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 4, 2011

Love Bikes, Perk Me Up Coffee, and Sagging Droopy Bras

10/04/11 #232 22miles 60F
Beautiful day for a ride. Rained through the morning so I chose to ride in the city (paved trails) starting at the Bastille at around 1pm. As I was prepping the bike I noticed that I've acquired a bump, a small metal protuberance on the rear wheel (non-drive side) along the side of the rim that the brake pads engage.

As I rode past the Stadia I saw a few new bike racks in place, and one of them held six Police bikes, which was cool. I passed two police officers on bikes, and while on the road you might be reluctant to pass a police car, on the trail it's no biggy. I continued out on the trail to the 31st Street Bridge, then Penn Ave and Butler Street. I saw this sign on Butler Street and it piqued my interest:

Since I had a rough spot on my rear wheel I turned into the sidestreet and rode up the hill looking for a bike shop, but didn't see one so I reversed and went downhill. On the downhill pass I spotted Love Bikes in the alley behind Butler Street.

It was a very clean, well-lit, and orderly shop, not at all what you'd expect from an alleyway doorfront. I love that it isn't a bike-store with an assembly area (ie, Performance Bikes) but rather it's a bike shop which will also order and finish your new bike, there's a world of difference between the two - Performance exists to sell new bikes, and it seems like Love Bikes exists to help you with the bike you've got, and also to sell you a new one if you need it.

XXXX looked at the rear wheel, took the bike into the shop and sanded the rim to smoothness, and then told me to consider it gratis. I was just happy that he interrupted his work to take a look at a walk-in question, I was impressed. So, chapeau Love Bikes.

I got back onto Butler Street to continue my ongoing review of indy coffee shops, looking for Perk Me Up Coffee at 4407 Butler Street, Pittsburgh 15201, 412.682.1520. I had missed this shop the other day and wanted to try it out.

I has their coffee-au-lait which was great, service good, price good. The atmosphere was interesting and consistent with the age of the building. Whereas nearby Espresso A Mano is more trendy/gentrified/hipster, I'd say that Perk Me Up is more authentic/old-school/blue collar.

I finished my coffee at the curbside seating, then rode west to 24th Street and took the Strip Trail to the Point, the Mon Whorf trail, the Jail Trail (with the new Bates Street bridge), and the Hot Metal Bridge, which is still adorned with 4000 brassieres blowing in the wind.

The bras had been out in the rain, the wind, and the cold temperatures for several days and I noticed an interesting change: they'd become worn, mottled, and as the rope they were suspended from started stretching due to the wind and rain, it seems as if they're bunching together, drooping, and - it must be said - sagging.

Rode the SouthSide Trail, the Ft. Pitt and Ft. Duquesne bridges, and the Casino Trail back to the car ThatWasStillThere. It was a great ride.

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