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

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Verklempt Abandoned Signal House Road Bike Blues, Juggalo Version

10.28.2014 14m
mental health bike rideThis was a day when I really needed to be on my bike - even though I didn't get a very long ride in.

Last Saturday when I was on the Baldwin Borough Trail , from what I could see there were a few guys possibly having a tagging party on the abandoned railroad signal house along the trail, quasi-abeam the American Water Works location, just southeast of Banksville Road and the world famous soft-serve ice cream shop.


Today the access fence was open and there wasn't anybody around, so I decided to take a look at the track-side of a building I've passed a hundred times, but only from the trail-side.

i must admit, I added the clown

I must admit: I added the clown.

I was riding my road bike today, which is not my main squeeze. My LHT is in the shop, getting some (much-needed) expert TLC. I did stop in and visit in; some wonderful stuff had been accomplished on the rear end, and tomorrow's plan is the forward end. I also managed to bike-photobomb a Channel-11 newscast in progress, as I rode my bike down the trail while they were filming in the adjacent trailhead.

It looked like increasing darkness and clouds, so I kept it a pretty short ride - my road bike is sort of a day/dry bike, no fenders etc, so I went back to the start, but only after seeing some Juggalo's enroute to an event at the Rex. Teh interweb said the performers are TwizTid, which perhaps is an Insane Clown Posse cover band.

14 miles.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Birmingham Bridge Bike Lane FTW, Holy Homophones, Steel City Time Machine

10.27.2014 18m
Started today under the Birmingham Bridge, which is undergoing a rehab project. The construction equipment is working on the edge of the bridge deck, which is where the bike lane is.

I'm so impressed that instead of just closing the bike lane, they took one car lane and partitioned it as the temporary bike lane. This is a new thing for Pittsburgh.

In Uptown, stopped to check out Sir Samelot at Seneca and Tustin Streets:

On Fifth Avenue, saw this Kyle Holbrook mural which I don't recall seeing before. There's an Autism theme in the images.

Finally got to take an image of the bike box on Penn Ave (inbound) at 16th Street:

Holy Homophones!I was surprised to find myself at 6th Avenue, so I took a picture of it and then later took a picture of Sixth Avenue. This does not seem smart. Don't want to be calling 911 from either of these streets.

Rode out to the 40th Street bridge and back, then the Jail Trail to Hot Metal Bridge. Saw this Steel City Time Machine in SouthSide Works.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Coffeeneur 2014-6 Big Dog Coffee

10.26.2014 31m 233#
Started riding from the Bastille w/K at 1pm, prior to a 4.30pm home Steelers game. Saw the beginnings of tailgating as we rode south.

Jail Trail, Hot Metal Bridge, Big Dog Coffee for Coffeeneur 2014 Number 6. Details: mocha bianca, chai tea latte, lemon-poppy seed muffin, toasted croissant. 31 miles total.

It was a beautiful day. We rode out through the Waterfront to the Phantom's Revenge on the Steel Valley Trail. Reversed.

Saw a lot of black-and-gold out on the trails today. Hoping to avoid riding around the football stadium in the last hour before gametime, rode West Carson St to the West End Bridge and used the upstream (southern) walkway and made the required portage. It surprises me that the bridge sidewalk isn't ADA-compatible; this could really use some switchback ramps down to ground level.

Through a parking lot of TailGaters, no problems. 31 miles.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Any Day You Can See the Ocean is a Good Day

12.23.2014 20m
Rode on LungAyeLan today. My first mission was to pick up a nephew from school, so I strapped his bike onto the back of mine and rode over.

Definitely got a few squinty-looks from the HelicopterMoms in their vans and SUVs (which is, I think, a vehicular mixed metaphor). Then I rode back with the 4th grader.

Got out again and rode from Wantagh down to Jones Beach, which is one of the prettiest beaches in the world until they let New Yorkers into it. Pretty much had the route to myself.

Any day you can see the ocean is a good day. Got a phone call while I was near the Jones Beach ampitheater and ended up spending about :45 watching the sunset and nightfall, then when my conversation was done I had a major dark ride back north, which was very nice. 20 miles.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Crossing Guard Appreciation Day

10.22.2014 1/3m
I had major plans for today, starting with Crossing Guard Appreciation Day for the morning rush, an event at the City-County Building at noon, and the afternoon Crossing Guard Thank-You Tour.

But I was called out of town on Tuesday and thought I'd lost my opportunity for Crossing Guard Day. I picked up my nephew at school in Wantagh NY, and - shazam - crossing guard! So I got to thank two crossing guards, and I'll have to make it up in Pittsburgh another time.

I got to ride with my nephew, got to reinforce the bike to school theme, and got to meet two NewYork crossing guards.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Rough Diamond Trail and Braddock GAP Connection

10.19.2014 28m
In the beginning, the plan seemed dubious - parking on the North Side by Western Penitentiary (aka the Bastille) and riding out to Homestead (and returning) on a Monday evening in the same hours as a Steelers home game. But it worked out really well.

Started at the Bastille, rode through the South Side. Stopped at REI because I'd been given an REI gift certificate of unknown value and I wanted to ask them to scan it. I have often thought it would be a great prank to give somebody a giftcard without any money in it, because: awkward and maybe they don't say anything about it, and that would be fun to watch. But I wasn't being played (which would have been hilarious, hoisted on my own skewed petard) and it was actually a very generous gift so: wow.

Rode to the Waterfront, took the Homestead Grays Bridge into town, and rode to my mission d'jour: the monthly meeting of the Steel Valley Trail board. One of the topics was close to my heart, extending trail access into Braddock and I would love that so much.

Visitors from Westmoreland County and the Murrysville Trail Alliance came to talk about the Rough Diamond Trail which is a fascinating vision and a tremendous opportunity. Roughly, it's a quasi-diamond shaped trail network around Pittsburgh. You wouldn't have to ride to DC, you could just ride a big circuit around the metro area.

The Rough Diamond Trail Project from Ryan Bair on Vimeo.

That was really interesting, and there were a few other points mentioned that I haven't heard of before. I love a meeting of a dozen-plus people and 5 arrived on bikes. There was a stack of new Trail Books, Tenth Edition, and I found a picture of this guy making his debut as a male model (page 232)

Departed with YC for a dark-ride back to the Hot Metal Bridge. Encountered Mikhael rocking a pretty new red folding bike, getting some miles in after work. They rode with me up to the Bastille. Coming around the football stadium, you could hear the people chanting some two-syllable shibboleth. For a while I couldn't discern it, then I thought: it can't be SiegHeil can it, then I realized it was DeFense, DeFense. But it wasn't very dissimilar.

No problem at all riding around the stadium during the game. 28 miles, great ride.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Coffeeneur 2014-5 at the Emlenton Mill, Creamery, & Hostel

10.19.2014 30m
Started in Franklin, PA at 0900 with a group of 12 cyclists in clear, dry skies and about 40F. The transition out of town and onto the Allegheny River Trail was completely uneventful; everybody (in cars) was very cooperative.

The route out of Franklin was much less hurried outbound than yesterday's last segment inbound was for K and I, since we weren't rushing to find a 'loo. It's a remarkably beautiful trail. I've been here once, a few years ago, and there must have been a lot of leaves on the trees then because I just don't remember the tremendous views of the river that I saw this year.

These trail markers for the Erie to Pittsburgh Trail seem like sort of a throwdown, kind of taking the ground. The route for this trail really doesn't hit Pittsburgh and doesn't hit Erie, but it's a magnificent trail that when completed could be every b

From near the northern portal of the Kennerdell tunnel:

Saw this at the southern portal of the Kennerdell tunnel:

As we approached the destination we rode across Emlenton to the Emlenton Mill and Creamery, so as to make this a coffeeneuring event. K, RC and I had coffee in the basement of the old grist mill and we got a fascinating briefing on the machines.

The clothing was on display because it was all sewn from the fabric used in flour sacks. We walked around the Mill and it's really an impressive building, very reminscent of the Rockwood Opera House in scope. They have a hostel suitable for bikers!

Coming back into town, we saw that the bike shop also has Segways, which is pretty audacious. On today's ride through town I saw signs of economic development like you see along the GAP-C&O. Very impressive.