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

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Bici101 Pittsburgh on Cinco de Mayo

5.5.15 12m

Today is May 5th, time for the first annual Flock412! Cinco de Mayo bike ride. The forecast called for rain but we were fortunate to have a dry ride. We started in Oakland at Dippy, where Lucia introduced Bici 101, a Spanish-language guide to bicycling in Pittsburgh. This is kind of exciting, there hasn't been such a thing before. It's produced in collaboration with FreeRide and BikePgh.



We started with a dozen riders, a few joined enroute and a few dropped off enroute. Great bunch. One young cyclist, 3-year-old Rowan, was awesome and was giving Exploding-Fist-Bump lessons.


We rode through the Armstrong Tunnels, which was great. I wish I had a video of that, because the soundtrack played so well in the tunnel but my cameras didn't record everything I thought they would. This is an example of the sound track and another photo of R.



Excellent ride, and I really like the Bici101 brochure.

Monday, May 4, 2015

I rode everywhere, man

5.4.2015 31m
Started on the North Side in the afternoon with a few casual hours before a meeting. Rode through PNC's Picnic Park as I'm told it's referred to.

Rode to Market Square, and out the Penn Ave bike lane. Saw this new art by Jeremy Ramer at 35th and Charlotte:


Climbed up through the Allegheny Cemetery. It was a bit warm so I used the cemetery water spout at the top of the hill to pour cold, cold water on my feet which was very pleasant.

Another intersection to avoid bicycling to, based on the roadway names: FairMount and HillCrest. Life-sucking climb.

One destination was the EastField Little Free Library, 5543 Black Street. Dropped off Quest for the Middle East: Gertrude Bell and the Making of Modern Iraq. This is possibly the best-est Little Free Library in Pittsburgh.



Surprised to encounter Tibetan Prayer Flags at North Beatty and Snively Way:


Stopped at Taza D'Oro which was excellent as always. Needed to go to Hot Metal Bridge, road via
Highland, Ellsworth, and Neville which was almost too perfect.

Crossed the bridge, checked out the newly developing marina at South Side Works. I hope the Marina broadcasts WiFi.


Rode over to Thick Bikes. They are so sophisticated, they had the bike I'm drooling over (Surly ECR) on display when I rode up. How do they do that?


Needed to make a meeting in Hazelwood, found myself at Swinburne and Second needing to go outbound on Second during rush hour. I've heard that's a problematic transition but everybody was extremely courteous this time, no problem at all.

After my Hazelwood meeting, rode north and met Mikael, who accompanied me to the NorthSide. It started raining at the Science Center, and he reversed to get back to base.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Artisanal Trail Mullet: Derailleur Cafe & Bike Shop on Butler-Freeport Trail

5.2.15: 6miles
5.3.16: 30miles
Needed to run an errand at Waterworks Mall, so made it an opportunity to ride the Butler-Freeport Trail which I haven't been on for about 18 months.



On the northbound leg I saw a cyclist pulling one of these, I haven't seen one before-



About four miles south of the Butler terminus, stopped at the Derailleur Bike Shop and Cafe. Pretty neat place. Fancy coffees and wonderful grill cheese with sun-dried tomatoes that would qualify as artisanal if this place were haughty, but it's not. I hope they do well.


Cafe in the front, bike shop in the back: it's the new trail mullet.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Maturity, Micturition, and Motor Vehicles

4.29.2015 23m
Started riding at Western Penitentiary. Noticed a bit of newly poured concrete at the trailhead. I think: it can't be a BikeShare Terminal (can it?) but any new stuff is very exciting.




Rolling down Blvd of the Allies, came up behind a very nice, heavy duty Dodge pickup truck with this sticker on the rear window of the cab:



Who would spend money on such a thing, you might ask. Well, the person with PA license plate YVR4318 might:


I am inclined to say, this is an indication of somebody who's probably not going to share the road very nicely.

Teh interwebz indicates this is a representation of Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes; that the stickers are bootleg and unauthorized; and that not too much is done about it.

This seems to be a business providing this sort of product.

Met Y. Rode out to Marcigaliagaglie Metals, saw where a car had recently driven off the road, across the trail, and over the cliff. Yikes.

Returned, stopped at Josephine Street at Barry Street where there's a Little Free Library. Dropped off a book, A Peace to End All Peace.


Back to the river, onto the trail using the restored trail access at the city-side of SouthSideWorks (which I wish somebody would acronymize as SSWX). Smithfield St. Bridge, Ft. Duquense Bridge, back to the car that was still there.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Beer Run

4.25.2015 20m
Today (for the first time ever) I was fortunate to attend the East End Brewing Company (EEBC)Keg Ride as a marshall. Each spring for the last ELEVEN YEARS, East End Brewing has delivered their first spring kegs via bicycle, in a very popular event that raises money for local charities.

Departed the SouthSide Riverfront Park with R at 0715 in the snow. Tempted to feel Rule9 about that, except it pales in contrast to those racing the Crush The Commonwealth today and so: shut up, self!

Rode to breakfast at Ritters, then out to the starting point at EEBC.

The destination is a closely-held secret, and before the briefing the volunteer marshalls signed a non-dislosure agreement which includes a $500 penalty. Ouch.


This is an extremely well-run and popular event. There was a band at the muster point, pastries for sale, free coffee - lots of goodness. The ride begins with the kegs at the fore:


During the last year, EEBC achieved a license to sell pints at their own brewery/warehouse so the secret destination was: Back to EEBC!

The marshalls were all assigned 3 or 4 intersections to attend to. I got to work with TedZ, which was awesome. We got to our first point, than dashed to our second point. During the marshall repositions you'd see pairs of marshalls criss-crossing the route, hustling to their next intersection. That was very cool.

About a block from our third and final intersection, I flatted the rear tire. No problem. Except that in the morning rush, I did not bring my toolkit, tubes, levers, etc. JonS gave me a tube, that was so much appreciated! Thanks Jonathon!

So many people riding by offered tubes and help, that was really nice. The police officer riding a motorcycle looked at my face, streaked with dirt from the tire, and twisted his rear-view mirror around so I could see myself. Nice guy.

With the splinter of rock found and extricated, and a new tube in place we rode to the post-ride celebration.

Something I enjoy is checking out all the bikes. Before the ride, I saw Doria and she was wearing a kickstarter head's up display on her sunglasses and let me check them out; extremely cool stuff. Checking out the parked bikes I saw one with a secondary rear rack, turns out it's a skateboard mount, very cool:


A very copacetic, bike-beer atmosphere. Later R and I rode back to the southside. Another great day of Pittsburgh cycling.



Sunday, April 19, 2015

Penetrating Pittsburgh

4.18.2015 #247 66m
Woke up, went into town for breakfast at Village Dairy. Very good, reasonably priced.

Departing the Connellsville Adirondack-shelter site, I saw two snakes ahead crossing the trail. I turned to pass behind the first but the second one reared up, opened it's mouth, and hissed at me in a very non-copacetic manner.



Took some daytime video of the trail hazards (to prevent cars/quads from using the trail) on the east side of Connellsville. This is crazy. It doesn't meet any normal standards for bollards, and puts cyclists at risk.



Stopped at River's Edge (which is also the name of a restaurant/BnB in Confluence) KOA campground to use their showers. Riding in I was thinking: I never paid for a showewr ala-carte before - what should I be willing to pay for a shower? $20 would be too much; $10 seemed too high. But I was stanky. Their price - $5 - was a Goldilocks number.

Rode into West Newton, took the lane across the bridge (the sidewalk is way problematic) and went into Gary's Chuck Wagon for lunch. Really an excellent place.


When people approach Pittsburgh for the first time, coming inbound on the GAP, their first indication that they're in a city rather than another small town is the first skyscraper they see - which is the Cathedral Of Learning, the tallest educational building in the western hemisphere.

I think it's awesome that the Cathedral of Learning is the city's first impression to GAP-arrivals, and there should probably be a small sign explaining what that tall building is.

Coming into town was like a reunion. Saw Jon, Dean, Chrissy, talked with a cyclist named Marcus who wanted to chat GAP, then coming through SouthSide I had the great treat of seeing Kordite in full regalia coming back from a downtown Con.

This is a terrible branding exercise for people who sound out words (wiki)


I am not among those who fetishize sports entertainment, but I try not to judge too harshly and I was impressed at this party bus used for transport to Pirates games:


When I got home I weighed my bags at 77 pounds. I intend to go through my stuff, and anything I didn't use on this 5-day trip is going to face a hard review.

Friday, April 17, 2015

48ish hours in Confluence

4.16-7.2014


This was a rainy day in the area and I decided to stay at Homeplate. Had breakfast at Sister's Cafe, learned that Saturday is the opening of trout season and that's a big deal in Confluence. Hung around and surfed the wifi for a while.

Sat in the town square gazebo and read a book. Went back into the Outflow Campground as rain was approaching, and moved my tent underneath a picnic shelter. I don't think that's consistent with their rules, but it seemed pragmatic and it worked.


In a spot between the rain, I rode to the adjacent Outflow Restaurant for a cheeseburger and soft-serve. Very good.


It rained intermittently all night, and I was glad for the shelter's roof. No need to soak the tent. During the night, there was a mechanical vibrating and creaking coming out of the damworks, and then the water flow ceased. It was a big change in what I'd accepted as the local white noise.

Woke up, packed up, had breakfast at Sister's (again). Same experience: good food, slightly pricey, good service. Finished my book in the gazebo.

Riding from Connellsvile into Ohiopyle, saw the newest bit of infra sponsorship:


Rode into Connellsville around 7pm. There was a private rollout party at New Haven Frozen Yogurt, right on the trail at the bike shop on the main drag. Looks like a great place.

Went to NY Pizza and had: soup, fried pickles, and a small pizza. Very good. Family at the next table invited me over for breakfast the next morning. After a day alone, the conversation was welcome.

Set up camp at the Adirondack shelters. Met two young cyclists riding east, they offered me a beer. Nice guys.

Quiet as could be in the campground, and a great night's sleep.