Life Cycles | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper


Life Cycles

CP's 2005 Health Guide celebrates the humble bike

A Conversation with John Abt

Trails Less Traveled

Trail Mix

Mistress Mechanics

Gear of Living Dangerously

When you think about it, that first bike you had as a kid was your first real shot at true independence. Maybe it was your last one too.

Once you learned how to ride, the distance you could travel from home expanded exponentially. And for the first time in your life, you had the ability to outrace your parents on foot if they wanted to hold you back.

Getting your driver's license is like that. And then after a while, it isn't.

At some point along the road, the relationship between you and your vehicle changes. Instead of the machine serving you, you end up serving the machine. Suddenly you find yourself working at a job you hate so you can afford to fix the car you drive to work. You end up driving to the gas station so you have enough gas to get back home. More and more often these days, you have to sit in a lot of rush-hour traffic just to enjoy a stretch of open road.

This issue, our 2005 Health Guide, is all about putting you on that road -- and on that bicycle -- once again.

As you read this, Pittsburgh is in the midst of a celebration of the bicycle. "BikeFest," a 10-day event featuring some three dozen events, began June 17 and continues through June 26. A complete list of events is available at, the Web site of BikeFest co-sponsor Bike Pittsburgh. Even if you've missed such events as a June 20 group ride to the Pirates/Nationals ballgame, there's still time to watch (or join) Friday night bike races at the Highland Park bike oval on June 24. Events like the next day's Saturday-afternoon bike tour of urban farms, meanwhile, may teach you ways to unyoke yourself from various other kinds of machinery.

In the next few pages, you'll meet some of the people and trends behind those BikeFest events. It turns out that cycling can liberate you from a lot more than your car-insurance payments. (Remember: No one's ever started a war to keep the bicycles running.) You'll learn why doctors at the cutting edge of medicine regard bikes as much more than child's play, and you'll discover biking trails that are just a bit off the beaten path. In all these pieces, the idea is the same: to get you moving.

In fact, why are you still reading this?


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