Bicycle Culture Debuts at the Festival

by Richard Gartner

traf_main_bikepghIn a few short years, the bicycling component of the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival has expanded. This year several activities highlight Pittsburgh’s bike culture.

Bike Pittsburgh is running this year’s bike valet program again. According to Rebecca Susman, Bike Pittsburgh’s Membership and Outreach Manager, “Last year we parked about 1,400 bikes during the festival.” It operates like a coat check; you don’t need to bring your own lock, and it’s free to cyclists.

Before you get your bike parked, though, consider participating in “I <3 My Bike” at the valet tent. Cyclists get their picture taken with their bikes in front of a vinyl backdrop that includes the Pittsburgh skyline.

“Not only do you get a great picture of you and your bike that we’ll put on Flickr, but we save your contact information, your bike’s serial number and your bike’s description in a private database,” says Rebecca.

“If your bike is stolen, we can give you your information, including the picture. You can provide this information to police as proof of ownership.” You don’t have to be a Bike Pittsburgh member to participate. “I <3 My Bike” operates from noon to 9pm on Saturdays, and from noon to 8pm on Sundays.

After discovering your bike does indeed have a serial number and parking it securely, several other bike-themed projects await you.

‘Dream Cycle’ is a project spearheaded by Renee Rosensteel and based on an Albert Einstein quote. Relating how he came up with the theory of relativity, Einstein said “I thought of that while riding my bike.” Renee credits Veronica Corpuz, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s Director of Festival Management and Special Projects, on discovering the quote.

“When you get on a bike, your mind lets go” says Renee. ‘Dream Cycle’ invites cyclists to consider “what you think about when riding. We’re expecting people to write or draw pictures.” People can then take photos with their quote or picture behind them. Renee plans to have a couple of bikes for use as props for the pictures.

There are bike activities for kids as well. On Sunday, June 16th, children’s helmets will be given away from 12:30 to 3pm.

‘Art Cycle’ by Cheryl Capezzuti is also happening that Sunday. Children are invited to create puppets out of a variety of craft materials and attach the puppets to their new helmets. The fun starts at noon.

With crazy helmets securely fastened to their heads, kids can ride in the ‘Crazy Bike Parade’ around the point. Children ages 5 to 8 are invited to show up at 3:15pm at the Giant Eagle Creativity Zone.

And for those who wish to avoid parking hassles and bike downtown, another bicycle artery is opening up during the Festival: The final mile-long segment of the Great Allegheny Passage (around Sandcastle) is slated to open Saturday, June 15th. If you live near the GAP (which runs from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, MD), you can take the trail directly to the point the last weekend of the festival.

 

For ways to get to the festival by bike, see last year’s blog post on trail access and using PAT Transit with a bike.