|02/15/12 #233 27m 39F 2h24m|
It's Pittsburgh on a somewhat blue-gray cloudy February day and I found myself wanting something different in today's route, since of modicum of diversion keeps ennui at bay (which is a funny thing for a monagamist to say).
I started at the Bastille, rode around the stadia and took River Avenue to the 31st Street Bridge, then broke new ground to the amazement of the watching throng by riding Penn Avenue and not turning onto Butler Street.
Penn Avenue was a great ride, a nice gentle climb and before too long I was rewarded with an unexpected mural at 3613 Penn Ave, Thoughts On a Blue Sky, Sept. 2009, by John Pena and Brian Brown:
I continued along Penn until I reached the "new" Children's Hospital, and poked around until I found the second mural of the day at 4202 Penn Ave, Lawrenceville, Fabric of the Commmunity, Sept. 2004 by Jackie Kresak:
Having bagged two murals, I reached my limit for the day, and any future mural sightings would be saved for future documentation.
I continued east along Penn into Bloomfield-Garfield, which I'd never been in and I have to say WOW, how come I didn't know about this? Totally awesome, and I finally got to see Kraynick's bike shop. I saw at least three murals in Garfield, including one which I believe is by Shepard Fairey, and an intriguing coffee shop (Voluto Coffee) which I'll need to check out on my next visit.
My sketchy plan was to penetrate on Penn until such a point that I might hit Squirrel Hill, because I wanted to ride Greenfield down to Second - I'd just bumped into that street a few weeks ago and thought it would be a nice ride.
I turned right on South Negley, and when S. Negley crossed Fifth I encountered once again the Hill That Makes Me Want To Cry. Once again, I am chagrined to say, I did not ride all the way up, and needed to dismount and walk. It is a poor artisan who blames his tools, and I am not blaming my Granny gear for her insufficiency, but that hill kicked my ass - to the point at which when I reached the summit (and it can only be called a summit, or perhaps a peak) a city fire truck driving by stopped to see if I was OK (which was extraordinarily kind of them).
I rode into Squirrel Hill and along Murray Avenue, which is a high-distraction, target rich environment and unfortunately, I'm one of the targets. I did notice a bike policeman at Murray and Forbes.
Crossed the Parkway and took Lilac Street to Greenfield and it was a very pleasant descent, I did see one more mural in Greenfield which I'll have to return for another day. This was the route across town:
At the bottom of Greenfield I took the Jail Trail and the Hot Metal Bridge, rode out to Keystone Metals and back, and rode north along the SouthSide Trail.
At times I feel like an inobservant clod. Last week, for the first time I noticed a dog park at the Southside Riverfront Park. It doesn't look new, and I'm through there pretty regularly, but I never noticed it until I saw some people working through the double-gate.
Today, after I rode the Ft. Pitt bridge and was descending into Point State Park, I noticed that the American flag being flown was decidedly non-standard, possibly 13 stars I'm not sure. If it's been that way forever and I've just noticed it I'm going to feel very stoopid.
Across the Ft. Duquesne bridge, back to the Bastille, and the car was still there and it started (always nice). A great ride today in 39F. My chain is skipping, jumping, and dropping under load pretty frequently, it's time for a drive train overhaul. Fortunately, when I came home the nice people from UPS had delivered by new 20-tooth, 5-bolt, 58bcd small chainring, and now the overhaul can begin.