Thing, provide an opportunity for festival attendees to be silly and have fun in the name of bikes.

Try-A-Bike Jamboree allows riders to bring in all sorts of bikes and showcases the innovation and variety that bikes feature. The event is a mainstay of BikeFest and takes the heart of bike culture, the bicycles themselves, to the forefront to show riders what kinds of options are out there.

In recent years Pittsburgh has vastly improved its bicycling infrastructure, but the benefits of biking have created far-reaching demand. Bikes offer cheap and environmentally friendly commuting in addition to being a form of exercise or even a fun pastime for many people. With bike ridership up, BikePGH continues to try and improve the number of bike lanes and even bike-only sections of road to improve Pittsburgh for bikers.

The event brings all of Pittsburgh’s cyclists together in order to create awareness and raise money to help Pittsburgh’s biking community thrive.