Type 2 Diabetic. Clydesdale Bicyclist. Pittsburgh Flâneur. Caffeine User.
A bike geek with a gadget obsession and a high-viz fetish. by Vannevar Bush       about       /       murals

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Doughsants, Coffee, & OTB

7.20.2014 38m
Started at the Bastille with my wife Karen. About a mile into the ride, met S on the trail returning from OpenStreets and was able to return some of her gear from my van from last week's shuttle.

Back on the trail, around the stadia, out to the 40th Street Bridge. Crossed the Allegheny River, continued east out to the Oakmont Bakery. I have heard of cronuts before, but never doughsants which may be a trademark issue.

But a rose by any other name... They certainly do taste good. Oakmont Bakery also has some lovely little mini-eclairs. And bags that fit into front baskets.

Departed along Allegheny River Blvd, turned at One Wild Place and climbed up to Highland Park and Taza D'Oro which was closed when we went there on Friday. Our fortune was better today, and the coffee was great (as always). Came out and was unlocking our bikes, saw Danny Chew riding by with a buddy.

At Highland and Baum, saw a new presentation on The Last Billboard:

Rode over to Banker Supply, very impressive new shop. Crossed the Whole Foods -slash- EastSide footbridge over the Busway and took Ellsworth to Junction Hollow to SouthSide, and stopped at REI. Took advantage of the geography and went to OTB for dinner, and we lucked into seeing nascent Burgh cyclist Rick Sebak and also the crew from the day's Zodiac Alleycat, double yoi!

Great meal at OTB, then the Jail Trail and the Chateau Trail back to the waiting car which was still there. 38 miles.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Monthly Friday Pittsburgh Bike Party Ride

Fri 7.18.2014 12m
Started with my wife Karen, driving (of all modes!) to Thick Bikes to pick up some Tectonic brake pads. These have a slightly larger surface area than other KoolStop brake pads and I love them, but dubiously the supply houses are not carrying the refills. I really appreciated that Thick persisted until they found a supplier that sells the refills, in addition to the initial pad-and-housing kit. So, kudos Thick.

Parked behind the Carnegie library. Walking over to the meet-up spot (Dippy the Dinosaur) for the pre-Flock / Pittsburgh Bike Party muster. There was a mini-flurry of police activity with several vehicles and a lot of officers looking for somebody. A few minutes later, they were taking a cyclist (not a Flocker) away along with the bike and panniers. Not sure what that was all about, or whether it had any connection with the street-corner protest of the Israeli military operation in Gaza.

The Bike Party ride was, as always, well organized, copacetic, good spirited and fun. Great folks. Probably 35-ish riders. I love the sound track coming from the music trailer on these rides. This month's sound track was a bit different, sort of a twangy quasi-bluegrass theme I think.

We stayed with the group until the grocery stop prior to the Highland Park potluck, then K and I split to ride over to Taza D'Oro for most excellent coffee. Tragedy struck; the place was closed. This was like an existential challenge to my soul. Ended up riding over to the Whole-Foods Starbucks. Really not inclined to go to Corporate Coffee, but one does what one must. Pleased to see NickD down the street from Banker Supply.

Iced coffee at Starbux was good. Rode over to Verde on Penn for dinner, as it was a place I've wanted to try. I've been eager to develop a fave taqueria. The food was good, service medium, prices perhaps a bit high. The search continues.

Rode over to Oakland, got in line at Dave and Andy's for ice cream about :15 minutes before they closed. Excellent ice cream. It started raining lightly as we got our cones. We rode back to the car in a light drizzle. Timing is everything, they say.

Another excellent Pittsburgh Bike Party by Flock of Cycles.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Lemonade at OTB

Wed 7/16 21m #221
Back on the bike after two days off, following the DC trip. Parked at the Bastille, hoping to make a 6pm event in Shadyside. (tl-dr: didn't quite make it). Managed to drop my chain on the ramp up to the 31st Street Bridge. Had a great, brisk ride in rush hour traffic across Lawrencville and Bloomfield to get there.

Having missed the start time for the event, decided to improvise. K and I rode across Oakland, down Junction Hollow and across the Hot Metal Bridge to OTB. She had the Thick Burger, I had portabello tacos and a double serving of black bean and corn mishmash, mondo nom-nom-nom all around.

Very pleasantly surprised to see AH at a nearby table.

Departed in the dark via the Jail Trail. Saw Mikhael knocking down more miles. Across the Ft. Duquesne Bridge, stayed on the streets until we were around the Casino just due to the darkness, then the trail back to the Bastille.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Confluence to Connellsville: Last Day

7.13.2014 29m
Started in Confluence this morning. Breakfast at Sister's, naturally. After just a few miles, stopped by GAP MP63 to go down by the river and see what's happening.

Stopped in Ohiopyle at the General Store, looks like they have an expansion going on. Departed, stopped at the pipeline crossing about 7 miles west of Ohiopyle to check the scenery. Right after we got there, so did a number of other cyclists so we beat it out of there.

Felt a few sprinkles of rain as we approached Connellsville. We'd arrange to R to pick us up in Connellsville because of the weather forecast. The next few miles went pretty easily, and we made Connellsville about +30 minutes ahead of schedule, which is to say: at a perfect time.

We loaded up the car and were heading out of town as major rain started, so we felt pretty good about the decision and very grateful that Rusty would come and pick us up.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

GAP: Frostburg to Confluence

7.12.2014 52m
Having been dropped off in Frostburg, MD we started today's ride at MP16 on the GAP, riding west. We climbed for 6 miles to the Savage Vista, where I noticed a string of Tibetan prayer flags in the wind. Very cool.

Continued climbing the two more miles to the Continental Divide and then enjoyed the bliss of descent. Rode into Meyersdale and had some ice cream.

Rode into Rockwood, made our way to the Rockwood Opera House, was genuinely surprised at the quality of the pizza. Pressed on for another 18 (20, really, when you consider the Bypass that isn't included in the official numbers) and made it to Confluence.

Stayed at the River's Edge Loft. This is my new fave place to stay in Confluence. Spacious, attractive, air conditioned. (Needs wifi, but hey). Really a great place, and quite private. Had dinner at River's Edge Cafe, most excellent.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Leesburg VA to Milepost 0: Watergate, DC

7/11/2014 23m
Started today's ride in Leesburg. Used the hotel shuttle to get to White's Ferry and cross the Potomac. Started riding south. One of the riders didn't like the mud and felt a bit nervous, so they departed the trail around MP22.

Stopped for snacks at Great Falls, MP14. After that, the quality of the trail really improves as you get closer to the seat of power and funding.

After MP5 we'd insisted that the group stay in a single pack, just to keep the navigation simple. The turns through Georgetown do require some attention, it's easy to mistakenly move to a crossing trail, and the navigation to MP0 is a bit of a trick. We managed to move the whole group to MP0 and a successful group photo. They all did really well.

After the glory moment and the photos, it turns pretty quick into Friday afternoon in Washington DC and the logistics of what's next. For me, my wife Karen drove down in a van and picked up R and S and I. We drove back to Frostburg together, then K and I got out so we could ride partway back to Pittsburgh ourselves on the trail.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Shephardstown WV to Leesburg VA: Pgh-DC Day5

7/10/2014 22m
R and I started out in town. Rode through the main drag and found a great coffee shop, had coffee and breakfast before joining the others. Once we marshalled the group, we made a happily orderly transition across the bridge to the east side of the river and down to the C&O Canal Trail.

We made Harper's Ferry without any difficulty. Some members of the group kept riding ahead, others went across to check out the scene of so much hostory. Then we advanced to Brunswick MD and Beans in the Belfry, a church building turned into a coffee house and bistro. The food was very good.

S. stopped in a bakery on our way out of town and scored a loaf of carrot-pineapple-zucchini bread just out of the oven, major accomplishment of the day. Down to White's Ferry and crossed over the Potomac.

We relied on the Leesburg Comfort Suites for help shuttling the bikes and people and they were extremely helpful and effective. Gold star. We ate in the mexican restaurant across from the hotel, and turned in early.