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

Monday, September 15, 2014

Basic Burgh Bike Overnight S24O

Sat 9.13 24m
Sun 9.14 23m
In the end everybody's got to be somewhere, and on Saturday I decided to get out of town and spend the night in some fresh air.

Many trips begin with a sort of sendoff, so I treated myself to a MochaBianca and chocolate-chip and cherry scone at BigDog Coffee, nom nom wifi nom wifi. Excellent as always.

I rode from SouthSide out to McKeesport, Boston, and Buena Vista. Along the way I saw Mary and Roy on individual diamondframes which was a happy surprise, and I also saw fellow blogger Dean on his bike. I started following an athlete on rollerblades and I could just barely keep up, he was consistently doing 14 to 17 mph. Somewhere around Kennywood we switched leads and he playfully chased me all the way to McKeesport, I could not ride away from him. It was very impressive.

When I got to Boston, PA (home of the Green BoxCar™) I was pleased to see what appeared to be a local cycling event. Turned out it was motorcycles, I think they were this close to having a really great concept.

Got to the Dravos Cemetery Campground with about +45m of light remaining and made camp. It's a very nice campground.

I did not bring my 20F sleeping bag, and wanted to try out my sleeping bag liner as a standalone. It did very well and was quite comfortable. When the temps dropped below 50F-ish, I became cold and put on a light wool layer and then the liner was still very comfortable. This would be great as a standalone on nights when the temps stay above 50F.

Quite a bit of fog in the morning, and it took quite a while to dry off my tent and fly. Had some Starbucks Via, putzed around and put new brake pads on my front wheel, and then got on the road. Riding back in to Pittsburgh with panniers, everybody was congratulating me on riding in from DC. I didn't seem kindly to correct them.

From Pittsburgh, Dravos Cemetery Campground is a pretty simple overnight bike trip. From the Hot Metal Bridge it's about 23 miles or about two hours of cycling plus any stops. Highly Recommended.

Friday, September 12, 2014

A New Day In Pittsburgh

9/12/2014 #225 29m
Great weather for a ride: cool, cloudy, low to no wind.

Started at the Bastille at 0630 in light mist. Rode across the 7th Street Bridge with S. on one of the new bike lines; loved it. Turned left onto Penn Avenue and joined the bike lane; love it2. It's a phrase that's been used often in the last year, but: # It's a new day in Pittsburgh.

Saw these small artworks on top of a larger, pre-existing mural across the street from Whole Foods in East Liberty and I believe these are by Charlie Batch.

Encountered this free mini-library on Amboy Way

Entering Squirrel Hill, pleased to see these neighborhood-themed bike racks.

Stopped on Douglas Street to harvest a few PawPaws, which I've been wondering about ever since I started riding throughh Paw Paw WV.

Out of Squirrel Hill,Rode through Schenley Park on the new bike lanes. Saw Scott Bricker and took up a bit of his time to say what a great job he and BikePgh have done on the bike lanes. (An overnight success after 12 years of effort). So pleased that at the end of the contraflow portion of the bike lane, there's a sign warning cyclists to get on the right side of the street. This is a major new thing in Pittsburgh.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Pittsburgh to Cumberland, MD

9/06 48m
9/07 31m
9/08 22m
9/09/2014 32m
total 133 miles
R and S and I escorted six cyclists (in their 70's, chrono-wise) from Pittsburgh to Cumberland MD via the GAP over four days; it was a very nice trip and had a support vehicle.

The first day was the longest mileage, Pittsburgh to Perryopolis and also the only day with adverse weather; we got rained on pretty heavy the last segment and it was glorious fun.

Day Two was Perryopolis to Ohiopyle. We enjoyed a cool start and the luxury of time during the day.

Day Three was Ohiopyle to Meyersdale. The section between Ohiopyle and Confluence is so scenic. I noticed that the Ohiopyle State Park mileage markers have gone away. The key segments were Ohiopyle-Confluence, FortHill to Markleton, and Garrett to Meyersdale. I think the key amusement of the day is when I fell off the bike at Fort Hill, and dutifully laid down in the road while everybody took pictures.

The last day half the riders started at Meyersdale, and the other half joined at Deal (two miles short of the high point), and everybody rode into Cumberland. It was a great ending to a fun trip.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Panhandle Trail, Western Section

9/4/2014 42m
Boy I really needed to get out on the bike. I met R at the McDonald trailhead on the Montour Trail early, about 0730, and we rode out on the PanHandle Trail. (The two trails have an interchange in McDonald PA)

Trail conditions were excellent. We rode west, and in Stuebenville we stopped at world-famous Walden's Trailside Restaurant for coffee and eggs. Really excellent. Very nice folks.

Back on the trail, continued west to the final trailhead - or what used to be the final trailhead, as we noticed that the trail continued a bit further. New Trail! The new segment doesn't go very far, and it dead-ends without a connection to the local street grid, but it's trail and it's growth.

Reversed and rode east, which is mostly climbing. I'd promised myself a cold-drink stop in Midway, PA which I figured should be halfway back to the car - I mean, that's why it's called Midway right? Turns out it's only 4 miles from the Montour-Panhandle interchange. The cold drink was still wonderful.

42 miles on a day that was getting kind of warm as we got off the bikes.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Montour Trail's Westland Spur to Houston Train Yard

8.31.2014 17m
August mileage: 452
Rode out to find the Westland Spur of the Montour Trail, which is a new section of the trail. (history of the Old Westland RR, Marcellus Shale Coalition perspective).

It's a very nice rail-and-trail section, very similar to the existing rail-and-trail just north of Route 50. There's a few road crossings, only one major crossing.

As you continue along you encounter the Houston Rail Yard, which was a facility of unexpected size (to me, at least). There's a whole lot of fracking fluid being moved on those tracks.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Had Me At The Kilt, Trenta Wifi, Peace Out

8.30.2014 13m
Before I can even talk about today's ride I need to express my confusion about my REI experience today. I was approached by a staffer (let's call him Bill, because his name was: Bill) wearing a Utilikilt and at first I thought: wow, what an engaging sales person but he kept asking about my needs and my preferences and my choices and all of a sudden he wasn't engaging me anymore, he was enveloping me and I'm thinking wow is Bill hitting on me here or what? I mean, he was pretty good looking and he was absolutely fabulous in that kilt.

Eventually while I was talking about my needs in a mummy-bag liner Bill interrupted me and said, would you excuse me just a minute? and he went over to another customer of a certain age and repeated the same schtick. I saw two staffers kind of watching him and then I decided: this is just show-and-tell, he's the charismatic sales relationship guru from HQ, here to show the staff how to Engage by channelling Robert Bly. He was demonstrating points of technique so that local staff could observe. I felt so used. It was a training exercise. I wonder if he'll call me.

Today's ride was based out of the South Hills. Rode out to Starbucks and back to get some broadband; Starbucks makes such good internet.

Soon, we'll be ordering Internet the Starbucks Way™: um, yes I'd like a venti wifi-N please, please, no SSL and IPv6, quirks mode.. And then the chipper synth-android staffer will say, "coming right up! and you name is?"

Just east of I79 on the Montour Trail, came upon a truly lovely memorial which honors Dorothy M Gaughan:

It sort of fails the Categorical Imperative test, which is to say: Yes it's wonderful when one person does it, but No it's terrible if everybody did it. But until we see a dozen of these every mile, I think it's tremendous.