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Outdoors activities

| Friday, July 17, 2009

ONGOING

Car Free Fridays -- Join Bike Pittsburgh and partners in this citywide initiative to encourage commuters to ditch their cars and ride their bikes at least once a week. The event officially kicks off today with a free breakfast, coffee and guest speakers from 8 to 10 a.m. at Schenley Plaza and a free light breakfast downtown at Fifth Avenue Place. After work, join Venture Outdoors for a leisurely bike ride exploring the rivers ($10). Meet at 6 p.m. at Kayak Pittsburgh Downtown. For more information, go to bike-pgh.org .

Allegheny Cycling Association racing series -- The ACA has criterium races every week at the oval on Washington Boulevard. Tuesday night is the new rider series for women, Category C riders and juniors. Wednesday is for Category A and B racers. For more information, visit acaracing.com .

UPCOMING

Saturday -- Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail Quest No. 5 with Venture Outdoors, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. This fifth hike in the seven-part series is the shortest, covering 6.8 miles, with fun rock formations, stream crossings and thickets of rhododendron, with a possible side trip or two. $12 nonmembers, $9 members. Visit www.ventureoutdoors.org for more details or to register.

Saturday -- Western Pennsylvania Mushroom Club Walk with Venture Outdoors, North Park, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Go in search of the chanterelle in North Park, including a potluck lunch and information session on the day's catch. $14 nonmembers, $10 members. Visit www.ventureoutdoors.org for more details or to register.

Saturday -- Scavenger hunt and cookout with Venture Outdoors, Riverview Park, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. This family friendly adventure will use hand-held GPS units for some geocaching, a modern scavenger hunt that the kids will love. Fee is based on a family of four. $20 per family, $5 per person. Visit www.ventureoutdoors.org for more details or to register.

Saturday -- Fireworks paddle with Venture Outdoors, Kayak Pittsburgh Downtown, 7:30 to 10 p.m. Take a leisurely paddle down the Allegheny, then return in time to watch the post-Pirates game fireworks from your boat. Tandems are available. $45 nonmembers, $34 members. Visit www.ventureoutdoors.org for more details or to register.

Saturday -- Annie's Run, Gilfillan trail, Upper St. Clair, 6 a.m. Any distance up to six hours. This Greater Pittsburgh Road Runners' Club race will cover challenging, rugged trail with uneven running surfaces and many large hills. Contact DHClean@msn.com for more details.

Saturday -- Hike an eight-mile loop in North Park using mostly the bridal trails circling the park. See the bathtub spring, eat lunch at the Latodami Nature Center and try little-used trails in the "lost quarter" of North Park. Intermediate difficulty, relatively hilly. Bring two quarts of water. Meet at 9 a.m. in the parking area across Pierce Mill Road from the skating rink. Call Jim Ritchie for more details at 412-576-0849.

Sunday -- Rural road rides with Venture Outdoors, North Park, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. These strenuous rides will cover 30-40 miles up and down rolling hills and over wide stretches of farm land. Experienced road cyclists only. $10 nonmembers, $6 members. Visit www.ventureoutdoors.org for more details or to register.

Sunday -- Meadow Run and the Cascades Day Hike, Ohiopyle State Park, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. This five- to six-mile trail is part of the Greatest Hikes of Western Pennsylvania series. Bring a bathing suit for a dip in the waterslides (weather permitting). $12 nonmembers, $6 members. Visit www.ventureoutdoors.org for more details or to register.

Sunday -- Tea and trails with Venture Outdoors, North Park, 2 to 5 p.m. Sample Earl grey after a gently two-mile hike, plus scones and strawberries and cream created by a mother-daughter team of authentic Brits. $20 nonmembers, $15 members. Visit www.ventureoutdoors.org for more details or to register.

Sunday -- Yoga Outdoors with Venture Outdoors, Schenley Park, 6 to 8 p.m. Suitable for all levels, emphasizing posture and the development of balance and alignment. Also enjoy some light hiking. Bring a mat. $15 nonmembers, $11 members. Visit www.ventureoutdoors.org for more details or to register.

Monday -- Just Paddle with Venture Outdoors, Kayak Pittsburgh Downtown, 5:45 to 8:30 p.m. If you're comfortable on the water, join VO for a two-hour paddle along the three rivers. Moderate, steady pace. $22 nonmembers, $16 members. Visit www.ventureoutdoors.org for more details or to register.

Monday -- Beginner Paddle North Park with Venture Outdoors, Kayak Pittsburgh, 6 to 8 p.m. Start with instruction and practice then head onto the lake. All equipment provided. $30 nonmembers, $22 members. Visit www.ventureoutdoors.org for more information or to register.

Tuesday -- Tyke hikes with Venture Outdoors, South Park, 10 a.m. to noon Hikes will be easy and the trail friendly for strollers, slings, child-carriers or on foot. Snacks after the relaxed hike. $5 per family. Visit www.ventureoutdoors.org for details.

Tuesday -- Full Moon Paddle with Venture Outdoors, Kayak Pittsburgh Downtown, 7:30 to 10 p.m. Tandems also available. $45 nonmembers, $34 members. Visit www.ventureoutdoors.org for more information or to register.

Wednesday -- Wake Up Paddles with Venture Outdoors, Kayak Pittsburgh Downtown, 6:15 to 7:30 a.m. This will be a moderately-paced paddle, instructions not included. $18 nonmembers, $13 members. Visit www.ventureoutdoors.org for details or to register.

Wednesday -- TriAnglers with Venture Outdoors, North Shore Riverfront Park, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Join fishing instructor Karen Gainey, on hand to help the novice and expert alike learn more about fishing downtown. License requirements apply. $5.

Wednesday -- Map and compass basics, REI, SouthSide Works. This free class is aimed at the newcomer, covering the basics of understanding map symbols, orienting the map and compass, triangulation, declination adjustment and reading terrain features. Participants are encouraged to bring their own compasses, but a limited supply is available.

Thursday -- WPC Urban Garden Tour, Downtown, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Join Western Pennsylvania Conservancy's Community Garden and Greenspace staff for a stroll through the city streets. $14 nonmembers, $10 members. Visit www.ventureoutdoors.org for more details or to register.

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