Departed the res' at 0900 for an 1130 lunch date with Z in Cranberry. I rode over there in about two hours. Went out for Chinese food, we had two different kinds of dim sum including soup dumplings (which I'd never seen before and predictably made a mess with), and we also had szechuan green beans — it was all very refreshing and tasty, quite excellent. After lunch we stopped at Crazy Mocha for Monkey Mochas, chocolate espresso's with a hint of banana syrup, also very cool.
Z rode out with me to the edge of the housing development, I thought that was very nice. I departed for Bradford Woods. Google Maps does a good job of bike directions through Cranberry, mostly RobinHood and the industrial park (both very bike friendly). It did rain a bit on this segment, which alternated between pretty blue sky and the sort of haze-gray that the Navy paints surface ships. As I rode around in unfamiliar places, straining to hear my nav directions, I could see (hear?) the usefulness of a BlueTooth earpiece for the turn-by-turn directions.
Discovered Bradford Woods and this excellent mural by August Vernon at 825 Oak Street:
This mural fits so naturally into the setting that it's a sign of great mastery. It's really an awesome thing to see. Also, on the corner of this property there's a mason jar of dog treats for people passing by, walking their dogs; very nice.
The artist explains there's a visual effect; if you keep your eyes generally focused on the open area of the bridge while moving laterally across the street, the bridge seems to move with you.
Departed Bradford Woods. Consulted with the Google-Map and put my trust in the gizmo, temporarily suspending my personal hueristic of avoiding roads that are called "State Game Land Road". It worked out well. Eventually I busted out onto the Red Belt and known territory on my way to my next stop, Ambridge.
Along the way I saw this mural-of-opportunity at 706 Ambridge Avenue, and it's the sort of thing that makes you stop and take a picture even though it's raining out:
Back on the bike and over to Ambridge Bike Shop, Pittsburgh's best Local Bike Shop. Picked up two spare tubes and back on my way. This third leg coincided with the afternoon rush hour but everybody was very courteous and it was a great ride. I think that when you're out in the rain, drivers tend to think you're crazy and they tend to give you a bit more room; nobody wants to mess with teh crazy man.
What a great ride. A visit with an old friend, interesting food, a new neighborhood and a new mural, an excuse to visit my LBS, and 56 miles. It's all good.