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

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Summer in the City

Mon 8/18 15m
Tues 8/19 35m
Monday I had two rides with not much to report; I rode my bike to work, which is so cool in itself. Rode directly there in the morning, which is a six-mile route and took a longer route home which was nine miles.

A great thing about riding is that when I ride to work, I'm all focused when I get there. When I ride home from work, I've left every part of the work day behind way before i get home.

Tuesday I agreed to meet R and S at 0630 which would have worked great except I woke up at 0630. Drove into town, met them at Big Dog. Saw a fellow with a t-shirt from StudioAM which was a name I'd seen from the art hanging on the walls at BigDog so I asked and I got to say hello to the artist Baron Batch, which was very cool. Come to find out, he's also played for the Steelers which is kind of cool especially in Pittsburgh. A multi-talented guy. He's opened his studio in the space that used to be Smoke in Homestead. I loved Smoke, I'm glad something awesome is happening in the same place. (twitter: @Studio_AM_PGH, @Baron_Batch)

Rode into downtown to make an errand. Rode up to the Hill to check out the August Wilson mural project, then across the Birmingham Bridge and out to the PumpHouse. Back in to town, stopped to help a few cyclists who were out putting up signs for the upcoming Pedal Pittsburgh but they had a mechanical. While opening my toolkit to get a wrench, discovered the two missing multi-tools that I just purchased replacements for at REI. Argghhhh. Anyway, we got them all set and got back enroute.

Met a group of four cyclists who'd ridden from Deal to Pittsburgh. One of them had a really cool drybag on the back rack, turns out it's a kayaker's drybag from Eagle Bay. Really a nice piece of gear and it was nice to talk with them.

Stopped at Thick, because: Thick. Checked out Gabriella's Gourmet at 301 East Carson for lunch. I had a Cohen breakfast sandwich, eggs and cheese and corned beef on a bagel - very good, generous and hefty. French fries inside the sandwich because: Pittsburgh.

Rode over to the North Side, back to Point State Park where I hung out for a bit. Back to Riverfront Park. 35 miles on a very nice day.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Junior Graham Marathon

8/17/2014 26m #227
Of all the things most unlikely for me to be doing on a Sunday afternoon, driving to Billy Graham's son's tent revival at the Consol Energy Center would be like one of the top things on the list - NTTAWWT, I just don't roll that way - but I was chauffeuring my M-I-L for whom these are important things and she doesn't like to drive downtown. Maybe that makes this ride a chauffeneur?

K and I parked on the site of the Igloo, which was parked on the site of the Lower Hill, and had several hours to kill. We took our bikes out of the back of the van and rode to the Jail Trail, across the Hot Metal Bridge, and stopped at REI. I stopped and bought two Multi-Tools because I seem to be unable to keep them in my possession, and cannot locate any of the four that I believe I own.

Equipped (redundantly) for calamity, we continued out to the Pump House. Stopped, reversed, and went to Mitchell's Seafood to eat; they are so kind to leave cool water out on the bike trail, I've just got to support the business every now and then. Good food.

Departed and took the Hot Metal Bridge again. I was very pleased to come upon Roy Weil and Mary Shaw, the grandparents of the trail movement in the Pittsburgh region (and authors of Pgh-DC bike trip planning book). They were the subjects of a hit-and-run only a week earlier in Kittaning. Mary wrote,
On Saturday Aug 9 about 2 pm Roy and I were in Kittanning biking south on the Armstrong Trail in the cycle track beside Grant St. At Market St, we had a green light and started into the intersection. A car headed toward the river on Market St was not signalling a right turn but made a right hand turn into us, hit and dragged the bike (disabling the bike), and drove away without stopping. Fortunately we were not seriously hurt.
Please help us locate the driver. The license number I wrote down was Pennsylvania DTP 2784. The police say this comes up as a registration at the other end of the state, so it’s probably off by a letter, or maybe two characters are interchanged. The car was a station wagon or SUV; I thought it was grayish, the witnesses say it was greenish. Witnesses say a woman was driving.
If you know a car like this with a similar license number that was in Kittanning on Saturday afternoon, please ask the driver to contact the Kittanning police about their report on the Saturday afternoon bicycle accident and to contact us about repairs to the bike.
Thanks for any information you can provide.

It was so excellent to see them out and about on the bike (which does show some damage). It made me very happy to see them. We rode north on the Jail Trail to Grant Street, then took Blvd of the Allies to Point State Park and sat by the fountain for a while.

Departed via the Ft Pitt Bridge and Station Square, rode the South Side Trail and went over to Big Dog Coffee, best. coffeeshop. ever.. Left after consuming some biscotti and rode through SouthSide, took the Birmingham Bridge into the taint betwixt Uptown and Oakland, and rode Fifth into the Consol Energy Temple.

Put our bikes back in the van, found the M-I-L and we were shortly back on our way into exurbia. Distance was 26 miles plus a little bit, so we (roughly) rode a marathon. Really a very nice day for August.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Western Reserve Greenway Trail

8.16.2014 48m
Rode with my neighbor Jack on the Western Reserve Greenway trail, north out of Warren Ohio.

Started early (0730) at a trailhead which is at: N41.308511, W-80.833073 and it was a bit cool; in fact, my toes were cold in my sandals. This is a great trail that follows the path of a former intracity rail line, it's paved, flat and straight. About every mile or so there's an at-grade road crossing, and there's not a lot of traffic out there.

I had not communicated too well with Jack. I thought we were going to ride the 45 miles to Ashtabula and then reverse, but I guess I had not been explicit. When we stopped about 24 miles into the outbound leg at a scenic overlook and I said "this might be a good place to take a break", he was surprised and said "don't you mean turn around?". So, good news, we ended up with more time in the afternoon than we expected.

Not a lot of people on the trail. Saw a few Amish folks on push bikes, and saw one horse-drawn Amish buggy on the cross-road. This was kind of a go-fast, blow out the carbon ride and that was great. 48 miles.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Murals and Street Art

8/14 19m

My riding has been off and my blogging has been off even more. My riding is off because I've been working a lot, which is just a silly thing for a retiree geezer to cop to. Not riding a lot is really ungood for me in so many dimensions. And then, I've had a computer failure which I'd like to say is tragic but when a 9-year-old XP laptop gives up the ghost it's not a grievable issue; it had a good life. Primarily, the absence of the machine kept me from uploading and blogging the few rides I was making.

This ride started off on a cool, crisp, clear day in August which is just wow, I am in San Diego or what. Rode with SR, and coming across the Ft. Duquesne Bridge we saw the FOAN (flag of another nation) flying over Point State Park which left me concerned that perhaps we had surrendered overnight or maybe the damned Queen had sent her minions to retake Fort Pitt.

Inquiries at the Fort about the non-standard ensign were met with inconclusive responses, except for the tidbit that this was a 1776-era British flag. I wish they'd tweet the nature and rationale of the non-standard flags, that would be cool.

Rode up to the Hill District, to see the MLK mural that just got started focusing on August Wilson. Two young artists were painting some of the lower work.

Rode up into Oakland to see the Mad Mex mural, which I had not seen before.

Spotted a bit of street-tile art, ala the Toynbee Tiles. You'll see it here, in the street, by the motorcyclist with the excellent hi-viz helmet:

And this is a closeup:

Rode across Oakland, down Panther Hollow, across Four Mile Run and out to Saline Street to view the band new Bike Lane. Until two weeks ago, commuters were parking here and walking a few blocks to get onto UPMC shuttle buses to their job site; now parking is verboten and it's a bike lane. Almost seems a bit salt-in-the-wound to be parking a bike where they were recently parking cars:

Rode over to Thick Bikes, so SR could get a mirror to replace a broken unit. Happened to see this tremendous bike, a custom-painted Surly LHT Disc Trucker named Hi-Viz Fizz after a Yehuda Moon character. I'm very impressed at it. Custom paint job by DanB and I've got a bit of WantSomeOfThat going on.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

I won a Bedford Single Speed from the Brooklyn Bicycle Company

8/8/2014 #222 10m
Went to the BikeFest kickoff event which promised a Bike Beauty Pageant, which I thought might be fun to see. Little did I suspect...

Arriving, they organizers said 'put that bike over here' so I did and that was pretty simple. Hung around checking out all of the bikes, there was some really awesome equipment there. Old bikes, fat bikes, touring bikes, Frankenstein bikes - the kinds of bikes people really use.

The award categories were Best Vintage Bike, Best Lit Up Bike, Best Shiny Bike, Best Mutant Bike, Best Yinzer Bike, Best Commuter Bike, Best Antelope, Best Ugly Bike, Best in Show.

As Anya Vasilis Dobratz explained when making the presentation (she was excellent) the Best Antelope category is about being a noble creature: having tremendous antlers, multiple hand positions, great capabilities, and being a go anywhere, do anything bike. Remarkably, my Surly LHT won "Best Antelope" which amused me to no end. The trophy (suitable for wall mounting, designed and fabricated by Chris Beech of Thick Bikes wow) looks like this:

But wait, there's more. Turns out one of the category winners gets chosen for BestInShow, and my LHT won that prize too. So there's a second trophy, and it looks like this:

And yet, there's even more!So I'm standing outside the crowd, gobsmacked with two trophies (which is not a standard experience for me) and Chris Beech says hey you forgot your bike and I said, No I've got my bike right here. And Chris says No, Best In Show includes winning a bike and he rolls over a really sharp single speed from Brooklyn Bikes. And I'm from Brooklyn, so Double-Yoi and a shout-out from Avenue D.

This is a Bedford single-speed model and it's a really nice bike. They're a boutique Brooklyn shop so they have a Buy-and-ride program - buy the bike online, pick it up at your Local Bike Shop. That's pretty cool.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Bring Your Dog To Work Day; Navigation and Industry

8.5.14 225# 32m
The first ride segment of the day started early at the Bastille with S. We rode over to Brighton Place to see a mural being added to two already in place (top-right and top-left). The white paint and orange swirls on the base layer are a mark that it's an Moving Lives of Kids project.

As is usual on MLK projects, younger kids to the lower-level work and people who are 18 years old get to work from the high-lift machine on the higher portions of the mural. We rode over to Station Square in search of statuary called "Industry" and found it outside a parking garage. Industry is on the right, holding an industrial mold. Navigation is on the left, and once held a rudder (now missing) in her hand. (There's also another statue of Industry outside the Gandy Dancer).

A description of these statues can be found on Page36 of the Pittsburgh Walking Art Tour PDF. They were created in 1889 by Eugiono PEdon to adorn the fedeal Post Office in downtown Pittsburgh, and were part of a series commemorating Navigation, Industry, and Enlightenment. Other statues from the Post Office are located at the North Side Children's Museum.

Rode up to the Hill District because: Hill. Saw that the front surface of August Wilson's birthplace is being rehabilitated. Fun descent down to 7th Street.

Rode out to Lawrenceville. Saw this on the House-slant-canvas at 35th and Charlotte:

Saw this on Butler at Doughboy Square (which is a triangle) by Kaffeine:

And the last bit of kitsch was on the NorthShore, where I thought I saw a food truck and it turned out to be a Dog Food Truck, because the adjacent office building was having Bring Your Dog To Work Day. (most excellent).

Second leg of the day was after dropping a Volvo off at a garage, rode to work. Scott-O recommended an alternative route and it was a great ride, much more empty twisty two-lane than busy artery. I did enounter a major deluge enroute, and I am pleased to report that rain is still. not. fatal.

Finally, about 7pm rode home. Completely uneventful. I love my bike lights and I'm glad I could afford really great ones. Excellent riding today.