Type 2 Diabetic. Bike tour guide. #NextBurgh Flâneur.   Coffeeneur.    Errandoneur
A bike / map geek with a gadget obsession and a high-viz fetish. by Vannevar Bush       about       /       murals       /       Pgh-DC bike maps new

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Blawnox Coffeeneuring, the Map-Territory Relation, Leet and Skywriters

10/25/11 #235 34miles
This was meant to be a "coffeeneuring" ride, which is a planned ride to an indy coffee shop at a civilized pace. Started at the Manchester Bastille and rode to Blawnox (coffee!), continued along the Allegheny to the Oakmont bridge, and then came back along the south side of the Allegheny River. 34 miles on a beautiful day.

It was a beautiful day for a ride. Started at the Manchester Bastille (Western Penitentiary) and rode on the trail past the Casino and the Stadia, and continued along the right bank of the Allegheny to the 31st Street Bridge.

Rode Penn Ave to Butler Street, and continued along the left bank to the Highland Park Bridge, where I crossed the river again northbound. Took Freedom Road through Blawnox, very nice town. The rail line goes elevated through a part of the town, it makes me think of a High Line type of development on the unused side of the trestles.

Stopped at my first planned destination, Curbside Coffeehouse (map). I was very pleased - the latte was as ordered, the pomegranate-cranberry biscotti was excellent (there are no more single flavor biscotti, anywhere - I can't tell if it's an affectation or just a provision for a retro movement). The place is non-ironic kitschy. Wifi, lots of seating, an excellent coffee shop. I would definitely stop there again.

I sat outside in the sun eating biscotti and contemplating that life is good. I had never been so far east along the Allegheny on the bike before, and so I had planned to make a second stop at Just My Cup of Tea in Oakmont. They were not open, a few gentlemen enjoying stogies in the nearby Cigar and Gun shop (how's that for a niche?) explained they might only be open for catered events. That was not a disappointment, though, because (1) I'd already had caffeine and (2) it reminded me that one of the pleasures of riding a bike is continually relearning Alfred Korzybski's distinction: the map is not the territory. The 2.0 interpretation is, The Google-Map is Not the territory, either. Part of the adventure of riding to a new town is discovering the Real instead of the Promised.

After pointing the bike back to Pittsburgh I did come across the Oakmont Bakery, which may be the objective of another ride.

As I was riding west on Allegheny River Boulevard near the Zoo (and the car drivers were all very courteous) I saw an aircraft skywriting. It looked quite high for skywriting, and as well as I could make out the text was "H H 6 F" (or, if I was reading it upside down, E 9 H H, who knows?) and I spent the next few miles considering the implications of Leet upon GenNext skywriters. Would the target market be more likely to respond to (0993R70N3 than COPPERTONE?


The ride back to the point was excellent and a good workout. I realized why I enjoy riding east along Butler Street; it's a bit of a descent, which made today's ride a mild climb.

I joined the Strip Trail at the Cork Factory on 24th Street and rode to the Point.

As I got closer to the point I could see a helicopter manuevering to film the movie "One Shot", usually people downtown don't get to see anything like the full range of a helicopter's capabilities - the Stat folks keep it pretty straight-and-level - and I wonder if the photo-helo generated any 911 calls today.

I closed the ride taking the Fort Duquesne Bridge and the Casino Trail back to the Bastille. It was a very nice ride.

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