Biking: Mon Valley tour back for second year

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The second Tour de Mon, an at-your-own-pace ride on a paved trail through the historic Mon Valley, will be next Saturday.

The rain-or-shine tour, sponsored by the Mon Yough Area Chamber of Commerce, offers participants four out-and-back rides along the Steel Valley Trail segment of the Great Allegheny Passage:

A 5-mile family fun ride, a 10-mile ride to Duquesne, a 20-mile ride to McKeesport and a 30-mile ride to Boston. Each ride begins and ends at the Pump House at 880 E. Waterfront Drive in Munhall.

The Pump House is owned and operated by the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area. Chamber president Maury Burgwin invited riders to visit the Community Heritage Market at the Pump House before and after the tour.

"With the support of our community partners and members, we are excited to showcase our region's recreational attractions along with the picturesque landscape that makes our region so special," Burgwin said. He said there will be food, music, crafts, face-painting, henna hand art and other activities.

Henna is a plant used as a dye since the Bronze Age, primarily in the eastern Mediterranean, and continues to be a popular form of temporary body art in India, according to Art-is-fun.com.

The website said henna hand art is "a great project" for children and adults because it teaches them about other cultures, the role of patterns in abstract art, how to create those patterns and "how to express themselves in a symbolic way."

The tour registration fee -- adults $25, children 17 and younger $15 and family $60 -- includes a commemorative medal, door prizes and a T-shirt, while supplies last.

Don't forget your helmet, your camera and your water bottle.

Information: www.monyoughchamber.com; email director@monyoughchamber.com and 412-678-2450.

Historic anniversary

The Cecil Friends of the Montour Trail next Saturday will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the completion of the first part of the trail, a 4.4-mile segment from Cecil Park to Hendersonville in Washington County.

The picnic celebration, part of the organization's Mon-tober Fest, will be at 2 p.m. at the McPherson Shelter at Hendersonville Park. There will be a brief ground-breaking ceremony for the Klinger Park-Southpointe Connector before the picnic.

Attendees are asked to bring a covered dish to complement the hamburgers, hot dogs, kielbasa and beverages that will be available. RSVP at denim@comcast.net and identify what culinary creation you'll be bringing.

Picnic participants will toast the 558 bicyclists who took part in the Tour the Montour event Saturday and the tour's new royalty. (The threat of rain apparently deterred 113 registrants.)

Curt Brown of Sewickley and Lili Leisk of Duquesne Heights won the 2012 King and Queen of the Mountain by climbing Hassam Road in 3:52 minutes and 5:03 minutes, respectively. Hassam Road is 7/10ths of a mile long and has an average grade of 8 percent.

Brown and Leisk each will receive a custom-made polka-dot cycling jersey from Aerotech Designs of Coraopolis.

Information: www.montourtrail.org.

Gravity works

The Sixth Annual Gravity East Downhill Series Finals will be today and Sunday at Seven Springs, the sixth and final stop on the circuit of the top downhill courses on the East Coast.

The USA cycling-sanctioned mountain biking event includes practice runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. today and course inspection runs from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Sunday. The races follow at noon. The elite men's and women's purse totals $5,000.

After tomorrow's award ceremony, Gravity East will crown the series overall champions in 17 classes.

Information: www.gravityeastseries.com.

sportsother - outdoors

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


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