Weekend Wheeling in Pittsburgh

Hills for the Best
By Joe Papp

Upon moving to urban Pittsburgh several months ago, an acquaintance mourned his loss of cycling as an enjoyable recreational pastime. After all, he recalled, a 1990 feature in Bicycling Magazine ranked Pittsburgh among the three worst North American cities for cycling. He thought there would be nowhere to ride.

"That was a long time ago," I reassured him,"and things have changed." Indeed, they have. Recognizing an opportunity to enhance the quality of life and recreational opportunities available in Pittsburgh, the Department of City Planning in 1999 released a comprehensive plan (see the Web site) to transform Pittsburgh into a "bikeable city" in which cycling was a safe, popular, and recognized form of recreation.

A key component of the plan is the development of an integrated network of bicycle routes throughout the city. The 2.5-mile Eliza Furnace Trail completed in June, 1998, prior to the release of the plan, is a prime example of a multi-use facility serving as part of Pittsburgh's bicycling infrastructure. It is also part of the Coffee Ride, the first ride discussed here.

Twenty-five-year-old Joe Papp graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh this April with a BA in history and political science. He is currently a CORO Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University. In addition to his academic work, Papp also competes internationally in road cycling and has represented the United States in events in Europe and South America. He races for the Pittsburgh Cycling Club.


Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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