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

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Commonplace Coffee and the search for the Duck Hollow to Rankin Bridge Trail

11/20/11 37m 58F
Rode 37miles around Pittsburgh, trails and roads. Started at the Bastille, rode the Casino Trail around to the 31st Street Bridge, took Butler Street east past the Zoo and turned south on Washington Blvd. No indication of the promised flood gates yet.

Stopped at Bakery Square to visit the Performance Bike store and bought two pair of SmartWool socks, then continued south to Squirrel Hill. Stopped at ProBike to get a mirror but they were out of them. Set out for the well-recommended 61C in search of an indy coffee shop for a coffeenuering interlude, but saw Commonplace Coffeehouse first at 5827 Forbes and stopped there.

This was a fantastic coffee stop. I asked for a large Rwandan #11 coffee, which was described as having "hints of butterscotch". While I was waiting for my coffee a barista handed me a demitasse cup with a half-shot of espresso, and said "Here, try the same coffee as a shot of espresso, it gives you a more balanced sense of the bean". He had me at "here".

The coffee was excellent, and the white chocolate - macadamia nut biscotti was wonderful and complied with the 2011 trend of multiple flavor biscotti. There were a lot of chairs and a lot of wifi going on, they seen to have a system of inviting people to share your table, but the emphasis is not on decor — these people are about coffee. I will stop there again.

Back on the bike, took Forbes east and hit 32 mph while descending toward Frick Park. Took Nine Mile Run trail down to the river, and turned left (east) in an attempt to find the trail that runs between Duck Hollow and the Rankin Bridge. This is the Google-Map depiction of that trail:

I think I was not doing it right, because what I found was a somewhat muddy, primitive trail along the railroad tracks. After a few minutes I reversed course, as shown here:

I took the Duck Hollow Trail to Hazelwood, waited a few minutes for a train to pass, then took Second Avenue to the south terminus of the Jail Trail.

I rode the Jail Trail to the Hot Metal Bridge, stopped at REI (third bike shop of the day, a personal record; noticed that all three were running significant sales, each was running Black Friday a few days early). Took a picture of my bicycle along with the non-denominational Festivus Tree.

Rode south along the Baldwin Borough Trail, noticed that the construction project at the American Water plant seems to be wrapping up. Reversed and rode north to Station Square, crossed the Ft. Pitt bridge while admiring the (unlit?) Point State Park tree. I had planned on riding the Strip District trail but the hour was late and there were hints of rainfall, so I cut the route short and crossed the Ft. Duquesne bridge. Which was good, because it was raining pretty steady by the time I got to my car at the Bastille.

Nov. 20th, and I was riding in shorts and a UnderArmour ColdGear jersey. Although the weather looked ugly, it was really a very nice day for a bike ride.

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