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 new

Friday, December 2, 2016

A Questionable Neighborhood

Thursday Dec.1, 2016 6m
Friday Dec.2, 2016 18m
Dec mtd:24 ytd:2836
Thursday I rode around town and got a lot of errands done. Dropped things off, picked things up, very efficient on the bike.

Friday I rode from the Rez, to Beaver, to Rochester, and then home again. Crossing Bridge Street in Rochester, I realized I was in a Questionable Neighborhood. Maybe you can ask any questions you want here?

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Are you in that much of a hurry? YES I AM

Tues Nov.29 2016 15m
Wed Nov 30 2016 17m
Nov. EOM:393 ytd:2812
Tuesday I parked on the SouthSide Trail and rode around to a bunch of errands. Shadyside, Squirrel Hill. Intercepted YC and we rode Murray and Browns Hill to the Waterfront. Riding northwest into the South Side, crossing Hot Metal Street in the bright-green corridor, an opposite-direction driver tried to kill me.

I'm going straight ahead, in a green-crosswalk with a prominent bike symbol. She's opposite direction and turning left across my path. She saw me in front of her, and did not want to stop so she kept on going. I stopped. I yelled at her, I waved at her, I got ready to get off the bike and run away, and finally she stopped.

The window was open and I yelled to the driver, Are you in that much of a hurry?

"Yes, I am!" was the response. Can't make that kind of stuff up.

Wednesday, rode from the Rez to Beaver, PA which involves a teeny-tiny bit of I-376. Stopped at the Library. Rode to the Y in Rochester. On the way back: Starbucks, because: Christmas Blend. Everybody was very nice. Nobody was in that much of a hurry.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Brilliant Stanwix Dog-Leg

Sun Nov.27 2016, 13m
Nov. mtd:361 ytd:2780
Today was unseasonably mild, about 50F and calm, so I rode myself over to the haircut place and took a standard route home. Great day for a short ride.

Today's Post Gazette (caveat: dense Yinzer comments) carries Adam Smeltz' report of the proposed Pittsburgh on-street segregated bike-lane which is absolutely a brilliant layout, but it may not seem elegant until you recalibrate the scope of evaluation.

The ostensible goal is to connect the GAP from Grant Street to Point State Park. The chosen solution is: a two-way bike line on Fort Pitt Blvd, and then bike lanes on Stanwix Street (maybe both sides, maybe one side), turning left on Penn Avenue, and reaching Point State Park at Penn and Commonwealth.

I suspect that to Pittsburgh cyclists familiar with the area, this may seem like a terrible way for a cyclist riding DC-to-Pittsburgh to get to Point State Park. It's an inelegant yah-tah, a slightly-too-kludgey approach to the Point. And that's true.

Connecting the GAP to the Point is not the only deliverable in this project.

Here's the 2016 layout of City of Pittsburgh bike routes, with the Mon Whorf trail de-emphasized (because it doesn't connect anything to anything)

Let's consider the assets in place in 2016.

  • Great commuter bike route from downtown north-east along Penn Ave.
  • Great commuter bike route along the NorthShore of the Allegheny River
  • Great commuter bike route from Grant Street via the Eliza Furnace Trail
  • Great commuter bike route on the SouthSide Trail.
What's missing from the 2016 bike route chart is a downtown connection, that integrates the Allegheny corridor and the Mon corridor into a connected network. That's the Holy Grail, and that's what this proposal delivers: a bike lane connection from, for instance, the Strip to SouthSide.

Consider again, if you will, the tremendous connectivity delivered by the Stanwix dog-leg:

Consider further: it takes place completely on streets the City Of Pittsburgh owns. No budget crisis in the State Parks (as in, Point State Park) can impair this network.

The Ft.Pitt Bldv - Stanwix - Penn connection is a thing of beauty, a strategic windfall wrapped in a tactical gain. It's like the 2017 bike version of I-579.

The Smithfield Street Switchback may be constructed, and it's a win if it becomes financially possible - but the use of the opportunity is brilliant.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Right-handed gloves and Airlocks

Sun Nov.20, 2016 5m
Tues Nov.22, 2016 4m
Fri Nov.25, 2016 3m
Sat Nov.26, 14m
Nov. mtd:348 ytd:2767
Sunday I had hopes of riding my ECR in the snow. Where I live, there was about 2" of snow on the ground. When I got out to the Montour Trail, there was about a half-inch of snow on the grass and the trail had no snow. The trail was a bit wet and soft, so I took a short ride on that.

The ride was short because: I brought out two right-hand gloves. Sigh. This is what shakedown rides are for, I suppose - identifying the gaps and getting the silly glitches out of the way. My left hand was plenty cold by the time five miles had gone by.

Tuesday I rode 4 miles around Shadyside, running errands.

Friday I rode 3 miles, to the I Made It Market to check out the offerings of Apothecary Muse where were excellent. Saw this document from SupportiveBureaucracy (tagline: be the paperwork you wish to see in the world)

Saturday I spent some time marshalling an intersection for the Dirty Dozen bike event in Pittsburgh. Originally I thought: hey, I'll ride my bike to my assignment. After driving to the top, I thought: no way I'd ride my bike up here. What an impressive thing to observe.

After my DirtyDozen duty I had about three hours, so I drove to the Montour Trail to check out the new thermal hatch on the National Tunnel. Backstory: for years the National Tunnel accumulated thick ice, stalagmites and stalactites during freezing temperatures, from the water leaking into the tunnel. Last year, the Montour Trail closed the tunnel with plywood and: No ice! This is significant because, the ice reduces the service life of the tunnel.

This year, the Montour Trail is conducting an experiment: can they put a double-doorway, like an airlock, at either end of the tunnel and still prevent ice buildup? All the benefits, none of the inconvenience! So they've got sensors measuring internal temperatures.

I really appreciate their approach to problem-solving. If the tunnel can remain open year-round, that's a tremendous thing. It makes me wonder about the Big Savage Tunnel.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Horse Farm AeroPress, Helicon Brewing on the Panhandle

Fri Nov.18 2016 20m
Nov. mtd:314 ytd:2732
I had a chance to ride with RC as he needed to complete his 2017 Coffeeneuring, for which he chose Coffee Without Walls at the Horse Farm on the Montour Trail.

He conducted a bit of a skills demo using an Aero Press, which produced some great coffee. It was like 70F, sunny, a nice day to be outside and feel the sunshine.

Encounted this "good human" sign, showing the distances to trash cans. Very well played.

Came upon a work crew assembling the door covers on the National Trail. They were really very good about letting people pass through their work site.

Apparently, in an ongoing series of experiments, they're experimenting with NOT closing the tunnel for the winter - just closing the opening, and leaving a flexible-plastic thermal barrier in the doorway. This is kind of exciting.

The National Tunnel crew, led by Bill Capp, began closing the tunnel for the 2016 - 2017 winter season. This year we plan to put strip seal air locks at each end to block air flow. If the strip seals (think beer distributor cold room) reduce the air flow sufficiently we will be able to both keep the tunnel open to trail users this winter and keep ice out of the tunnel. Last year closing the tunnel kept ice out, but it also kept out trail users. Volunteers: Joe Lodge, John Kozak, Pete Merther, Tom Prezel, Jesse Forquer, Doug Ettinger, Bill Capp, Dave Oyler

On Facebook, Farmer Troy Bogdan mentioned the soft opening of Helicon Brewery on the Panhandle Trail, in Oakdale where the (now-razed) Purina factory used to be. Apparently before the place was called Oakdale, it was called Helicon. I really like the idea of a trail-side brewery, especially after seeing three of them on the W&OD east of Leesburg VA.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Loss of Celestial Weaving

Nov. 17, 2016 14m
Nov. mtd:314 ytd:2732
I did a little bit of riding in the Strip District. Sad/happy to see the mural at the Pittsburgh Midwife Center, Celestial Weaving Girl, by Lucas Stock, being replaced by their expansion.

Sad that the mural's going away, happy that they're expanding and growing. This is a bit like what happened to Squirrel Convergence on Butler Street, when the new building for Iron City Bikes went up.

This is what Celestial Weaver Girl looked like:

Met Yale. Then we met BN and his brother Jeff, then a few friends of Yale (FOY) showed up, and we had to leave before people would think it was some sort of flash mob.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Alleyway Signs and a Postal Relay Box

Nov.15, 2016 9m
Nov. mtd:302 ytd:2718
Rode with RC again, early-ish in the day, to accompany him on Coffeeneuring Number 6. Parked under the Birmingham Bridge. Rode out the Penn Ave bike lane, then at 16th Street we yah-tahhed right onto Spring Way

So we're riding along in the alley, and conversation turns to: On Penn Ave, we've got bollards and paint and boxes and lots of rules and guidance. Here in the alley, there's No Stinking Rules; there's dumpsters and cars and bikes and people and somehow it all works really well, without any special zones because there's no space for special zones, and somehow pragmatism succeeds in the absence of social structure.

Then we saw this sign:

Even in this slightly stinky alley, progress is being made. The only problem is, at this early stage it's not evenly distributed yet.

Rode up to Polish Hill. My compliments to those that go up there routinely, the place is well named. Went to LiLi's for coffee. Great coffee, great shop. The mailbox outside wins Best Decorated - even if it's not a real mailbox, just a postal relay box.