Pittsburgh beats Cleveland in the National Bike Challenge, defends its Rustbelt Champion Title, and rests victoriously, holding the Rust Cup.
The day was October 18th, 2013, Cleveland had ridden 75 miles from the north, Pittsburgh 75 from the south. Representatives from the two cities had chosen to meet on neutral ground in Youngstown, OH for the first annual awarding of the Rust Cup to the winner of the 5-month long Rust Belt Battle of the Bikes in the National Bike Challenge.
Throughout the challenge season, each city launched attack after attack, trying to edge out the competition by any means; events, promotions and propaganda.
BikeCLE armed Cleveland riders with spoke cards to rally their city to ride, and weekend warriors head out countless weekends to crush count(ed) miles. Clevelend held secret meetings in the dark ABC Tavern to teach riders the “ABCs of the NBC” and disseminate a strategy to take Pittsburgh down.
When push came to shove, and the two cities accidentally meet somewhere deep in the woods upon an unnamed bike trail, the punches were thrown.
But they underestimated the steely power of Pittsburgh; forged in their miles of hilly commutes. Pittsburgh drew their warriors from the business community with a summit of 18 PGH businesses at the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership. They enlisted bike commute-hardened riders by tagging every bike with persuasive propaganda – “Ride for PGH. Beat CLE.”
However, it was an attack that Pittsburgh began planning in the pre-season that may eventually be attributed to their victory; an effort that became known as The Pedal For Pints Program with Over the Bar Bicycle Cafe. When released on May 1st, the plan awarded all enlisted Pittsburgh riders 1 drink per challenge-medal they earned throughout the season. These deeply rejuvenating beverages were invaluable on Pittsburgh’s trail to victory, keeping moral high and allowing riders to re-asses their strategies between their attack-commutes.
At the end of the 5 months, each city had amassed near armies of bike riders to pedal for their city’s pride; Pittsburgh’s team consisted of 1,506 riders, Cleveland’s was just under 1,400. Together the two cities had pedaled 1,368,638 miles, but in the end it was Pittsburgh who appeared victorious.
Meaning, the Rust Cup will live in Pittsburgh until the winner of the 2014 Rustbelt Battle of the Bikes is over and a new winner holds the cup in the air, raises it to their lips and drinks in the glory of being the Champion Rustbelt city.
Final Rust Belt Battle of the Bikes Score:
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