Biking: Mountain Bike Festival Showcases 5 County Parks

Friday, June 08, 2007
By Larry Walsh, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The basics are all that are needed to participate in the second Allegheny County Parks Mountain Bike Festival June 20-24.

A knobby-tired mountain bike in good working order; a body in good working order with enough energy to pedal over hills, roots and rocks for two hours; a helmet; water; and refreshments and snacks to share afterward will do the trick.

The rides, sponsored by the Pittsburgh Trails Advocacy Group in conjunction with the county parks department, will vary in difficulty from comfortable to challenging.

They’re designed to introduce beginner, intermediate and veteran mountain bikers to one another and to increase their knowledge of the county parks, said Mike Connors of McCandless, event organizer.

The festival will showcase five of the county’s parks — Boyce, Deer Lakes, Hartwood Acres, North and South. It will be especially helpful to beginners and other first-time park users who might not know where to park and/or where to get on the trails.

Connors said more than 400 riders took part in the rides last year, including County Executive Dan Onorato and his family.

“We were very pleased at the turnout and hope the chief executive and his family can join us again this year,” Connors said.

Since its founding in 2001, PTAG has worked with the county, city and state to help manage and maintain local trails in environmentally friendly ways for mountain bikers, hikers and horseback riders.

Here’s the schedule:

Boyce Park: Meet at 6 p.m. June 20 at the Four Seasons Lodge parking lot and Patrol No. 1 Grove. Leader Tom Hong, 412-798-9466; E-mail: tchong@city-net.com.

Deer Lakes: Meet at 6 p.m. June 21 at the second parking lot on the right at the Veteran’s Grove. Leaders Lee and Elizabeth Klevens, 724-265-2220. E-mail: klevens@connecttime.net.

Hartwood Acres: Meet at 6 p.m. June 22 at the parking lot between the school and concert stage on Middle Road in Hampton. Leader Maurice Tierney, 412-302-9070. E-mail: publisher@dirtragmag.com.

South Park: Meet at 11 a.m. June 23 at the Stone Manse Grove behind the tennis courts. Take Route 88 to Corrigan Drive to Stone Manse Drive in Rotary. Leader Tom Wright, 412-414-5627. E-mail: tom@pittsburghmountainbiking.com.

North Park: Meet at 11 a.m. June 24 at the swimming pool by the playground McCandless Shelter. Leader Bob Bannon, 412-795-7444. E-mail: robanco@prodigy.net.

The festival will end with a party after the North Park ride.

Questions? Call or e-mail the leader. Check the Web site — www.ptagtrails.com — before you leave home or the office. Rides may be canceled due to rain.

For directions to the general area, go to www.pittsburghmountainbiking.com. For county park maps, go to www.county.allegheny.pa.us/parks/.

Ladies Night Out

Professional cyclist Jill Kislia will be the featured guest at Trek Bike of Pittsburgh Ladies Night Out from 7-9 p.m. Tuesday at its Shadyside store at 5956 Penn Circle South near the Whole Foods Market.

Kislia will discuss and demonstrate bike maintenance, including how to change a flat tire. She also will talk about the importance of a proper bike fit and how it makes it possible to ride longer and more comfortably. There will be giveaways, refreshments and discounted shopping.

Reservations are required. E-mail info@trekofpgh.com or call 412-362-8735.

A little courtesy, please

A retired couple who enjoy walking on sidewalks throughout Oakland would appreciate it if bicyclists would:

Stay off the sidewalks because they don’t belong there or

Announce their intention to pass when approaching pedestrians from behind. The couple said they’ve had several close calls in recent weeks.

(Larry Walsh can be reached at lwalsh@post-gazette.com and 412-263-1488. )

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