Pedal for the Pantry
The man behind Pedal for the Pantry, Paul Beaver, describes it as, “The Pittsburgh cycling community coming together to give help to those in need.” The event, in its second year, is sure to become a Pittsburgh staple with all of the work it has done for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Pedal for the Pantry is a food scavenger hunt where participants ride their bikes along one of two designated courses, or their own unique route. Riders pick up grocery items along the way, reaching the final checkpoint with about a week’s worth of groceries to be donated to the food bank. Riders of all ability levels are encouraged to come out to this free event (although participants should bring $20 to purchase all of the suggested items to donate).
We were lucky enough to be able to talk to Paul about the upcoming event and even last year’s debut to the Burgh. He gave us the 411 on where his inspiration stemmed from and what got the ball rolling for doing the event in Pittsburgh.
The inspiration for the event came about after I had attended a Cranksgiving event in Philadelphia in 2012. It was my first ride of this type and I had a blast. Something that really inspired me was to see the different groups of riders coming together to support charity and having a good time embracing the event as a community. The racers, the messengers, the weekend riders, the daily commuters, all riding together and having a great time.
Everyone was welcomed because it was all about the community working together. So with a bit of encouragement, and a whole lot of help, we held our first event last year. I’m proud to be a part of something that unites so many different people with a willingness to give back to their community.
Since this is Pedal for the Pantry’s second year running, we wanted to know a little about how last year’s event played out.
We had just under 100 riders participate. The most unique aspect to the event is the diversity in ridership. We had an age range from 7-65 years old and everything from college students to commuters to CAT1 racers to cycling magazine editors and a few people who had never even ridden on the road before. Within four hours, they had gathered over 1100 pounds of food and sundries, all collected on bikes and donated to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. According to the food bank, the donations were enough to feed 200 families for a week.
Of course with such success, we can only expect great things of this year’s ride. Paul expressed that he too has some goals set this time around.
This year we are expanding the fundraising aspect of the event with a silent auction. Ideally, we would like to double the rider attendance to have double the donations. The biggest thing we hope for is great weather, cyclists coming together for a good cause, and everyone having a fun day.
Paul feels that the growing bicycle community in Pittsburgh has done nothing but help make Pedal for the Pantry a meaningful event.
As more people are out riding on a daily basis, events like this can hope for larger attendance with increased exposure. The city’s infrastructure changes being implemented with the additional bike lanes and Sharrows (Share the Road markings), event planners can extend these events over larger areas to include new neighborhoods. With more social media interaction and information available online, these events can grow to include a larger diversified group of participants.
This year’s Pedal for the Pantry will be held on Saturday, April 5th starting at 11:30AM. All participants should meet at the Dippy the Diplodocus statue outside of the Carnegie Library in Oakland with a bicycle, bike lock, bag, and $20 for grocery donations. All riders are suggested to wear a helmet too for proper bike safety. To really bring out as much of the community as possible, the event will feature two designated courses: The Challenge Ride, which is 20+ miles and includes many hills, and The Friendly Ride, which is only 8-10 miles of more manageable terrain.
So pump some air into your bicycle tires and ride on over to Dippy to help Pedal for the Pantry reach its 2014 goal of 2,200 pounds of food to help those in need.