From Bike Pittsburgh, the ultimate Bike Party

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A day on a bike, a night at the opera.

BikeFest, which will feature 60 independently organized rides and events throughout the city, begins Friday with a fundraiser for Bike Pittsburgh at 8 p.m. at the Pittsburgh Opera (2425 Liberty Ave.) in the Strip District.

"This is our biggest fundraiser of the year and it will directly fund our work," said Scott Bricker, executive director of Bike Pittsburgh. That work includes "engineering bike lanes, providing bike racks to the city and producing award-winning publications like the Pittsburgh Bike Map and our illustrated Bike Commuting Guide 101."

The fundraiser party, complete with wine, beer and raffles, will be preceded by a VIP event that begins at 6:30 p.m. The latter will be catered by Salt of the Earth, which Bricker described as the "future Garfield restaurant owned by local star chef and cyclist Kevin Sousa." Live entertainment will be provided "by marimba virtuoso Marcus Kim."

Bricker said the main party features "J. Malls spinning funk and soul, while Edgar Um will close down the party with his signature mix of dance hits throughout the years."

There will be a silent auction, raffles "filled with bicycles," a Trek Travel trip donated by Trek of Pittsburgh, gear, bags, tickets to cultural events and more. Bricker said all proceeds benefit Bike Pittsburgh to enable it "to continually make the city more bicycle-friendly."

The 10-day festival, an annual celebration of biking and bike culture, has "something for everyone," Bricker said. "The bicycling community has stepped up in a big way to organize some really fun events."

Details and schedules can be found at

For more information, visit the website or contact Bricker at or call 412-325-4334.

The Maine event

Pittsburgh Youth Leadership, which has been taking inner-city youngsters on all-expenses-paid long-distance bike rides since 2006, completed a 559-mile journey from Niagara Falls to western Maine.

"We had good weather -- it was cooler than Pittsburgh's -- and the kids had some long days of more than 100 miles," said Mark Rubenstein of Swisshelm Park, president of the organization.

The "kids" he was referring to: Jaquail Ashley, 15, of Sheraden, Pittsburgh Classical Academy; and schoolmates Anthony Brown, 14, of the North Side and Lawrence Davis-White, 13, of Carrick; Deondre' Farris, 13, of Mount Washington, South Hills Middle School; John Moreno, 13, of Greenfield, Greenfield Middle School; Aaron Scott, 14, of Swissvale, Imani Christian Academy in Homewood; and DJ Fitzgerald, 13, of Homewood, The Linsly School, a private boarding school in Wheeling, W.Va.

Staff members in addition to Rubenstein: Charlie Monroe of Shadyside; Dan Finegold and Gordon Roth, both of Squirrel Hill; and counselors-in-training Dion Wallace, 16, of Greenfield, a student at Allderdice; and Chris Butera, 16, of Swissvale, who attends Cyber School.

For more information, go to

Moving on up

Sean Brady, who helped the Western Pennsylvania Field Institute get up and running and, thankfully, change its name to Venture Outdoors, is the new director of development for Riverlife.

The organization, formerly known as the Riverlife Task Force, is working on completing Three Rivers Park, a 13-mile loop through the heart of Pittsburgh. It will connect both sides of the rivers from the Hot Metal Bridge and the 31st Street Bridge to Point State Park and the West End Bridge.

His office on the 35th floor of the Gulf Tower has views of the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio rivers. He bikes from his home on Observatory Hill and enjoys the convenience of the designated indoor bike racks at work.

He can be reached at and 412-258-6636, Ext. 110.

Larry Walsh writes about recreational bicycling for the Post-Gazette.


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