By Sereny Welsby
Pittsburgh Current Staff
Have you ever been riding your bike around the city, hit a pothole or swerved to miss one and ended up with a flat tire or some other unforeseen damage?
Thanks to a new bike-safety program from the Northside Leadership Conference’s Walk Ride Northside committee, help could be right around the corner.
Here’s how it works: participating businesses will keep a logo sticker in its window; the sticker means that inside the shop is a set of tools including a tire pump, a tire iron, patch kits, a screwdriver/wrench multi-tool, a chain tool and access to a bathroom and drinking water at no cost to you.
Founding business partners include Allegheny City Brewing, Arnold’s Tea, Brugge on North, Cafe on the Corner, California Coffee Bar, Chateau Cafe and Cakery, City Books, Kaffeehause, Pen
n Brewery, Springhill Brewing, Threadbare Cider House, and Young Brothers Bar.
To learn more, I sat down with Jesse Descutner, Main Street Assistant for the Northside Leadership Conference. He has made it his personal mission to bring “We Like Bikes!” to the North Side.
“Now that we have this huge network of business partners, hopefully, it establishes a broad range of friendly faces and cyclists will know they have an ally on every corner of the North Side,” he said. He also said that every business he reached out to was eager to join the program. He says that shows the level of acceptance that the neighborhood believes that this is telling of what a passionate and community-driven neighborhood the Northside has become toward cyclists. We Like Bikes! officially launched on June 21st of this year. Jesse was able to retain a grant from One Northside, which is an organization dedicated to working with and for the Northside community to improve the neighborhood. With the overwhelming support from the community and the tools providedby yet another small business in the Northside, Bear Dog Bikes, the program is ready to kick it up a gear.
Programs like this help support a fast-growing trend in Pittsburgh of residents making the move to bicycles for commuting to work and for everyday travel. According to a 2018 survey by Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, 38.2% of respondents (residents of Downtown, Uptown, South Side and North Side) currently use the newly installed bike lanes and 51% of respondents support adding more lanes. Additionally, data from the 2016 Census shows that Pittsburgh is one of the fastest growing cities to adopt bicycle usage. With a growth of 485% since 2000, Pittsburgh has moved to 5th overall as the most walkable, bikeable city in the U.S. trailing only Boston, DC, Seattle and San Francisco.
This is the kind of program that will hopefully catch on and spread throughout the city. More people on bikes means fewer carbon emissions. More people frequenting small businesses means more sustainability for the future.
Jesse Descutner, Main Street Assistant, Northside Leadership Conference