The YMCA was founded in 1844 by 22-year-old George Williams and his London-dwelling friends, all of whom were distressed by the dangerous conditions and bleak housing for working people. Today, the YMCA extends its branches through more than 10,000 neighborhoods across the country to foster social change by promoting youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. Partnering with these communities and working with students and volunteers, the YMCA's programs sponsor and empower people of all backgrounds and socioeconomic statuses. The organization's fitness and sports centers provide opportunities for people to exercise and achieve overall wellness, and social services connect underserved people with affordable housing, employment, and substance-abuse programs. Collegiate programs establish local service opportunities for students to teach a sense of self-awareness and community responsibility, and children’s camps help youth explore nature, be creative, and develop independence.
Designed by Mark Ormison in 1897, the fairways of Bob O'Connor Golf Course at Schenley Park sprawl over 51 acres and invite linksmen to frolic among foliage that has been flourishing for more than a century, while also gazing out on metropolitan views. Players find themselves challenged right from the get-go with a second hole that is also the toughest, but can strive for birdies at holes 8 and 17 to recover. At the 11th hole, golfers encounter a quirky rectangular green, whose geometric origins are likely found in a house having occupied the space long ago. The course is managed by the local charity The First Tee Pittsburgh, which strives to encourage good character, values, and healthy life choices in children through the game of golf, and proceeds from the course benefit its programs.
Before hitting the course, players can hone their form at the course’s driving range in good weather, take lessons with a Class A PGA professional, or strengthen their swings at the Full Swing simulator, which tracks ball flight, speed, and distance in real time. The simulator offers high-definition projections of more than 35 notable courses, including Pebble Beach, Oakmont Country Club, Pinehurst Country Club, and Harbour Town Golf Links, and lets golfers sharpen their swings in the dead of winter without fear of losing a limb to frostbite or abominable ground squirrels.
Course at a Glance:
Yoga Matrika offers classes to suit every lifestyle and skill level, including those of expecting mothers, harried mail carriers, or horse trainers who use the "natural" technique. Newbies can ease into downward dog, warrior, and wicked vizier with a yoga foundations class or a nice, slow Matrika flow. More advanced yogis and yogi bears will prefer anusara yoga or the core challenge flow, while the adventurous might want to try special temporary classes such as zhong dao (Chinese yoga). The studio also offers prenatal yoga, Pilates mat, and mom & baby yoga, so your little one will be stretched to NBA-worthy lengths by kindergarten.
An indoor park equipped for the recreational use of skateboarders, BMXers, and mountain bikers, The Wheel Mill features multiple rooms with different built-out ramps, runs, and jumps for riders and skaters of all ages. A series of different indoor landscapes includes a spot to warm up, ride through simulated "woods," and even try new tricks without the risk of getting hurt or laughed at by Tony Hawk.
Biketek welcomes all cyclists for supplies, repairs, and tune-ups, whether they ride recreationally or compete in triathlons. In addition to road, triathlon, mountain, single-speed, and hybrid bikes from Felt, Jamis, and Raleigh, the shop stocks a sizeable collection of gear from Giro, Sidi, Topeak, and Shimano. GU and Hammer Nutrition products, meanwhile, give riders the power necessary to win races and corral herds of stampeding tricycles. For six months after they purchase a new bicycle, buyers can come back to the shop for free maintenance and fit adjustments.
On the upkeep side of Biketek’s coin, technicians repair and maintain rides with tune-ups, part installations, and other services. They also fit bikes to riders with Body Scanning CRM technology, which uses software and noninvasive laser-pointer body measurements to determine the ideal saddle height, angle, and fore-aft position, as well as handlebar height and rotation. Although everyone can purchase a fitting session, Biketek offers one free to anyone buying a new road, triathlon, or cyclocross bike.
Since 1984, Three Rivers Rowing Association has become one of the largest community-based rowing and paddling clubs in the country, converting neophytes into boating lovers and helping experts hone their form. With the use of two boathouses located on the Allegheny River, the club is home to crews from three local colleges and nine high schools and was named the 2002, 2010, and 2013 Club of the Year from USRowing. In addition to winter and summer rowing leagues, the club runs amateur dragon-boating leagues and sponsors the Pittsburgh Paddlefish, a dragon-boating team that competes at the international level.