Urban Velo

BikePGH receives “Advocacy Organization of the Year” from the Alliance for Biking & Walking

We are proud to announce that BikePGH has won the Alliance for Biking and Walking’s “Advocacy Organization of the Year” award.

Here’s what the Alliance had to say:

On its face, Pittsburgh is a tough place to ride a bicycle. The streets are steep and twisting, and the winters are long and brutal. But bicycle mode share is up and the Steel City is charged up with new enthusiasm for active transportation. Why? Bike Pittsburgh. The advocates at BikePGH have been working hand-in-hand with government officials to get new infrastructure on the ground, partnered with the local companies to get the business community on board and created innovative programs, like Car Free Fridays, that are getting more people on bicycles. But BikePGH excels at more than the nuts and bolts of basic organizing. The members of their small staff are the best kind of ambassadors for the movement: They’re friendly, energetic and welcoming. The work and attitude of BikePGH are making Pittsburgh a mighty appealing place to ride… despite the tough terrain.

Read more.

How a Bike Lane is Born

In the coming weeks, we’re expecting to see several miles of bike lanes and sharrows (shared lane markings) installed on Pittsburgh’s streets. There are about five miles that are ready to go, with another seven miles that are in design and are expected to be installed by the end of the painting season, according to Stephen Patchan, the City’s Bike/Ped Coordinator.

Read the entire article over at Bike-PGH.org.

Google adds a “Bicycling” option to their online maps in honor of the National Bike Summit

Posted on by in Advocacy with 3 Comments


All of Bike Pittsburgh’s staff is in Washington DC right now for the National Bike Summit - a few days where we get to trade strategies with over 700 other advocates from around the country, then storm the capitol building to talk with our Representatives and Senators about bicycling issues. One of the big news items (so far) at this year’s summit was Google’s announcement of a “bike there” option on their online maps.

Read more here.

Torker Graduate Commuter Bike Review

torker_graduate_02 In the quest to create the most maintenance-free commuter bike on the market, Torker has taken it upon themselves to try to broaden our horizons a bit with their brand new Graduate, available for 2010 for about $500. On quick glance, the bike appears to be a simple, no frills urban commuter—something that won’t stand out when locked to a parking meter. No derailleurs, no suspension, no visible brakes? Even the standard paint is gray with minimalist decals and black components. The overall look is basically what comes to mind when someone says “urban commuter.” It’s an upright bike whose clean lines and sloping geometry looks fast and spry enough to avoid the surprise pothole, yet tough enough to withstand one. Actually riding the bike lives up to the first impression where the balance between speed and sturdiness succeeds without compromising too much of either.

torker_graduate_03On closer inspection, there are some exciting things going on. Torker has hooked up the bike with beautiful alloy high-flange Sturmey Archer 5-speed internally geared hubs with drum brakes actuated by Avid Speed Dial levers. The All Rounder bars are a bit wide for my tastes, but do help put your body in a comfortable riding position that is still a bit aggressive. The standard fenders are a great addition that may help steer some undecided buyers into the saddle knowing that they won’t have to add them later. Also, the stock tires are a sturdy 32mm Tioga Gritty Slicker that give you the option to take this directly from the road to some light trails. Stripped down to the basics, the bike looks and rides what you’d expect and want from a versatile urban commuter. When compared to the current crop of single speed and fixed gear commuters, its 29.5 lbs is on the heavy side, but not so bad that it would turn a few flights of stairs into a chore. Compared to other multispeed bikes with fenders and city tires at the same price point, the Graduate is only marginally heavier, primarily due to the drum brakes.
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Google Announces Plan for “Bike There” Option

The Google Trike was spotted on the South Side Trail, Pittsburgh, over the summerIn a post on the Google Earth and Maps team blog, the ubiquitous company revealed plans to add the long awaited “Bike There” option to their maps.

They say that by integrating this [new] information, and working with specialized data sources like the USDA Forest Service’s Forest Boundaries and the US Geological Survey’s National Hydrography Dataset, we’ve been able to expand and improve features in our maps like parks and water bodies.

Read more at www.Bike-PGH.org.

Banjo Brothers Cycling Commuter Backpack

banjo_brothers_commuter_backpack_01Several years ago single-strap messenger bags exploded into the urban cycling market. Cyclists were looking for simple, good-looking bags that can carry a bunch of important stuff, while keeping it all dry. Style-wise, they added an edginess that embraced urban living, and provided a solidarity between urban riders that helped create a “cool factor” for riding a bike. For years many of us used messenger bags, admittedly for the cool factor, but also because there were very few other bags on the market that met the simplicity, style, and waterproof construction criteria. Messengers ride bikes in the city, a lot, so they must know what’s best for urban riding, right?

The problem is that most cyclists aren’t messengers. We don’t need to have quick and easy access to our cargo, nor are we very often carrying copy boxes. After several years of riding with single-strap bags, many urban riders began to find new aches and, like myself, see a noticeable difference in the shape of my shoulder. We realized that messenger bags take a lot of effort to make comfortable when they’re full of canned tomatoes or a laptop. Even more importantly, we realized that messenger bags aren’t very comfortable when you’re off the bike. It may only take fifteen minutes of riding to get to your favorite bar to see a band, but that also means three or four hours of standing around with all the weight on one shoulder.

Some companies realized this emerging market, and began to create backpack style bags that met the same criteria as the messenger bag, but were designed for the rest of us that aren’t messengers, but mere commuters and urban riders. Banjo Brothers was one of the earlier ones on the scene with their waterproof Commuter Backpack that comes in either a 1500 and 2000 cubic centimeter capacity. Pictured and tested was a new white version for 2010.
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Tell Cannondale to Stay in PA

CannondaleAccording to Bike Pittsburgh:

Earlier this year, Cannondale announced all manufacturing will end at their facility in Bedford, Pa, moving all production to Taiwan. The company was recently bought out by Dorel Industries, the makers of the department store brands Pacific, RoadMaster, Dyno, and Mongoose, as well as GT and Schwinn. Cannondale, one of the largest manufacturers of bicycles in the United States, has had their manufacturing hub in the small central Pennsylvania town since 1983, so the loss of over 200 jobs will be devastating. The facility produces 400 to 500 bicycles per day, and over forty hands touch each bicycle before it leaves the facility.

Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary George Cornelius, himself a cyclist, wants to convince them to change their decision. On May 5, at the first ever Pennsylvania Bike Summit in Harrisburg, he asked bicyclists, bike shop owners, and anyone who wants Cannondale to remain Pennsylvania made to contact Cannondale’s corporate headquarters in Connecticut. He wants the public to let them know that “Handmade in the USA” means a lot to them when they purchase a bicycle, and that Cannondale has a great manufacturing home here in Pennsylvania.

Read more at www.bike-pgh.org.

Say no to the flu and yes to cycling!

Posted on by in News & Views with 0 Comments

congresopospuesto2Believe it or not, the Swine Flu scare has now affected the urban cycling movement. The Mexican government has made the organizers of the much anticipated 2o Congreso Nacional de Ciclismo Urbano postpone the event. This Urban Cycling Conference was set to run May 1st through 3rd, but is postponed until an undisclosed date. The Conference was initiated last year in Mexico City, and attracted Mexican cycling groups and government officials as well as activists from Spain, Chile, and the US. This year, it was planned for Mexico’s second largest city, Guadalajara, a city where planners have began making significant strides to improve the conditions and infrastructure for the thousands of resident cyclists. The inaugural year saw the formation of the Red Nacional de Ciclismo Urbano, or National Network of Urban Cycling with the express purpose of working to promote the bicycle as a major form of transportation. The Network was to reconvene and build off of the past year’s momentum to “make the bike a global movement.” Along with canceled workshops and events, Chris Carlsson, one of the founders of Critical Mass in San Francisco was due to speak. Ironically, one of the expressed goals of the conference is that an increased use of the bicycle would help combat health problems that are rampant in cities across the globe. The organizers are awaiting word from the Mexico’s Secretary of Health and the World Health Organization before they can announce the new date.

Visit www.gdlenbici.org for more info.

Vittoria Randonneur Double Shielded City Tires

vittoria_rand Prior to inflation, I knew that it would take a serious pothole to give the Vittoria Randonneur a pinch flat. They appeared, and even felt pumped up before any air went in, thanks to the nail-proof hard casing. Even though they are built with a steel bead, I struggled getting them onto the rim, having to resort to the dreaded tire levers. That was in part due to trying to stuff a 28-32c tube into the double shielded, 28c casing that provides much less room than normal tires of the same width.

I was a bit worried that the low 85 psi rating, 500g weight, and the thick casing would make them feel sluggish, but they seem to compliment each other providing a reasonably low rolling resistance. I was especially glad to find out that the extra-hard tread didn’t compromise the friction or stickiness of the ride. Even in the slushy conditions that tend to happen in this part of the country, the tread gripped the road and ice confidently.

My daily commute involves crossing the huge Birmingham Bridge. On the weekends, the bridge turns into a half-mile, lawless stretch of road that becomes a portal to a neighborhood where the locals say has most bars per square mile than anywhere east of the Mississippi. Needless to say, this bridge regularly gets pummeled with empty bottles after college kids chug one more beer on the drive home. Pretty much every crossing leaves me wondering if I’ll make it to the other side without a flat, but I can now rest assured that I can cross without my number being pulled.

Overall, these now top my list of commuter tires, and the reflective sidewall added a nice touch to seal the deal. If you manage to get them on without puncturing the tube with a tire lever, there’s a good chance that the only time you’ll need to remove these tires is when they’re threadbare or you have a valve malfunction. For those that will be carrying heavier loads, say for touring, wider sizes (32c, 35c, 40c, and 48c) are available, and recommended due to the lower 85psi rating. The steal bead would make it difficult to carry a spare on a long tour, but with this kind of protection, you may not need one anyway. Available for about $30 each, with similar tires available at price points both above and below depending on their bead and flat protection.

Pedal Powered Snow Plow

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Check this thing out… Via Make Magazine:

Kevin Blake, who by day is an engineer at Trek Bicycles, came up with the idea of using pedal power to push show about 13 years ago. In 1993 Blake built a recumbent commuter tricycle with a friend and remembers thinking “could I put a blade on the front and push snow?”

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