Started at the Bastille with S. At the trailhead I saw another cyclist, a young lady with a black Bern helmet with a Pirates-P logo on it, who my friend Rusty had identified the other day as Burgh bike blogger Shank. So I rolled over and asked, Excuse me mad'm, but may I ask, are you the bike blogger Shank? The woman looked at me with somewhat doubtful eyes as if this were the lamest icebreaking line ever and assured me she was not "Shank", and I explained why I asked.
Never content to fail gracefully or quickly, I did note that her bike was appointed quite well, and she had a loop of bike chain securing her saddle to the frame, and also her front basket to the frame - not only that, but the bike chain was color-coordinated with the frame. It was a really elegant bit of work.
The rest of the bike also showed great judgement and decision making. You can look at some bikes and just appreciate the thought process that went into their outfitting, and I think understand that the person who chooses to equip their bike in a certain way "gets it". But there was no getting past my opening by asking, are you Shank?
S. and I pedalled away and went to check out the final version of the MLK civil rights mural. Location: 2227 North Charles Street on the North Side. I'm pleased that it includes Pittsburgh's Jordan Miles, which was in fact S's suggestion to the project leader. It's very good.
Crossed the Ft. Duquesne Bridge, saw the #DuckDeathWatch, crossed the Ft. Pitt Bridge and looped down to the trail. Approaching the new soccer stadium we saw an older lady, which for me means in her 70's. Can you help me? she asked, and explained that she was trying to get to Point State Park and the #Duck, but found our trail system extremely hard to navigate. We agreed to help her to get there. I asked her, how do you find our trail signage? and she replied, "it just sucks!" which was kind of funny to hear out of the mouth of this Vermont grandmother, in town for a wedding.
So we escorted her across the Smithfield Street Bridge, showed her where Golden Triangle Bike Rentals was so she could return the bike, and then took her down to the point. A very nice lady.
S. had hot cider with a cinnamon stick, and I had a "white house" coffee which was a latte with cherry and vanilla flavors, very good. Excellent coffee shop, it's a two-level affair with a very nice atmosphere. Plus, the first thing we saw when we walked in was one of the barista's bikes, a fixie with a Thick Bikes sticker so there's that. I'll go back there.
Departed SouthSide and rode across the Hot Metal Bridge to the Swinburne Street Trailhead, and around the Chute. Encountered opposite direction people in said Chute. Here's the memo: use the Chute outbound (opposite direction to the cars), use Second Avenue inbound, 'kay?
Joined Junction Hollow Trail, saw a young man practicing walking on a tightrope, very impressive and even audacious. Climbed Joncaire Street to Schenley Quad, had dinner at Conflict Kitchen (which only serves food from countries which the US is in conflict with, because if you don't know what they're eating, how can you begin to understand them?). They're changing from a Cuban menu to a Korean menu in a month, so I'm glad to visit again before The Change.
Met the Flock of Cycles folks and we joined up for the October Bike Party, which took on a bit of a Holloween Theme.
This photo is by Joyce Wasser
I like all the Flock Rides, but especially the winter rides which take place in the hours of darkness - all the lights and blinkies and reflectors and getting to see how all these cyclists prepare for night riding. It makes me think, these are my people.
The high-points of the Flock ride for me were (1) Sara's mother came along, and I got to say Hello and I thought it was awesome that somebody's Mom would come out, (2) the turnout was really good, (3) when we rode into Market Square and rode in a circle for a few minutes, it drew a lot of attention including the two police officers who came right over, but they were very cool and very professional.
The Uggh-I-am-such-an-asshole point of the Flock ride for me was, there's another newish Pittsburgh bike blog Black Girls DO Bike (Facebook) (Twitter) and I'd sent her a message encouraging her to come out to the Flock ride.
Partway in to the ride, I notice there's a young black woman in the pack. So I manuever over and use the exact same question that worked just so very well for me earlier in the day: Excuse me, mad'm, but may I ask, are you the blogger Black Girls DO Bike?
The lady said to me, Well I am black, and I am a girl, and I DO bike, but I'm not that blogger, No. And still not being willing to fail gracefully or quickly, I continued to hammer at my foolishness and explain my question, and Sherice was very kind and tolerated me, and I realized I just can't continue going up to women and asking excuse me but are you the blogger X and I have banished that bit from my repertoire.
S. and I departed the Flock ride at Market Square and returned to the Bastille. 26 miles and a bit of a lesson learned on my part, I hope.