For the Love of Bikes: Bike Entrepreneurs in Pittsburgh and Beyond

The following is an excerpt from an article that ran in Pop City Media:

Project Aura: Bicycle Safety Lighting System from Project AURA on Vimeo.

Cities grow more bike-friendly

From messenger bag makers in Philadelphia to custom frame builders in Detroit, the new bike-based economy is flourishing across the country. The startup ecosystem includes everything from tour companies and pedicabs to mountain bike parks and app developers.

In Pittsburgh, that includes The Wheel Mill, the new indoor bike park, Project Aura which was started by students at Carnegie Mellon and Fiks: Reflective, a company with a good reputation that is doing very well. In the service sector, Golden Triangle Bike Rental not only provides rentals but also gives tours around the city and the Great Allegheny Passage. Also of note: Pittsburgh is home to three major bike publications in Urban Velo, Bicycle Times, and Dirt Rag Magazine.

According to Alison Dewey, Program Manager for the League of American Bicyclists’ Bicycle-Friendly Business program, these businesses are feeding off the rise in bike commuting and the fact that young people are now driving less. A recently released report from U.S. PIRG shows that car usage is declining after climbing for six decades straight. Meanwhile, bike commuting grew 39 percent on average from 2000-2010.

“Many cities are moving in the direction of trying to make streets more bike-friendly,” says Dewey, citing the growth of bike lanes, cycle tracks and bike parking in many cities, which has made bike commuting safer and more popular. “Studies show that people arriving by bike will spend more money at businesses.”

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