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Get pumped for the ride! It's almost Friday

Written by Diana Nelson Jones on .

Friday is “bike to work day,” BikePGH’s annual intro event to a season of Car Free Fridays, a challenge to get us off the fossil fuel habit for one day a week, with events, give-aways, free refreshments and retail discounts thrown in.

The idea, of course, is that the experience will lead to a regular habit among as many of us as bikeontrailpossible.

If you're on a bike, you can get some breakfast and liquids at these locations on Friday:

Market Square, 7.30-9:30a; Carnegie Mellon's Merson Courtyard, 7.30-10a; Chatham University's pond at Mellon Center, 7.30-10a; Whole Foods Market in East Liberty, 7:30- 10:30a; REI, South Side Works, 8-10 a.

At 5.30p, you can join the "Flock of Cycles Party Ride" at Dippy the Dino, 4100 Forbes Ave. (map)
The Party Ride is a slow group ride held every second-to-last Friday of the month. The group meets at Dippy and leaves by 6p, pedaling slowly through the city. It is designed for riders of all ages and capabilities.
As a casual bicyclist without many intrepid brain cells left, I bike through the park to the grocery store sometimes and ride around the park occasionally and through my neighborhood; I have ridden to work and found it stressful, in part because you cannot avoid cars and when we’re in our cars, let's face it, we're as#!ho&l*!s.

During the opening of the convention center trail spur (part of which is shown below) last week, Scott Bricker, BikePGH’s head honcho, said one of the organization’s priorities is to advocate for safe biking infrastructure for all: All people should be confident riding bicycles as commuters, he said. “You shouldn’t have to be brave to ride your bike.”

This is the third year of Car Free Fridays in 2009 and has had more than 1,000 participants and more than 100 organizations and businesses. This year BikePGH is asking corporate and community leaders to promote bikepools.

“We’ve found that one of the main reasons people don’t ride to work is because they don’t feel safe on the roads,” according to BikePgh’s website. “Riding with others is a good option because it’s especially comforting to new and inexperienced riders.”

“Bikepools are key to building and sustaining a vibrant population of bike commuters. When we ride together it creates a larger road presence and higher visibility for motorists to see us. The more bicyclists we have on the roads, the safer it will be for everyone. All community leaders (including but not limited to CEOs) please sign up here and we will try our best to find a bikepool for you on Bike to Work Day.”

peopleandbikesBikePGH has a new online widget for commuters to track their biking and walking miles. The Car Free Calculator displays the approximate impact of biking and walking on your health, the environment, and your budget. The Calculator keeps a running tally both for you and the collective others participating.

The calculator was developed with support from the Alliance for Biking and Walking, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Mullen. The innovation was funded in part by a Root Award from the Sprout Fund.

If you participate, you are automatically enrolled in raffle drawings for gift certificates and prizes donated by local business. The more frequently you submit your miles, the greater your chances are of winning.

Sign up here.

BikePGH reports that, since the event's inception, Pittsburghers have logged:

+ 8941 miles biking and walking
+ 509,002 calories burned
+ $4,470 in savings
+ 10,657 lbs. of reduced CO2e

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