Port Authority offering bike rack practice

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Nervous about using those front-mounted bike racks on Port Authority buses?

Worried that you'll struggle and fumble and delay the bus, earning the scorn of driver and passengers alike?

Then show up at Market Square, Downtown, for bike rack practice.

As part of an event to encourage commuters to get to town by means other than driving alone, the Port Authority will have a bus parked in the square from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. Friday so bike riders can learn how the racks work.

It's part of Transportation Exploration, an event to encourage bike commuting, car pooling, walking and transit use.

The event coincides with Moving Planet Day, an international campaign to support cleaner ways of getting around.

"It's all geared toward moving away from fossil fuels and toward sustainable modes of transportation," said John Jameson of the Green Building Alliance, one of the organizations participating in Friday's event here.

The gathering also will mark the official completion of the Port Authority's installation of bike racks on all of its buses -- with a small asterisk. A handful of the old red, white and black buses that are still used as occasional fill-ins don't have the racks, but all will be fully retired from service in the next few months, spokesman Jim Ritchie said.

Attendees will be treated to food, drink and music. Mr. Jameson said the sponsors -- including Pittsburgh Climate Initiative, Bike Pittsburgh Inc., Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, Port Authority and Group Against Smog and Pollution -- are hoping for a turnout of 200.

Various studies have concluded that slightly more than half of those who work Downtown use public transit. Mr. Jameson said data from the American Community Survey of the U.S. census placed Pittsburgh in the top 20 cities for bike commuters per capita.

"It's not bad right now. We'd certainly like to see it improve even more," he said.

Port Authority has posted instructional videos about the bike racks on its website, www.portauthority.org -- go to Customer Info and then Rack 'n Roll -- and on YouTube, titled "Port Authority's Rack n Roll."

• Bike ride getting in gear to benefit libraries, Page B-3.

Jon Schmitz: jschmitz@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1868. Visit the PG's transportation blog, The Roundabout, at www.post-gazette.com/roundabout . Twitter: @pgtraffic.


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