South Side Traveler’s Rest Now Open!

Good things don’t come easy

Just like cycling a very long distance, restoring an old building into a hostel is a task that takes courage and determination. The former offices of A.M Buyers Iron Pipe company was bought by Paul Kletter and Mary Beth Karabinos in 2014. They felt there was a need for a hostel and a location that caters to cyclists better.

They opened their doors for guests on April 1st and there is now a capacity of 15 guests. So far 9 people have booked a stay in the first week.

Their next goal is to extend the capacity of the hostel to 35 guests just before the summer starts. With its location right next to the GAP trail, safe bicycle storage, bicycle washing and a bike shop on location South Side Traveler’s Rest is aiming to be of service to the growing number of people that set out on the trail every year.

Imagine finishing your 334 mile bike ride, having a shower, and a proper bed. Imagine while you are exploring Pittsburgh, a mechanic gives you bike a check up or packs it up before you need to travel back home.

There will be options for all budgets and at the top is the Buyers Suite of 600 sf, with a private bedroom, private bathroom, and a private living room.  Smaller dorm sized options are also available if you want to go easy on your budget.

About the building and the location

South Side Travellers Rest is located on the corner of 6th and Bingham in a repurposed a building that was built in 1883 for and by the company A.M. Byers Wrought Iron Pipe Co. They were renowned in their industry and supplied for most of the east coasts piped infrastructure. This heritage is can be felt in how the building decorated and by its location between the many different industrial buildings.

It gives its owners a warm feeling to have been able to restore this building and share it with the public. Despite their efforts it also took a lot of people to get this project off the ground and that has given them a lot of connections to the community.

A few words from the Mayor

On March 23rd there was a press showing and official opening. Besides the many interested people and people that had a small (or big) role in the project the mayor of Pittsburgh, Bill Peduto made sure he visited.

His short speech:

“It is one thing to have a vision, it’s quite something else to actually  see a vision become a reality. The travellers rest is an understanding of where Pittsburgh is as a city. It won’t only be an attraction to those who choose to cycle between Washington DC and Pittsburgh but also an international stop. Pittsburgh has been missing this for quite some time and people that want to travel to Pittsburgh and don’t see a hostel probably keep going. The city is thankful for this initiative and saving the beautiful building.”

He added:

“This area of the south Side is sort of the hidden part because it had so many warehouses and other building that people easily overlook it. They miss its true beauty, there is something an industrial sheet that defines Pittsburgh and you have been able to show that.”

The trail economy

The growing popularity of many trails across the country and for Pittsburgh specifically the Great Allegheny Passage trail have brought new opportunities to the area. In 2015, an estimated 62% of the trails users made an overnight stay somewhere along it. Not only do they spent money on their accommodation, they spent money on dining, additional gear, and bicycle related parts and services. With the money saved from lower travel costs, people who ride bikes have more of their money to spend on local businesses.

Pittsburgh, Cumberland, and Washington are main stops for the GAP trail and with the estimated 1.2 million users in the future, it might get crowded at the South Side Travelers Rest.


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