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A bike / map geek with a gadget obsession and a high-viz fetish. by Vannevar Bush       about       /       murals       /       Pgh-DC bike maps new

Friday, July 8, 2011

Friday: North Side to McKeesport

7/8/11 #223 42miles

I rode 42 miles today. Originally I had planned on riding with a few friends at 1pm, but the Weather Genie thought otherwise and it was quite rainy and we cancelled. At 2:30 I checked weather.com (which just rocks) and it promised no rain after 3pm, so I bailed out of work and ended up at the Penitentiary at 4pm.

As I began to ride I saw a road-safety crew on the trail; their company was working overhead on a train trestle and I guess they were there to ensure the safety of trailriders. They were outfitted in an array of flourescent high-viz clothing so I stopped and asked if they knew where I could get some green leggings, the gaiter-things that sign-men wear on their calves. I think these leggings might be very good for a bicyclist in low-light and I want to try them out. I've been interested in glomming acquiring a pair for a few months and I haven't been able to accomplish it yet.

The man in the truck told me they didn't use the leggings, but recommended I visit Abe's of Southside, which just sounded too cool and so I adjusted my route to ride down Carson Street. Abe's didn't have them but suggested I try the Grainger catalog.

The ride down Carson Street was cool. A lot of traffic and distractions but no problems, and I rejoined the trail at SouthSideWorks (SSW). I rode the Baldwin Borough trail to its terminus near the Greenfield Bridge.

< Uninformed Speculation > You can see where the new trail connecting the Baldwin Trail and the Sandcastle parking lot is going to go. It looks like it will parallel the railroad tracks, but it won't be adjacent to the tracks where the well-worn footpath is now. It will be on top of an earthen ramp, sort of like the top of a levee, on the river side of the legacy stone abutment.< / Uninformed Speculation >

I continued through the Sandcastle parking lot and decided to ride down to McKeesport. I rode through the Waterfront Trail, on the sidewalk around the factory, and then along the new Steel Valley Trail below Kennywood. The trail continued through Duquesne and across the magnificent Riverton Bridge.

The rain was gone and the weather was beautiful. This was a day that improved as time passed.

On the way back, it struck me that I'd was positioned to duplicate the route that many people will take when riding into Pittsburgh from the Great Allegheny Passage, so I used my phone to record the ride route from McKeesport to Point State Park, the "three rivers" in Pittsurgh. This is not the official route, but it did get me from McKeesport to the Point without riding on any roads.

From the Point I rode east along the Strip Trail, crossed the Allegheny on the 31st Bridge, and rode back to the stadia (evening Pirates game!) and to the Penitentiary. I got off the trail when the sun was just above the horizon.

The ride felt real good, and I was happy to be able to salvage some riding from a day that had a lot of rain in the afternoon.

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