Inaugural Ride Brings Together Bikers From Over 8 Countries
Thirty community members turned out for an inaugural Welcoming Bike Ride on Saturday, May 14th, hosted by Mayor William Peduto’s Welcoming Pittsburgh initiative, BikePGH, and Healthy Ride, in collaboration with 412 Flock. Participants include immigrants hailing from Bhutan, Somalia, China, Morocco, Sudan, Nepal, and Central African Republic, as well as Pittsburghers born and raised in the city, and transplants from Boston to Miami. Anyone interested in cycling is encouraged to connect with BikePGH for a range of activities including the kickoff of OpenStreetsPGH on May 29th or with 412 Flock to learn about monthly community biking gatherings for all skill levels.
“Biking is a great way to experience our city. Bringing Pittsburghers from different ages and cultures together on our beautiful trails, to better connect to our city and to one another, is what being welcoming is all about.” says Mayor William Peduto.
The ride started in the Southside and connected participants to the Great Allegheny Passage where cyclists saw two bald eagles soar near the nest at Hays, and culminated with a meal at immigrant-owned Mexican restaurant La Palapa. Partners will build on the success of the Welcoming Bike Ride to provide future tailored bike trips and programming to the broader immigrant and Latino communities.
BikePGH Education Program Manager, Julie Mallis, adds “Many participants told us they used to bike back home but had not done so in Pittsburgh until now. The barriers they face include not having a bike of their own, limited awareness of resources such as Healthy Ride bike share, challenges navigating our unique topography and understanding the process of putting a bike on a bus rack to avoid uphill climbs.” Adding, “We want to help residents of all backgrounds increase their mobility and connection to our city, and biking is a great way to assist in that.”
Healthy Ride offered free rides, as part of the Welcoming Bike Ride partnership, to those without their own bike and taught them how use the bike share system, celebrating its one year anniversary this month, while BikePGH rallied volunteers, provided tips for riding, and led the trip with the help of volunteers. Community groups like 412 Flock have been essential to making biking more welcoming in Pittsburgh, most recently partnering with BikePGH to produce Bici-101, a free biking guide in Spanish.
Balaram Gurung, Community Outreach Manager for the Bhutanese Community Association of Pittsburgh, shares: “I have not ridden a bicycle for the almost 10 years since I have been in Pittsburgh – that changed this weekend. And, I can’t wait to do it again, to get to know Pittsburgh even better.”
Every third Saturday of the month from 10 AM – 1 PM, April through October, Bike Pittsburgh offers Confident City Cycling classes around town. Anyone ages 15 and up can take the class to practice riding in the city, and can also use a free healthy ride bike to learn on. Find out more information here: http://bikepgh.org/citycycling/
For photos from the Welcoming Bike Ride visit: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.523043641231188.1073741841.313260452209509&type=3&uploaded=23