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

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

4121 Main : Who Knew?

9.30.2015 23m
Parked by the Bastille and started riding into town. Encountered an amazing flow of people going to the baseball stadium; last night's game was rained out, moving today into an impromptu double-header. Lots of people walking to the stadium and wearing black-and-gold.

Rode east in the Strip to Kindred Cycles to drop off a #Coffeeneuring poster. Climbed up to Polish Hill to deliver one to Lili's Coffee. Descended and then climbed up Liberty and Penn to Constellation Coffee.

Next on my list was 4121 Main, a coffee shop I'd never heard of. In fact, I didn't know Pittsburgh had a Main Street, shows what I know. Why haven't I known about this place earlier? Beautiful space, lots of light, very nicely done.



Continued along Bloomfield, dropped off posters at East End Book Exchange and The Big Idea Co-op BookStore and Cafe. Both places, nice people.

Putzed around Shadyside, Fifth, then went back inbound and descended via Panther Hollow. Saw a largish group of cyclists with Mikhael and Stef on the front, I'm thinking it was the Wednesday night PMTCC ride out of OTB. I'd like to make that ride a routine thing; I haven't been there since last year. Great people.

Back to the Northside while the second game was underway. Lots of cars but everybody was playing nice. Great day for a ride after all the rain.


Monday, September 28, 2015

Coffeeneur 2015 Poster Run


9.28.2015 Monday 22m

Parked at the Bastille after the rain stopped. Rode Hot Metal Bridge to Southside. Stopped to deliver Coffeeneuring posters at BigDogCoffee, Joe's Coffee, Thick Bikes, Delanie's Coffee, Espresso A Mano, Iron City Bikes.



Saw this car wrapped in CAUTION tape, with a nice cutout for the parking sticker so they wouldn't get a ticket.


3526 Butler Street, by Jeremy Ramer


Stopped at Kraynicks for an egg-cream, saw the saddest thing ever.





Friday, September 25, 2015

Homeless Colorforms and an Errant Autopod: What Belongs, What Doesn't; Who Decides

9.25.2015 44m
Started off in Pgh, met R. under the Birmingham Bridge. Although the mission was to ride out on the GAP and intercept MA, we had time for coffee and stopped at Big Dog. Wonderful / excellent as always.

Rode out through SouthSide and the Waterfront when R's phone rang and he needed to get home. Continued solo.

Reached Boston PA by the green boxcar, our designated muster point. Got to chill for a bit while MA rode inbound. I've been having a creaking noise in the general vicinity of my bottom bracket, so to eliminate some causes I lubed the chain and then the pedals, but the creaking persisted.

MA arrived and we stopped for more coffee at the Boston Shoppes Tea Room.

Rode into Pittsburgh. Had an essential Pittsburgh experience: my friend Bryan saw/heard me coming by and caught up to say, wow what's your bottom bracket doing? I love that.

Rode to the Point. Saw two young, apparently middle-class white folks, maybe college students or Uber drivers, taking a nap in the park. It was a beautiful afternoon. A lovely scene.



This is (sorry) my recurring mind-irritant: how much would you have to change to make them objectionable homeless people, whom the authorities would tell to move along? Imagine if we had Public Space Colorforms™ we could use to modify the situation and then be able to calculate the exact tipping point between "acceptable Privilege taking a nap" and "unacceptable HomelessPerson who needs to be sent away"?



I'm afraid the easiest marginal change for the tipping point would be to make their skin a bit darker, make their clothing a bit frayed, and remove the trappings of class and economic status. Arghhh.

Out along the south bank of the Allegheny to the Convention Center (where the waterfalls and rainbow were working!) Inbound along the Penn Ave bike lane, where we encountered this:



These Autopods aren't supposed to be in the bike lanes. This one had a mechanical failure and was sitting in the bike lanes. Argghhhhh. They're not bikes. They don't meet the PA definition of an ebike. They don't meet the definition of a pedicab. Somehow, the local company that makes and sells them tells people they're street legal and I think that's completely false. (They probably do meet the Fed standard for ebikes, but they weigh too much for the PA ebike definition).

I don't care about one Autopod. But I don't want gas-powered Vespas, or very light motorcycles, or golfcarts in the bike trails. Don't want a bike-framed hot dog stand slowly riding along the bike lane and stopping when somebody wants a Hebrew National (my fave). Don't want the Beer Peddler in the bike lane. If we/they don't enforce standards, it's a slippery slope!

And so here I am, stuck twice on: what belongs and what doesn't? And I have to admit my own preferences are showing.

At the end of the Penn Ave bike lane, we transitioned across Market Square, PPG Place, and the Smithfield Street bridge. Out the Southside trail to the marina, then went over to OTB for lunch. I was amazed that MA hadn't had anything to eat outside of a muffin when he was sixty miles back.

Great ride. It was a treat to get to show off Pgh. And like all cyclists, I was left at the end of the day wondering about the clicking sound in my bottom bracket.


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Cumberland-Meyersdale-Cumberland

9.23&24 64m
Met MA in Cumberland MD, a bit late in the day - we got started around 4.20pm heading uphill. We arrived in Meyersdale four hours later (time), after pedaling for 3+01 (bike time)

MA showed me some parts of his kit. He was rocking a Vargo Titanium Decagon stove, which is an elegant piece of gear.



It was a great ride. I did get bit by a wasp a few times before I killed it. We paused at MP9, and paused at MP16 but didn't climb the switchbacks into Frostburg. We finished the last forty-fivish minutes in the dark, which was kind of fun.

M-A had purchased a new headlight at Performance on the drive to Cumberland and had charged up the battery in his car. Puts the headlight on the bike and: no lights! You'd think this was a bug, but the manufacturer thinks it's a feature - the light has a locked-off function to prevent unintentional discharge in your bike bags. Problem is, it comes out of the box locked off and there's no explicit info on the setting. So you can google it and find out what others have learned, but that seems like a fail.

Pulled into Meyersdale late at night. Rode down the hill into Morguen Toole. Ate dinner before cleaning up to avoid keeping the staff over-late. Excellent meal.

photo by M-A

We both stayed in the hostel room, we won the occupancy lottery and had it to ourselves. It's a funny, rambling old building that we pretty much had to ourselves.

The next morning we had breakfast at the world-famous GI Dayroom. We futzed with our stuff and started riding up. the. damn. hill to the trail. There was a dozen people waving and cheering and shouting, which we thought was very nice of the local citizens to undertake on our behalf, but it turns out there was a marathon (and half-marathon) on the trail.

We split at the trailhead; MA rode west to Pittsburgh, and I rode east to return to Cumberland. Headwind on my segment. Tremendous visibility at the Savage Vista. I enjoyed a thermos of coffee from GIDayRoom. The descent was glorious, and I eschewed the Frostburh stop to keep moving into town.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Seattle's balaboosta bike advocate; Proxy Obama; Build a Fence On It

9.22.2015 20m
This is not the blog post you should be reading. You should be reading: http://nospandexrequired.blogspot.com/2015/09/rainier-ave-protected-bike-lane-on-most.html, the story of how a nice Jewish lady convinced local government to put up a one-day temporary bike lane on Seattle's most dangerous street.

The ersatz bike lane was so good, this father-and-son were biking on it.


This is not unbelievable to me, because I know that Jewish mothers are capable of everything. It's a really great story, well told. But enough about Seattle.

I started at the Bastille with my wife Karen. We rode to Oakland, had lunch at Conflict Kitchen. Their current focus is Cuba; wonderful food. They asked a lot of Cuban folks: what sort of speech do you wish President Obama would make about Cuba? They compiled the submissions and had an actor (who does a very good job playing PBO) deliver the speech.

While you wait in the queue, there's a tablet playing video of the speech. It really does look/sound a lot like PBO. It's funny, clever, and poignant. It takes a little while to realize it's not actually the President himself.






Rode down Junction Hollow. Saw an official vehicle parked near the Panther Hollow Lake, which is recently controversial because "people" have been walking across the railroad tracks to get to the lake. The railroad occasionally puts constables in place to prevent people from crossing. Why don't they build a fence? I hear a lot of politicians talk about building a big fence on our Southern Border, so they must work I guess.

Rode over to SouthSide. Stopped at Claddagh for some Guinness. I asked, do you have half-pints? and they said no, just pints. Then they said: our pints are 16 ounces. I struggled with this for a bit; first, of course a pint is 16 ounces, but apparently enough people expect a pint to be 20 ounces that they've decided to set the expectation when you're ordering.



Stopped at REI and Thick. Stopped on Liberty Ave for some shopping, then back to the Bastille. 20 miles on a beautiful day.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Rock'em Sock'em Hockey Players

9.21.2015 23m
Started off doing bikey-things by picking up some Coffeeneuring 2015 posters from the good people at Commonplace Coffee, printed on 11x17 paper. I hope Pittsburgh gets a lot of participants this year.


In what seems to be a series of serious mistakes I broke a toe last week, creating a disturbance in my cycling force. Arghh.


Today was my first day back on the bike since then. I started at the Bastille, rode around the Casino, stopped on Liberty Ave to do a shopping errand. The folks in the store were very nice about me bringing my bike with me. Pittsburgh is getting better and better, I'm feeling almost Panglossian.


I had a chance to escort two cyclists around for a tour of Pittsburgh, which always a thrilling thing because you never know how it's going to roll. Fortunately, it's always gone well. We rode this route:


They were most pleased at the Steelworkers sculpture at Southside Riverfront Park: The Workers from the Carrie Furnace. To me, it looks a bit like Rock'em-Sock'em Hockey Players.


I really enjoy getting to show off Pittsburgh, it sure shows well from a bike. Everybody was very courteous on the roads.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Why I Bought Another Surly Disc Long Haul Trucker

9.20.2015
I took delivery of my Surly LHT on Jan. 16, 2007. I had chosen to select most of the hardware on it and so it cost a bit more than the "complete LHT". I spend $2597 on the bike, which did not include the rear rack, lights, pedals, or bottle cages.



I had two stems installed, and the second handlebar provided space for mounting - well, more. More lights, gadgets, computers, GPSs. I had a non-standard crankset with 20/32/46 chainrings that I was pleased to have. I had cross brake-levers on the handlebars, and I put a Brooks B73 saddle on it. I had a Wipperman teflon-coated chain that matched the paint.


I really, really liked this bike and I thought it would be the last bike I'd ever purchase. (I was 49 years old).

I rode this bike from Pgh to DC a dozen times. I rode this bike across the Katy Trail, and on parts of the Natchez Trace. This bike got me through a lot of things.

For the record, the frame registration number was M6010754. Whoever was working that week did a remarkable job.




On Aug.7 2015 I made a serious mistake: I bent my LHT. I was engaged as a tour guide to escort a group of six cyclists from Pittsburgh to DC. On the very last day, I was in front of the group a few miles south of White's Ferry, at about 31 miles from DC. There were puddles in the center of the trail every few minutes, and I was riding around them. The puddles were getting bigger, and the trail surface around them was getting smaller.

Finally, I rode on the narrow berm of a big puddle and watched the muddy berm give way under my ponderous bulk and there wasn't anymore dirt under my tires. I went off the trail, down a steep treed slope. I stayed on the bike and tried to keep riding it, and stay on top of it, until I lost it. We hit a tree and came to a stop, and then I fell off on the downhill side.

#FallDownGoBoom. I think I scared my clients. Once I wiggled my fingers and toes, I insisted they take a picture before disturbing the effect:



They came down and lifted the bike and me out of the foliage and up to the trail. I was fortunately uninjured, with only some scratches. My jaw felt a bit rattled. #BumblesBounce™

Since I wasn't dying, we immediately took to checking out the bike:


It was bent. The front wheel was pretty much moved aft against the down tube, so I removed the front fender and then the wheel had clearance from the down tube. Note the zero rake on the front fork - pretty much a straight line from the steerer tube to the contact patch.


This is what I love about the Surly: I bent it in several different places and it still let me ride another 35 miles on it. What a bike!

We got back on the bikes and kept riding to DC. Then we rode around DC and checked out all the nifty bike lanes. The bike rode differently, to be sure - I couldn't peddle and turn independently, because my toes would hit the front wheel. With the reduced wheelbase the bike was a bit more nimble. Stuff like that.

This bike served me so well, even after I bent the frame way beyond normal usability. A carbon-fiber or an aluminum bike wouldn't have got me anywhere beyond the crash scene. The Surly let me ride another 35 miles, and gave every indication I could ride it further but it just didn't seem wise.

I had 28,453 miles on the frame. The previous August, this bike received the both the Best Antelope Award and the Best In Show Award at the 2014 BikeFest. I had replaced both wheels at least once; the front derailleur; the brake levers, hoods, and handlebars (after I bent the handlebars); I replaced the drivetrain numerous times. The saddle had a structural failure and Brooks replaced it free even though it was way beyond the warranty period.

This is what I did to the top tube:


This is what I did to the down tube, near the fork:





I grieved the loss of the LHT, but knew it was also an opportunity to take everything I learned and choose another bike. I have been nurturing an infatuation with the Surly ECR so I rode one a few times. I really liked the bike, and it's the perfect bike for riding the C&O but I don't think I'd want it for my main-squeeze traveling bike. It's not quite a fat-bike so it would be fun in medium snow but really not a snow bike; it's heavy for a touring bike. It tries to find a few different Goldilock's sweet-spots but in the end I wasn't buying it. If I could have a bike just for C&O camping, there's no doubt the ECR would be it.

I rode several other bikes. I rode Salsa's Vayo and Fargo, and I loved the front of one and the stern of the other. The bike that came closest to winning the selection process was the 2016 AWOL EVO. I liked the bike, the ride, the racks, and the electrical-system geek-factor just about seduced me but the ride wasn't quite as good as the LHTs.

In the end, none of them were better than the Surly LHT; none of them beat the LHT's ride. So I got another one, with the variation that this time I got a Disc Trucker (disc brakes weren't available when I got my LHT).

I like my new Disc Trucker every bit as much as my Long Haul Trucker. It's the same comfortable ride and it goes where I point it. I put the front and rear racks, the seat, the lights and the gear onto the new bike. I took off the new crankset and replaced it with my 20/32/46 front chainrings. I love that 20-tooth small chainring. I installed the bottom bracker and the front derailleur from the damaged bike on the new bike (for compatibility with the old crankset). The only bit of gear I couldn't salvage from the old bike was the Deda DogFang, which I just couldn't budge off the old frame.

This is my Original Long Haul Trucker and my recently acquired Disc Trucker.


If Surly wants the frame to examine it, I'll send it back. Otherwise I'll probably use it as a Ghost Bike.


While I'm on the topic, major kudos to Surly regarding their response to #SockGate which is so consistent with their focus: the bikes, not the bullshit.

I recommend a Surly LHT to anybody looking for a comfortable, robust, steel-frame touring bike. I ride this bike for hours and it just wants to go longer.

Shocking News: A Crap Ton of Bicyclists Using the Road!

9.18.2015
The 412Flock! ride got caught up in a bit of Friday evening traffic congestion. Behind the group ride were several buses, and so: cyclists were blamed for using the roads.

If the cyclists weren't there, those buses could have advanced another 20 yards and then stopped behind the cars, just like the cyclists were.

Anyway, this twitter exchange occurred:





Thursday, September 17, 2015

300 miles, 6 days: Cumberland-Pittsburgh-Cumberland

At times I'm asked for itineraries along the C&O and the GAP and I've decided to start publishing them in case they're of use to anybody.

Instead of literary-porn, this is itinerary-porn. I end up writing itineraries for different types of trips. Rather than ride 335 miles from Pgh to DC, I often suggest just riding the GAP round-trip. Here's the back-story:
1. The GAP is a modern trail, contemporary materials, best-practice engineering standards
2. The C&O is a CivilWar Donkey Path, built to whatever MilSpec they used for donkey paths in the 1850's.
Every time I've ever been with a group that bent a bike or bent a body, it was always on the C&O- including my recent snafu where I bent my bike frame beyond repair. My friend Killer had a catastrophic failure of his carbon-fiber front fork on the C&O. The smartest, wisest way to ride 300 miles is to ride the GAP round-trip, back to where your car is.

This is a six-day, B&B-type, credit-card touring itinerary.

Cumberland to Pittsburgh

DayOne Starting in Cumberland, I'd suggest the first day is: Cumberland to Meyersdale.
It's 33 miles but includes 24 miles of climbing and it's a completely sufficient day's work.
Depart Cumberland with a bag lunch and plenty of water.
Watch the train track crossings, people fall down on them.
At MP16 there's the Frostburg trailhead. It takes quite a while to get from the Trailhead to the
restaurant on top of the switchbacks (new owners). You might just eat your bag lunch and drink at MP16 and skip
the switchbacks. If you choose to go to the diner, call and see if they're open before doing the switchbacks.
At Mp22 there's a tremendous vista. MP24 is the top. MP33 is Meyersdale.
If you stay at Morguen Toole, you can take a room for yourself or stay in the hostel/bunkroom for $30.
I stay in the Hostel. So far, I've had it to myself every time.

DayTwo. Meyersdale to Connellsville. 58 miles.
I don't have a personal recommendation for lodging. I'm told good things about Connellsville B&B.
I like NYPizza for dinner; if you go, stop at the grocery nextdoor and get a container
of fresh fruit to bring on the trail the next day.

DayThree. Connellsville to Southside, 57 miles 10th Street Holiday Inn Express
The Holiday Inn Express is accessible via the trail. Don't take the Hot Metal Bridge;
continue north on the SouthSide Trail. After you pass under the 10th St Bridge, turn left and cross the railroad tracks and you'll come up on the rear of the HIE.

Pittsburgh to Cumberland

Day4. Wake up in Pittsburgh, ride to West Newton.
Continue North to Station Square, cross the Ft.Pitt Bridge.
Ride to the Point and get your picture taken.
Blvd of the Allies, Grant Street, Jail Trail.
Take a photo on the Hot Metal Bridge with Pgh in the background.
Lunch at OTB cafe. Coffee at Big Dog Coffee. Supplies at REI.
In the afternoon: ride 33 miles to West Newton.
dinner: Trailside Inn (there's a bike shop under the restaurant)
overnight at: Bright Morning B&B

Day5. WestNewton to Confluence. 53 Miles
In Confluence at the Caboose, go to NYPizza for lunch.
In Ohiopyle, I like the Ohiopyle Bakery.
River's Edge is a great place for dinner and also has a B&B; recommended.
ParkerHouse is the town's finest establishment for lodging and I'm not allowed in there.
Confluence Cyclery for WiFi and bike stuff.
Sister's Cafe for breakfast

Day6. Confluence to Cumberland 62 miles
Stop in Rockwood, check out the Opera Hall upstairs at RockwoodShoppes.
Stop at Meyersdale Trailhead. If you're happy with just the vending machines at the trailhead,
avoid descending into town. But this is the halfway point, and there is a Sheetz!
Stop at Frostburgh Trailhead.
Watch the train track crossings, people fall down on them.
Dinner and beer at FattyPig isn't bad.
I personally like the ice cream at Queen City Creamery


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Ghost Bike: "Not Just to Mourn, But to Demand Change"

9.12.2015 11m
On a cool and drizzly-rainy morning we had a Ghost Bike ride for Arthur Bell. It was wonderful that so any folks came out, often from a distance, to commemorate the death on State Bike Route A.



The Hopewell Township (Beaver County) police department was wonderful. They added a completely different level of safety on a reduced-visibility morning and this road is marginal in ideal conditions.

Cyclists used ribbons (some bearing wishes) as armbands during the ride, and carried them to the Ghost Bike Dedication. In the photo below, siblings of the deceased tied their ribbons to the ghost bike.


After the dedication, the cyclists departed using an alternate route from Route51, which the Ohio River Trail is trying to get designated as Bike Route A. The first mile was bumpy, but it was a much safer and more relaxed ride. I think a few of the riders were surprised that you can get through that way.

Photo by PaulH



After the ride the Ghost Bike was placed at the accident scene. I took the chance to go through the messages that I could read (some of the ribbons were tightly rolled and the message wasn't visible). They were clever and poignant. The one that rang my bell was, "Not Just to Mourn but to Demand Change.



Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Coffee Insufficiency & Coveting

9.09.2015 0m


I am not a coffee snob. I drank Navy and FAA coffee from jug-size percolators for a long time and was glad to have it.


But I do appreciate great coffee and I will spend time and effort to have it. This is how I make coffee when I'm bike camping:

It works well. The Starbucks Via is several degrees better than generic instant coffee.

Recently I saw that NoahP and SarahP were using this rig at Dravos Cemetery:

and I felt a mix of gear-insufficiency and coveting. I'm pretty sure their morning coffee experience is better than mine.

This week I saw that @Chrisamaphone was using this outfit:


and I am feeling completely under-equipped. I want to raise the level of my camp coffee game, after I work through the stash of Via's I've accumulated.




Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Viewshed Gentrification: Homeless Displacement

Tues 9.08 21m

Yesterday I wrote a post that mentioned my appreciation that Pittsburgh (city, county) doesn't roust homeless people. Today I saw that the Second Ave homeless camp is wiped clean, no trace; it's as if it never existed.

Turns out there is a cycle of complaints and evictions; when the City gets sufficient complaints, the police force the people off the site. That explains the recent appearance of tents under the 31st Street Bridge, and the outside sleeper by the Casino.

I don't know what the answer is to this. I don't like forced displacement and suppression because people don't like to see the homeless, to be reminded of their existence. I think they have a struggle to survive that's driven by a lot of different factors, and I don't know that society should be displacing them because of awkward optics. Call it "viewshed gentrification"; forced displacement with nobody moving in behind them, in an attempt to maintain pleasing visual sightlines.

I don't think there's any easy solution, although Utah has done some interesting stuff. But in the spirit of "first, do no harm" we could certainly not make things harder for these people in the interest of appearances.

Argghhhhh.

Rode from the Northside to Oakland. Crossed the tracks to see the lake in Panther Hollow for the first time. Descended and stopped at REI for socks, which somehow cost $20/pair. Stuffed them in my panniers, still reminding me of the tiny objective differences between myself and the homeless guys.

Rolled over to OTB Southside and met two cyclists pushing off for DC, planning a nine day trip. One was riding a CoMotion step-through I've been seeing at Golden Triangle, a very sweet bike. Back to the Bastille and feeling the heat.



Sunday, September 6, 2015

Essential Pittsburgh

9.6.2015 Sunday 21m
This was an "essential Pittsburgh" kind of day. I started riding just after sunrise at the Bastille, going south toward the Casino.

On a bench along the Casino trail, a homeless man was sleeping wrapped in a blanket. His bicycle was leaning against the railing, and his possession were in two bags leaning against the bike.

This brings me again to my ongoing internal dialogue about Homeless Folks and Touring Cyclists and class distinctions. I am glad that Pittsburgh doesn't roust the people sleeping outside. I've seen a new homeless mini-camp under the 31st Street Bridge and I am glad the City allows these folks to be.

I got to my workplace for the day a bit early, and sitting on a public bench nearby my mind turned to napping, which is where it often goes when I have a spare +15 minutes. If I had laid down on the bench, with my bike and single pannier, I would have been doing exactly what that other man was doing, but society would view it so very differently. I know that's wrong. I can't articulate society's underlying reasons without perceiving class and privilege.

Anyway. Met a cyclist and exchanged a few pleasant words. Later I was told he's a local entertainer who has made some unwelcome comments about cyclists in his act. I'm glad he's on a bike, but I'm sorry he resorts to that shtick.

I met two cyclists rolling on Pedego e-bikes, really sweet bikes. Talked to them about where they were going, they were trying to figure out a commuting route from Squill to Allegheny General. JoanneP was riding by and joined us, and told them: follow me, I'll show you the way which is an Essential Pittsburgh response. Traditionally it involves cars, but now it involves bikes. (related: RenoRambler on ebikes)


I took a photo of a mother and her daughter starting out on a ride to the Point. The kid was awesome, she was a person of few words but so excited to go ride.
Pittsburgh bike rental, Mom and Daughter

Took a group of newly-arriving CMU grad students out for a tour. Mentioned the lunar lander mockup that was on the Alomono site, working on the Space-X project. We took them up Panther Hollow which was a bit steep for some of them, and took the lane on Second Avenue which was an adventure for some. It was a good group and they were amazed at how many neighborhoods were accessible on a bike.



The rivers were packed crowded, the LST is still on display, and the Northside was as crowded as I've ever seen it (there was some kind of a RibFest going on). A tremendous, vibrant exciting day in Pittsburgh.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Fratboi Follies

Sat 9.5.2015 24m
Driving into Pittsburgh and then bicycling around is a regular activity of mine. Today I started at the Bastille along with my wife Karen and her friend Marion.

We rode from the Bastille to Millvale and stopped at Pamela's for pancakes. Then I departed to ride downtown. I picked up a tour group at 10am and we rode Hot Metal Bridge, Ft. Pitt Bridge, under the convention center (and the waterfalls and lighting were operating, ++). Then we took the Penn Ave bike lanes, Sixth, Market Square, PPG Plaza, and Blvd of the Allies back to the Jail Trail. Great ride.

There were throngs crossing the Ft. Duquesne bridge heading to the Pitt game at the football stadium. In general, everybody cooperated and it was pleasant. One young fratboi walking in front of me in the far-left of the walkway decided to stop moving, bend over, and adjust his footwear as I was coming up behind him. #DiscTrucker #Kids.

Timing was fortuitious, and I shoved off from the tour just as K & M were returning to the Bastille. We arrived at about the same time and drove back to the Great Northwest of Beaver County.


Friday, September 4, 2015

The Future Showed Up

Friday 9.04 23m
Friday. Rode from the Bastille to Millvale and Pamela's Pancakes, then to Hot Metal Bridge and Big Dog Coffee, then back to the Bastille.

So much good infra stuff is happening in Pittsburgh cycling.
  • Completely unannounced, the Rankin Bridge got bike lanes. They don't connect to any infra on either side, but it's a footprint.
  • The Penn Ave bike lanes will be extended from 6th to Stanwix in the next month
  • There's going to be a new bike lane on 40th from Butler to Penn; bike lane on the climbing side, sharrows descending

In addition, as previously noted:
  • Route 50 bridge on Montour Trail to open this month
  • Valleybrook Road bridge on the Montour Trail to open this month
  • Pinkerton Tunnel to open this month
  • Amtrak roll-on, roll-off bike service may rollout this month.
Not to mention recent deliveries:
  • Bikeshare (Pittsburgh HealthyBike) in May
  • initial protected bike lanes rolled out in Oct.2014 at the RideWalk Conference
These are all the sorts of things that were always over-the-horizon, always like eight years away, and now they're all happening. It's like the future finally showed up, all at once. In some ways it's better than jetpacks.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Haze Grey and Underway; Caffeine at Caffe D'Amore

Wed 9/2 21m
Started riding with Rusty at 0800 at the Bastille in an attempt to beat the heat. (We should have started earlier for that).

Rounding the bend at the Science Center we saw LST-325, a Navy landing ship from WW2 (which put 20 Sherman tanks ashore at D-Day).

I lived on a Navy ship for two years and the sight of a "haze grey and underway" hull pulled at some strings. Mostly, it pulled at the string that reminds me of the smell of a warship - a mix of heavy oil smell, welded hot-metal smell, and the smell of sweat - and I didn't feel any need to go onboard and have the visceral olfactory nostalgia. The only place on a ship I like the smell of is the lazzarette, the rope locker, with its smells of wet rope and tar and something more organic than metal.



With a great desire for caffeine we rode out to Lawrenceville and the soft-opening of Caffe D'Amore at 5400 Butler Street. I had attended a coffee briefing from owner Sareh last year during Pittsburgh Coffee Week and I thought her shop would hit the target and it is spot on. (new website: CaffeDAmorePgh.com/.

Caffee d'Amore

I had a iced coffee and it was tremendous. I had a major caffeine buzz going for a while. We got into a discussion about coffee processes and soon Sareh was talking about Total Dissolved Solids Ratios and I was way out of my league pretty quickly.



We rode uphill through the Allegheny Cemetery, rode Liberty, Aiken, and Ellsworth to Oakland, then the Junction Hollow Trail down to the Hot Metal Bridge. Stopped at REI. Continued north-west on the SouthSide Trail, took the Smithfield Street Bridge, Blvd of the Allies, and the Ft. Duquesne bridge back to the southside.

Pleasantly surprised to encounter G. riding opposite direction on the trail. He had errands to run downtown so he parked at the perimeter and biked in; I think we're going to see a lot more of that in Pittsburgh in the next few years.