PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A half-dozen bicycle riders appear relaxed and refreshed as they pedal toward the old Pump House in Homestead.

Yet some have biked all the way from Washington, DC. More than 1,000 are expected at a Pittsburgh conference aimed at improving the environment for hikers and bikers alike.

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Now living in Los Angeles, Stephen Patchan was Pittsburgh’s first Bicycle/Pedestrain Coordinator.

“Back in the ’80s,” he said, “Pittsburgh was considered one of the worst bicycling cities in the country. And now it’s got a great reputation. You see more and more bike lanes. You see bike racks. More people biking.”

The convention continues through Thursday at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. But this isn’t the kind of group that’s going to stay inside, listening to speeches.

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The final stop before the hotel is Point State Park. Bikers from Nelson Nygaard, a transportation planning firm in San Francisco, covered the entire 310 miles from Washington. Zabe Bent says she pedals about 50 urban miles every week out west, but, “This was about that much per day. So it felt pretty good to really get out here and see the towns, see the trail, see the character in a really different way. It’s been on my bucket list for a while.”

The same goes for Ginny Sullivan of Adventure Cycling. She joined the riders in Cumberland, Maryland, where the C and O Trail gives way to the Great Allegheny Passage.

“You have one of the best bicycle tourism routes in he United States right out your back door,” she said. “So it’s just a perfect opportunity for our organization to get to share in that experience.”

They pedaled to the right place.

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