Celebrating Women’s History Month, Pt 4: Local Shop Owners

In honor of Women’s History Month* we want to take some time to celebrate some women in Pittsburgh who have made an impact on our vibrant cycling culture and community.  In the last part of our 4 part series we will introduce you to women who are hustling and bustling with their own cycling businesses in Pittsburgh. 

*BikePGH recognizes all feminine identifying people as women, and acknowledges that gender is not a binary. For more information on gender identity please take a look at our Gender Matters guide.

Aryn Gaslowitz

“Northside Bike Lady”
Founder of Makeshift Bikes on E. Ohio St. I fix bikes and teach classes about fixing bikes. Operated as a pop-up repair stand in the park for years before settling into more stable locations.

  1. What inspired you to get involved with cycling?
    I use a bike mostly to get places. I like that it is an accessible, relatively inexpensive and sustainable way to move my body around town. I started tinkering with my own bike when I was in college and eventually went to Free Ride to use tools. I ended up putting in many years there and learned a lot before starting to work in shops, where I learned a lot more! 

  2. How long have you been cycling?
    My grandmother taught me how to ride a bike as a kid and I rode on and off in my young years and have used it as my primary mode of transportation since about 2009. I’ve taken some longer trips, but lately I mostly ride around Pittsburgh.
  1. Where is your favorite place to ride in Pittsburgh?
    My favorite bike ride in Pittsburgh is going up to Riverview through Woods Run. I’m also partial to Noblestown Rd. I love that it is relatively easy to bike out of this city, though I haven’t done many trips lately.
  1. What advice would you give to new riders or someone interested in getting involved with cycling in Pittsburgh?
    My advice for folks wanting to get started is just to do it. Biking in the city is scarier when you think about it than when you are out there, and it gets safer for all of us when more bikes are on the roads. Think about what you need to feel safe, whether that’s practicing on the river trails first, learning some maintenance, or going out with a buddy.

    >> Check out our blog post about Aryn’s shop!

Hayley Wickstrom

Owner, Waxwing Cycles
Athlete, 3T/Q+M Cycling Team

“We started Waxwing Cycles in 2018 out of our basement, having both acquired experience working in the bicycle industry through college and deciding it was time to make the leap to small business ownership. Since then, we’ve moved the shop a few blocks away to the (small but charming) baggage building at the Edgewood Train Station. We work hard to ensure that you get the most out of your riding through expert mechanic work and knowledgeable customer service, and we value the relationships we have developed along the way with our fellow enthusiastic bicycle people.”

Katharine Jordan

Owner, Kindred Cycles

“Katharine Jordan was born and raised in Pittsburgh. In 2002 she moved to Boston, where she began cycling for joy and transportation, and wrenching out of curiosity and obsession. After graduating college Katharine worked as a full time mechanic in Boston and then in Savannah, GA. In 2012 she returned to Pittsburgh to find that over the past 10 years her hometown had been busy developing bicycle lanes, trails and a thriving bike community. Since returning Katharine has felt warmly welcomed by cyclists in Pittsburgh and looks forward to supporting current and future Pittsburgh cyclists at Kindred Cycles. Katharine loves adventures by bicycle, problem solving, kickstands, and lubricating chains.”

Val Scholar

Founder, Owner, Tour Guide, Bike the Burgh Tours + Rentals

“Originally from the Italian Alps, I lived in Germany for over 10 years. I studied in Munich (Germany) and Rome (Italy) to get my Master’s degree in art and architectural history.  After that I also spent some time in NYC where I met my future husband, a real Pittsburgher. After years of a long-distance relationship, we finally decided to declare Pittsburgh as our new home. I was so surprised of the rich history and culture the city has to offer that I decided to study and share it with people in a different and sustainable way: on bikes! Since urban biking has always been a substantial part of my daily life, I became a passionate advocate of cycling and also recycling.

The mission of Bike the Burgh Tours is both to reveal the beauty of Pittsburgh, educate visitors as well as residents about its history, and to promote biking as a healthy, green and sustainable method of recreation and transportation.”

Did you miss the first 3 parts of the series? No problem – check them out below: 

While there are many amazing women on this list, please note that it is not exhaustive of everyone who has made contributions to cycling in Pittsburgh. If you know of someone who should be acknowledged for their efforts, please leave a comment or reach out to catlyn@bikepgh.org.

Get Involved!

If you are a woman or gender variant person who is curious about getting involved with cycling in Pittsburgh, join us at our WMNBikePGH Program events! Our next group ride is April 10th! 

BikePGH’s Women & Non-Binary program was created to break down barriers to bicycling and increase the representation of people who have historically marginalized gender identities. The program is inclusive of trans and cis women, intersex people, non-binary, genderqueer, agender and gender variant folks, as well as those whose gender identity falls outside of the dominant conceptions of gender.

WMNBikePGH aims to connect and empower those who might feel excluded from the male dominant cycling culture with free educational workshops, group rides, and social events in a safe and supportive environment. Together, we can build a more inclusive and equitable community for people who want to ride bikes.

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