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Monday, May 5, 2014

West Newton to Pittsburgh Bike Trip

5.05.2014 33m
Day Two of K's first overnight bike trip. Woke up at Bright Morning B&B in West Newton to fresh coffee and a superb breakfast, really very good. Got to our morning preparations and packing up.

We had arranged to have cyclist / photographer / trail-advocate BetsyM. of TrailPhoto.biz come out and take some photographs of us, since we don't have a lot of pictures and this was a special event. It was a pleasant (painless) session and we had the proofs in our email before we got home from the day's ride which was impressive. Quick conclusion: helmets don't add much to photo sessions.

We reversed course, and I'd planned on our stopping in Boston again - and we did, but the shop was closed (Monday), so we opened my bag of snacks in my pannier and made do with what I had. Fortunately, I had a pretty good selection of things to eat.

Back on the trail and I was pleased that the wind (usually out of the northwest) was quite low today. We might have stopped at the Pump House, but we continued through to REI where I used a $20 cash card I'd received that was about to expire. Bought a bunch of trail snacks for future rides.

Rode a few blocks over to Big Dog Coffee. Cappuccino, Latte, rugula, oat bar; life is good.

Back on the trail, rode to Station Square and the van that was still there. Paid $24 for parking for 28 hours, which is like a bargain if you've ever parked in Manhattan.

Between today and yesterday we met several examples of two of The Five Cyclists You Meet on the Trail: the
cigar smoker, and the loud-yelling speedy passer (on your left! hey take your time! passing here!)

This was my first real use of the Garmin -200 GPS tracker, which is rechargeable through a USB cable. It's got a great display, very good mount. I like the upload, particularly with the National Bike Challenge.

Trip Summary: Pittsburgh to West Newton is a trip suitable for low-time overnight cyclists. The navigation is fairly straight-forward, although there are some places in the Get Out of Pittsburgh segment that are not intuitive; generally, if you stop at the puzzles another cyclist will be along within five minutes.

The trip roughly breaks into thirds, with stops at the Pump House - Waterfront (several food opportunities) and in Boston PA (some limited food opportunities). There are three hills on this trip - the two trail bridges along the Kennywood segment of the Steel Valley Trail, and the Durabond Bypass segment between Port Vue and Dead Man's Hollow. Neither are character building but they're significant for the low-time or flatlands cyclist.

West Newton offers an excellent destination: a trail shop (jerseys, shirts, geegaws), the West Newton Bike Shop at the trailhead, The Trailside restaurant, and the Bright Morning B&B. Also recommended to us was The Chuck Wagon for breakfast, but the B&B breakfast was excellent and so we didn't want anything else.

First pedal to last pedal, we took 4.5 hours from Station Square to West Newton (including all stops), and exactly 4.5 hours on the return trip (all stops included). An excellent trip, highly recommended.

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