Station Square Japanese restaurant rolled over the competition
If you haven’t heard of KIKU, the venerable Japanese restaurant in Station Square that introduced Pittsburgh to sushi 30 years ago maybe it’s time to get to know them, especially if you ride a bike. Last year KIKU with its small staff had point totals that rivaled the likes of Carnegie Mellon, Highmark, UPMC, and Pitt.
It was the first year of the Challenge. 1067 people from the region signed up to participate. Once registered participants were counted as part of the region and together we were going up against cities across the country. Participants had the option to list their employer and join a team too, conceivably being represented in five different categories: individual, state, city, workplace, and team. The staff at KIKU made the challenge part of the restaurants culture. Staff members were riding in from places like Hampton and Castle Shannon. One of the chefs was clocking nearly 35 miles daily. Commutes like this aren’t for the occasional cyclists, and for those at KIKU who weren’t interested in the morning mingle with Pittsburgh motorists they were encouraged to keep a bike at work to ride the trails during breaks to blow off some steam and log their miles. It was fun for them to be part of something that wasn’t directly related to work, but that they did together, and that inspired them to be more active.
Michael, the restaurants popular maître d’, explained what started as some casual fun become an obsession. Staff members became bike advocates and were riding at every opportunity. He started biking so much Michael had to occasionally remind his body how to walk. KIKU also signed up as a team and nearly won that competition too. Another team, TAG-O-RAMA-GETTERS! had ten dedicated riders that edged out KIKU in the Team category.
KIKU nestled within Station Square transports you to another time and place with their delicious sushi, home made soy sauce, and tranquil atmosphere. Once you learn about the dedication and commitment of their staff whether it’s pleasing customers or racking up points for the National Bike Challenge it’s no surprise that KIKU, which means chrysanthemum in Japanese, in Pittsburgh means Kick Butt!
Officially kicking off on May 1 and ending September 30, this free and friendly competition encourages people throughout the Pittsburgh region to get out and ride, whether as daily commuters, weekend warriors, or somewhere in between.