Pittsburgh as a Biking City, Part 2

This article has a part one.

Riding down Ellsworth Ave I spot a fellow cyclist about a block down, coming the opposite way. As we grow nearer, we both &em; instinctually perhaps &em; look up at each other and smile. This is a trait that is unique to Pittsburgh, in my experience. In cities where bicycling is much more prevalent and accepted, where you pass dozens of fellow riders every day, I suppose the “eliteness” of it all tends to wear off. Cruising the bike lanes of Portland OR, you’re no longer a member of a special, small club, but simply another cyclist, and waving at each other every time you pass would be like saying hi to every pedestrian you pass on the street. You know, just nice to do.

Even when touring &em; which seems like an extremely elite club of people so dedicated to riding their bikes that they’d put themselves through the rigors of endless up and down hills, camping with sore muscles and eating whatever scraps nowhere-America can put together for you &em; you don’t get recognition from 50% of the riders who pass you. Once, with a flat tire and 20 miles away from the next town, three cyclists passed me by before one finally stopped and let me use some of his patch kit. Perhaps I should note that the first three were wearing spandex and helmets the size of a small rocketship, the final guy to actually help me had a giant beard and the appropriate stinky hippie attitude to boot (a compliment, indeed.)

So I just wanted to mention, to all of the PGH bikers who take the time to acknowledge each other, particularly those uphill warriors who not only wave, but also say hello or give a nod despite their grueling efforts to conquer these mountains, that it’s a much appreciated stance, particularly from myself anyway.

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