Five Pittsburghers Gear Up for Climate Rides in 2022

A portion of proceeds raised will benefit BikePGH

Every time you replace a car trip with a bike trip you are reducing harm to the planet. Bike Pittsburgh was recently designated an official beneficiary of Climate Ride’s charitable bike rides and hikes, because more people on bikes means more environmentally-friendly choices and less CO2 emissions.

Climate Ride is a charitable organization that organizes bike rides (and hikes!) in some of the most beautiful regions of the United States and beyond. Each ride has a minimum fundraising goal and participants can direct the funds they raise to approved nonprofit organizations. We’d like to introduce you to five cyclists who are combining their love of cycling, Pittsburgh, and the planet by doing a Climate Ride: a multi-day, fundraising bike ride. We are grateful to these cyclists for designating BikePGH as a beneficiary of their fundraising! You can help these yinzers reach their goals for the environment and support BikePGH by donating to their rides below.

Four of these cyclists will ride in the two-day Green Fondo Chautauqua in Western New York State, and one will be riding in the Death Valley National Park Ride. So of course we couldn’t pass up asking them each a few questions about their motivators and what drew them to our mission!

Let’s hear from each of them below!

Kate Cummings

Kate is a longtime resident of the Northside whose love for cycling deepened through her connection to her cycling coworkers at Confluence, including her Climate Ride partner, Matt Reed. Kate’s bike commuting evolved into longer recreational rides, memorably a PedalPGH which included a victorious climb to the top of the Mount Washington neighborhood. In the summer you may see Kate and dog Ember biking on the North Shore trail on their way to Millvale for an iced beverage.

What drew you to the Climate Ride and why did you choose this particular ride?

I love bikes. I love talking to people about environmental causes…[but] it can be hard to talk about…this big issue that seems complicated to fix since it is so multi-dimensional…

The Climate Ride allows me to talk about something hard in a positive context…We can help fix big problems, and it starts here with us.

Why did you choose BikePGH as your beneficiary? What does BikePGH mean to you?

I chose BikePGH because I have seen for myself the impact that they have made in Pittsburgh. BikePGH has done heroic work to make Pittsburgh a multi-modal city. They have made both biking and walking safer and more accessible to the community at large, and I have seen how the city has changed over the years. 

…A part of tackling climate change is about… giving people the opportunity to be able to make transportation choices that are healthier for themselves and the environment…

On a personal note, the biking infrastructure in Pittsburgh is what allowed me to give up my car for many years. And even though I live further away than I used to, the continued progress towards bike lanes, safer walking areas, etc. have continued to allow me to feel safe biking in Pittsburgh.

Kate adds that you can also support the cause when you “Talk to people about the climate ride, climate change, BikePGH, or all of the above.”

Matt Reed

Matt rediscovered cycling during the pandemic and now starts each day with a ride around Highland Park and Morningside where he lives with his family. When not working at Confluence Technologies, you can find Matt on the Northside’s Three Rivers Heritage Trail. Matt will be doing the Climate Ride with friend Kate Cummings on his Trek 7.2 FX.

What drew you to the Climate Ride and why did you choose this particular ride?

I have been wanting to do something concrete to raise money and awareness related to climate change…I am a parent of two young daughters who I want to live in a more just and sustainable society. I’ve also been wanting to do a big (for me) physical challenge. 

My friend and collaborator, Kate Cummings, and I have raised money together in the past, and we are both passionate about environmental causes, activism, and communication. She found Climate Ride and invited me to join her team. 

It’s not just about raising money though, but raising awareness. I want to use this opportunity to talk about climate change and climate solutions in a truthful, hopeful way. I may be one of the slower riders, but if I can just initiate a few real conversations like this and point some people towards hopeful solutions and great organizations, I’ll consider the ride a success. 

…[E]very dollar I raise will go to the underlying beneficiaries like BikePGH and, excitingly, this year all donations will be matched dollar for dollar by the Algorand Foundation

Why did you choose BikePGH as your beneficiary? What does BikePGH mean to you?

I have a couple friends who are long-time bike riders/commuters which is how I learned about BikePGH. But as a member of a single car family, BikePGH’s vision of “…a Pittsburgh where people can thrive without needing to own a car” is personal to me. 

I’ve often used public transportation and walking to get around the city, but earlier this year I started biking again, after many years of letting my bike collect dust.  It’s amazing how different the city is from when I first moved here in 2006. I am grateful for all the work BikePGH has done in the city. Thank you!

Annie Makepeace

Annie lives in Regent Square with her bunny, Vanilla Bean. She discovered cycling in 2019 and now loves to tear it up on gravel and ride through the city. Annie will be riding with friend Paula Soto, on a Cannondale Supersix Evo SE gravel bike.

What drew you to the Climate Ride and why did you choose this particular ride?

I’m excited to participate in the climate ride, this issue impacts everyone equally regardless of their background or beliefs. We are feeling the impact from centuries of profit driven environmental decision making. I love the opportunity to meld two of my passions – cycling and climate justice! 

Why did you choose BikePGH as your beneficiary?/What does BikePGH mean to you?

I am a beneficiary of the initiatives and advocacy work of BikePGH, I am happy to give back! As an urban woman rider I understand how important the work of organizations like BikePGH is for the safety of our community. I share a common vision with BikePGH of a Pittsburgh that is not reliant on fossil fuels for transportation. 

Paula Soto

Paula is a social worker working as a trauma therapist and yoga teacher, living in Beaver with her ball python and two cats. A skilled urban cyclist from years ago, the Climate Ride has motivated Paula to return to cycling. She will do the Green Fondo on her vintage commuter bike, with friend Annie Makepeace.

What drew you to the Climate Ride and why did you choose this particular ride?

I learned about Climate Ride in an email from Chautauqua Institution…and asked my friend Annie to do it with me… I am immensely concerned with social justice causes, including environmental justice…[and] am always looking for healthy ways to have fun adventures…I also love to spend time with dear friends. Climate Ride allows me to check all those boxes!

Why did you choose BikePGH as your beneficiary?/What does BikePGH mean to you?

When I was young and lived in NYC…I loved the thrill of biking [around the city]. Now…I value solid traffic laws and bike lanes! I love that BikePGH is a powerful advocate for bike riding safety; people must have safe and environmentally friendly modes of transportation in the city…When I went on a BikePGH activity, the members were welcoming, friendly and helpful…[T]he people I met were fantastic and encouraging.

Ken Segel

Ken will be participating in the Death Valley National Park Ride, 250 miles of cycling over six days in November. Ken lives in Squirrel Hill with his family and runs Value Capture LLC, a mission-focused healthcare safety trusted advisory firm. Ken will be riding with his brother in law Jeremy and friends, Derek and Juan, on a Specialized Tarmac.

Why did you choose BikePGH as your beneficiary? What does BikePGH mean to you?

[I choose] to support Bike Pittsburgh, whose amazing efforts to advocate for…more miles of safe biking in Pittsburgh —  environmental, more accessible, more affordable transportation infrastructure — I have literally witnessed and seen our community benefit profoundly from. I am also doing the Climate Ride because of a biking experience I had last summer that made the link of equity and…climate justice real to me.  One day while our car was worked on in a shop above our last polluting steel mill in the area, I rode my bike around the area and literally felt the pollution in my lungs…it was simply not safe or even possible to leave major parts of this…area without a car… We can and need to do better by the environment and by our communities. Bike Pittsburgh is doing that work, for all of us.

What drew you to the Climate Ride and why did you choose this particular ride?

Almost every year, my brother-in-law [and two of our friends] and I do a big destination ride over a long weekend. This year Climate Ride drew us because the evidence of increasing harm to the planet touching each of our lives and communities directly is so profound, and only through direct individual and collective action can we begin to limit the terrible damage and existential danger. And the chance to ride in Death Valley, with support to make it safe? Once in a lifetime.

Ken adds: “In order for me to participate, I must raise at least $2800. Any size donation will help get me closer to my fundraising goal. And if you visit [my fundraising] page you will see I created an incentive…”

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