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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Bicycling Pittsburgh's Quantum Gap

06/06/12 244# 45m
Pittsburgh has a bike trail called the Great Allegheny Passage. In fact, America has a bike trail called the Great Allegheny Passage, but we're rather parochial here and we like to think it's all about us, that they've built the trail because all those people in Virginia want to ride their bikes to Pittsburgh n'at.

This year's non-trivial puzzle is: can you depart Pittsburgh via the GAP? Can you enter and get to Point State Park via the GAP? Remarkably, the answer is simultaneously both Yes and No.

You can't ride in or out of Pittsburgh via the GAP because the GAP is incomplete; ask any Authority, or anybody wearing a YJA. At the same time, you can easily ride in and out of Pittsburgh via the GAP, and every day dozens of riders use the same route for local travel.

It all depends on the Observer's perspective. If you want a legally valid answer, then you cannot enter or depart Pittsburgh via the GAP. If you want a pragmatic answer, you can enter or depart via the GAP as many times as you'd like.

In preparation for an upcoming adventure, today K and I started riding at the Bastille and then pre-rode our route from Point State Park to the Durabond Bypass. We had a very nice ride and I got a great workout out of it.

As we stopped at the Durabond plant, a passing cyclist stopped to inquire as to whether we needed help or directions, which was very kind of him. He spent a minute in conversation with us, then joined us on the return leg and that is how we got to ride with trail guru and bike advocate Yale C. I have read his words many times but it was a real treat to meet him and get to ride with him.

We returned via a slightly different route, demonstrating that there are multiple paths in the duality. It was a great day for a bike ride, and at times the map looked like this (other times, it didn't)

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