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No Sweat, No Stress: Catch The Summer’s Last #LunchLoop Friday

Pittsburgh Police Zone 2 Commander Anna Kudrav rented awhile, then bought her own wheels. Riding a bicycle calms her, she said.

“I’m building my skills,” she said. “And now the hardest part is finding time to ride.”

Credit Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA
90.5 WESA
Anna Kudruv, Zone 2 Commander for the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, pedals a Healthy Ride rental bicycle along the Monongahela River during the nonprofit's August #LunchLoop on Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2016.

Kudrav was among nearly 40 cyclists – including several uniformed police officers – pedaling through Downtown during Pittsburgh’s monthly #LunchLoop ride in August.

The sky was a deep, clear blue. The heat had temporarily leveled. But even if hadn’t, Bike Pittsburgh Business Development Manager Dan Yablonsky said any day on a bike – even over a lunch break – is a pretty decent day.

#LunchLoop, a 25- to 30-minute bike ride starting and ending in Market Square, traverses a mix of Downtown bike lanes and riverfront trails with a brief stop at the fountain in Point State Park. The meetup resurfaced this year after fellow nonprofit Riverlife kicked it off in 2014.

The group reconvenes for the final ride of the summer at noon on Friday in Market Square. Organizers welcome both avid cyclists and first-time riders.

Check out the #LunchLoop here:

“When we launched, we really saw a new population of people get out and get biking,” said Erin Potts, Healthy Ride Director of Marketing and Community Outreach.

These aren’t serious athletes looking to take on 100 miles over big hills or winding trails, she said. Sure, she sees the occasional Lycra and spandex fair, but mostly it’s loafers, dress shirts and cardigans.

“They may have never ridden a bike in years,” Potts said. “They’re just out to socialize and have a little bit of fun, to get some sun and nature in their day.”

Jeanette Jones, 53, of Penn Hills tried it for the first time in August. She rides her bike all the time, she said, often across the Hot Metal Bridge, through the South Side and over to Sandcastle.

#LunchLoop was a chance to step away from her Allegheny County desk job for some fresh air, she said.

Credit Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA
90.5 WESA
Dozens of cyclists ride along the pedestrian pathway beneath the David L. Lawrence Convention Center on Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2016 during #LunchLoop, a 25-30 minute guided bike ride sponsored by Healthy Ride and Bike Pittsburgh.

Plum area teacher Kristen Rowe, 29, treated herself on the last day of summer with one last sunny ride. Point Park University Administrative Assistant Gail Hric wanted to learn the city trails, she said.

Consultant Duncan Henricks, 30, saw friends post about the ride on social media. He’s Downtown almost every day, and riding is his favorite form of transportation.

“It’s just the fastest place to get between the East End and the North Side, where I live,” he said. “Once you get used to the hills, it’s easy.”

Potts said pay-as-you-go bikes will be available Friday at $2 per half hour for those who need one. To speed it up, create your account before you arrive, she said.

“It’s been a really successful and consistent event for us,” she said. “We get new people every time.”

90.5 WESA Digital Editor Sarah Kovash contributed to this report.

Katie Blackley is a digital editor/producer for 90.5 WESA and 91.3 WYEP, where she writes, edits and generates both web and on-air content for features and daily broadcast. She's the producer and host of our Good Question! series and podcast. She also covers history and the LGBTQ community.