As often happens, the 0800 weather was very cold, about 35F, so I was wool'd up: wool sweater, winter gloves, long overpants, jackets, etc.
I rode from the Pitt campus down to the Hot Metal Bridge, a quick stop at Big Dog Coffee, back to the Jail Trail and up to the Point where I saw my first ersatz Christmas Tree of 2012 in Point State Park:
Took the Ft. Duquesne Bridge across to the North Side, and it was so great to be riding a bike again. That's what it is for me, I just love riding a bike. I rode east along the Allegheny River to the 40th Street Bridge, and then using the bridge to cross the river, and via 40th Street up to Penn Avenue.
When I got up to Penn Avenue, I molted off several layers, and it was much more comfortable wearing short pants, a jersey and a windbreaker with the pit-zips opened up.
Into town on Penn, and then approaching the Convention Center I saw buses and crowds and color guards and people in uniforms and realized I had come upon the origination point of the Veteran's Day parade, just before it started; a perfect opportunity to crash the route.
I have never done it before, but I have read about route crashing - mostly in the context of marathons, but also in terms of parade routes. The Boston Marathon is the most known case; the night before the Boston Marathon the route is secured and closed at 10pm, and at midnight the Boston Bike Club boards specially scheduled trains with their bikes and heads out to the starting point in the suburbs to ride the marathon course on their bicycles.
It's the safest urban course imaginable, in that the streets are closed and blocked off. It also happens, I am told, at the Los Angeles marathon - 2000 bicyclists ride the course a few hours before the runners do.
I circled around the starting point a few times, saw the County Executive who seems to make all of these things, and then threaded my way between the queueing companies and rode along the course. It was a great ride. Closed streets, saw-horses at the intersections, sightseers and well-wishers along the route, children waving flags and old-timers in beach chairs, it was like a personal Tour-Day-France.
I figured if any gendarmes made bold enough to engage me, I'd explain "Hey, I'm a veteran" and if that wasn't sufficient, I'd have to inquire as to their status, hmm? If they wanted proof, I'd just have to pat my bike shorts as if looking for my DD-214 then say, "sorry, all I've got is my Canadian Club".
But nobody said anything. A few people waved. I think I was about five minutes in front of the parade. There was a big American flag rigged on two aerial fire ladders. It made me wish I had a kickstand on the bike, would have made a great photo.
Rode across the Ft. Pitt Bridge to SouthSide, Hot Metal Bridge, Junction Hollow, and back to the Pitt Campus. Had a few minutes to spare, got a hot dog at Essie's Original Hot Dog Shop, and spent a little while making some small tweaks to the bike while waiting to for my youngster to come out.
It was a great day and wonderful to be on the bike again.
|Nov 10, 2012 |
this week: 34 miles
4th Qtr 726 miles
2012: 6037 miles