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Saturday, June 13, 2015

Big Tent Pittsburgh Rainbow Ride 2015

Fri 6.12.2015 25m
This was 412Flock!'s second annual Rainbow ride. We'd had a previous one in 2013, when we started as "Pride Ride" and got pushback from Delta Foundation because they believe they own the term Pride in the Pittsburgh region, so we got into using Rainbow Ride which works for me.

I started at the Bastille, towing the sound trailer. This was my first time pulling a trailer since the mid-1990's. It rolled very easily. There's a springy-bungee fitting in the coupler that introduces a sort of slinky-oscillation into the relationship between the bike and the trailer, which was something I didn't have time to get used to. It was a lot of work riding up to Oakland on a hot day.

The 412Flock! crew had a pretty good plan for the ride, but as BobC taught me "no plan survives contact with the enemy" which in today's variation meant the weather. We started to muster at Dippy but the skies were getting dark, and we repositioned to the big tent in Schenley Plaza next to Conflict Kitchen. This turned out to be a good move.

Photo by Joyce W

When the storm started it was a deluge, dark skies and reduced visibility. A few later arrivals showed up soaked, I felt for them. After the rain passed we briefed and started out, probably 40 cyclists AND three police officers on bikes which was very awesome.

video by Miguel

Our first destination was the Paint Party, which being an outdoor activity was scrubbed due to the rain. Our next destination was the Fruit Loop on Prospect Drive, where David Piergalski was beat to death in 1989 by two 20-year olds who found entertainment in harassing queers.

photo by Yale

Then we descended Prospect Drive Trail, the Pocusset bike lane, and Greenfield to SecondAve-Saline and the Jail Trail. Tremendous descent, on a wet road and the heat had broken with the rain so it was a little bit cool. Great fun.

We rode SouthSide to 2700 Jane Street, now Hot Metal Bridge Faith Community but previously Wild Sisters Collective and then Bloomers bar. Then we rode East Carson Street to the 10th Street Bridge.

I really appreciated the spirit of the riders. It rained off an on and nobody complained or bemoaned the conditions. Also, the three police officers were tremendous; I've never been on a group ride with such support.

We rode the Armstrong Tunnels, then went around to the GLCC on Grant Street where Jason gave us a briefing. Coincidentally, they were celebrating their 20th Anniversary friday-night Teen Party.

photo by GLCC

Grant Street to Liberty, shuffle to Penn, shuffle to Smallman.

video by Miguel

Smallman Street, Shuffle over to Penn, yah-tah to Liberty. Took Libert Ave out to 33rd and then Brewers Hotel. In addition to being a bar, Brewers is an SRO (sleeping room only) hotel which served as an Aids Hospice in the 1980's. An older man I met during the week told me, there was a time where Brewers was the only place you could go to, to die.

We were fortunate that Harrison Apple was on site waiting for us at Brewers and gave us a briefing on the history of the place and also on the role of SRO's as bachelor housing during Pittsburgh's industrial times.

photo by Yale

Then we rode back into downtown. We had originally planned to take Liberty inbound but our police escort suggested Penn.

video by Miguel

We took the Penn Ave Bike Lane, then turned left and did a loop at Market Square. Then out to Point State Park. After the storm it had turned into a really nice evening.

This was a tremendous ride that I really enjoyed.

I put the trailer back on my bike for the ride to the Bastille. It has a Trek mounting mechanism which introduces a sort of Slinky-oscillation - it certainly works but it's hard to ignore.

The last ten feet of my ride, as I slowed and turned outside the Bastille, I slowed and turned too much for a bike with a trailer's weight involved, the force input was insufficient for the weight, I fell below minimum controllable bikespeed and went Fall Down Go Boom. Fortunately, Bumbles Bounce™.

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