Type 2 Diabetic. Bike tour guide. #NextBurgh Flâneur.   Coffeeneur.    Errandoneur
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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Coffeeneuring Ride: Big Dog Coffee, Southside

01/24/12 #232 30m
Rode 30miles in 38F today, a marked difference from yesterday's ride but still a great opportunity. Started on Neville Island right under I-79 at the Fairfield-Marriott, rode south along Neville Island and into McKees Rocks.

Tragically earlier today in McKees Rocks the body of a young man was found, shot in the head. Two days in a row, bodies found along my bike route. That trend needs to stop, people.

From McKees Rocks south on 51 to the West End, then Carson Street to the Station Square trail. Continued south on the trail to Southside works, took a right on the street that REI is on, and continued west of Carson Street.

What I love about "west of Carson Street" is that while there may be some gentrification, it's an authentic Pittsburgh neighborhood rather than a generic aspirational-upscale retail facility (AURF) where you can't tell what town you're in.

My path took me just beyond the world-famous Nadine's, which I love but that's more of a breakfast stop for me. Herself was outside and waved as I rode past. Took a left on Sarah and found myself at my coffeeneuring destination, Big Dog Coffee at 2717 Sarah Street.

The location was bike friendly, two Three Rivers bike racks out front - and something I hadn't seen before, a cleat for securing dog leashes, very nice. There's an outside seating area but it wasn't getting much use today.

The interior is really very nice - roomy, high ceilings, well lit. Much more of a residential vibe than, for instance, Espresso a Mano. Wifi, pastries, pleasant staff, great bagels. Big Dog Coffee is now my favorite Southside Works coffee shop.

They're very serious about coffee, as they probably should be. The queue at the counter moves quickly. I really like the layout of rooms.

I left Big Dog Coffee (resolved to stop again and again) and joined the trail at the Hot Metal Bridge, and rode south to Keystone Metals. I really hope that some path through Sandcastle is available this year, even if it's just the new dirt trail by Keystone and a jaunt through the SC parking lot. It makes me think of the old world maps that had monsters and typhoons on the margins, except that on the Pittsburgh trail system the impassable maelstrom is pretty centralized.

Turned north into a strong headwind, which I hadn't really noticed as a tailwind on the first leg. North to Station Square, north on 51. There's a lane restriction where 51 goes down to a single lane south of the McKees Rocks Bridge, but it's only fifty yards and it wasn't a significant issue.

I wore a lightweight wool layer today and ended up a little bit cold in the torso, and that's not necessarily a bad thing; it's better than overheating.

Rode through the Rox and Neville Island, and stopped at I79 in the hotel parking lot. 30 miles on the computer and 38 on the (virtual) thermometer. Longest ride of the year to date (LROTY).

Today's ride also puts me at an average of 10 miles/day for January, which is pretty cool.

After the ride I stretched the comfort zone and washed my bicycle. It actually looks very nice when it's all clean and you can see the details rather than the accrued crud.


  1. This may sound like a silly question, but I think about it a lot, and don't have a good answer: when you stop for coffee, what do you do with your stuff? Helmet, bag, whatever else may be attached to the bike? Take it with you? Leave it attached and watch it? Leave it attached and hope for the best?

  2. It's a very good question. When I stop for coffee I park my bike where it can be seen from within, and I leave the stuff (helmet, gloves, jacket) draped on the bike. I lock the bike. So far, no problems and I hope it continues; I try not to be about stuff, but I would grieve the loss of this bike. Cheers, V.