I’ve learned that I’m more passionate about cycling advocacy than I thought I was, and I get in the zone when my passions and work align. PULSE has also strengthened my appreciation for community living.
Sun or snow, Abe Stucky starts his days with a bike ride to work. However, his current commute is nothing compared to the 11 month, 10,300 mile bike trip he completed with two friends. They started in Paraguay, crossed the Andes and followed the curve of the American continents northward to Goshen, Indiana.
This year, Abe serves with the Northside Leadership Conference, a coalition of organizations that work together towards improving the Northside neighborhoods.
Abe graduated from Goshen College with a double major in physics and art. He grew up in the Pittsburgh area and knew about PULSE, but never imagined he would participate in the program. A visit with some friends who were in PULSE last year changed Abe’s mind.
“I liked the community aspect and saw the range of opportunities that my friends had,” said Abe. “I don’t own a car, so I was ready to move out of the suburbs and into a city with amenities in close proximity.”
Sara Alvarez: Describe a typical day at your placement.
Abe Stucky: My day always starts with a 6 mile bike commute, and I often join up with Nic Marlton for the ride. I do quite a bit of work with the Northside Bike-Ped Committee, getting bike racks in the Northside business districts, promoting pedestrian safety, and advocating for bike lanes in the Northside. I always enjoy days when I can get out of the office to meet with business owners face-to-face to discuss ways to improve the neighborhood image.
Sara: What do you enjoy most about your placement?
Abe: I’ve enjoyed the connections with community residents that I’ve made through the Northside Bike-Ped Committee and the work that comes with it. These residents can tell you what it was like to walk through Deutschtown (then East Allegheny) before I-279 split the community in half. I’m advocating for change with their stories in mind. Getting to work closely with Bike Pittsburgh and the Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator of the City of Pittsburgh has been fantastic.
Sara: What is the most interesting/fun adventure you’ve had in Pittsburgh this year?
Abe: The Cathedral of Learning on the University of Pittsburgh’s campus is always an adventure. Climb 746 steps to the 36th floor for spectacular views of the surrounding city or check the 29 countries represented in the nationality rooms.
Sara: Tell me about something you’ve learned about yourself through PULSE?
Abe: I’ve learned that I’m more passionate about cycling advocacy than I thought I was, and I get in the zone when my passions and work align. PULSE has also strengthened my appreciation for community living.
Sara: What’s your favorite “family meal” recipe for the house?
Abe: Kevin is the king of snacks; he makes a mean quesadilla and will promptly whip up some beef cheese dip if he hears that a football game is on. Chaska can make any salad taste better with mint from our backyard or sugar-roasted almonds. In addition to her gallo pinto, Jenna never fails to brew a smooth pot of coffee. I have a semi-successful career in recipe deviations, although I don’t think I’ll escape the embarrassing reputation of the peanut butter/mango smoothie. Don’t try it.
Sara: What surprised you most so far about participating with PULSE and/or living in Pittsburgh?
Abe: I’m always surprised when I discover new locations in the East End. In January, I stepped into Jerry Kraynick’s Bike Shop, a tightly packed shop with parts dating back to 1946, wheelsets spilling out of an upstairs bathtub, and bicycle frames stuffed into the woodwork. Jerry structures his shop similar to a co-op and allows customers to use his workbench and tools for free with the expectation that they will help someone else in the future. Jerry is a soft-spoken role model and community pillar that can only be found in Pittsburgh.
Story by PULSE Alumna Sara Alvarez.