Everything you need to know about biking in Pittsburgh with BikePGH

BikePGH is a local nonprofit that works to make our streets safer, more accessible, and friendly to bicycle and pedestrian transportation. Now through Friday, they’re getting locals amped up for their two-wheel commutes with Bike Anywhere Week. The series includes an advocate workshop, bike light giveaway, WMNBikePGH Confident & Comfortable Cycling Workshop, tips for bike-friendly workplace coffee meetup, and of course, Bike Anywhere Day.

Yesterday, BikePGH hosted a Q-and-A on its Instagram, so we thought it would be a great opportunity to expand on some of those questions for all of you. Here’s our round-up of facts, tips, and helpful answers from BikePGH, so you can safely pedal through Pittsburgh.

(📸: @bikepgh)

How bike friendly is Pittsburgh?

While the lack of traditional street grids makes our city a bit trickier to bike in, the city’s features — like the rivers and hills — also make it a beautiful place to ride. Luckily, Pittsburgh is getting more bike-friendly everyday. This year, Pittsburgh is adding hundreds of miles of new bike lanes to its existing networks. Here’s the Pittsburgh Bike Map that details all the routes around the city.

A new poll shows that most Pittsburgh voters are actually not opposed to bike lanes. In fact, city residents are eager to see safe streets with more investment in transportation, bike, and pedestrian infrastructure.

If I’m new to biking in the city, where should I start?

Learning to ride confidently on city streets is a lot like learning how to ride a bike. It takes practice and patience. Here’s BikePGH’s list of tips for new Pittsburgh bicyclists, including: practicing your hand signals and the ABC (air, brakes, chains) quick check.

Among the list of tips is advice on being aware of the road hierarchy:There is an unfortunate hierarchy on the road. Trucks and buses > cars > bikes > pedestrians. As a bicyclist, you’re in the lower-middle end of that hierarchy. On one hand, this means you need to be aware of the dangers of cars. If a driver is being aggressive, just get out of their way. It’s not worth the fight. On the other hand, this means you need to respect the rights of pedestrians. Yield to pedestrians at intersections. In Yinzer speak, don’t be a jagoff,” the blog post read.

What’s up with the bikes that are parked all around the city?

Healthy Ride Pittsburgh’s bike share system makes it easy and fun to get around the city by bike. Here’s how to get started with your first ride. You can pay as you go or sign up for a membership if you plan on renting often. Then, you can park the bike at any Healthy Ride station when you’re finished with your ride.

Some Pittsburgh neighborhoods are getting new bike infrastructure. How do we use it?

In the last ten years alone, our city has seen over 90 miles of bike infrastructure and counting. Learn about the different lanes and how to use them.

For example, did you know what a bifurcated sharrow lane was? Maybe you did, but just didn’t know that it was called that. These have sharrows in both directions and are often used on narrow streets to show that cyclists are encouraged to take that route.

(📸: @bikepgh)

Where should I buy bike gear locally?

At The Incline, we always encourage our readers to shop local. Buying bike gear from neighborhood shops will do more than just help the local economy; it’s also a great way to get involved in the local cycling community. Of course, BikePGH has you covered with a list of local bicycle shops to support. Plus, if you become a BikePGH member, you can get discounts.

What is Pedal Pittsburgh?

PedalPGH is Pennsylvania’s largest bike ride. It’s a casual, fun ride that exposes people of all ages and fitness levels to the neighborhoods and geography that makes Pittsburgh so unique.

What are Fix-it Stations and how do I find one?

Fix-it Stations are a resource with all the necessary bike tools for repairs. Some organizations and businesses around the city have them on hand as a way to help bikers in a pinch. To learn more about the stations or where to find them on the map, follow this link.

(📸: @bikepgh)

Can I take my bicycle on the inclines? How about the T?

Yes, but there are some restrictions. For the inclines, it depends which one you’re riding. On the Monongahela, one bike is permitted at a time and must be stowed in the upper level of a wheelchair accessible car. On the Duquesne Incline, two bikes are permitted at all times. And on the T, riders have to load and unload their bikes at high-platform stations only, unless you have a folding bike. Learn more about this and how to load your bicycle onto Pittsburgh Port Authority buses at this post all about bikes on transit.

Where can I sell or donate a bike I am no longer using? 

Through BikePGH’s match program, they are connecting people who have an extra bicycle with those who need one. Learn more about the program and how you can help get more people on bikes.

Bike Anywhere Week Activities

Bike Anywhere Week is a celebration of all the reasons people bike. If you’re new to biking or have always wanted to try a two-wheeled commute, this is the perfect opportunity. Get some much-needed outdoor time, reduce traffic congestion, and improve our air quality!

Tuesday, May 18: Become an Advocate Workshop 

Wednesday, May 19: Operation Illumination Bike Light Giveaway

Thursday, May 20: WMNBikePGH Confident & Comfortable Cycling Workshop

Friday, May 21: Bike Anywhere Day

Friday, May 21: Creating a Bike-Friendly Workplace Coffee Meetup