Commuters trade the gas pedal for bike pedals

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Matt Rawlings, 20, a junior Information Science major at the University of Pittsburgh, rides his bicycle on Forbes Ave. in Oakland.

Stephen Wreschnig gets up every morning and commutes to work, like most people do. But, like a growing number of people, he doesn’t drive.
He spends an hour riding his bicycle 10 miles from his Shaler home to his Downtown office, in rain, shine and even snow.

“It’s a nice ride,” Wreschnig says of his journey through Lawrenceville and the Strip District. “The crossing guards say hello, I get to see three different neighborhoods and I get some beautiful views.”

Although Wreschnig has been cycling for 20 years, hundreds of people around the area are trading the gas pedal for bike pedals after gasoline prices peaked at more than $3 per gallon earlier this month, according to local organizations. The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas on Monday was $2.99 in the Pittsburgh area, according to AAA.

“We’ve gone from 50 to 60 bicycle commuters Downtown in 2002 to several hundred in 2005,” says David Hoffman, executive director of Bike Pittsburgh, an advocacy organization. “We’ve also gotten lots more requests for information on cycling in the city.”

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