Type 2 Diabetic. Bike tour guide. #NextBurgh Flâneur. Coffeeneur.
A bike / map geek with a gadget obsession and a high-viz fetish. by Vannevar Bush       about       /       murals       /       Pgh-DC bike maps new

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Pittsburgh had Margo Lovelace and Puppets way before the Duck

9/29/2013 #225 28m
We've been fortunate to have eight days of magnificent weather. Would be great for a multi-day trip.

Started at the Bastille. Having learned that the mural we photographed the other day at 5583 Ellsworth is titled "Remembering Margo Lovelace", we stopped at the Children's Museum (on free-RAD day!) to photograph the portions of her collection that are on display. Margo Lovelace was a major factor in American puppetry.



Pleased to encounter P-B on the NorthSide and his #WhipperSnapper bike. Took Federal Street to the 6th Street Bridge. In downtown, a driver in front of us was holding his camera up and out of the moonroof to take pictures of us, then he explained he's a diabetic and liked my RedRider jersey.

Took Sixth out to Grant, and then Grant Street around town to the Jail Trail, avoiding the fairly large crowd at the Point for the Duck.

Crossing the Hot Metal Bridge, was very pleased to see a 45' boat and about a dozen people walking around the new lower levels by the river. When we rode over there, somewhat displeased to see that the lower level is fenced off and you can't get there, except (1) you can access the space from the park under the Birmingham Bridge, and (2) people have cut a big hole in one of the fences. They should open this space.



I subsequently contacted the URA, and they say this area will be open for next spring. They don't have a contract or procedure for operating the dock yet. I think reality is out in front of their procedure.


Continued along the Baldwin Trail, Sandcastle Trail, down to the Pump House. There were a lot of people on the trail, as you'd expect on such a pretty weekend, but it wasn't congested.

Stopped at Mitchell's Fish Mark for calamari and mussels, very good. Saw Joanne-P as she rode by.

Returning via the west bank of the Allegheny, met Marko who rode with us up to the Ft. Pitt bridge. Took the bridge into Point State Park, saw the throng and got out of there. The NorthShore across from the Duck was pretty packed, with parked cars blocking a lane of traffic.

My only concern as a cyclist is all the drivers and pedestrians are Duck-watching and not really focusing on Not Killing Me, so it's a sub-optimal environment.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Pie in a Jar: Walden Trailside Cafe on the Panhandle Trail

9/28/2013 #225 17m
Rode with K from McDonald to Burgettstown along the Panhandle Trail on a beautiful day.

Stopped at Walden's Trailside Cafe, adjacent to the Panhandle Trail. Omelettes and sweet potato fries, and then apple pie in a form factor I haven't seen before: Pie in a Jar



We arrived at the conclusion of the Homecoming Day Parade, so there was a bit of a flurry going on. Everything was excellent. I think that every staffer there asked if they could fill our water bottles as they passed by our table. Signs up, "cyclists always welcome - charge your cellphone, fill your bottles, etc". Wow.

17 miles.

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Howling Mob and Drone Surveillance at the Three Rivers Opticon

9/27/2013 #227 28m
A magnificent day for riding. Started with S at the Bastille in the early afternoon.

Stopped in the Strip District, encounted this historical marker. I had never heard of the Howling Mob or the Great Railroad Strike of 1877 (aka the Great Upheaval) before. The marker is rather interesting, I don't think it's an official State of PA writeup.




This is an image from the Aug 11, 1877 Harpers magazine, "Steeple View of Pittsburgh Conflagration" of the burning of the Pennsylvania Railroad and Union Junction, which took place in 21-22 July 1877. The phrase "the howling mob" was written by the Harpers writers, as explained by the Howling Mob Society.




The things you learn in Pittsburgh!


Rode to Lawrenceville and the BikePgh office to make a delivery and pick up some t-shirts. Checked on the ongoing Doris the Sea Serpent sculpture at the Octopus Garden.

Went to Shadyside and located this new mural at 5583 Ellsworth:


Quite by surprise, encounted this mixed-mural-sculpture on the side of the Mendelson Gallery, 5874 Ellsworth:



Saw something remarkable, my first exposure to a game changer while on the bikepath on the Ft. Duquesne Bridge, overlooking this scene:


And what caught my eye was a tiny object that flew out from the shore and over to the Duck. It was a small hobby drone, and a very nice one, even had an anti-collision blinkie. This fellow was operating it from the shore:


And this is a close-up of the device:



There were photographers scrambling to get into a good position to take pictures of the media event, but this gentleman just stood on the shore. He sent the drone out over the Duck, to a position astern the Duck for some pictures, and then he sent it out in front of the duck for the front view. I don't know if people in the crowd understood that this thing was flying over them, it really didn't make any noise.

It was my first brush with Independent Citizen Drone Ops. Certainly the local television stations had larger aircraft circling overhead a little bit higher, but this was just different to watch. It was amazing how the drone moved over crowds and the people never noticed it.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Boggs, Burgettstown for Walden's and a bikenap, Oakdale

9/24/2013 39m #228
OK, first: 90 days until Christmas. You're welcome.

Started at Boggs, my favorite Montour Trail trailhead. Exited at MP17/McDonald and switched to the Panhandle Trail, which does not require a transfer. Looks like they're rebuilding part of the connector trail.

Rode the Panhandle west to Burgettstown. Saw a rafter of turkeys (had to look that up) and an unexpected number of little yellow butterflies. Stopped at Walden's Cafe for an omelette, they have excellent food there and it's adjacent to the trail. Very bike friendly.



Departed Walden's, rode a very short while on a beautiful, cloudless, sunny day and saw a bench. A bikenap ensued for about a half-hour, very pleasant.

Resumed riding, continued east beyond the Montour Trail and rode to Oakland. Oakland is very car-busy at 5pm. Reversed, and in MCDonald I departed the trail and used the local roads to go directly to the Montour Trail entrance.

An uneventful six miles back to Boggs and the car that was still there, and done. 39 miles and a very nice ride.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Escort Service For Two

9/22/2013 #228 46m
Had the pleasure today of riding with J&K, a pair of cyclists from the Baltimore metro area. They came to Pittsburgh, spent four days exploring the city, and departed on the GAP today. #TrailEconomicImpact



We rode from the Point, out Blvd of the Allies, the Jail Trail, Hot Metal Bridge, and thence the GAP. I think that Pittsburgh, the trails, and the local riders all showed well. They seemed pleased at the trails and the sights.

We rode together to the top of the Durabond Bypass, parted ways and reversed. Stopped to eat at Mitchell's Fish Market, just because they've been awesome about putting out water coolers on the bike trail behind the restaurant and you've just got to support that kind of thinking.

Noticed that AEO-Southside has it's annual October bra display, commemorating Breast Cancer Awareness Month by advertising their Aerie line of adolescent hyper-sexualized brasieres. (just saying).

Coming back across downtown and the NorthSide, encountered lots of tailgaters and Steelers fans but it was still a pretty easy transition, just slow. 46 miles and a very nice ride.


Friday, September 20, 2013

Parking Day with AGoNiPoBi, Flock Picnic


9/20/2012 #226 48m
Today is PARKing day, when people Occupy a parking space and instead of putting their personal property (automobile) in it, they use it as - well, as a park.

Started riding at the Bastille on the North Side, and rode Forbes out to Oakland. Passing through Uptown I noticed a new coffee shop at 1919 Forbes, River City Java, that's not yet open and stopped to check it out. This may have been open a few years ago, closed, and is re-opening. They're still installing and establishing, and expect a grand opening in a month. Always good to see another coffee shop, especially good to see an investment in Uptown.



A group of riders from the BikePgh message board was going to ride to all the PARKing Spaces together, and Salty volunteered to map the route, so we mustered at Dippy in Schenley Quad. Started off with nine cyclists (three LHTs!), added two, lost two, it was a nice group size. There's two things I love about PARKing day: (1) it invites you to imagine other uses for public space besides car parking, and (2) it demonstrates how easy it is to get around town on a bike. You wouldn't want to have to drive to all these locations, park a car, etc.

All of the PARKing spaces were interesting. This one on Forbes really rocked, it was a group of CMU design students emphasizing sustainability. They built a very impressive green space, which really looked natural and integrated. They asked people to write down their aspirational or affirmational statements on post-its which they hung up on strands between the saplings, sort of like Tibetan prayer flags carry their message on the wind. This gets a five-star award, it was extremely well done and they carried the message well.



I thought the CMU team would take Top Awards, but the Best Parking Spot of the Day Award has to go to Rothschild Doymo Collaborative, hands down, far-and-away the best.


The photo doesn't convey it, but the R-DC PARKing spot flows as an extension of an existing green space adjacent to their building. It didn't seem like a temporary arbitrary intrusion into the parking lane, but instead it seemed like a very organic continuation of the greenspace out a little bit further. It was just tremendous.

The measure of it's excellence is this: this was the only PARKing space that didn't need anybody to explain it. You could see the thing, understand it, interact with it, and enjoy it. A few of us said, I could stay here all day. It was just that good. Very nice done. Chapeau!

Row House Cinema in Lawrenceville, which is a new art-house film theater being built in an old space, did something that was clever, creative, and commercial yet completely within the PARKing day philosophy of an alternative use of a parking spot: they built a movies-in-the-park space. I really liked that. They also offered hard-hat tours of their construction within the building, this is going to be very cool.





The Western Pa. Conservancy had something unique in that it was a permanent rather than a temporary installation. Their parking space draws attention to the living wall and the landscaped green space in a parking lot (completely on theme!) that's been there for two years. They were pleased to point out that the improvements did not cost the loss of any parking slots, so no negative business impact. This type of living wall is apparently much less expensive than the showcase wall on the PNC building, but returns many of the same benefits.



As we pulled up to each PARKing Space, the people would ask us, Who are you guys? Who are you with? What's your group's name? The first few times, I felt a bit stymied at this friendly stop-and-frisk, and slightly at a loss for identity. So when the next people asked, Joanne said "we're a group of nice people on bicycles", which works out to AGoNiPoB. So there's that.


Swag from the day included two T-shirts, a new-fangled light bulb, and a bagel. Ended at OTB Cafe with black bean cakes, totally excellent.

Logistics had me driving around and happily dealing with loved ones and cars but then later in the evening, at about 8.30 pm I found myself at CMU about to cycle to Coraopolis. I was so pleased to see a group of 30 bikes at the Schenley Quad and quite by chance stumble upon the Flock after-ride picnic. That was a very pleasant surprise, and they fed me too - turkey and ham and cheese, whoo hoo.

It was a very pleasant night for a dark-ride and I got another 20 miles in. 48 miles for the day, and rain tomorrow.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Rockwood - Confluence - DNF

9/19/2013 20m
Great day. Encountered unexpected mechanical at Confluence and abandoned rather than take dubious gear into the woods. Got a shuttle from a kind lady with a big pickup truck. Still had a lot of fun.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

S24O: Connellsville to Rockwood

9/18/2013 50m #227
Started off on a S24O (sub-24 hour Overnight) from Connellsville.

Right off the bat, at the trailhead by the cabooses and the Adirondak shelters, we met Rich from Baltimore, who traveled up to Pittsburgh and spent a night in a hotel just so he could ride Pittsburgh to DC. Nice guy.

Rode to Ohiopyle, then Confluence. Stopped at the Confluence Cyclery in my ongoing quest for new bike gloves, and they had what I needed. Twice this year, when all my pseudo-local bike shops were striking out, Confluence Cyclery had the goods in stock. (Also very nice people).

Departing Confluence I believe we saw Chris from Thick on an opposite direction tandem, and then later at the Pinkerton Low Bridge we met two cyclists from Dublin. They flew into DC, they're riding to Pittsburgh, then flying back to Dublin because "we just don't have anything like this".

Two anecdotal data points of the trail completion bringing people and money into Pittsburgh.

Reached Rockwood, 50 miles on the dial. I was more tired than I thought I would be, and the weight of the camping gear on the bike wore out my upper body more than I expected. We stayed at the Husky Haven campground which was excellent - reasonably priced, excellent arrangements.

Of course, everything in Rockwood is serenaded by trains and train whistles, to the tune of 53 trains a day. Cooked and ate dinner, listened to the Pirates game on an AM radio with a campfire crackling, sipped a bit of Jameson's and slept very well.


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Friday Evening Options

9/15/2013 230# 13m
A shortish ride today on the Montour Trail, from Hassam Road to Enlow Station, round trip. Disappointed to see Enlow Station closed. Very nice conditions.



Saturday, September 14, 2013

Kid Event, Tall Bikes, Cool Day

9/14/2013 #228 37m
Started off at 0800 at the Carnegie Science Center with the Flock of Cycles folks, providing marshaling services for a corporate-sponsored family fun ride.

There were a lot of young children at this and it was way cool to see them on the trails and streets, maybe we influenced some future cyclists. It was also way cool that there were two Pittsburgh bike police officers in the group of riders; curiously, all the drivers were very nice to the cyclists.

I tried to get out of the NorthSide before it got too crazy with the Pitt game, a wine tasting on the trail at the Casino, some kind of a bike swap at Bike Heaven, the whole nine yards.

Rode all around town. Saw two tall bikes, really graceful and elegant frames. The names on them were "Evolve HC" and "Evolve Hi-Cycle", but the Google didn't offer any links or images for those clues.




Stopped at OTB to get something for lunch, very pleased to see several of the Flock folks there. There's just something great about having lunch at a bar that keeps a box of tubes and bike lights for when the unexpected need arises. I had a cheeseburger with a fried egg in the assembly, it was very good. I really enjoyed having lunch there.

Rode further out along the Mon to the Riverton Bridge. It was a beautiful day, bright blue and cool.

Friday, September 13, 2013

REI Return Run

9/13/2013 23m #229
Although I've been working the Weight Issue pretty steady, I was +2 pounds this morning, having fallen off the wagon a bit yesterday - dinner at Azul Bar y Cantina, and no riding (rain).

Today I rode from the Bastille to Homestead-Costco, round-trip under overcast, rumbling skies and a welcome cold front passage - today temps were in the low 60s, a very pleasant change from the low 90s of earlier this week.

When the temps first dip low like this, it reminds me that with earlier sunsets and winter coming, it's time to start ensuring that the bike lights are suitable for another winter, and that the winter riding kit is assembled in one spot after a few months of benign neglect.

Today's ostensible mission was an REI Return Run. I had overpurchased a few things when buying back-to-school supplies for the offspring, so I returned two items. Then I made the strategic mistake of strolling through the clearance rack in the bike department, and ended up leaving with a reflective mud flap from RainyDayBiking.com. Hey, winter's coming.

Very pleased to see YC not once but twice today, as he was getting in a ride before sundown. Meeting Y on the trail is like going to Rome and bumping into the Assistant Pope.





Thursday, September 12, 2013

Saturday in the Heat, Cheers to You

9/12/2013 0m #227
When I visited the Rivendell facility recently I was able to bring along a small carton of some of Pittsburgh's key export product. Seems like it was well received.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Effective Cat 6 Passing Technique

9/11/2013 27m 229#
Started with S at the Bastille at 1100 on a hot day. Not as hot as yesterday, and there was an overcast providing some relief.

Rode to the Pump House on the trail in Homestead. Met Big Steve passing through Keystone Metals.

After we turned around at the Pump House and got back on the Baldwin Trail, an avid cyclist who had worked up quite a sweat passed us. Unfortunately, the white panel on the back of his bike shorts had been rendered transparent by some nasty trifecta of lighting, sweat, and wear; we were treated to a terrible demo of MAMIL ass cleavage. His plumber would have been proud.

It's a very effective Cat. 6 technique; it just makes you slow down and allow the avid cyclist to accelerate briskly out of view. Nobody is going to speed up and pass this guy.

Tail wind overheating, Cool Water

9/10/2013 25m 229#
Because of scheduling issues I started at the Bastille at 1pm on a very hot and humid day.

I crossed over to the South Side trail in search of shade. As I continued the heat was just killing me, I was overheating tremendously and was really going through water. So how do you travel through the desert? From water hole to oasis, so I stopped at UPMC's sports medicine facility by the trail on the South Side.


Holy Better Mousetrap, Batman! They've got a better scuttlebutt water fountain, just for bidons. I was really feeling the heat so I lingered in the air conditioning, and set out with fresh bottles of cool water.

I can't overstate the importance of water on the trail (and there isn't a lot of it). I was reminded as I was riding of these lines from Gunga Din:

When it comes to slaughter
You will do you work for water
And you'll lick the boots
of him that's got it

My father had this record:


Turning onto the Waterfront Trail I saw that the folks at Mitchells Seafood Restaurant had two coolers of cold water and paper cups out for the trail users. Absolutely wonderful.

At the Homestead Waterfront I deviated into the McDonalds (ice machine, water dispenser, air conditioning) to renew the water bottles and cool off for a bit. Although I had originally planned to ride to the Riverton Bridge across the Mon to McKeesport, this was just way too hot so I reversed and rode northwest to the city.

Remarkably, when I turned onto the route I realized I was turning into a decent headwind - and it felt much better. In fact, the whole second leg I was cooler, rode faster, and felt better while riding into a headwind and doing more work.


I have heard of this phenomenon but not experienced it before. When your groundspeed roughly equals the tailwind airspeed, the relative wind is near-zero and you lose the benefit of evaporative cooling from sweat. From this physiology site:

Head winds and tail winds

A head wind also greatly increases convection [heat loss] by removing heated air right near the skin and replacing it with air at the ambient temperature. Likewise, a tail wind at or near the same speed as the runner’s pace leaves air trapped near the skin and substantially decreases convection. Sweat evaporation is higher at lower air humidity and when running into a headwind, and lower in humid conditions or when downwind.

In these conditions (Hot/humid/tailwind approximating forward speed), it would seem like you were riding inside a sauna which is pretty much what I experienced. I loved riding home into the headwind. Never thought I'd say that.

And then finally, with two miles to go, I saw two young ladies and Yale Cohen riding together and I thought, Hey it's Yale Cohen! It's good to be back in the Burgh.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

But Wait, There's More!

9/08/2013 15m 232#
Started riding in Millvale with S, destined for Etna.

Enroute through Lawrenceville S looked over her shoulder and said, New mural! It astounds me that after all the murals we've documented, we still find more by JRA (just riding around). This is on the side of Moose Lodge 581, at 120 51st Street in Lawrenceville. Very nice.



Saw a pair of handcuffs locked to a BikePgh bike rack on Butler Street:


At first I thought, maybe there was more going on in this block's tavern than there would appear to be, but then I realized that these were MasterLock "street cuff" bike locks.

We continued along the south shore of the Allegheny River and then took the lane across the 62nd Street Bridge and rode into Etna, searching for a mural on Sullivan Place by Daugherty Veteran's Field. It's very well done:



Came back across the 62nd Street Bridge, into Friendship, and checked on a small community garden where Octavia has been installed. We've heard something new was underway.

We were delighted to come across a work in progress by Laura Jean McLaughlin that appears to be some sort of a sea-creature, possibly similar to a Loch Ness beastie:



After all that effort, we repaired to Whole Foods for some omelettes. Then we headed over to the Children's Art Gallery at 5020 Penn to see their new mural.



I have to admit, this one I wasn't feeling, I didn't grok it, we weren't speaking to each other.

Next we went to see a recent mural on a restaurant, the Avenue B Bistro at 5501 Centre Avenue:



Finally we went to see a mural at a private residence by Sean Coffey.


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Murals and Bumpers and Blimps Oh My

9/07/2013 28m 232#
Started at the Bastille at 0745. Kind of a cool morning, rocking the wool long-sleeve sweater.

Rode Ft Duquesne Bridge, Ft Pitt Bridge, southside to 18th Street, then rode up 18th Street to the top. This is a climb that just keeps going.

Rode into Knoxville to get a picture of this just-finished mural on Marland Street and Brownsville Road:


Stopped in Allentown to see this new 2013 mural by Lucas Stock at 813 Industry Street:


Usually we descend from the top via the northwest end of Mt. Washington, but today we descended 18th Street. That was very pleasant, a consistent reasonable sustained descent. I really enjoyed that.

We rode out past Sandcastle to Costco. The Irish festival was supposed to be going on at Riverplex, but we were too early for it.

Rode over to Thick Bikes, looking for a patch kit for an Ortlieb dry bag. Encountered RedDan, who offered me a Tenacious Tape Patch out of his kit. Total gentleman + Total Cyclist = RedDan. OUtside of Thick Bikes we saw a tremendous hack, they're putting old used tires to use as bumpers on the ubiquitous Bike Pgh-Three Rivers bike racks:


Overhead there was a blimp, probably out of Akron and the Goodyear facility, which I'm told has to do with the impending release of a sequel to the movie, Despicable Me.


Crossed the Smithfield Street Bridge, and the Ft Pitt Bridge back to the Bastille. 28 miles on a magnificent day.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Chain Chain Chain

9/06/2013 42m 235#
First ride back on my home turf and on my own bike.

Beautiful day, clear skies and cool temperatures. The plan was to ride the Montour Trail from Boggs southbound, meet my friend R and handoff some hardware I had for him, and end up at FarmHouse coffee for caffeine-loading before the return trip.

I started at Boggs as planned. It's my favorite trailhead on the Montour Trail, it just seems like a bit of an oasis. Riding past MP16 I noted the flooding and pooling caused by the beaver population and their dams, and I thought: hey, we could just freeze the water around the beaver dams and prevent it from having any effect on the trail, right? I mean, once Fukashima proves the concept it should be extensible? My eagerness is tempered by my fear of IceNine somehow jumping across the membrane.

At MP19 I was surprised when my chain sort of stuck on the chainring; it didn't want to release and continued riding up on the back of the chainring. So I backpedaled and it seemed to release. I continued pedaling normally for like three revolutions and then the chain broke and that was the end of that powertrain. Funny how fast a bicycle becomes an inanimate object. I was not going to make my rendezvous with R.


Conditions were good; it was daylight, it wasn't raining, it wasn't cold, it wasn't a hazardous setting. I started looking through my Kit of Many Wonders (Felix the Cat's "bag of many tricks" was actually inspired by my bike toolkit) and was pleased to see that I had a chain widget on my multi-tool, a Crank Brothers Multi-17, so I had options.

My friend R pulled up just as I began my surgery, and we were able to reconnect the chain (minus two links). I was amazed that we managed the repair, and that the re-assembed chain did so well afterwards. I think the only loss of function is that I'm unable to select large-front-chainring and large-rear-cassette, because the newly shortened chain just isn't long enough to cover both of them. I could not have made the repair without having the tool.

Continued south-east with R for a bit, then continued alone to FarmHouse coffee at MP32. Pleased to see a lot of available seating outside of FarmHouse. Dismayed to realize the seats were open because Farmhouse was closed; sign on the window gave the new hours, Mon-Fri 0630-1200; Saturday 0800-1400. I hope everything is OK with those folks, it's a great shop.

Departed on the reverse leg. It was a pretty uneventful trip and the chain didn't provide any problems. Trail conditions were excellent, improved over the last time I was out this way. I noticed a new shelter and (I believe) a new water fountain at MP13.1 which is a great location.




Monday, September 2, 2013

Mountain View, Moffett Field, Miles Davis

9/2/2013 37m
Rode around Mountain View and Moffett Field today. Found this mural, Under The Sun, by Mohamed Soumah, on California Ave at Mimosa Lane in Palo Alto:



I saw some interesting signage to discourage bicycle salmoning (riding against the flow of traffic). These are the front-view and back-view of street signs I saw today, I think it's brilliant to use the space on the back of an installation to inform people going the wrong way. We certainly have enough "wrong way" signs for drivers of cars.



Went down to the Google Campus. I wasn't exactly sure of my coordinates but then I saw this. I kind of wanted to stop in and ask directions, but I figured I wouldn't be the first and so I skipped it.


Also, it seems like they have G-Bikes on the Google campus.


Rode on a tremendous trail network all around Moffett and some of the local neighborhoods. As I came out and started riding back into town, I came upon a UU Church and took a photo of their labyrinth and a billboard with a message:


And this is a close-up of the message board, which I thought was excellent:





Sunday, September 1, 2013

Rivendell's Yves Gomez Mixte aka Betty Foy

9/1/2013 18m
Rode around Redwood City and Palo Alto today for about 18 miles. Thought I'd jot down a few more details about the Yves Gomez, Rivendell's mixte, which is also the same bike as their Betty Foy.



The dual-name is kind of a marketing kludge. I'm under the impression that Rivendell originally named the bike the Betty Foy. It's the perfect bike (IMO) for "guys of a certain age" who are are getting a bit tired of hoisting their leg over the rear rack and trunk bag. But it seems some men were reluctant to buy a bike named Betty, and so they've repainted some of them and positioned them as the Yves Gomez.

Who was Yves Gomez?

Many people do not know who Yves Gomez was. When he was fourteen years old he had an assignation with Marie Antoinette. He taught Rasputin to play chess and he taught Casanova about women; he is considered the prototypical Renaissance Man. Some people believe that reading Yves Gomez' memoir inspired Ayn Rand to write her character John Galt. A museum in France has an artifact that may be Yves Gomez' safety bicycle, which today we'd classify as a mixte; his diary notes that he preferred this frame because he found the normal top-tube "too constrikting {sic} for my private bits".

At any rate, the Rivendell mixte is also available in the Yves Gomez namespace with an testosterone-supplemented colorway. In fact, the original head badge on the Yves Gomez bore the tagline, "the international man's mixte".

The Betty Foy - Yves Gomez that I've been riding sports a really clever arrangement of the brakes and shift levers. Although my standard bike (a Surly LHT) is friction-left and index-right, this bike is friction-friction and that worked really well. This arrangement is just a pleasure for shifting and braking.


The Tektro 559 brakes are very authoritative and modulate quite well. The bike I'm riding has Schwalbe Big Boy Tires, 700x50s, which is a testiment to the clearance available on the frame.


This is a really nice bicycle.