How Pitt Rolls

Patrick Hughes, assistant director of the Asian Studies Center at the University Center for International Studies, has been cycling in Pittsburgh for decades.

“I learned to ride my bike in Squirrel Hill,” Hughes said. “I remember when there was only one bike lane, on Beechwood Boulevard.”

Hughes was among dozens of cyclists who wheeled by Schenley Plaza to celebrate Bike to Work Day, an event that featured Pitt’s Parking, Transportation and Services and police departments, Staff Council and representatives from the Bike Cave. Additionally, BikePGH, Healthy Ride, UPMC and PennDOT were on hand with resources and information for riders.

At the Pitt Police table, Detective Mike Matta walked Pitt employees through the process of registering for Bike Index, a nationwide service that aims to curb bike theft and help owners recover their stolen bikes. Matta showed riders how to register their bike manufacturer and primary frame color using their Pitt email address. A confirmation email then requests their unique serial numbers, which can identify their bikes no matter where they are stolen or recovered. “Bike thefts are a big problem, not just in the community but nationwide,” said Matta.

At a nearby table, Yasmeen Manyisha, safety press officer at PennDOT, distributed safety stickers and information about riding, all of which is available on the PennDOT bicycle safety page.

Aurora Sharrard, director of the University Office of Sustainability, couldn’t ride in to work on Friday, but she did attend the Schenley Plaza event to make the rounds and talk to the other organizations fostering sustainability. The collective efforts are producing results: Pittsburgh’s commuter biking population has doubled since 2009.

“As we work towards achieving our 50% transportation emissions goals, shifting people to more person-powered mobility options is an imperative — and the University is committed to helping that happen with infrastructure, programming and more,” Sharrard said.

Part of that commitment includes efforts to engage the campus population, including first-year students, to be thoughtful about their everyday decisions regarding reuse and mobility. “It’s a great way to establish early on just how important sustainability is at Pitt,” she said.

“It’s really a way to show this is how Pitt rolls — safely and on foot, via two wheels or via transit whenever we can.”

  • Jennifer Laaser, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry, bikes to work from Squirrel Hill. “I mostly bike commute, unless the weather’s really nasty.” (Aimee Obidzinski/University of Pittsburgh)
  • The ride from Carnegie into Oakland is short compared to the route Don Henderson will take in June, from Moraine State Park in Portersville to the shores of Lake Erie in Conneaut, Ohio, for Bike MS: Escape to the Lake, a fundraising event that supports multiple sclerosis research. (Aimee Obidzinski/University of Pittsburgh)
  • Kevin Stiles, manager of leasing and real estate in Facilities Management, stopped by the Bike Cave space to adjust his bike’s chain and chat with staff. (Aimee Obidzinski/University of Pittsburgh)
  • Student workers from the Bike Cave offered riders a chance to hoist their bikes on large stands to make it easier to inspect chains and check tires. A new partnership with Free Ride Pittsburgh, a DIY bicycle collective, will give Bike Cave visitors access to new bike parts like bearings and bottom brackets. (Aimee Obidzinski/University of Pittsburgh)
  • Sam Juedemann, a senior studying civil engineering at the Swanson School of Engineering and who works in the Bike Cave, looks on as colleagues helped inspect a bike. Juedemann said she mostly bikes to and from classes and to buy groceries, but Bike Cave also has a group ride around Pittsburgh every Friday at 5 p.m. (Aimee Obidzinski/University of Pittsburgh)
  • Detective Mike Matta (left) helped Patrick Hughes (right), assistant director of the Asian Studies Center at the University Center for International Studies, register his bicycle in Bike Index. (Aimee Obidzinski/University of Pittsburgh)
  • Stacie Truszkowski, an administrative assistant who supports multiple faculty members at the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine at the School of Medicine, has biked across the country for Race Across America. She offered advice for sharing the road: “When you see a cyclist, pass like it’s someone you know.” (Aimee Obidzinski/University of Pittsburgh)
  • Michelle Kienholz, science writer and scientific administrator at the Pitt Clinical and Translational Science Institute, said that while bike riding has improved so much over the years, “One of the worst problems now is people on their phones.” (Aimee Obidzinski/University of Pittsburgh)
  • Kelly Smith, a post-doc in neurobiology studying pain research, has been in Pittsburgh for a year. Originally from Newcastle, Australia, Smith said she bikes in whenever she can, but not in the winter. “There are definitely better bike lanes here, but it’s more main roads that I have to take. Back home it was all back streets, so I didn’t worry about bike lanes.” (Aimee Obidzinski/University of Pittsburgh)