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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

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Manchester Bastille, SouthSide Nadine's, Squirrel Hill Bike Porn

8/24/11 #224 31m

Rode 31 miles. We rendezvoused at the Manchester Bastille at 0800 (Western Penitentiary) under threatening skies. We wrestled briefly with the wisdom of beginning a ride when it seemed quite certain that a soaking was very likely, but we'd already gotten out with our gear and all, so with a certain foreboding we started off.



We rode around the stadia out to the 31st Street Bridge, then crossed the Allegheny and used the Strip Trail back to the Point. By that time we were getting rained on, so we tried to expedite reaching our planned breakfast stop at Nadine's on the SouthSide.

We took the Mon Whorf trail to the Smithfield Street Bridge, then the SouthSide Trail to REI. Our breakfast destination was on the same street as REI, but just on the other side of Carson Street. We pulled into Nadine's and were happy to get out of the rain. We had made a pretty fast run to get there.

Nadine's came highly recommended, and it's an interested place: a family run, shot-and-beer bar, with a few tables around the perimeter and a big grill behind the bar. Yes, you can get a drink with your breakfast, or you can break fast with your drink, depending on your sense of priorities. It's kind of cool to be in a bar at 0900.

I had a Western Omelette, K had a Mixed Grill, M had a Egg-English-Muffin, and it was all very good (especially since it was raining outside). The clientele seems more regulars than itinerants, but they were quite welcoming to a few outsiders dressed in lycra, high-viz jackets, and helmets.

It was a great meal that was also high-value, I think we each spent about $7 on breakfast. I recommend Nadine's (same street as Southside REI) highly as a breakfast bike stop, with one caveat: it is a smoking establishment.

We had a second cup of coffee and went outside to great our meteorological fate, only to learn that the rain had passed over and it was a pleasant cool, windy morning.

We rode across the Hot Metal Bridge, up Junction Hollow, along Fifth, Shady, and Forbes to stop at ProBikes in Squirrel Hill to indulge in the bike porn. Man they had some beautiful bikes. I was particularly smitten with a 29 inch mountain bike, I think they'd make a great snow bike.

I was very impressed at a folding bike made by Giant called the Clip; it's a tremendously clever design. Several very cool design features: a bipod kickstand that descends out of the seat tube, folding pedals, a hand-grasp loop built into the frame (some reviews find the loop too small to be useful), and an assymetrical front fork - sort of like Cannondale's "Lefty", but this single-part fork is on the right side.



In my small experience (I've had a Dahon folder), the problem with folding bikes is that while they do fold, they're not bikes you'd want to ride 50 miles on - and they're generally not intended for that.




We came out of ProBikes and proceeded via Forbes and Braddock (and Hutchinson and Lancaster) into Frick Park. I descended into Frick too fast, and for a moment the bike was ahead of me instead of me being ahead of the bike. We rode Nine Mile Run Trail, followed by the Duck Hollow Trail and a portage across a few railroad tracks to Second Avenue. That took us to the Jail Trail, we got to ride along with some Green Gears Pittsburgh pedicabs for a few blocks, and then we crossed the Ft. Duquesne bridge to the Manchester Bastille and our waiting cars.

I am really glad we didn't cancel at the obvious approaching rain. Lessons learned:
  • attempt to find a great eating establishment to hole up in while the weather passes by
  • don't descend into Frick Park going very fast
  • don't have a pedal-strike on the pavement at the hairpin-turn at Swinburne Street on the Jail Trail


Hopefully, whatever doesn't kill me will make me smarter - although I am loath to quote Neitzsche. (thanks M!)




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