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

Monday, March 23, 2015

Consumer Confession

I really strive to avoid consumerism and to not be about stuff.

Having said that, finding this in today's mail is an annual Fredgasm that is for me not unlike what the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue is for others.

sexy REi porn

March Madness

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Found: outdoor plaza, river vu

3.22.2015 18m
40F and clear blue skies. Not nearly as much wind as yesterday.

Started at the Bastille. Met M and Y at the Point, where the restrooms are locked because nobody uses the park this time of year on Sunday afternoons.

We rode around the Ft.Pitt bridge, then went out the Penn Ave bike lane. Continued east to the 40th Street bridge, crossed the Allegheny River. Checked out the Millvale-to-NorthSide route, which seemed in great shape.

There is an outer walkway at the baseball stadium which is supposed to be open whenever there's no event at the stadium. Mayor Tom Murphy mentioned it at a recent briefing. So we rode across the walkway - which can be done without dismounting for stairs - and were suprised to find a really nice outdoor plaza with a lot of tables.

In the photo above, you can see the roof of the River Rescue unit. In the map below, you can see the open walkway (in purple) and the route to the plaze (in yellow), and you'll see the River Rescue unit in the river.

Back across the Sixth Street Bridge. Market Square, checked out the bamboo garden installation. Y and M continued, I dawdled for a bit and got to say hello to QR and her partner. Returned to the Bastille. 18 miles.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Viking Biking, Bridge Bike Block

3.16: 10m
3.21: 28m
First a late entry from 3.16: 10 miles, back and forth to Vanport the short way; nothing epic or sponge-worthy.

Today, though, was Viking Biking Day. I started on the North Side at the Bastille w/K. Rode around to the Roberto Clemente Bridge, a four-lane bridge which is going to close in April and re-open two weeks later as a two-lane, two-bike-lane bridge. Progress rolls forward.

Took the Smithfield Street Bridge, and the South Side Trail. Met at 18th Street Riverfront Park which I wish had a "real" name like: Yinzer Landing. There was a great turnout for Lucia's Viking Biking Ride and foodstuffs and cash were brought for a local foodbank. I think the folks were happy for what may be the First Group Ride of Spring.

The ride starts (as all Viking epics do) with the Tri-Circling of the Roundabout, then we took the Hot Metal Bridge into town. Stopped at Market Square; some folks made beer-or-coffee stops. Rode out the Penn Ave bike lane. Our group of 30-ish cyclists made a big presence on the bike lane.

Out to the Strip District, reversed at 22nd Street (ish), bike box, bike lane, Convention Center down to the river. Headed to the Point but we encountered a lot of mud which was remarkably slippy as they say here. (The trail was underwater a few days ago).

Photo by Joyce Wasser

After a brief respite at the Point we started crossing the Ft. Pitt Bridge. The Ft.Pitt Tunnel has a tube closed, and for some reason warning the Cars about a detour was worth closing the Ft.Pitt Bridge sidewalk.

This is so stupid. For one, think about a person on a wheelchair or a scooter that has to get halfway across the bridge to discover they need to backtrack; shouldn't they have signage advertising the blockage at either end?

Two, a well-designed sign could be in the space over the Jersey Barrier, or in the roadway. It's not like there isn't a reasonable anticipation of needing to place signs on the bridge in the future.

Some cyclists left the sign better than we found it. After-photo below.

Continued along the Ft. Pitt Bridge. Found the sidewalk blocked at the right turn into Station Square by a black Lexus just parked on the sidewalk. Considered calling the police. Turns out, sitting in the Lexus Back is a uniformed Pittsburgh Policeman, surfing his cellphone, apparently there to monitor Car traffic on Carson Street during the detour. Once again: block the sidewalk because CARS.

Used the SouthSide Trail back to the start. Bid farewell to the Viking cohort, who were arranging mead and building a fire to roast victuals. I'm sure that later in the day, Epic Tales of Conquest were shared.

Rode over to OTB for provisions, then back on the Jail Trail to the Bastille. An articulated PAT bus flirted with right-hooking me, but when I pulled up to the driver and asked what's up with that? they had nothing to say. Insert witticism about speechless driver, articulate(d) mega-bus here.

Really a nice Viking Biking ride. Best-Dressed Awards to Marko, Drew, and BarbaraJ.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

DK Bikes on the Ides of March

3.15.2015 13miles
Saw this very bikey billboard on Route 51 just northwest of Station Square:

It took me several scans before I recognized the components: that the DK on the left side is involved in the company name, that there's a bicyclist, that there's a ramp. These things take me a while. Today I learned that DK is the source of the General Lee BMX bike; I see a few of those around. I'm surprised that Pittsburgh is the place they've debuted their new billboard campaign; I'd have put the signs up closer to the Wheel Mill.

Started under the Birmingham Bridge around 2.15. Crossed the Hot Metal Bridge, rode the chute and climbed Junction Hollow. Halfway up the hill I passsed a young bearded man with a full-size scimitar fastened to his backpack. I said hello to him, he returned the greeting, seemed like an AFWAS (affable fellow with a scimitar).

Rode Ellworth out to Shadyside, met folks at Crazy Mocha which does not have one electrical outlet per square foot but might need it. Great coffee, great staff, good wifi.

Departed with Y. Rode to Squirrel Hill, bike-putzed for a bit, then Forbes to Schenley Park, and the Schenley Quad to Joncaire Street. Down Junction Hollow, Hot Metal Bridge. A very nice day.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Trimming the Nest

I've slowly developed an avionics bay that weighs a lot and takes up a lot of space. Not just the devices, but the chargers.

When I go on an overnight and need to recharge, I have these USB needs: cellphone, GPS, two cameras, a bulk storage battery, front Expilion headlight, front ORP blinky/horn. On a non-USB plug I have my DesignShine taillight. On the AA & AAA front, I have a Cateye 1100 taillight, a Cateye red/white helmet blinky, and a 4xAAA head lamp.

So I've purchased a 10-Port USB charger.

If nothing else, it'll prevent me from walking into coffeeshops with two powerstrips which is not a very cool-kid aesthetic, and it'll reduce the space requirements.

Errandonnee 2015 Complete

Fri 3/13/2015 16m
I am not triskaidekaphobic (although I am mindful that cyclist fatalities peak on Friday afternoon) and today was a great day to score some Errandonnee Challenge bike-type errands.

Errandonne 12, 5 miles: Rode to work. Today there are two bicycles outside. I think that qualifies as a movement. I am emotionally prepared for bikelash.

Departed work, and rode along the Ohio River because it's there. It's a beautiful spot, and people drop big money to ride along the Danube, so I stopped for a few Zen minutes. (Errandonee 13, 2 miles) It started to sprinkle rain

Crossed Beaver, Rochester, into Monaca and the Monaca library. Dropped off a book. (Errandonee 14, 3 miles)

By the library it was raining pretty steady. I was actually kind of glad fir it, I was a bit warm and the rain cooled things off. Wool jerseys absolutely rock.

I've completed my 2015 Errandonee Control Card.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

I need 47 Republican Senators to write the silver pickup driver a letter explaining things

3.12.2015 40m 250#
Today was blue skies, sunshine, and 50F and a wonderful day for riding a bike. I started with R under the Birmingham Bridge. We rode out along the South Side trail, and noticed the high water which had flooded a picnic shelter on the Mon.

We reversed at Costco. There were a lot of people out on the trail. Errandonnee-9: Went to Big Dog Coffee for a planning session and coffee/ iced tea. Artwork by Baron Batch on the walls. Errandonee 10: Social Call1.

We rode over to Thick Bikes. Errandonnee-11: bike shop. I had seen a a tremendously elegant front-rack bad on RF Glenn's blog and knew it had probably come from Thick so we rode over to eyeball it. I believe it's a Swift Industries Polaris Porteur Bag.

Also had the chance to preview the construction work at Thick. They're going to have living walls (like on the PNC Building). I really hope they have 2 or 3 couches and wifi; I need that at Thick. Possibly also a vending machine that sells water, gatorade, and chilled Starbux bottles.

Finally, it would be cool if the new second-story was just the base of the third-story open-air deck. Which should have a couch. And wifi.

Rode the Jail Trail, found this: Animals in Sweats.

I've needed to visit Y. Errandonee 12: Social Call2.
Met Y and M at the Point (which is partially underwater, that must be an interesting engineering challenge). I got there before they did, so I took a short bike nap. We rode down to Junction Hollow together. At the trailhead, we encountered a cyclist using a pool noodle as a reinforcement device for good passing habits:

Departed the trailhead using Swinburne Street and Second Ave, to the great consternation of a silver pickup with PA tags YWM-9956 who must not understand my right to exist. I may ask 47 Republican Senators to write him a nice note explaining things.

Rode via the Hot Metal Bridge, and SouthSide Trail. Y took this picture of a police car with a bike on the back because: #PoliceOnBikes! So very cool. I love to see police officers on bikes. Hidden easter egg: find the high-viz photobomber.

Continued across Station Square, took the Ft Pitt Bridge to the NorthSide (avoiding the flooded trail) and the Bastille. Y was interested in water fowl, and although I don't get all of it I was pleased to be able to identify red-necked ducks because. they. have. red. necks. There were a lot of people on the trails, I think it bodes well for 2015 cycling in Pittsburgh.

Back to the Ft. Duguesne bridge. Rode the Boulevard intending to turn right onto Smithfield Street, which does not have a westbound lane - only a westbound bus lane. We felt OK about that. At a cross-street while riding in the bus-only lane, we encountered two Pgh Police officers riding patrol on their bikes.

It's so excellent to see police officers out on bikes. My great enthusiasm was tempered by the realization that we might be about to get cited (or corrected) for riding in a bus-only lane. Fortunately, they rolled out behind us and joined our little bit of pragmatism for a block.

We took the lane on the Smithfield St Bridge and on East Carson Street. A very nice ride back to the 18th Street Park.

Coming out of the park in my car, with the bike on back, I was pleased to see Daria rocking a red enchanter and making it look easy. It was a very satisfying and complete Bike Day in Pgh.