Community Spotlight: Joy Riders Pittsburgh provides bike rides to people with limited mobility

Interview with Margarita Halasowski & Dianne Stuckman of Joy Riders Pittsburgh

This is the latest installment of our Community Spotlight Series, which aims to highlight the incredible work being done here in Pittsburgh to uplift our communities and promote equity and inclusion in cycling.

Who are you? Tell us a bit about yourselves and how you got involved in this work:

We are friends, Margarita Halasowski of O’Hara Township and Dianne Stuckman of Ben Avon, who have a love of biking. In the Summer of 2020, we heard about the original Joy Riders program in Rostraver Pa. It was started in 2019 with rides given along the Great Allegheny Passage at Cedar Creek Park. Although they’re an hour away, we got in touch and began training there to become volunteer bike ‘pilots’. The program provides free bike rides on a Duet Bike – it’s part wheelchair, part bike – to anyone with limited mobility. We soon knew we wanted to start our own chapter closer to home. By November 2020, we kicked off a GoFundMe page to raise funds to purchase a bike. By late Spring 2021, our program was up and running with a bike, several trained volunteers and storage space at the Millvale Riverfront. Fortunately for us, Three Rivers Rowing allows us to store our bike free of charge in their boat storage building. We are sponsored by the Veterans Leadership Program.

Tell us a little bit about the Joy Riders Pittsburgh. How does this project support your community?

Our bike rides are given along the Three Rivers Heritage Trail in Pittsburgh, starting at the Millvale Riverfront to the North Shore and back. One volunteer pilots the wheelchair bike, another rides ahead on their own bike to clear the way. The 6 mile roundtrip ride is very scenic as we enjoy views of the blooming redbud trees along the trail, Pittsburgh’s downtown cityscape, its rivers, Point State Park fountain, inclines, and stadiums. The trail offers a unique vantage point that most people with limited mobility aren’t able to experience on their own. In our inaugural year, we provided nearly 50 bike rides to children and adults, ranging in age from 11 to 108. We can accommodate children as young as age 5 and adults up to approximately 240 pounds. We have paired up with a few nursing home facilities and individuals with disabilities or limitations. We are hoping to make additional connections this season.

What are your hopes for the future of Joy Riders Pittsburgh?

When we started our program, we expected it to bring joy to those in the passenger seat. It’s likely, though, that we are truly the ones benefiting most. The hour long bike ride allows time for special conversations between the rider and volunteers or simply time to reflect and take in the sights. We hope to provide even more rides this year. We also would like to add a second bike. With two bikes, we could double the rides with nursing homes each week and enable friends to enjoy the experience together.

What resources/ funding/ volunteers/tools/equipment do you need to keep on going? How can people who read this article help?

Two ways you can help:
1. Spread the word about our program to organizations and individuals who may enjoy a bike ride.
2. Consider making a donation. Our rides are free with no-strings-attached, and we are volunteer-operated but we do have expenses. Bike maintenance and repairs, helmets, and marketing costs add up quickly. In addition, the expense of a second bike is daunting. The Duet bike is specially made and equipped with an electric-assist option, making its $9500 price tag steep.

How can people get involved?

To schedule a ride along the Three Rivers Heritage Trail, email
Rides can also be given at the Rostraver site and the new Greensburg site by emailing

For more information, check out the Joy Riders website.
Donations can be made through our GoFundMe page.

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