POGOH brings e-bikes to stations across Pittsburgh

Several people look at POGOH's new e-bikes in the rain.

The weather has been perfect for a bike ride of late. If you don’t own one, POGOH (formerly Healthy Ride) is now here to meet your bicycle needs.

“But isn’t biking around Pittsburgh such a hassle with all those hills?” some of you may ask. Great news on that front—about 50% of POGOH’s new fleet consists of e-bikes!

Side-by-side photos of POGOH's new e-bike and mechanical bike.
POGOH’s new e-bikes (left) and “acoustic” bikes (right).

Though Pittsburgh does benefit from options like Spin’s electric scooters, Healthy Ride was the cheapest and easiest-to-access system way to get around outside of Port Authority. So, how does POGOH compare to its predecessor? We’ve got a breakdown of the new system’s pros and cons below.

The Good: POGOH’s new fleet is an upgrade from Healthy Ride in nearly every way. The e-bikes are zippy—though the electric assist tops out at 20 miles per hour, the bikes don’t throttle your speed, so you can go even faster on a downhill. Their internal batteries hold a charge for about four hours, though that number drops if your journey takes you up multiple steep hills like Rialto. That’s more than enough time to get from Downtown to Oakland and back. Meanwhile, POGOH’s new “acoustic” bikes are lighter and more agile than the Healthy Ride bikes they replace. Both e-bikes and mechanical ones sport bells, lights and a small handlebar-mounted luggage rack.

The Bad: The Connect Card free ride is no more. Plus, POGOH’s bikes must be returned to stations, and you can’t park more bikes than a station can hold, so you might need to be more flexible with your travel planning. Also, though the stations are bigger (and some can charge the e-bikes), POGOH has about 40 fewer overall stations than Healthy Ride’s system did. The organization made the strategic decision to pull out of neighborhoods like Squirrel Hill with high transit access and socioeconomic status, although they do have plans to expand eventually.

The Verdict: POGOH might be more geographically limited, but the e-bikes are a massive upgrade given our topography. Also, while there are fewer stations, POGOH has strategically invested in majority-BIPOC neighborhoods with low car ownership such as the Hill District and offers steep discounts to those on government assistance. In short, this new system incorporates the best aspects of Healthy Ride, if on a more limited scale—POGOH remains an essential piece of our transit puzzle and stands to become better than its predecessor given some time. Check out our reel for more from POGOH’s official debut.