Rust Belt Battle of the Bikes Ends: PGH Sheds a Tear

After a long Bike Challenge, Pittsburgh hands over the Trophy and Title to Cleveland. Ouch.

Can’t believe your eyes? Well its true. Cleveland beat Pittsburgh in the 2014 Rust Belt Battle of the Bikes.

The Rut Belt Battle of the Bikes is a yearly dual between Cleveland and Pittsburgh to see who can rack up more points in the 5-month long National Bike Challenge. The winner gets to hold the Battle of the Bikes Trophy in its territory until the next year’s winner is determined.  Last year, Pittsburgh took the win. This year, Cleveland came back strong to show that it has what it takes to clench the title.

So, with a tear in our eye, we wrote a note to say congratulations…

rust belt battle note

And shipped the Battle of the Bikes Trophy to Cleveland…

rust belt battle box

The trophy is gone, but hope is not lost.  May 2015 will be here before we know it and a new Battle of the Bikes will start again. We have some data to analyze, and some strategy to consider.  Check out our evaluation below, and help us strategize for 2015.


Some numbers:

Some Graphs:

cleveland v pittsburgh ride type

Pittsburgh Signups for the National Bike Challenge:

Some analysis:

Pittsburgh riders really put in lots of miles! You pedaled an overwhelming portion of your miles as a way to get to work or the visit shops and run errands. So next year, if you’re logging your challenge miles from your rides to work, make sure to invite other people from your workplace to join in the challenge. And if you’re riding for recreation, be sure to invite a neighbor or friend along occasionally during the next challenge or start a team of weekend riders with your friends so that you can ride regularly together.

Nevertheless, this year Pittsburgh lost, and there’s no two ways around it.  BikeCLE did a better job mobilizing bikers to register, ride, and log their miles.

The National Bike Challenge allows participants a plethora of ways to get involved: “Riders”, “Teams”, “Workplaces”, “Schools”, “Communities”, “Leagues”, “Local Challenges”, and “States”. Some categories even allow participants to break the standings up by size, region, gender or type. In total there are 39 different fields for competition!

However, the Champion of the Rust Belt Battle of the Bikes is decided by a 40th field; “total points of all Local Challenge participants“. Meaning that to find the standings, BikePGH and BikeCLE have to download monthly reports and add up the total number of points that all riders log. This was a decision made in April 2013 after BikePGH and BikeCLE had chosen the counties included in their Local Challenge Area. BikePGH had chosen Allegheny County with 1,208,691 citizens. BikeCLE had chosen Cuyahoga, Summit, Medina, Lorain, Geauga and Lake counties, with 2,587,312 citizens. The formula worked for Pittsburgh in 2013, but Cleveland got their game together for 2014.

It may be time to revisit the decision, but the fact stands; Cleveland beat Pittsburgh in the 2014 Rust Belt Battle of the Bikes and will be the home of the Rust Cup Trophy until the 2015 results are announced.

Congrats n’at, Cleveland. Let’s talk and we’ll see you in 2015.

Not a member of BikePGH? Join today! We need you to add your voice! Bike Pittsburgh works to protect cyclist’s rights and promote the vision of making Pittsburgh a safer and more enjoyable place to live and to ride. For more info, check out:


  • Vannevar says:

    I don’t understand why Pittsburgh doesn’t include the metro area, including Beaver County and Washington County. Let’s get the Montour Trail into the designated zone and get those cyclists into the count. (from somebody who spends a lot of time in those places)

  • edmonds59 says:

    How do each city’s numbers for 2014 compare to the numbers from ’13? I would be interested in knowing an improvement Delta.
    Also, holy cow all those counties in Ohio?!? That’s a lot.

  • Ron Virag says:

    First the Steelers…now the Rust Belt Battle of the Bikes…I can’t handle it!

    With a treasure like the Great Allegheny Passage originating at the Point and traversing the Laurel Highlands, we should set a goal to recruit all the bicycling enthusiasts in the region and aspire to recapture the trophy. After all, there is not much we can do about the Steelers, so let’s set a goal that we control and can attain.

  • […] a long Bike Challenge, Pittsburgh hands over the Trophy and Title to […]

  • […] though Pittsburgh lost to Cleveland in the Rust Belt Challenge, PCRG would still like to celebrate its participation in the National Bike Challenge and thank all […]

  • […] This is the third year PCRG has participated in the Challenge, and we’re ready to beat our records from last year, but we need your help. We encourage PCRG Members, partner organizations, and any other local community development cyclists to sign up for the PCRG Bike Team (you can also sign up for your workplace). Throughout the Challenge, the PCRG Bike Team will host several scenic bike rides in member communities. And, perhaps one of the most critical reasons to join the Challenge: we need to bring the Rustbelt trophy back to Pittsburgh. […]

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