The ‘Pro’ in Pro Bike+Run probably doesn’t mean what you think it means.
Yes, Pittsburgh’s premier cycling and running destination is no stranger to elite athletes. You’ll find both single speed and fat bike national champions listed on their sponsored racing teams, and the shop’s inventory includes everything from S-Works Camber 29’s to Avow Advanced Pro 1’s.
But performance rides and professional riders notwithstanding, there’s an inclusiveness here that’s as honest and down-to-earth as the Steel City itself. And if you ask the folks at Pro Bike+Run, that’s exactly the point.
“Truth be told, we probably sell more hybrid bikes than anything else,” says Brian Mejia, Community Development Director. “For us, it’s really about drawing people together for a healthy purpose, focusing on the whole health spectrum – mind, body and spirit.”
“Pittsburgh is a really tight-knit community in general, and we want to be an extension of that community in the areas in which we’re located.”
If you want proof of their commitment to both the city’s fiscal and physical well-being, look no further than owner and 2-time cyclocross champion Craig Cozza. His decision to purchase the shop in 2008 was made in part to save an important – and struggling – local enterprise. Since then, the team at Pro Bike + Run has worked continuously not only to facilitate riding in the area, but to give back to causes and communities around the world.
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“We’re extremely active in participating with nonprofits,” says Brian. “We do things with Bike MS, St. Barnabas, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and bicycle donation groups in Africa. Last year, I believe we put on over 180 events in conjunction with our LightSpeed Race Management company.”
It’s all part of an effort to, as he puts it, “cover the full spectrum” of riders, whether it’s your child’s first Strider or a pedal assist to help with the city’s notoriously steep inclines. There’s even a wide-ranging fleet of rental bikes available through Spinlister Pro, letting visitors and locals explore the city’s surprisingly varied terrain for the day.
“Pittsburgh cycling is pretty awesome,” Brian admits. “The downtown area has done a fantastic job with their designated bike lanes. There’s literally hundreds of miles of rail-trails along our rivers. We have three county parks, all of which have awesome single track, and within 30 miles in any direction you can be in very rural areas.”
“We want to make that available to [everyone], and no one else in the area has done that.”
Which brings us right back to our initial point. Though at first glance their name – and reputation – might lead you to believe that Pro Bike+Run’s four locations cater to, well, the professionals, the reality is something far more inclusive.
“To be boxed into anything like an elite shop would be wrong,” says Brian. “The ‘Pro’ in our name doesn’t stand for professional – it stands for ‘for bikes.’ We’re for people riding. We do it for the sake of the community, with the hope that we can get everybody outside participating with like minded individuals and building a strong community.”