RustBelt Challenge
4:40 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Bike Pittsburgh Ahead in Competition with Cleveland Cyclists

Sorry, Cleveland. It appears Pittsburgh will likely be victorious in yet another facet of the intra-city rivalry that has existed since before the Cuyahoga River caught fire.

This year, Bike Cleveland challenged Bike Pittsburgh (BikePGH) to see which city could log the most points in the National Bike Challenge, and with four days to go, BikePGH is in the lead.

Pittsburgh, which was the largest city to finish among the top 40 nationwide in 2012, is now ranked 169.

The friendly competition began May 1 and will finish Sept. 30.

“There’s really no city that we have a more storied rivalry with than Cleveland, and it seemed to make the most sense demographically we really match up really well with them,” said Lou Fineberg, BikePGH program director. “Of course, the big difference is we’re incredibly hilly and Cleveland is very flat.”

The current standings have Pittsburgh with 1,938.86 points and 538,012 miles logged while Cleveland has 850.13 points and 300,441 miles logged.

Bicyclists earn a point for every mile they ride and 20 points for every day they ride.

Bike Cleveland teamed up with Rustbelt Welding to create a crown that will reside in the Rustbelt Champion’s city.

“We have a date with Cleveland to meet in Youngstown, which is halfway in between Pittsburgh and Cleveland, where we’ll exchange ... the winner will be rewarded with the first annual Rust Belt Crown, and it’s actually going to be a chalice,” Fineberg said.  

There’s a Rust Belt page on Facebook where the bicyclists from both cities have been going back and forth about the competition.

“There’s stories of Clevelanders and Pittsburghers running into each other on the Great Allegheny passage and having fun, just fun interactions as each compete for their own cities,” Fineberg said.

Organized by the League of American Bicyclists, the challenge’s goal is to encourage people to bike for transportation and recreation.

The free competition required participants to log the mileage of their bike trips using a free smartphone application or by going online.

This is the second year in which the competition has been open to participants nationally. It originated in Wisconsin in 2009.

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