Type 2 Diabetic. Cyclist Flâneur.   Coffeeneur.    Errandoneur
A bike / map geek with a gadget obsession and a high-viz fetish.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Escort Duty

4.27.2014 48m #220
A magnificent day for riding. The plan of the day was to accompany a few transient riders out of the nav puzzle that is Pittsburgh as they begin their Pgh-to-DC bike trip.

K and I started riding at the Bastille, took this photo near the dockmaster's koi pond:

We hit Point State Park, rode through the Convention Center and over to the Amtrak Station. The visitors weren't there yet so we made off to the Strip District and Enrico Biscotti for - well, for biscotti and espresso which was wonderful. Back to Amtrak, waited with S.

The two travelling cyclists (Sandie and Brandon) arrived and unboxed their bikes, loaded up their panniers etc. The Amtrak boxed-bike experience worked real well for them. We reversed and rode under the Convention Center (such a nice transition) and out to Point State Park, then Blvd of the Allies to Grant St. and the Jail Trail. Picked up their cousin on a rental bike at Golden Triangle Rentals.

Jail Trail, Hot Metal Bridge for the obligatory photo op, Sandcastle, Pump House where S reversed; Duquesne where the cousin reversed; McKeesport and then across to Port Vue, where K and I reversed after pointed the intrepid cyclists to the Durabond Bypass.

We made good time coming back, and stopped at OTB for a meal. Very good food. Got back to the Bastille and the vehicle as the sun was thinking about setting, so the timing was good. 48 miles, a nice day's ride and an impressive showing by K.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Never Get Between Two Groups of Noobs

4.26.2014 #222 48m
Rode with my neighbor Jack, who's preparing for the MS150 in another six weeks. Started at the Bastille, encountered a significant cluster of cyclists including two on hand-crank recumbent trikes, a few really nice Dutch-style ebikes, and a few Surly's. Diversity on the bike trail. Turns out, one of the cyclists (Cathy) is the owner of Aero Tech Designs Cycling Apparel in nearby Coraopolis. I felt at a loss, she asked if I'd been to their store and I've been by it quite a few times but I assumed it was a B2B operation. (wrong, apparently). Cool to meet a bike kit manufacturer on a Pittsburgh bike trail. She's riding in the Big Ride Across America this June through July.

At Point State Park we saw the progress of Ed Trask's mural, "heART this city":

Took the Ft. Pitt Bridge over to the South Side Trail, took a picture of my road bike with some springtime tulips:

This is the first time I've had the road bike out in quite a while. I enjoyed the reduced weight, the relative nimbleness, the 28 tires vs the 35s. I miss the cross brake levers and the rear-view mirror, and I miss the body-english that I lose with the nose-less saddle.

We went out to the Riverton Bridge and Jack wanted a few more miles, so we went out to Boston PA and the green boxcar. To return via a different route, we crossed the VerSails Bridge and returned via the McKeesport Loop.

The headwind on the return leg was pretty strong. It had me feeling for the cyclists out doing Crush The Commonwealth, who got rained on all day Friday and who have to fight this headwind all day Saturday.

A terrible thing happened and it completely was my fault. A parent and a little boy were walking his new bike along the trail. They asked, got any tools? His pedal keeps unthreading? So we stopped. They needed a wrench and I didn't have one. There was a cluster of a dozen noobish riders approaching, so I called out, anybody got a wrench or pliers? The first rider said, I do! and was so eager to help he locked up his brakes, causing a predictable confusion behind him and one gentleman took a hard fall on the pavement. I should never have gotten between two groups of noobs.

Today reminded me how very much my left knee resents clipless shoes (the kind that clip in, naturally) and I need to change the pedals on this bike. Other than that, the road bike was great.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Early and Often Mausoleums, Alt Spring Break Art

4.24.2014 224 20m
Started at the Bastille as a foursome with K, S, and R. Rode out along the Allegheny River to the 40th Street Bridge, and then out in Lawrenceville to revisit a new Stephen Foster mural.

Departed for the Allegheny Cemetery. We've been aware of an advertising mural on the North Side for E & O Beer. We've recently learned that E&O doesn't really stand for Early and Often, but rather for Eberhardt & Ober, who were partners in a Allegheny City (now Northside) Brewery that is now part of the Penn Brewery complex.

In fact, this background image from the Northside Leadership Conference's twitter page shows an E&O Beer sign:

The good folks at the NSLC told us that Eberhardt and Ober were such partners that they were now resting in adjacent mausoleums in Allegheny Cemetery, so we rode over. We met Clifton, an extremely courteous gentlemen, who helped us find the two crypts. Apparently, Mr. Ober died first and occupies the building on the right. Mr. Eberhardt died second, and arranged for a slightly grander structure.

Then we took a bit of a city tour. Up the hill in the cemetary to Penn Ave, across Friendship and Shadyside to Oakland, down the back of the Carnegie Museum to Panther Hollow. Rode the Jail Trail to Point State Park, where we found Ed Trask working on the Alternative Spring Break Art Project, creating a portable mural that says "Heart This City" containing key Burgh imagery.

Back across the Ft. Duquesne bridge to the NorthSide, and back to the Bastille. 20 miles and a great ride.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Big Dog FTW, CtC

4.23.2014 15m
Rode from the Bastille with K today on a colder day than expected. Trying to stay out of traffic, we took the Ft. Duquesne and Ft. Pitt Bridges to SouthSide, and then rode inland to Big Dog Coffee.

Stopped at REI for bike gear, pleasantly surprised to meet hello Paul-B.

Best wishes, tailwinds and fair weather to the hardy few participating in Crush the Commonwealth 2014, Philly to Pittsburgh, this upcoming weekend. A 400 mile bike race with three rules. You might like to watch #crushthecommonwealth

Monday, April 21, 2014

Non-Trivial Normal Joy

4.21.2014 8m
Nothing remarkable but all the non-trivial normal joy of riding a bike.

Worked all day, rolled out some code and stayed in the office on a glorious day waiting for the learning moments that happen when you introduce your precious code to the public. Got to speak to an actual end-users (which is a nasty phrase, really; Hello my name is V and I'm an end user. Hello, V!) who found the most curious combination of inputs that I never would have lab-tested.

All day I was wishfully looking outside at the beautiful conditions. I did ride the bike out to lunch, and later home from work. Rode home in (gasp) normal civilian clothes, which seemed to work well.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Look What They've Done to My Nap Tree, Ma

4.19.2014 #215 25m
I haven't been on the Montour Trail since November, because over the winter the trail goes through freeze-thaw cycles and develops ruts and runoff and it's bad for the trail to ride on it.

So I was back out there today, looking to reacquaint myself with my old route and see what's new. The trail surface was hard and rutted in some spots, but that's normal this time of year. It looks like a lot of work has been done lately clearing drainage channels on either side of the trail. Between mileposts 21 and 24 it looks like they're about to resurface the trail.

There were some new signage, and some new benches - and the new benches had a flat top surface with no back panel, which makes them infinitely better suited for bike napping. I'm into bike napping in a big way, so I was real happy to see the new bench format. My favorite bike nap spot in the world is on the Montour Trail out in Cecil Township. I can tell you that if you look the area up on Google Naps, you'll see that somebody has apparently entered the spot as an excellent bike nap location. Just saying.

My reverie at returning to my home trail was disturbed when I turned a bend in the trail and saw a scene of violent destruction, and fairly recent violence at that - the shade tree over my favorite napping place had been struck down before it's prime! I was devastated.

I could only stop the bike, unable to proceed, and eventually reversed course. The song kept running through my mind, Look what they've done to my song, Ma (imo, the definite performance was by Claudine Longet) except between my ears it was Look what they've done to my tree, Ma. My mother would just say, hey it's not your tree anyway.

Thomas Wolfe was right, you really can't go home again, not even on a bicycle. It's never there.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Surly ECR Test Ride at Thick Bikes

5.18.2014 52m #215
Started in Coraopolis at the Park-and-Ride at Route 51 and Thorn Run Road, timing some segments for an upcoming BikeTrain / BikePool for Ride Your Bike To Work Day (RYB2WD). The idea is, a "bike train" of several cyclists rides along a published, scheduled route so that commuters who prefer to ride in a group can ride their bikes to work.

Departed the 51-ThornRun Park&Ride lot. Crossed over to Neville Island, passed by the Robert Morris ice hockey rink and the I79-Park&Ride (which I think I'll be using for the BikeTrain). Back to the mainland, then the McKees Rocks Bridge. West-to-east is an uphill slope and I used the segregated sidewalk, because I imagine that's the path of discretion with a group of commuters; there's a lot of debris on the sidewalk.

From Route65 I took McClure St. down to Western Penitentiary, and joined the North Side Trail around to the Casino. Passed by the north-east corner of the baseball stadium, which will be another BikeTrain stop, then crossed the Allegheny River via the 6th Street Bridge into Market Square. Fifteen miles, sixty-seven minutes at a moderate pace.

Putzed around a bit; Jimmy John's for a sandwich. Back to the North Side. Notably, the ADA-ramp from Chateau Street up to California Street is now open which is an awesome bit of bike-infrastructure.

Met S back at the Bastille. We rode out to Thick Bikes because I'd left my high-viz vest there. I bought a new bell for my bike, the simple one-ding classic I've been rolling with wasn't cutting through the ear buds sufficiently. This one has a more br-br-br-br-ring-ring-ring-ring-ring sound.

S. is shopping handlebars and bikes, and I got to testride one of Thick's Surly ECRs. I really like this bike: I like the Jones H-bars, I liked the 29" ride and the 3" tires, I like the disc brakes. It felt like a bike that wants to go all day long.

I have heard different notions of what ECR stands for. As in, "extremely cool ride" etc. Today one of the shop mechanics said it stood for, Escape (the) City Rapidly.

Rode out to the Valley of the Shadow of Eagle Watchers which now has yellow placards warning people about Eagle Watching Activity In Progress, which is probably a great head's up for bicyclists coming quickly upon the scene. I could see how there could be conflicts and the signage might inform people better.

Rode out to the Waterfront, and reversed. Back to the North Side. Dropped S off at her vehicle, then climbed McClure up to the McKees Rocks Bridge, Neville Island to Coraopolis which took +55 minutes, I kind of surprised myself at that time.

52 miles, excellent day.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Most Car Fatalities Happen Within Five Miles of the Home

4.17.2014 #216 32m 60F
Due to misplaced priorities on my part, spent hours of nice weather writing website code. Finally got outside about 3.30 on a very nice day.

Rode from the Res down to the Sewickley Bridge. Saw that there is, in fact, a different form of life in Sewickley and it may have taken over the Sweetwater Arts Center.

Departed Sewickley on my new Fave Route, Beaver Street to Ambridge's Merchant Street, to Duss Avenue. Stopped at my new Fave Route-65-Beaver-County Indy Coffee Shop, the Blue Canary. Double espresso and a muffin, yummy goodness. Very nice people.

Back on the bike, Duss Ave turns into State Street in Baden, to Route 65. Crossed the Ohio at the East Rochester Bridge. Back on my own turf in Monaca, close to the spiritual center of the universe which is Yolanda's Pizza, a driver in a silver Hundai decided to demonstrate the limitation of human performance by unintentionally trying to kill me. Fortunately, while it was an unconscious and involuntary activity for the driver, it was an Opt-Out event for me, and I decided that Hashtag-Today.Was.Not.That.Day.

The driver was suitably aghast when they realized they'd almost dented their car with me, and seemed so agitated that I decided to not pass in front of the car as suggested because they were so very twitchy that to me, it seemed like waiting until after they were gone and enjoying the breathing in and out was just prudent. Instead of "taking the lane", I was "taking the now" which is probably the title of my next movie.

While most of life's lessons are contained in the Godfather movies, I believe it was a Steve McQueen movie that conveyed the maxim, most car fatalities happen with five miles of the home. Word.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Chrissy B's Most Excellent McKeesport Polar Vortex Ride

4.15.2014 #215 40m 30F
In the end, as it so often is: It's my fault that it was 30 degrees F, windy and blowing snow on April 15th. It's my fault because on April 14th, I carefully put away my underlayers, middlelayers, four sets of gloves, tights, underArmour and chemical warmers, balaclava and buff, etc. I put them all in one duffel bag so that next year I could find them all in one place and not have them scattered hither and yon.

Have you heard the phrase, God is an iron? written by Spider Robinson. It goes like this.

  • A glutton is a person who does gluttony
  • A felon is a person who does a felony
  • God is an iron
It was good that I put all that stuff together in one bag, so I could use them the . next . day.

This was Chrissy B's Most Excellent McKeesport Ride, from Thick on SouthSide to McKeesport via the GAP Trail. Conditions were such that we had the trail pretty much to ourselves (great planning!) This was a good group of riders, very safe and experienced, felt very comfortable riding with them. Chrissy did a nice job setting this up.

Really nice ride, sixteen riders; two tandems, one fat bike. In my own perspective, I felt strong and had teh flow-like-water thing going on the first leg, and then when everybody stopped at the Whittaker Flyover I realized wow, there's a tailwind going on. Trail conditions were excellent, the extremely light snow wasn't accumulating although you could make out the tire tracks on the Riverton Bridge.

Took a turn around McKeesport and then pointed the bikes back into the wind. The group spread out pretty widely on the return trip. I think I was back at Thick around 9.20. In August, I will be wishing for a cold refreshing blast of toe-numbing Arctic air like we had tonight.

The last few miles, the overcast had blown through and it was clear skies and a bright moon, really kind of pretty. A very nice group ride, hopefully closing out the winter riding season. 40 miles.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Trail of the Dead: Strava Edition

4.13.2014 #213 20m

Since yesterday was Spring, today was Summer in Pittsburgh. Absolutely georgeous, although how They manage the persistent headwind is very impressive. There must be an App for that.

The trails were crowded with oldsters, youngsters, girlsters, guysters. Rode from the Bastille down to the Eagle's Flypaper section of the trail, along with S and Marco.

The mixture of trail newcomers, people without any hint of where they're going, and high-performing time conscious athletes suggests a new Zombie movie to be filmed on the trails today: Trail of the Dead: Strava Edition.

Departed the Eagle's Flypaper Zone, rode to Piper's Pub for a repast, back to the Bastille. Perfect conditions.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Springtime in Pittsburgh

4.12.2014 #215 46m
Glorious day, spring has sprung n'at.

Started riding at the Bastille with my bike teacher MC at 0900 in a cold fog. Crossed to Point State Park as an MS 5K run and 1mile walk was mustering up, big crowds lots of tents; such chaos much goodwill. Busted out of the park, rode the Jail Trail to the Hot Metal Bridge by which time the fog was gone and we were fairly warmed up.

Continued down to Keystone Metals, through the bird-watching gauntlet, down to the pumphouse. Stopped for a drink. Restrooms still locked, keeping them safe from the hordes who would - what, exactly?

Reversed, passed through the Gauntlet of Eagle Groupies. Got to see an eagle fly around. A lot of people on the trail, some of them probably for the first time this year, still in shakedown mode.

Rode to South Side, stopped at Big Dog Coffee for oatmeal with fruit toppings and mocha biancas wow and also used the wifi to watch a movie from one of M's offspring.

Rode East Carson Street. Traffic was such that it slowed us down just a bit to take the lane, which is cool. Smithfield Street Bridge, back to the North Side. It was great to ride with MC again.

Coming back to the Bastille, we met S. by the Post-Gazette plant. I ditched MC and rode with S, back into town. Stopped on the Ft.Duquesne bridge to help two cyclists (CMU grad-student roadies, if you must put people into tiny boxes) who had a flat tire but no spare tube or patch kit. Another achievement unlocked.

At Point State Park we started riding along the course of the MS route, removing the route markers (by request). Prior to Grant Street we encountered two Cadilacs with Jersey plates who were confounded by Pittsburgh navigation and were flummoxed at finding their way up to GrandView Street, so we told them to follow us and led them over to the base of McCardle. I bet they don't get that kind of service in New Jersey.

Back to the MS-event course, where we removed the signs from the 1 mile route and then from the 5K route. That was pretty easy duty.

Rode out to Lawrenceville to see a new mural, still a work in progress, Stephen Foster on 42nd Street, on the river side of Butler. The work is being done by Jeremy Raymer, who's also using a house at 35th and Charlotte as an outdoor gallery and he does some excellent work.

Crossed the 40th Street Bridge into Millvale, where both sets of trailhead restrooms are locked to prevent the same sort of abuse that I guess the pumphouse is also afraid of. Took the North Side Trail around to Federal Street. Continued to the Bastille. Totally perfect riding conditions. 46 miles.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Cyclist Stand Your Ground; A Fountain Runs Through It

4.10.2014 #215 23m
Sort of a swirling day and a good day to get on a bike.

Saw a bit of car-bike bullying on my way to the biking. At the McKees Rocks Bridge and Route 65 intersection, a cyclist was being followed by a Blue Jaguar (PA license JCA2453) and as I arrived it seemed like the cyclist had stopped to pick up something he'd dropped, delaying the Jag driver who was dipleased and honking, shouting, and slowly inching forward as if to bump the cyclist.

I was two cars back and the cyclist seemed to provide the driver an opportunity of choice - would he, in fact, hit the cyclist? Finally the driver stopped advancing, more shouting, the cyclist continued, the Jag passed, and the traffic flow resumed. Didn't have time to take a movie.

Two thoughts, a moment later. (1) #JaguarJagoff is such a great hashtag. (2) Although I generally am not a Stand Your Ground Supporter, because anything ALEC supports I can generally assume I'll oppose, imagine if SYG meant: cyclists can shoot to kill any driver the cyclist perceives as a threat. Of course, that just plays to the same victim-revenge-fear-omnipotence fantasy that actual SYG laws pander to, but: BikeLobby!

Started out at the Bastille. Rode to Point State Park, back to the Bastille, out to Thick Bikes and REI.

Checked my phone at REI in accordance with The Law and saw that a friend had playfully tweeted my location in homage to High-Viz cycling. So much for my Secret Cyclist role with #Anonymous.

A lot of people on the trails today. A lot of people at intersections kind of stopped and wondering which way to go. It's good to have more people on the trails. (Keep repeating that)

The Fountain in Point State Park is operating again.

Had a cyclist riding behind me ask, "Wow what kind of tail light is that?" I love it when that happens. (Design Shine 600, btw, and I'm very, very pleased with it.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Unlocked: PMTCC Ride

4/9/2014 #217 31m
On my list of things to do for a year has been: go on a Pittsburgh Major Taylor Cycling Club Ride ride and today I got to do it.

Started out at the Bastille. Have to give Kudos and a Shout-Out to the folks at Rivers Casino for putting up a barrier-and-ropes partition between their parking lot and the trail to keep cars off the trail.

Rode down to OTB and met the group for the Major Taylor ride. Nice people, road bikes. We started out as a group of 14 and picked up at least one rider who met us enroute. Rode the Southside trail up to Station Square and ogled the landslide. It doesn't look like there's too much more land to lose underneath Le Mont.

West End Circle, West End City, Noblestown Road (which was a transition I was so glad to see, I've never been there). Quite a workout for me. Rode through Crafton, Ingram, and McKees Rocks. Coming out of McKees Rocks we took 51 back into town and it's a single narrow lane due to construction but that worked real well, the drivers behind us were very courteous and we pulled over halfway to let the cars behind us pass through.

Coming back into SouthSide one rider had a flat so a few of us hung around so as not to abandon him, then we continued to OTB. Departed OTB, took the corner at Hot Metal Street and encountered this cyclist on his wheel (riding Ninja, no less). Wow just wow.

Back to the car, 31 miles. Great ride. The PMTCC ride was a great workout, very nice people and I'll do that again.

On a cycling-related topic, click here for the Paradox of Vehicle Cocoon and Other-Danger.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Invisibility and Thick Unicycling

4/7/2014 0m #215
Learned today that there's a photo/art show about to open in Gotham, "Am I Invisible?" Thought a likely subject would be the author of Invisible Visible Man, who is an insightful and eloquent scribe and a NYC cyclist to boot. So I created my own submission, a montage of photos of Mr. Invisible Visible Man himself, in progressive states of invisibility.

In the evening, I went to a Unicycle 101 Lesson at Thick Bikes. It was such a lot of fun. Very relaxed, fun people. Probably five folks who knew what they were doing and seven people who didn't.

It was so great to suck at this. It's been a while since I was so completely inept/clueless at something and just (literally) falling down incompetent. It was still a lot of fun and I look forward to sucking less. Very nice of the Thick folks and the experienced unicyclists to support it. (btw, every other Monday at Thick, 6.30 pm)

Springtime Sunday

4/06/2014 #215 36m
Rode with my neighbor Jack today. We were supposed to ride early but he'd had some terrible news overnight, the death of a dear one, and we delayed it because he had a lot of phone calls to make. Later in the day he thought a bike ride was just what he needed and I know what he meant.

Started at the Bastille. Very pleased to see that the Casino improved on their impromptu temp-fencing separating their parking from the trail with something a bit more substantial, although parts of it are still just rope barriers - but it's solid, visible, and much better than what we had before.

Rode Jail Trail, South Side Trail, through the Valley of the Shadow of Eagles into Eagle-Central with is a bit of a jam. Which is a good thing, it makes all sorts of additional people trail users and trail supporters so: yay!

A lot of people on the trails which is also a good thing. I did have a little kid run out in front of me on the Waterfront trail and her Mom took it very seriously but it wasn't a big thing, really. The rest rooms at the Pump House are still locked.

Entering the Steel Valley Trail we encountered the regular cyclist with the religious imagery on his bike, I haven't seen him since last fall. Reversed at the Riverton Bridge. Stopped at EatNPark: rest room. Thank you.

Coming the other way, we got to see the two adult eagles in flight around the nest, that was cool. But when there's an eagle in motion, all the bird-watchers look up and their kids are generally unwatched, so it's a great moment for 4mph on the bikes.

Inbound on the Jail Trail there was a traffic jam on the parkway which was surprising for Sunday at 6.30pm, but we figured: baseball game let out. Jack said this was just what he needed. Nice ride, 36mph.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Pantry Pedal MakeUp

4/5/2014 #214 34m
Started off not on the bike, but with two of my fav cyclists in a new coffee shop, right on a fave bike route: Generoasta Coffee in Warrendale, most excellent place, and I'll definitely stop there again.

Started riding at about 2pm at the Bastille which caused me to miss Pedal for the Pantry 2 completely, so I pedalled off to the wrapup event at The WheelMill. Proceeded from the Bastille via the NorthSide Trail (and kudos to the Casino for upgrading the kludge trail barriers to something more substantial) out to the 40th Street Bridge, Butler St and Allegheny River Blvd out to Washington Blvd. At the park across from Bakery Square I saw a completely black squirrel; I've seen them in Ohio and one in DC, but I've never seen one in Western PA before. Rode uphill, left onto Hamilton Blvd and there's the WheelMill.

The WheelMill is really an impressive facility. I haven't been in it since construction was complete. There were some young riders in there doing amazing things, seemingly effortlessly.

I hadn't participated in the shopping-ride, so I left my donation for the food pantry. I saw a lot of bike friends that I hadn't seen in a while which was awesome. I felt a bit low energy, but there was a food truck (which I've never used in Pittsburgh but I've wanted to) outside so I tried an Oh My Grill Cuban Grilled Cheese sammich and a PBR (not from the truck) and life was better.

Hung around in bike bliss with great folks for a while and then took off because I needed to ride. Went to Bakery Square, rode to Frick Park and took South Braddock out to the Rankin Bridge. Crossed the Mon and entered the Waterfront shopping center, rode over to the Pump House.

Encountered YC, who is already at 1800 miles for the year (wow). We rode together back northwest to the Bastille.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

A Cautionary Tale of Advocacy: Dasani Blue Bikes

4/3/2014 #215 30m
Needed morning coffee so I stopped at Chateau Cafe and Cakery, for a Double Shot in the Dark which served quite well. Rode out the Jail Trail to the Hot Metal Bridge and REI.

Performed the annual purging of the Member Rebate and Ritual Use of the 20% Coupon. Bought new gloves for the new year (two pair, actually), a new fuel tank for my JetBoil, some new snacks for my bike bag. I think REI should offer to have a subdermal RFID chip implanted with my member number in exchange for an additional lifelong 10% discount; it would save a lot of time for the cashiers.

Rode northwest on the SouthSide trail. Noticed that the old Dasani Blue Bike lockers have been removed from their place near the Terminal Buildings. This is a sign that I am both (1) getting old and (2) beginning to be "from" Pittsburgh after only 28 years of living here; I can see a level, clear bit of ground and remember what UsedToBe (U2B) there.

A Cautionary Tale The Dasani Blue Bikes were a free bike share program that Dasani Water sponsored for a few years via Bike Pgh. There were bike lockers SouthSide and by the Northside Heinz plant. It was a tremendous example to me how the unintended effects of advocacy and change can produce exactly the opposite of the stated goals.

Although the stated goal was to increase cycling in the downtown area, and increase transient cycling, the end result was to drive the startup bike rental business (Triangle Bike Rentals, on the Jail Trail) out of business because they couldn't compete with free bikes. (Years later, Triangle was later purchased and restarted). Perversely, the pro-downtown-bike initiative ended up driving the only downtown bike business to close shop and go out of business.

Rode over to the Heinz plant on the Allegheny, and the Dasani bike lockers have recently been removed from there, too. I wonder where the lockers went, they're a pretty specialized piece of equipment. I would think they'd be put to good use outside the stadiums, someplace where people want to lock up their bikes and don't want anybody touching them. Would you pay $4 to lock your bike up in a locker at a baseball game? Is that a premium that comes with a season ticket?

To repeat the point: sometimes, the unintended outcomes are exactly what you don't want. And so, the Question Of The Day: If Pittsburgh cycling gains one bike lane, but alienates all the bus drivers and all the transit users, and we splinter the coalition for complete streets, and we're fractured when it comes to BRT - what have we gained?     (more)

Rode back to Heinz Field, out to Big Dog Coffee for a scone and a mocha bianca, such goodness much wifi! Wrote a second blog post about the seamy underbelly of bike lane wedgie politics. (first one here) Managed to get back to the car just after the rain got serious. 30 miles.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Gave up Headwinds for Lent

4/1/2014 #218 29m
A glorious weather day for bicycling. Started off overcast and chilly at about 35F, ended up clear blue sunny and 65F.

Started at the Bastille, rode out to see the new cones-and-rope barriers keeping cars off the trail at the Casino parking lots. It's extremely temp, as anything they came up with on short notice over a weekend would have to be. Happy to see it, would prefer to see something more permanent - a fence, plastic jersey barriers, etc. Rode around the Northside with R. for a while.

Met S at the Bastille. Rode out to the 40th St Bridge and over to Bike Pgh. Tough day to be inside an office. Rode over to Iron City Bikes so S could look at handlebar options.

Rode east on Butler and entered the cemetery. Saw six deer standing in the field, very nice.

Took Friendship across to Junction Hollow, down to the Jail Trail. Encountered a surprisingly strong headwind where I was expecting a tailwind. I'm not sure who the Patron Saint of Tailwinds is but I need to find out. I gave up headwinds for Lent.

That's the way I am; for months I'm griping about frozen water bottles and then it turns to 65F and I'm all like, what's with the wind? If the wind went away I'd be all about, how come the trailhead doesn't have wifi-N?