Millvale kicks off summer with bike rally
Millvale is slated to celebrate the start of summer with its family-friendly Rally on Grant: Summer Kickoff Party & Bike Rally featuring bicycle safety information, bike and helmet giveaways for resident children, entertainment, crafts and refreshments.
The Millvale Borough, Millvale Community Library, Millvale Community Development Corp. and Millvale Borough Bike & Pedestrian Committee are sponsoring the party from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 8 in the Grant Street block from Sheridan to E. Sherman Street. Planners encourage rally guests to bring their bikes.
Zaheen Hussain, Millvale sustainability coordinator and New Sun Rising sustainability director, has coordinated planning sessions for the past three years of the event’s existence. Organizers have around 20 bikes to give away, he said, but hope to secure more than 30.
Volunteer Michael Potoczny is working with Free Ride, a Point Breeze-based bicycle collective dedicated to recycling bikes, to secure donations. Free Ride is hosting a clinic from 7 to 9:30 p.m. June 4 at 214 N. Lexington St. during which volunteers may help rebuild bikes for the rally. He also will bring an obstacle course to the rally from Homewood’s The Wheel Mill indoor bike park.
Police Chief Tim Komoroski is soliciting donations in partnership with the Millvale Community Library for the library’s rally programming.
“It’s a labor of love,” Komoroski said of the event he co-founded with Lisa Seel, former library executive director.
He explained that he was inspired to create the rally when he asked a boy why he wasn’t wearing a bike helmet. The boy replied that he didn’t have a bike. Komoroski asked him why he hadn’t attended the Shaler Bike Rodeo in order to receive a free bike. The boy told the officer that his family didn’t have a car. Seel and Komoroski decided to create a local bike rally to provide Millvale residents without transportation access to bikes and helmets.
“Watching the children get their new bikes is great, but even better is when we see them riding those bikes around town months and months later,” Hussain said. “Most importantly, we are working to increase the culture of cycling in town as an accessible, sustainable mode of transportation all around the community as well as the City of Pittsburgh. In that spirit, we also promote safety by providing helmets and accessories as well as proper safety training during the event.”
Jenny Jo Mendak from Millvale’s Three Rivers Tattoo will offer temporary tattoos from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. She also has donated multiple prize baskets containing gift certificates for local businesses, books and National Aviary tickets, with proceeds benefiting the library.
Amy Rush Scafuri will showcase her vibrant “Pittsburgh Art Car” and lead children in creating a cellophane art garden from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the library. Abigail Beddall, Millvale artist and library clerk, will paint guests’ faces from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Additionally, attendees may peruse a book sale and construct a maker craft at the library. The Friends of the Millvale Community Library will host a bake and craft sale from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
People of all ages may sign up for the library’s summer reading program with the theme “A Universe of Stories.” The Collaborative Summer Library Program, a consortium of states providing summer reading program materials at reduced costs to public libraries, developed the theme for its partner libraries.
“Traditionally, summer learning programs are designed to encourage elementary-aged children to keep reading during summer vacation. For many families with young children, the public library is the only community space available during the summer months where they can access free educational and cultural enrichment activities and programs,” according to library Executive Director Susan McClellan.
Hussain said that the first Millvale bike rally was funded with support from local businesses, as well as a Neighborhood Allies grant. Since then, the community has fully supported the initiative.