By Cristina Holtzer

After riding a bicycle for three hours around Pittsburgh and touring gardens in the hot sun, an ice-cold beer will be a well-earned reward.

Growth Through Energy and Community Health (GTECH), a Pittsburgh community development company on Hamilton Avenue, will host its 3rd annual “Two Bikes and Lots of Green” bicycle tour of Pittsburgh’s urban green spaces including public parks and gardens. A ticket to ride includes bike insurance and one beer at the end of the tour.

“It’s going to start at our office and then ideally, if all the city permits go through, it’ll end at the Larimer Village Green,” Sara Innamorato, GTECH spokesperson said.

The Aug. 16 bike ride will begin at 10 a.m., and interested riders may purchase tickets for either the “long-ride,” which is 25 miles and will end at approximately 2:30 p.m., or the shorter one, an eight mile ride lasting about an hour and a half. Tickets for both are $12 plus a $1.65 processing fee.

Throughout both tours riders will stop to relax in outdoor spaces, such as a new community garden behind the Knoxville Library on Brownsville Road.

“These are spaces that were once vacant and the community has gotten together and transformed the space,” Innamorato said. “This year we’ll be featuring some past projects and some new features as well.”

Innamorato said GTECH runs its community gardens in a variety of ways. Sometimes, she said, the community will decide to charge a certain price per bed in the garden, whereas other times the garden will be open and the produce collected distributed evenly to the community.

The Larimer Village Green is the newest feature of this year’s ride. Innamorato said this space will be a “city of play” with outdoor games like corn hole and ladder ball set up on the premises. She said GTECH hopes to install more play sites on vacant lots around the city.

In the event’s previous two years Innamorato said GTECH has had about 90 riders and that they hope to have at least 150 riders this year.

“We determined that there’s about 5,000 vacant lots in the Northside,” Innamorato said. “There are 2,000 that are in need of some rehab with minimal effort. Gardens and green spaces require some effort to take care of.”