Photo by Sabrina Romano
By Sabrina Romano
Aerotech Designs, Inc., an athletic biking apparel and accessory manufacturer which started in 2004, will relocate to its new Chateau home from Coraopolis by this summer as Northside, and the city as a whole, is becoming more biker-friendly.
“Being in the city also has a special energy, like you feel like you’re part of something bigger. It’s more hustle more bustle; everyone is moving and grooving. It has a special energy and we want to harness it and make bike shorts out of it,” Ted Rogers, the operations manager of Aerotech said.
The move to the former Pittsburgh Post-Gazette printing building along the bike trail couldn’t have happened without support from the Northside Community Development Fund either.
“The Northside Development Fund helped us make the building usable. We are putting in handicapped bathrooms and parking,” Kathy Rogers, the president of Aerotech said.
Ted said the new 60,000 square-foot space is roughly double the size of the current one.
“It’s so hard for us to keep up with the demand that we had to get a bigger factory,” Ted said.
Besides the size of the building, the building is in a prime location, according to Ted.
“This location is perfect for us because it is next to some transportation hubs,” Ted said. “It’s right on a bike trail which is amazing.”
Aerotech currently sponsors rider Jason Burgess, who is participating in the Race Across America Marathon (RAAM), starting June 16.
Burgess lives in Philadelphia but spends some of his time in Pittsburgh for work, and has biked many miles in Pittsburgh.
“It’s tough during the winter because the hills are so icy but in the summer, when I am out working here, the river trails are beautiful (to bike along), or you can just hit the hills, which are 1,000 feet-plus,” Burgess said.
Although there is a bike trail in town, many avid bikers agree that the Northside is becoming more bike-friendly.
Both Kathy and Ted want to make it safer for bikers, and plan on working with the Northside Bike/Ped Committee.
Donna Green of Central Northside has lived in Northside since 1977, and has been a biker all her life.
“I had a bike at Pitt when no one else did,” Green said. “I locked it up to a steam pump.”
Other than a hobby, she said cycling acts as one of her modes of transportation and rides her bicycle to get groceries.
“My husband and I registered for the National Bike Challenge. You got points for every day you ride,” Green said.
She said they only missed a couple of days during the five-month challenge.
Green said that she is a member of Bike Pittsburgh, an advocacy group, and Western Pennsylvania Wheelmen, promoting biking in Pittsburgh.
Green agreed that the Northside is one of the better neighborhoods in Pittsburgh for biking.
“No place in Pittsburgh is as biker-friendly as it should be,” Green said. “Northside is good though because it is flat and there is easy access to the trails.”