Photos: Pitt Cycling Commuters Celebrate Bike to Work Day

The annual Bike to Work event in Schenley Plaza on May 18 — designed to encourage two-wheeled commuting to Pitt — treated cyclists and potential cyclists to prizes, demonstrations and tips for making the trip safely and easily.

Representatives of the Bike Cave cycling repair space, which opened last fall outside Wesley W. Posvar Hall as a project begun by the Pitt Bicycle Collective, were on hand to talk about maintaining your ride, while Pitt Police performed safety checks and the Department of Parking, Transportation and Services registered bicycles on a national repository, the Bike Index. Port Authority of Allegheny County personnel demonstrated its bus bike rack, while BikePGH, creator of the event, offered discounted memberships and a host of other organizations offered encouragement and information.

Sarah Hemler, a bioengineering graduate student in the Swanson School of Engineering, bikes to Pitt from nearby Greenfield at least twice a week. “It’s close — and I help the environment,” she explained. She was enthusiastic about this year’s Bike to Work gathering, since it meant “joining a community of cyclists and having fun with other people who are excited about cycling. When I see other people biking it inspires me to want to be healthier.”


Marty Levine,, 412-758-4859  
  • Kevin Sheehy on a bike
    Kevin Sheehy, director of the Department of Parking, Transportation and Services, borrowed a police bike to get a taste of alternative transportation in Oakland. Bicycling to work, he said, “is getting easier with all the additional bike lanes being built out, connecting the city to the suburbs.” He hoped those attending Bike to Work left the event “a little more educated on all the amenities available to them on our campus and from the city."
  • Heather McClain at Schenley Plaza
    Heather McClain, alumna of the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, led a group ride from Bloomfield to Oakland as community initiatives manager for Healthy Ride, the bike-sharing service offered by the nonprofit Pittsburgh Bike Share, which also had a booth at the event. “It’s a lot easier than I thought,” she said of her daily bicycle trip to work. She pointed out the many lights on her bike: “All of those things have made it easier for me, because I know people can see me.”
  • Sinjon Bartel and Jake Borish
    Jake Borish, data analyst in the School of Medicine (right), discusses bike repair with Sinjon Bartel, a Student Bike Collective leader and undergraduate engineering student. Borish began biking to Pitt from Squirrel Hill when he was an undergrad in 2007. Now a staff member, he’s been cycling here from Munhall. “It doesn’t cost any money, it’s a good way to get some exercise without dedicating specific time to that and it’s fun,” Borish said. Added Bartel: “Even over the past four years I’ve noticed a pretty significant shift in terms of street development. You don’t have to worry, ‘Is it safe for me to bike on this road or that road?’”
  • Alec Loyd at Schenley Plaza
    Alec Loyd, undergraduate student and Arrival Survival coordinator in the Department of Parking, Transportation and Services (PTS), helps a cyclist register a bicycle on the national nonprofit site Bike Index, which collects names and serial numbers to help recover lost and stolen bikes. Gina Gowins (not pictured), alternative transportation coordinator for PTS, said some people might find the idea of cycling into Oakland intimidating, although she does it herself from downtown via the Eliza Furnace and Panther Hollow trails. “It’s a lot easier than people think it is,” she said. “Our goal is to help people answer the concerns and questions people have so they can confidently bike to work — and safely bike to work as well.”
  • Carla Ng at Schenley Plaza
    Carla Ng, faculty member in civil and environmental engineering in the Swanson School of Engineering, discusses bike mechanics with Sinjon Bartel, one of the leaders of the Student Bike Collective. Today was Ng’s first time cycling into work since she started at Pitt in 2016. Her journey from Point Breeze is a little tougher than her previous cycling commutes in various European towns, she noted. “It took me a little time, a little courage to do it in Pittsburgh,” she said, considering the hills and the American drivers, whom she termed more “aggressive.”
  • Police officers Mallory Skrbin, Heather Camp and Brian Letters
    Pitt police officers (from left to right) Mallory Skrbin, Heather Camp and Brian Letters use their bicycles every day to patrol the Oakland campus — Skrbin and Camp part-time and Letters full-time. “When you are on a bicycle you have to follow the rules of the road, just like a vehicle, and I don’t think a lot of people understand that,” Skrbin said. “I feel like the bike lanes have definitely helped” cyclists get more practice and learn how to cycle more safely, Letters added.