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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Pittsburgh - Washington DC Bike Ride Summary

06/30/12 244# 0m


This was an excellent ride. Although group rides over six people can be difficult, this group ride went well. The usual challenges of a large group are (1) the tragedy of the anti-commons in decision making, and (2) the slowest-common-denominator - the tendency of a group to be as slow as it's slowest member at any given point. Those aren't character flaws, it's just the nature of groups. This group went well.

Weather and trail conditions were the best I've ever seen. We had a seven-day trip where it rained once, and that was a brief downburst while we were inside eating. The C&O was better (iow, dryer) than I've ever seen it. We may be burning off the atmosphere with global warming but the short-term effect on the C&O Trail is mildly positive.


Daily Reports
Day 1, Point State Park, Pittsburgh to Belle Vernon PA
Day 2, Belle Vernon PA to Confluence PA
Day 3, Confluence PA to Cumberland MD
Day 4, Cumberland MD to Little Orleans MD
Day 5, Little Orleans MD to Williamsport MD
Day 6, Williamsport MD to Leesburg VA
Day 7, Leesburg VA to Washington DC

New Equipment
I was evaluating two new things this week: a bicycle cooler pannier and the Eagle Creek Pack-It products.



The bicycle cooler panniers were great, they worked as advertised. I put cold water bottles in them in the morning, and even on a very hot day they were cold several hours later (to the delight of my companions). They clipped onto my racks without adjustment, they stay in place once mounted, and I didn't need to use the supplemental mounting hooks at the bottom.

They wore well, I used them for a week on a dry dusty trail and although the outside got dirty the inside was clean as new. On two of our days (day 5 and 7) having the pannier coolers let me move cold drinks to people on the trail where a car couldn't get to them, and I really liked that. These Stone Cold Outdoor bike cooler bags worked real well.

When I recently camped with my Ortlieb panniers for the first time, I came into the question of how to organize the contents for easy retrieval / repacking - it wasn't working when I filled the bags with a lot of loose, little items. I sought advice on BikeForums and the wisdom was to use bags inside the panniers, preferably vertically oriented for the Ortliebs, and a few responses recommended the Eagle Creek Pack-It system.

The Eagle Creek bags worked well in my duffel bag. They compressed my street clothes and bike clothes, and the silnylon bag was a good laundry bag. Although I initially scoffed at buying bags to put inside my other bags, they do work well and I'll use them again.

K. was experimenting with gloveless riding, and seemed to like it at the end of the week.


Food Enroute
On this ride (and on other recent rides) I've been eating more real food and less pseudo-food like PowerBars, etc. I've found that there's enough regular food around to be scrounged.

Restaurants / Food
These eateries were great:
  • Rivers Edge Cafe, Confluence
  • Sweetie's Bakery, Confluence
  • Queen City Creamery, Cumberland
  • Crabby Pig, Cumberland
  • Schoolhouse Cafe, Oldtown
  • Weaver's, Hancock
  • Tony's Pizza, Williamsport
  • Waffle House, Williamsport
  • Del Rio, Leesburg
This place I won't visit again:
  • Bill's Place, Little Orleans (re the Klu Klux Klan sticker on display and "spook" jokes)

Lodging
These places were great and I'll stay at them again anytime:
  • Belle Vernon Comfort Inn
  • River's Edge B&B Confluence PA
  • Fairfield Inn in Cumberland
These places I will not stay in again:
  • Parker House, Confluence (they messed up the reservations and copped a major attitude about it in 2010, and in 2012 they messed up the reservations and had an attitude about it. Great facility, lousy management.)
  • Town Hill B&B in Little Orleans (bad location [hill/distance] for a bicyclist; bad shuttle policy and fee; messed up arrangements; very expensive for bad service and a good breakfast.)

The RedRood Inn in Williamsport is a low-cost, low-expectations overnight and they do well at it.

I thought the Hampton Inn in Leesburg was absolutely great but the logistics of getting to the hotel from White's Ferry were difficult and time-consuming.


Bike Shops
These bike shops were very helpful and went above and beyond:
  • West Newton Bike Shop
  • Confluence Trail Connection
  • C and O Bicycles, Hancock
  • Bicycle Outfitters, Leesburg



Wildlife
I saw deer, a fox, three snakes, bunnies and small animals, an indigo bunting, a blue heron, a white egret (egrets, I saw a few, but then again..). Most curiously, I saw goats carrying saddlebags, I saw sled dogs pulling a recumbent tandem, and I saw a horse going through the McD drive-through in Williamsport. A good week.



   June 30, 2012 Week 24
this week:
316 miles
  244#   2nd Qtr 2013 miles
  
2012: 3016 miles

Friday, June 29, 2012

Leesburg - White's Ferry to Washington DC, Day Seven

06/29/12 38#
Final day of the ride, from Leesburg to White's Ferry and then to Washington DC.

The Hampton Inn was great, very bike friendly, excellent breakfast. The ferry crossing is very cool. The logistics of staying in Leesburg and riding on the C&O were problematic and time-consuming, even with our own support van; I don't know if I'm sanguine about planning that again.

The forecast called for a high temp of 101F, and we actually had a temp of 104F when we got off the bikes with a "feels like" heat index of 117F. (insert, "but it's a dry heat" here). This was a very hot day.

At the first hiker-biker campsite one of the riders used the water pump to douse their head and sleeves in cold water, and the second hiker-biker several people were using the water pumps to cool off, and by the last hiker-bike at Mp16 everybody was happily getting completely under the bracing water to lower their core temperatures. It was that hot.

The PerkyMobile™ met us at Seneca with cold drinks, then joined us again at Great Falls. We were pleasantly surprised to find the snack bar with cold drinks at Fletcher's Boat House, I didn't know that was there.

The northern part of the ride benefited from the shade of the overhead canopy, but in the city the trail was baking. We had an alternative route of the W&OD trail in case the C&O was too boggy-wet (which was not the case), and the W&OD follows a power line right-of-way and I imagine that must have been a difficult route with the sun and heat today.

We met a few cyclists around Georgetown that we'd also seen along the route over the last few days, puzzling over why the trail ends abruptly and the mysterious location of Mile Post Zero, and we were able to help them find their way.

Between us we used a combination of the (paved) Capital Crescent Trail and the C&O Canal to reach the destination.




After we were done riding there were still logistics to attend to, with two vans in nearby garages and bikes and bags to stow. We joined the holiday weekend, Friday 4pm exodus from DC and the traffic wasn't that bad at all.

Driving to Pittsburgh, after Frostburg we encounted heavy rain and hail, and after we passed through there were tornado warnings posted in what appears to have been a super derecho. The parkways in Pittsburgh were hobbled with weekend closures and it would have been easier to cross the city on bicycles, but we got through and got home.

It was an excellent bike trip, the weather was marvelous and statistically unlikely, we had six flat tires including two dramatic tire blowouts, one major equipment failure (rear derailleur hangar on the C&O), one bee sting but no major injuries. I think an excellent time was had by all.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Williamsport MD to Leesburg VA Day Six

.
06/28/12 54m
Rode from Williamsport MD to White's Ferry via the C&O Trail.

Breakfast at the Waffle House, departed the RedRoof Inn early in consideration of a very warm temp forecast. Left Williamsport via Route 63 and Dam Four Road to rejoin the trail at the MP84 closure.



Our plan called for a rendezvous with the PerkyMobile™ at MP76, but we were moving briskly so we repositioned for a meeting at the Antietam trailhead at MP68. We had sandwiches from Sheetz, and pressed on without undue delay in hopes of ice cream at Harper's Ferry.




After Harper's Ferry we had planned on a meal stop in Brunswick but we felt that was unnecessary so we pressed on in order to meet the van again at Point of Rocks. Along the trail we met an artist painting a lockhouse in oils who told us about the news of the day, there was a Supreme Court decision announced. Equally important, a group of riders from Ohio told us they'd heard about a new creamery in town but we didn't know anything about that.



I swapped with the van drivers at Point of Rocks, who continued riding until White's Ferry at MP35 and then crossed the Potomac. We worked our van to shuttle to a Leesburg Hampton Inn, that was a major time suck but it worked.

C had a pedal fall off the crank arm for the second time this trip, he took itover to Bicycle Outfitters on Catactin Circle and they were extremely helpful, very nice people. Also today D had a flat tire.

Then I retrieved my own van that I'd left in the area a week ago and moved it close to MP0, and finally got back to the hotel around 9pm. Enjoyed a great dinner at Del Rio.

The Red Roof Inn was a great low-expectation shelter, the Waffle House rocked, the Route63 recovery from the detour was excellent, the coolers were great in keeping us in cold drinks, the ride to White's Ferry was great, the party enjoyed crossing the Potomac on the ferry, the transition into Leesburg was a major pain and the road into Leesburg is not at all bike-friendly. And they don't seem to use the H in Leesburgh.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Little Orleans MD to Williamsport Day Five

06/27/12 54m
Rode from Little Orleans MD to Williamsport.

Departed Little Orleans with a five-mile descent, it was much more descent than I liked but I was torqued at the Town Hill B&B charging $6 for a shuttle ride after charging me $150 for a room with an outdated bathroom, and even though the breakfast was top-notch I wanted to get away from them.

This is a descent that if you wanted to kill somebody on a bicycle and make it look like an accident, you could fool with somebody's fork or brakes and it would happen.

One of the bikes had a distorted tire, so the rider took it to Hancock and C&O Bicycles to replace both tires - more than anything else, they'd worn out through use, and he took the opportunity to replace 1.95" tires with 1.5" tires.

We rode a few miles on the C&O Canal Trail and then made a quick transition to the paved Western MD Rail Trail (WMRT), which is wonderful and a welcome change-of-pace halfway through the week. We zipped along pretty well and stopped in town at world-famous Weaver's for lunch and rejoined with our rider and his new tires.

The food at Weaver's was great, as always (one rider said the soup was one of the best meals she'd had), and the pies were over-the-top good. Going in to the restaurant the group seemed a bit perfunctory to me, but coming out they were all chipper and proclaiming the virtues of Weaver - it was a good morale stop.

We continued along the paved WMRT and came upon a recumbent tandem being used to exercise four sled dogs - that's a pretty narrow niche. This is the WoofDriver.



We continued south along the WMRT and came to the end of the trail. We backtracked a half-mile and found the turn to rejoin the C&O Canal Trail. One of the riders got a bee sting, that turned into two days of discomfort.

We got to Slackwater, which is one of my favorite places on the Potomac, and today I saw kids jumping into the river and climbing back up on the rocks. I wouldn't have thought the place was conducive to that. Continued along and saw Dam Five:


Entered Williamsport at the Cushwa Basin and started the climb through town to the Red Roof Inn. Saw this license plate parked at a residence, had to take a picture:


The Red Roof Inn worked real well, economical, quite a few bicyclists, wifi, adjacent Waffle House - all my needs fulfilled. We had dinner at Tony's Pizza Time Cafe, excellent and highly recommended.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cumberland to Little Orleans, Day Four

06/26/12 40m

We attempted to make a relaxed start out of Cumberland, because the day's mileage plan was light, the weather forecast was good, and we'd pushed the group the previous day. At 0800 we hit the bike shops etc along the Canal, and shortly after that a rather drawn-out loading process began. Some experienced bicyclists saw this as an opportunity for a bike-nap.



As the PackEx progressed I went over to watch another group of bicyclists packing and made small talk, they were a group of upstate New Yorkers riding Pittsburgh to DC, very nice people. They gave me a home made snack bar to try and we discussed trail trivia. We would meet them on-and-off for the next few days.

We rode for a few miles along the C&O and somebody said to me, I can see what you meant about this being a rough trail, and I replied "but it's the best I've ever seen it". The C&O was much drier than it usually is.

We stopped at Oldtown and visited the Schoolhouse Cafe, which was excellent as always, cheeseburgers and sandwiches and great pies. We saw the NewYork tour group again and became a bit better acquainted. When I was at the Schoolhouse Cafe a month ago on another ride they were sheltering three abandoned kittens at the other end of the building and they looked pretty fragile, I was glad to see that two of them had survived and were thriving.

Back on the trail and rode to the Paw Paw Tunnel, which went well. A few miles south of the tunnel, around MP153 one of the riders' rear derailleur snapped off the bike and jammed into the spokes, it was a pretty major snafu and the bike wasn't rideable. We were out of cellphone coverage and it took a while to get assistance to the bike.

Fortunately, a local couple passed by the rider and bicycle and offered him a lift in their pickup, God bless them, and delivered him to Bill's Place in Paw Paw and our sag wagon (PerkyMobile™). Although we thought the bike might be done for as far as this ride went, the rider went off in the van to C&O Bicycle in nearby Hancock. C&O Bicycle was able to replace the derailleur hangar but the staff on hand was unable to help more than that (it was late in the day). K made a phone call to Cumberland Trail Connection Bikes and they were good enough to offer some advice over the phone, and with his mad skillz he was able to fix the derailleur, true the wheel, and adjust the brakes; it was very impressive and he was back in the ride.

In the meantime, there was a frustrating interaction back in Little Orleans with our lodging. We had made reservations with Town Hill B&B, which is located a significant distance away from the trail but they provide a shuttle service for riders and bikes so we went for it. When our riders came off the trail and called the B&B for pickup, the B&B told them "no, eat dinner first and then we'll come and get you". Our people wanted to shower and clean up and then eat, but the B&B staff wouldn't do it. That was not our expectation and it was a real disappointment, but we really didn't have any other options.

The NewYork contingent attempted to ride up the hill, we passed them in the van as we were riding to the bike shop, they were awesome and making a killer effort.

Later, after our folks ate (as instructed) and took the shuttle to the hotel, the staff was charging $6 for the ride up and another $6 for the ride down, and that was unexpected and seemed like gouging at a place charging $150 and above for a room. Plus they threw the bikes on a trailer, people's wheels ended up entangled with other people's pedals, it wasn't good. I must note that the next day's breakfast the was wonderful, but it wasn't wonderful enough to cover the downside.

The Town Hill B&B was beautiful, historic, it looks like you could restage The Shining in the dining room, but it is not in any way a place for bicyclists. Their view of our arrangements was completely different from our understanding, and they had no flexibility. I spent $150 (which would be OK for a positive experience) and I feel like I was taken. Bottom line, in our opinion: The Town Hill B&B in Little Orleans is not a place for trail riders.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Confluence to Cumberland, Day Three

06/25/12 50m
Rode Confluence PA to Cumberland MD today. But first things first: Six Months Until Christmas!

My room at the River's Edge B&B was excellent and the windows overlooked the river, filling the room with the white noise of the water and I slept very soundly. I woke up, noshed at the continental breakfast, unlocked the bike shed and retrieved my bike, filled my bottles and headed out to meet the group for breakfast.

We had breakfast at Sister's Cafe, long a mainstay of Confluence bicyclists. The other bicyclists' B&B didn't offer breakfast, so I tried to avoid regaling them with the story of my excellent accomodations but I may have slipped. We have nine people in our group today and when you walk into a restaurant in any of these towns with nine people they're overwhelmed.

As soon as we sat down the skies opened in a heavy rain, and our desire to eat quickly was tempered by the realization that we could have a leisurely meal and get out on the trail after the rain cell passed through.

We had no rain for the rest of the day, although the area along our route did see quite a few strong storms.

Pedalling out of town we stopped at Sweetie's Bakery for biscotti and other treats to take along with us. The ride was good, there didn't seem to be any initial agony among the riders.

At the Pinkerton Horn we saw the progress on the daylighting of the newer Pinkerton Tunnel in conjunction with the introduction of double-height railroad standards. It's a massive project, moving a major peice of earth; engineering on a grand scale. We ate biscotti and marvelled at the modern world.

We continued to Rockwood, arriving before the bike shop was open. We made use of the cellphone hotspot at the trailside visitor's center, and took a break at the trailhead gazebo without detouring into town (preferring to dawdle in Meyersdale).

We continued climbing to Meyersdale, then descended into town for the GI Dayroom, which IMO is the best breakfast and lunch on the GAP and the C&O. Climbing out of Meyersdale is a bit daunting, but it was OK.



At Deal our PerkyMobile operators got out of the van to ride to the Continental Divide and descend to Cumberland, and I got into the van to take a rotation as the duty driver. As the party crossed the Borden Tunnel one of the rider's rear tires exploded and there was quite a bit of logistics involved in getting a new tire from Cumberland up the hill to a trailhead, then via bike to the location. So far, two out of three days we've had a real benefit from the support van.

We rode into town and treated ourselves to ice cream at Queen City Creamery. We checked into the hotel, the trailside Fairfield Inn and Suites, and had dinner at the Crabby Pig. That evening we used the hotel's laundry machines to refresh supplies for the second half of the trip.

The Fairfield Inn was an excellent hotel, it's my third time there this year, it's located right on the trail, got a bike washing station, very bike friendly, hot tub, laundry machines, great breakfast. Highly recommended.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Belle Vernon to Confluence, Day Two




06/24/12 48m
Rode from Belle Vernon to Confluence.

Woke to beautiful weather and the standard motel continental breakfast. This was our first morning of the trip so our process of loading was a bit lurching but we got there, and we set off on bikes and with the van down to Cedar Creek park. Some of us got down there early and took up some deck chairs and observed the activities of the 2012 Greenway Sojourn, which is a group ride of ~250 camping riders from DC to Pittsburgh, breaking camp, working the shower trucks and breakfast tents.

Along the trail I saw an male indigo bunting sitting on a power line. I've only seen this type bird once before, and it was quite beautiful.



Rode into Connelsville. In an attempt to get a smooth flow through town with lunch, we skipped some of the riverfront parks and went to Sheetz for lunch, took our vittles across the town and ate in a mini-park at the trailhead. We skipped the town, we didn't have any benches or tables, but it was an effective stop.

Rode through Ohiopyle State Park, which is usually very scenic and attractive and predictable, but today we were surprised to see a couple with pack goats carrying panniers.


Rode on to Ohiopyle, and as expected on a summer weekend we encountered a lot of riders close to town. Had lunch at the Firefly Grill, good food.


Our PerkyMobile crew got out of the van and into their bikes, and C and D drove to the destination, Confluence, and back into cellphone coverage for Verizon users. Most of the group stayed at the PH, and I stayed at the River's Edge B&B. This is the third time I've stayed at the River's Edge B&B, it's been great each time, and I was very pleased.

Later we were joined at dinner by Pam and Bill Metzger, a wonderful meal enhanced by good company. They said they've noticed a real increase in the number of through riders, people riding DC-Pgh and even transcon riders. Bill commented that they were seeing a lot of through riders who were travelling on the occasion of some life-changing event: retirees, people getting out of the military, divorcees. They discussed the remarkable change along the trail from an industrial environment to forest over the last hundred years.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Bicycle Trip Pittsburgh to Washington DC, Day One

06/23/12 # 29m
First day of a bicycle ride from Pittsburgh to DC, credit card touring, hotels with a support van. Today we rode from Pittsburgh's Point State Park to Belle Vernon.

We started off with two additional riders M and D for the day, and missing a rider who was sick. The weather was absolutely beautiful. We mustered at Point State Park which is partially closed for construction, which is sort of Pittsburgh's status for all things bike-trail: there's some amazing stuff but it's not evenly distributed, key points are closed for construction and improvements, and you sometimes can't get where you want to be.

We had a safety briefing before we began, I've seen so many rides start off with an incident that it seemed worthwhile. It must have been a good briefing, passerby's stopped and listened and one (Tina) came up and said Hello.

Point State Park, Blvd. of the Allies, Jail Trail, Hot Metal Bridge, Southside Trail, Keystone Metals Trail.

  • Yes, this is a bike trail
  • Yes, they're walking and not riding their bikes
  • Yes, it is somewhat evocative of the Beatle's Abbey Road cover


Sandcastle Parking Lot, Waterfront Trail, Steel Valley/Kennywood Trail, Riverton Bridge, McKeesport Trail and our first flat (rear) tire. With that repaired, the ride continued to the McKees Rocks Cafe and Pizzeria, cold drinks and authorized wall-signings.

We resumed and rode the Boston route, the Durabond Bypass, and encountered the second flat (same bike, same wheel). It was a new wheel, seemed like an insufficient rim strip cutting the tube, so we applied a kludge supplemental rim strip of duct tape and that seemed to work well enough to the South Boston trailhead.

Since it was Saturday afternoon and all the bike shops are closed on Sunday, the rider got in the van with the bike and they headed to the West Newton bike shop. The diagnosis was a faulty rim strip, they took out the duct tape and applied a better rim strip and the tire was good for the remainder of the trip. Very helpful shop, our rider walked in at closing time and they took good care of him.

Saw the alumninum waterfalls, the iron waterfalls, and unfortunately we got to West Newton after the trailhead offices closed down. We had originally hoped to overnight at the Bright Morning B&B in West Newton, but we dawdled too long and they were booked. We continued to Cedar Creek Park and climbed/shuttled through the park to the Belle Vernon Comfort Inn.

The Comfort Inn was a great hotel, bike friendly, wifi and hot showers, standard continental breakfast; I'd stay there again (although it is a major climb up from the trail). Locating dinner was not a source of great satisfaction.


   June 23, 2012 Week 24
this week:
88 miles
  244#   2nd Qtr 1687 miles
  
2012: 2700 miles

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Hot Times: Cafe Davio, McKees Marina Cafe

06/20/12 243# 29m
29 miles on a hot, hot day by local standards.

The first target of opportunity was this mural on Forbes, no provenance available:


Rode around to the Swinbourne Street trailhead, where I saw a bunch of youths in matching shirts getting ready for a group ride:

One of the several hovering helicopter-moms explained that it was a summer camp where they did a different activity every day, and today was bicycling on the trail. Very nice.

Went Southside, had breakfast at Cafe Davio, excellent food and generous portions, a little bit pricey. They were very good about keeping the icewater and iced tea flowing, and bottle refills.

Saw this mural by Monica McElwain, titled "A Piece of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow" at 2341 E. Carson Street (the Double-Wide Grill):

It's an indication of how nice it was, that the blue mural blends with the sky.

Rode south, walked along the tracks at Keystone Metals where I saw the Train Folks dumping quite a lot of new gravel along the rail line. Transitioned through Sandcastle, which is pretty busy at 1030 on a sunny day.

Rode though the Waterfront, was inspired to take a brief BikeNap/CyclingSiesta, continued riding and went to drink some water and it was hot, that was no good. Pressed on beyond Kennywood and Duquesne to McKeesport and the McKees Marine Cafe, where I was pleased to find cold water and icy bottle refilles, and a good cheeseburger to boot.

I was also pleased to see that bicyclists riding through are still encouraged to sign the walls:


Reversed and rode north. My water bottles were quite warm by the time I reached SouthSideWorks, so I stopped in Subway for icewater refills. I went through a lot of water today, and a bit of complexity trying to keep a cool drink on the bike.

Happily, when I got home I found a package containing thermal panniers, I'm going to use these on an upcoming trip and see how they work out.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Walden's Trailside Cafe in Burgettstown

06/16/12 30m
Rode 30 miles on the Montour and Panhandle Trail, and had an excellent stop at Walden's Cafe in Burgettstown.



Started at my favorite Montour trailhead in Boggs, rode the Montour Trail to McDonald, rode the connector over to the Panhandle Trail (which is much improved of late).

Rode the Panhandle Trail out to Burgettstown, and stopped at Walden's Cafe, immediately next to the trail at 1709 Main Street. This was my second stop there and it's good enough to become a bike ride destination of it's own.

Walden's at 1709 Main Trailside Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Very nice folks, they're very bike trail friendly. As I came in a few bicyclists were departing, and as I left a couple on bikes were coming in. I had a western omelette and it was excellent. They made a point of asking if they could refill my water bottles, topped them off with ice and water - it doesn't get much better than that. The omelette was tremendous and I'll definitely stop there again.

Coming out of the restaurant I saw a few bicyclists wrestling with a tire outside of the hardware store, and then I saw this, which made me feel like I was in Staten Island or possibly New Jersey:


And that's sort of the way the trail economy is supposed to work. Build a trail, open a restaurant, and all of a sudden people from Pittsburgh and Beaver County are spending money in Burgettstown.

Returning along the Panhandle I was surprised to see a pristine Piper Cub climbing out, just north of the trail. I stopped at the Cataney Airport (which is generally a radio-control-aircraft field) and introduced myself and they explained that the Cub belonged on the field. It was really quite a sight.

I hung around for a few minutes and got to see them land, it's really a slice of aviation to watch a Cub land on a soft field. There's a lot of construction along the Panhandle and the Cataney airport, the R/C folks explained that they're building a Marcellus pipeline.



Since I was on a trail I listened to WYEP's Soul Show as I was riding, primo afternoon tunes and even a slice of Gil Scott-Theron. I love the SoulShow.


   June 16, 2012 Week 23
this week:
162 miles
  241#   2nd Qtr 1599 miles
  
2012: 2612 miles

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Coffee and Bridges and Trails Oh My

06/14/12 240# 32m
Rode 32 miles along the Montour Trail from McDonald to trailside FarmHouseCoffee in McMurray with S and R.

A recent post discussed the new rail tracks being set in place north of Venice / Route 50 and how they're being assembled into seamless track. Stopped and spoke to some very nice folks on a work crew today and learned the technique is called CWR, Continuous Welded Rail. Amazing stuff that people do.

Further along the trail, just north of the Route 50 staircase, we were surprised to see a train on the new tracks adjacent to the trail. The train was delivering the gravel being used in the rail bed.



Continued riding to world-famous FarmHouse Coffee. We've been agitating for them to carry chocolate chip ice cream and today they had it, so that's what I ordered. Totally excellent.

Back on the trail and stopped by the new bridge, just about to be commissioned, over Georgetown Road.



It looks like the bridges themselves (Georgetown Rd and Morganza Rd) are complete except for the side railings, but there's still a major work in progress on the small trail segment between the two bridges.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Full Day of Great Riding

06/13/12 78m
Rode 78 miles in three segments on a glorious day.

Started early at 0730, parked at the Bastille and ran errands downtown for a total of 8 miles. It's just easier for me to park the car at the periphery of the city and penetrate with the bike.

Drove to Boston PA, home of the trailside Boston Boxcar. Started riding southeast from Boston, and before long (Greenock?) I came across a milky white waterfall, which seems to have run through a deposit of lime or chalk. (Update: seems to be runoff from an abandoned mine, contaminated by aluminum.)




Rode from Boston to Cedar Creek Park and then up the hill to the I-70/Route 51 intersection in Belle Vernon, in preparation for an upcoming ride where we'll overnight at that location. I wanted to get a look at what I'd be asking the group of riders to do, and I'm glad I did. It's a bit of a climb from the river up to the top.



Rode back to the Boston Boxcar, regained my car and drove to UPMC SouthSide for a bikefit follow-up with world-famous bike fitter Matt Tinkey. He's really excellent. He adjusted the cleat position on some new shoes and I was on my way.

I needed to put some miles into the new shoes so I rode another 29 miles around the city, up Panther Hollow, out the Convention Center Trail to the Cork Factory, round to the Bastille again, and then back to UPMC. It was an excellent day, and I crossed 2500 miles-to-date today.