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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Marshmallows and the Patina of Faux Legitimacy

03/07/12 32m 62F
32 miles on a sunny warm day, 62F on March 7th. Met my friend K and we started riding at the Bastille. We rode the Casino Trail, the Ft. Duquesne Bridge, and while crossing Point State Park we saw a row of kids building fires.

It seemed a very well behaved group and unlikely to be Anarchists (NTTAWWT) so we stopped and asked, and it was a high school Outdoors club on a field trip building campfires and cooking marshmallows. They were kind enough to give me a marshmallow, and so the ride started with an unexpected treat.

We took Blvd of the Allies down to Grant Street, and then worked our way across town to the co-location of the Civic Arena (the old hockey facility being demolished) and the Consol Energy Center (the new hockey center). There was quite a crowd there for the unveiling of a statue of Mario Lemieux. There were three or four news helicopters orbiting overhead, quite the event and an indication of how the region fetishizes professional sports.

If I understand correctly, what's really happening in this photo is they're associating the new building with historical acts that took place across the street (in the historic building they're demolishing) in an attempt to make the new building more credible and profitable. Then they'll develop the land under the legacy facility for fun and profit, and put a Nordstroms and loft spaces where the deeds were done. Get Me Rewrite!

From our position on the periphery of the crowd we couldn't see anything. Although the crowd had their back to it, I took a picture of the partially demolished Civic Arena (above). What an impressive mechanism the rotating and opening roof was, and how brutally indifferent the march of progress time is. Someone once said, 'the saddest three words ever written: that was then...'

We departed, joined the Jail Trail and the Hot Metal Bridge, and went to Southside to partake of the offerings at Big Dog Coffee. K got to talking hockey with owner Nikolay. I had a white-chocolate mocha (extra shot) and biscotti, K had a latte and a cookie, it was all excellent (as it seems to be every time there).

We departed, rode the new AEO-HBH (american eagle outfitter - hof brau haus trail) and rode north to Station Square, where we arrived pretty much on time to meet our friend B. coming off work.

B. has a beautiful aluminum Trek 7.3, a very nice bike, and he wasn't familiar with the downtown trails so we took off exploring. Down to the South Side, saw a Pittsburgh Bicycle Policeman (very very cool). We tooled around South Side Works and the Steelers' training field, the Hot Metal Bridge and the Jail Trail.

As we rode the joint-use-sidewalk between the Jail Trail and the Smithfield Street Bridge we encountered a bicyclist with Donkey Boxx panniers on her bike, very cool. Went to Point State Park (the marshmallow folks were gone), the Strip Trail, under the Convention Center (the fountains were off, unfortunately) and then out to the 31st Street Bridge.

Across the Allegheny River, and came back in via the Northside trail. We encountered quite a gaggle of kids, I think that maybe a high school class was out talking a walk on the trail.

We rode past the Heinz plant to the Stadia, and the Ft. Duquesne and the Ft. Pitt bridges back to Station Square. That's one of my favorite bike routes in the cities, going from the North Side to Point State Park to StationSquare in (probably) eight minutes, you can't do it that quickly in a car.

The trails were somewhat congested later in the ride, so we got a bit of use out of our bells requesting to pass. We rode 32 miles and it was a very nice day for it.

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