What We Are
Urban Hike began as an idea by Ground Zero member Brian Maloney, who somehow once convinced his friends to take a 24-mile walking trek around the city of Pittsburgh. They actually didn’t finish it. But they did find out that, as wacky as they already knew the city was, it’s even wackier when you take the time to look at it up close.
So we took their idea, and … walked with it. Since we started hiking in 2003, we’ve visited places like an urban horse farm, a swimming pool in a library, a former church-turned-rock-and-roll B&B, and a restaurant where they encourage you to throw peanut shells on the floor.
Our hikes are usually around three to five miles, and they focus on one or two neighborhoods at a time. We spend a few weeks planning for each hike, finding some points and people of interest, and mapping a route.
And then all you have to do is show up. We hike about once a month. You can find out about upcoming hikes by visiting or following this blog (see Follow box at bottom right), liking us on Facebook, or joining our email list.
Other questions? Email us.
Who We Are
Chuck Alcorn is from the Pittsburgh region and is passionate about cities, urban design, architecture, and history. Whenever the weather is nice, you can find him walking or biking through the city and taking advantage of everything southwestern PA has to offer.
Wendy Hardman, when she is not sailing the world or flying around the country consulting, engages in more pedestrian pursuits in Pittsburgh such as wandering town with Urban Hike and fixing her bathtub.
Emily Keebler is a native Pittsburgher who has always loved exploring her city and showing it off to others. Emily currently makes a living helping small businesses use kiva.org to crowdfund loans. Her passion for supporting local businesses is one of the reasons she enjoys introducing Pittsburghers to new neighborhoods and the unique businesses in them via Urban Hike. She also loves trees, walking, ice cream, and cats.
Sonya Kohnen is not a native of Pittsburgh, but is still an apt cheerleader for it. She likes discovering the city’s odd nooks, scenic peaks and gritty history. And in every place we hike, she scouts out the real estate and buys herself a house or two. Sadly, these transactions only take place in her head.
Ira Mabel is an urban planner who likes urban hiking, but also does other things that don’t start with “urban.” He enjoys biking, traveling, and eating food he knows he really shouldn’t. As a native Bostonian, he is contractually obligated to be a Red Sox fan but has nothing against the Pirates because the National League is strange and upsetting, anyway.
Josh Rolon grew up east of Orlando and traded a life of sunshine, rocket launches and tourists for neighborhoods, hills and bike lanes in Pittsburgh in 2013. Josh is a self-proclaimed urban nerd who joined Urban Hike to learn more about his new city.
Benjamin Weaver moved to Pittsburgh from Hawaii via South Bend, Indiana. He likes architecture and technology and bikes and beer. Well good beer, that is. You find the common thread here. We still haven’t.
Eve Wider hails from the wrong side of the state and came to Pittsburgh for the “eds.” She refused to write her own bio, so we’ll just tell you that if you need to find one in the library, she’ll be the one to help you look it up.
Urban Hike Alumni
Nels Beckman came to Pittsburgh to pursue a Ph.D. in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University (which he now has). He currently works in Google’s Brussels office. Nels was instrumental in bringing Urban Hike into the 21st century and amusing the other hike organizers with his clever puns.
Sean Beasley is an architect who doesn’t like to write about himself. So here’s some stuff that’s made up: Sean can juggle underwater, has met the Dalai Lama, and can chew 20 pieces of bubble gum at the same time.
Kay Brewer is originally from Pittsburgh’s friendly neighbor to the north (that would be Buffalo). Of the “meds” and “eds” that supposedly run this town, Kay came for the “meds”! She’s since moved north again, this time to Madison, Wisc., where (rumor has it) she’s been spotted wearing a cheesehead.
Kate Fink came to Pittsburgh to work for WDUQ (now WESA) radio. She started walking Pittsburgh neighborhoods shortly after moving here in 2001 because driving them seemed too confusing at the time. Kate, one of the founding hike organizers, brought an incredible knowledge of Pittsburgh’s streets and current events to the planning group until she left to pursue a Ph.D. in New York City.
Allison Fromm is a native Pittsburgher who works in finance, and enjoys using her research background to track down interesting historical and economic facts about hike neighborhoods.
Mark Hoffman, one of the founding Urban Hike planners, loves the unique characteristics and charms of older cities, and enjoys sharing them with others. Since his involvement in Urban Hike, Mark has returned to his home state of Michigan by way of New York City, but always seems to find a way to pass through Pittsburgh.
Colleen Manganello is a native Pittsburgher who loves the nuances of our local neighborhoods. For her, combining walking and history was like the “perfect storm”!
Peter Radunzel originally comes from the middle coast, but has made a new home in Pittsburgh. He finds the city (and now Mt. Lebo) full of charm with its hilly terrain, varied neighborhoods, fascinating history, and friendly people.