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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Oakmont Bakery: Basket Cases with the Gang of Five

1/12/2014 42m #216 33F
Sunday mornings see lower-than-normal traffic on busy streets, as some people sleep in and others go to church, so sometimes they're a good opportunity to ride on a busy thoroughfare. A fave Sunday morning ride is to take Allegheny River Blvd out to the Oakmont Bakery - but you do have to start early, which this time of year means starting in the dark.

Our merry Gang of Five cyclists had agreed to meet at the Millvale trailhead at 0700 (sunrise is 0745, natch) and uncharacteristically I was first in the parking lot in my minivan, listening to the Commonwealth Club on NPR. I see a small light in the distance and I'm immediately outclassed when RR arrives on her bicycle having ridden six miles from her office park. So she must have departed on her bike from the Chateau Trail at about 0600. Wow.

S, RC, and YC appeared in their four-wheelers and we all went through the dressing and futzing-with-the-bike rituals, then we were off. We crossed the 40th Street Bridge and took Butler Street east, riding toward the sunrise. It was nice to have the streets pretty much to ourselves, especially around the Highland Park Bridge transitions which are interesting.

Continued along through Verona as YC made Shakespeare puns which I was very slow to pick up on. Entered Oakmont, which would probably qualify as the Beaver of Allegheny County if Sewickley hadn't already won that honor and stopped at our destination, the Oakmont Bakery. (pictures)

Being a NuYawker, I entered and hit the TakeANumba machine for five numbers, one for each of us, and distributed them among the party. I did not realize that my friends would need time to come to terms with the emotional overload presented by the wide range of offerings, and some of them passed and got back in the sequence later.

In addition to our take-away packages we obtained coffee and pastries to enjoy in the moment. We took a table in the foyer and had a nice sit-down. The pastries and sweets are really excellent and the coffee was very good.

The Basket Case: Back on the bikes, with pies and buns and tortes in our baskets (and most definitely not in our panniers -- which YC explained, comes from the Latin for bread carrier). Baskets are the only way to carry baked goods such as pies and pastries. Fortunately, four of the five of us had equipped our bikes with baskets for the occasion.

We rode west on Allegheny Blvd. At Lawrenceville SR got a flat rear tire and expertly changed it. In fact, I was running my mouth with Yale, arguing that the speed of light was not a long-term constant and that time flowed at different rates when I saw that she had the bike upside down and the rear wheel off. This was a novel wrench session, with the womenz tending to the work and the men just yakkity-yakking. I kind of enjoyed that.

After remounting the wheel, SR announced her intention to head over to the nearby BikePgh bike workstation on 43rd Street which really impressed me; I would not have thought of it. I need to make a list of all the bike workstations in the metro area. Pumped up the tire and crossed the 40th St. Bridge, back to the cars and unloaded the pastries.

SR wasn't sanguine about the rear tire so she called it a day, and then we were Four. We rode around the Casino to take RR back to her office park, and then we were Three. She had fallen on railroad tracks and ended the day with a nasty lump on her arm and a pretty significant limp, I was impressed that she pedalled through it all.

We pedalled around to the Ft. Duquesne Bride and RC was going to return to the trailhead, and then we were Two. YC and I rode across the two bridges to the SouthSideTrail, down to Keystone Metals, just because it was so nice out. We came back via the Jail Trail, Grant Street, the 16th Street Bridge, and the North Side Trail.

42 miles with the Gang of Five, and a most excellent ride.

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