Free Wheeling In The Square

Ladies and Gentlemen, stop your engines.

That's right, the classic chassis spotlighted in this year's Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix annual Downtown Parade will once again pull in to Market Square this Wednesday, from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. This must-see caravan of antique autos will start rolling at 10:30 a.m. from the Spaghetti Warehouse at 26th Street in the Strip before stepping on the brakes at USX Plaza, PPG Place and, of course, the Square.

A local tradition that knows how to put the pedal to the metal for a good cause, the parade and display are just two of the many PVGP events that benefit the Allegheny Valley School and Autism Society of Pittsburgh. The real winner of the PVGP are the kids and adults with autism and other developmental challenges who will receive residential care, treatment and support from event proceeds. Always a big draw, the cars include every type of four-wheel beauties from Model-A Fords to sporty European roadsters to All-American Muscle Cars made right here in the U.S.A.  Out of approximately 95 antique, classic and race cars in the parade, organizers anticipate 50 cars in Market Square (weather dependant) and about half of those are expected to be Porsches, the 2011 Marque of the Year.

Now, along with all those fabulous autos from yester-year, DJ Kelli Burns will be spinning classic cars songs and other tunes to keep your feet tapping throughout lunchtime and beyond. And don't forget that the auto display is just one of the many preliminaries that leads up to the Grand Prix race in Schenley Park on July 24. Celebrating its 29th year, the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix is the only race of its type run entirely on city streets. So get your motor running now and head to the Square this Wednesday.

Another group of free wheeling types will put the rubber to the road when Bike Pittsburgh hosts a BikePool Extraganza in the Square on Friday, from 7:30-9:30 a.m. Part of the group's Car Free Fridays, this pedalpalooza is open to anyone on two wheels looking for fellow bike travelers who want to buddy up for the ride to Downtown or other parts of the city.  As Bike Pittsburgh's Lou Feinberg points out, bike pools are a great way for newbies and others to learn the rules of the road and enjoy the camaraderie and benefits of riding in groups.

With city officials recently visiting Minneapolis to discover how Pittsburgh can enhance its already bike friendly status, Lou points out that riding in a group increases every riders' visibility and safety on the road. But the real advantages are in what more experienced riders can share in the way of scenic routes along the city's miles and miles or riverside trails, protected parking spaces at many Downtown parking garages and traffic safety tips.

Biking is a great way to shed a few extra pounds and improve cardio fitness, after all, your ride is powered by the most fuel-efficient engine around — the human body. Plus, bike commuting  can drastically reduce money spent on gas, parking and even car maintenance. And a down the road "plus" is that, environmentally speaking, every bike on the road is one less car, one less fossil-fuel burning vehicle producing exhaust. That's a big plus for the the world around us, including the cleaner air you'll breathe on your bike ride to town.

To help you get rolling, Bike Pittsburgh ride leaders will guide pedalers into the city from various points around the area. To find this Friday's groups, visit the Bike Pgh event page and click on the map. Once they arrive in the Square, the pedal pushers can refresh with treats from NuGo and VitaminWater. On top of that, Bike Pittsburgh staff will be on hand to provide more information on how to find and join bike pools when it's not a Car Free Friday. By the way, bike racks are located all around the Square, so that you can safely secure your ride. So, get your big wheels rolling to the Square. We'll see you there.

1 comment:

  1. I started bike commuting last year to save money on gas - I got a Montague folding bike so that I'd be able to fit it in my car if I had to, or take it on public transportation. Another benefit is that I rarely have to leave it locked outside - I can take it into work with me and store it next to my desk.