Type 2 Diabetic. Bike tour guide. #NextBurgh Flâneur. Coffeeneur.
A bike / map geek with a gadget obsession and a high-viz fetish. by Vannevar Bush       about       /       murals       /       Pgh-DC bike maps

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Easter Rebellion and Yale's Northside Tour

4.24.2016 35m
4.26.2016 19m
mtd:208 ytd:540
Sunday I rode from the North Side into East Liberty with my wife Karen, then I bopped over to the South Side myself to join my friend TimM for a celebration of the Easter Rebellion.

I must confess that the pints seemed to weigh on me as I climbed back to East Liberty. Rendezvoused with K, met a cyclist rocking a Dutch-style bike with a safety lollipop - only the second one I've seen in Pittsburgh. Rode to OTB, had dinner, RTB.

Tuesday was primary day, so: things you can do with a Pizza front rack:

I met YaleC and got the Manchester segment of his North Side Tour. I really liked the Wayfinding system at this Tiny Free Library at Manhattan & Hamlin Streets:

From Manhattan and Juniata Streets:

Fascinated to find three Baptist churches at the same location:

In Manchester, Yale showed me the high water mark from the 1936 St. Patrick's Day flood:

Not as pronounced as the markings at Klavons, but still remarkable.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Olives and Coffee

4.19.2016 8m
4.20.2016 31m
4.21.2016 26m
mtd:153 ytd:486
Tuesday I parked by Peggy's Marina, rode into Pgh to pick up some materials at a printer's, rode to Golden Triangle Bike, rode to the Point and back to Millvale.

Wednesday I parked in Millvale with my wife Karen. Rode to Oakland, rode to downtown, back to Oakland. Tremendous day.

Thursday I met MarkC and we rode through the strip district. Picked up some olives at Salonika Imports, rode through Lawrenceville and sat outside of a coffee shop, drinking espresso and eating olives, living the dream.

We stopped at Thick Bikes. I love those folks. I needed a small, steel L-bracket which they made for me. Great shop. Also, I really liked these water bottles:

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Confluence Based

4.16.2016 25m Conf-Ohiopyle r/t
4.17 38m Conf-Rockwood r/t
mtd:88 ytd:421
Spent two days based in Confluence, PA, at the Outflow Campground. This is a very nice campground; on Saturday night it was quite full, and on Sunday it was only lightly occupied. Bike-in camping is $5/night until May 1st, which is a great deal. Real bathrooms with hot water; the showers building opens on May1.

Saturday I rode with BillM from Confluence to Ohiopyle and back, and it was a real treat to ride with somebody who knows the local history. He'd point out a pile of timbers and earth and explain that it was used to dump small carts of coal into trains below, stuff like that. Saw that there's a Duro-style tool workstation at the Ramcat trailhead now (so cool).

BillM is the most courteous of cyclists, offering assistance or information to others widely, but as we were riding his voice went kind of deep and he said to me: "don't make eye contact, don't speak, definitely don't stop" and when I'm in somebody else's neighborhood I listen to them. An opposite direction cyclist rolled by with something on the back of his bike that to me, looked like a portable ADF antenna. Later in the day, I saw the good folks at Confluence Cyclery took a picture of his rig:

Bill shows me trillium, and skunk cabbage, and an avalanche tube, explained how the remaining big rocks were all sandstone that didn't erode, and showed me a parking spot for a draisine which was very cool.

It seems like Confluence has a few restaurants that won't be opening in the spring- Sweeties and Shermans, for instance. The overnight at Confluence's Outflow Campground was very quiet after around 9pm.

Sunday I rode up to Rockwood, had lunch, and reversed. I love the Pinkerton Tunnel. I do think one of the portals would be a great place for a tools workstation; it's in the middle of so much nothing. I also learned that these posts in the Confluence campground are for hammocks; very cool.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


4.12.2016 23m
4.13.2016 10m
mtd:25 ytd:358

April 12: Point State Park's fountain is back in operation.

April 13 was a funny day, with Trump events, helicopters, closed streets. I stayed mostly in Bloomfield and Shadyside.

I did see this new artwork at 608 S.Millvale's SideWall Project called Progress by Marlana Adele Vassar.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

New To Me

4.2.2016 5m
4.6.2016 20m
mtd:25 ytd:325
Encountered this "new to me" bit of Clohn Art at 3404 Penn:

Stopped at 4121 Main to obtain some more Ashram Afternoon tea, which is wonderful. I was kind of surprised to see bike jerseys and a bike in a nearby storefront window, so I walked over to 4124 Main and discovered (in a Columbus sort-of-discovery) Analog Forest, which was completely unexpected and "new to me".

Photo of my bike at The Bastille, aka Pittsburgh SCI, f/k/a Western Penitentiary (and not West Penn, which is a hospital). I think I'm going to stop using this as my default trailhead, there's a lot of bad energy around prisons.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Bridges and Spindles

3.23.2016 24m
3.24.2016 21m
3.26.2016 19m
March total:166m ytd:300m

Wednesday I rode with RC, starting at Southside Riverfront Park, stopping at Big Dog Coffee (Baron Batch sighting!) and riding out to Kennywood. Then we rode into town and checked a few things out, starting with the Pittsburgh 200th Birthday Bridge which is sort of a selfie stage:

We saw Mayor Peduto and Dan Gilman while we were photo-staging. Then we saw Councilperson Darlene Harris, who said "wouldn't you like to see bike lanes on the bridge?" and so I figured, Why Not?

In Market Square, an art installation by Allard van Hoorn uses the surface to represent a vinyl record player:

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Nobody Expects A Man in the Baggage Car

mtd:102 ytd:236
Rode Falls Church, Va to Union Station via the W&OD, Custis, and Mt.Vernon trails. They were all in excellent (paved) condition. Weather was cool and sometimes light rain. It's fantastic to have a network of trails.

Saw a Syrian protest at the Lincoln Memorial. Saw the ongoing work on the reflecting pond, and I wonder if that project isn't just a facade for a major underground deep-government project, hidden in plain sight. Saw the Capital building which looks a bit like Parisian barricades.

Rode to Union Station. My recent Amtrak experience is small stations: Pittsburgh, Connellsville, Harper's Ferry. Union Station is like the ORD of Amtrak. Also, a remarkable structure. Rolled in with my bike, no problem at all. In Union Station there was no need to take elevators between levels, the track platforms are at the same level as the outer doors. (So are the tracks, so you have to lift your bike up into the baggage car).

The Amtrak experieince is great. There's a phenomenon common to cyclists I call GBCWHW: Great, But Can We Have WiFi? When a new bit of cycling infra is introduced, it's wonderful, it's magical, it's a capability where there was none before, it's a miracle after years of planning, coordinating, and persuading. And while the magic persists and we continue to appreciate the new (bridge, ramp, service), very quickly the cyclist mind turns to: Great, But Can We Have WiFi? I love the Amtrak service and I really look forward to onboard Wifi, which is a thing they do on other routes. I'm very happy with my RORO service, I just wonder: I can has RORO&Wifi, por favor?

I really try not to delay the train when disembarking (I can't quite say detraining, although the Amtrak announcements use that term) so I'm positioned outside the locked baggage compartment fifteen minutes before arrival. In a few minutes the conductor arrived to unlock the door, and I go into the baggage compartment and derack my bike, then retrieve my five bags and start loading the bike so I can roll off in one Therblig.

The train arrives just as I finish schlepping, and a different story is onfolding on the platform. An Amtrak worker drives a tug pulling baggage carts out on the platform, stops next to the arriving train, the train stops and she opens the big baggage hatch.

I'm standing inside the baggage hold, the door opens, and by reflex I said "Hiiiiii!" as is my wont. I don't think she expected that, it kind of startled her. Nobody expects a man in the baggage car.