When Mary Franzen, 47, of Park Place first started riding bikes in Pittsburgh in 2001, she would stare closely any time she passed another cyclist because chances were she knew them.
But in the past few years, Pittsburgh’s biking community has expanded far beyond a tight knit group of friends. Showcasing this change, Bike Pittsburgh on Friday will kick off its annual BikeFest, a series of biking-themed events that is expanded to 17 days this year and culminates with the 20th anniversary of Pedal Pittsburgh.
The ninth year of the festival comes at a time when Pittsburgh’s biking community has much to celebrate. Pittsburgh has the fifth highest level of commuting by bike and foot in the nation, according to information on Bike Pittsburgh’s website provided by the American Community Survey, released in 2011. In addition, the Great Allegheny Passage, a 150-mile bike trail that connects Pittsburgh to Cumberland, Md., (then joining C&O Canal Towpath to Washington D.C.), was completed earlier this summer.
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