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

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Panhandle Trail: Bikes, Breakfast, Beer

Dec.31, 2016 25m
Dec eom:266 2016 eoy:3079
I was fortunate today to meet KC at McDonald and we rode out on the Panhandle Trail together. We had hoped for a bit of snow and there was just a little bit as we rode west on the paved trail in Washington County.

We rode to Burgettstown and Walden's Family Restaurant for coffee and breakfast. Excellent as always. When we came back out, I opted to let some air out of my tires because it had been a wee bit slippy on the first leg.

I think I let out too much air, because the tire was pretty flat and it was a lot of work to move the bike. Finally, just south of the Cataney Airfield, we stopped so I could I pump some air back into the tire and cycling became fun again. #LearningCurve

We continued beyond McDonald, into Allegheny County where the trail is unpaved and had a bit more snow on the surface, which was closer to what we were hoping for. We rode to Oakdale and stopped at trailside Helicon Brewing, which does indeed have bike parking thank you very much!

Back on the bikes, back to McDonald in a bit of sleet-snow that left us convinced we were getting off the trail at the right time. A nice way to end the year, with a bike-breakfast-beer outing.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

new and improved Mythic Source

Thurs Dec.29, 2016 16m
Dec mtd:241 ytd:3054
Parked the car in Millvale. Rode to Tupelo Honey Teas, to get a resupply for home. Excellent shop, nice people. Saw an interesting map from the Pittsburgh Tea Association:

That's got to be kind of a textbook demonstration of how Bike Access Matters. Put in a parking lot at a bike trailhead. Install sharrows and "bikes may use full lane" signs. New shops open. A cyclist from 20 miles away parks, bikes to a local shop, shops and spends.

Rode along the North Side. Passed through the rebuilt Allegheny Landing almost without realizing: hey it's open! it's smooth! It's much better.

This lower monument is called Mythic Source by Ned Smyth. It's the companion piece to Piaza Lavoro just up the hillock, which is probably the Pittsburgh's biggest collection of naked people in public art (possibly followed by Joy of Life, by Virgil Cantini)

Rode Fort Duquesne and Fort Pitt Bridge, first time I've done that in a while. Encountered PaulH and YaleC.

Stopped at Thick Bikes to look at and agonize over pedals. I need pedals on my LHT, can't decide. They have some new frame stickers, I really appreciate their spirit. They also have just acquired some cloth patches, suitable for attaching to panniers and bags n'at:

Rode to Big Dog Coffee. Pourover with two shots of espresso. Amazing.

Rode back via Eliza Furnace, Stanwix, Penn Ave bike lane. I think Stanwix will be a challenge to the Ft.Pitt Blvd bike lane project. Crossed the 16th Street Bridge, rode the trail to Millvale.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Chanukah 5777: Fifth Annual Pittsburgh Handlebar Hanukkah Bike Ride

Wed Dec.28 2016 36m
Dec mtd:225 ytd:3038
I started off in Homestead, PA today (btw, I recommend Homestead: The Glory and Tragedy of an American Steel Town, by William Serrin. Met some folks at the former Homestead High School, which was a Federal Works Agency project back when FDR was interfering with the free market:

Rode into the Waterfront, which is like a wealthy oasis behind a moat, separated from the town. Met YC, and we rode out to Boston PA. Took the McKeesport Loop outbound, and the GAP proper inbound.

Rode to the Hot Metal Bridge, up to Oakland, out to Squirrel Hills and met up with the Chabad Chanukah Parade for the Fifth Annual Pittsburgh Handlebar Hanukkah Ride. I mean, a festivel of lights? Donuts and latkes? That's got bicycles written all over it.

This is some video Stu took while we were waiting at Shady and Forbes for the cars to pass in front of us, so that we could fall in behind them:

I was apprehensive about this year's ride. The first four years, the motorcade (and bike contingent) mostly rode around the plateau on top of Squirrel Hill and ended in Schenley Plaza. This year, the caravan starts in Oakland, crosses Squill, and then crosses Greenfield (in which Chabad has grown) and descends Brown's Hill Road to Homestead and the Waterfront. I didn't think the bikes would be able to stay on the back of the cars, and I was apprehensive about bringing a large group unprotected on Brown's Hill Road and the Homestead Gray's Bridge.

It worked out. We did become separated from the caravan, there was some mishegas with non-participating cars in the evening rush hour. I'm glad we didn't have 75 cyclists - although with 75, maybe it would have had a different dynamic.

The main motorcade backed up entering the Waterfront, and we rejoined for the last half-mile. No injuries, no drama, a safe night ride. As Ben said, The light rolls on through another year!

Link: Pittsburgh Orbit on Menorah Mobile's and what measures up.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

MMM... Crossing some sort of a low-threshold which seems even less significant in roman numerals

Dec.25, 2016 25m
Dec mtd:189 ytd:3002
It was a fairly mild afternoon, around 38F, and it was a Christmas Steelers game so the streets were pretty quiet.

I needed 23 more miles to cross 3000 miles for the year, which seemed like some sort of a quantum level, so I rode from the Residence out to Moon Township and back. Got back in the dark. I'm sure some of the drivers thought: crazy guy got a bike for Christmas.

I have a page where I track my annual mileage but I'm not really a person who plans his miles, and I suppose that's why I don't really achieve them.

2016: 3002 miles
2015: 2872 mils
2014: 5839 miles
2013: 5525 miles
2012: 7044 miles
2011: 4511 miles
2010: 2004 miles

2009: Don't tell.
2008: Don't ask
2007: 300 miles

2006: 2796 miles
2005: 2484 miles

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Squirrel Hills and Eagle Lake

Thurs Dec.22 2016 22m
Dec mtd:164 ytd:2977
Started today at SouthSide Riverfront Park. Rode over to Golden Triangle Bike to pick up some supplies; back to Southside, then out to Shadyside.

I think I've got the pogies (Cobrafist from 45Nrth, which just sounds like the name of a Bruce Lee movie) dialed in. I had some problems with the foam inserts, and keeping the pogies wrapped around the inserts. I had a cobbler stitch some velcro to the inside cuff of the pogies, and attached some opposite-velcro to the foam inserts, and now it seems pretty ship-shape.

Rode across Squirrel Hill, which - I think - is actually a series of Hills. I may start referring to the locale as Squirrel Hills. They're redding-up for the Holidays, too.

Took Murray Ave and Browns Hill Road (which is phonetically just too close to Brownsville Road) to Homestead, then took the trail to Sandcastle and Eagle Lake. Eagle Lake (kudos Paul H) is the area below the Keystone Metals eagle viewing platform, which has been flooded for a recent while.

Stopped at Big Dog Coffee, which I haven't visited for a while. Some very nice dogs were visiting. Major coffee excellence going on.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Bikespreading in Aspinwall

Dec. 20, 2016 25m
Dec mtd:142 ytd:2955
I am getting better at the ECR thing, although today in two separate events I smacked my handlebars into the rear-view mirrors of cars - one parked, one while filtering through stopped traffic. I do need to improve at that.

I parked my car in Millvale. Rode out to Aspinwall, where there's some feelings and signage about where the access road to a new bike park is going to be.

I thought about editing the sign to the effect of: ROADS you can't TEXT in them, you can't CALL in them, you can't KILL in them but I'm just exhausted in terms of political discussion.

You've heard of manspreading?

This is what bikespreading looks like:

Departed A-wall, rode into downtown. Out the Jail Trail, Junction Hollow, saw a woman practicing long kicks into the soccer net. Why don't soccer fields come with ball returns like bowling alleys? Rode Oakland, Shadyside. Seen: TR. Penn Ave, Allegheny Cemetery (deer!), 40th Street Bridge, back to the van just before sunset.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Three Frozen Cables

Dec.19, 2016 39m
Dec mtd:118 ytd:2930
It was like 18F when I strapped my ECR onto the back of my Honda Odyssey. Opened the side door, dropped in my pannier, closed the door and bounce! - door wouldn't close. Tried it a few times, door wouldn't close. I thought: this happened once before in really cold conditions. Let me look at the other door, to see what the position of the latches should be.

Opened the other door. Inevitably, now I've got two doors that won't close. Turned out, my car had been sitting for three days of cold moisture, then the door cables froze. A bit of running the car and slamming doors and I was good to go.

I met YC at the Swinburne Street trailhead. We rode out onto the GAP. At the Valley of the Shadow of Death, near the Eagle Nest Observation Zone, there were some deep puddles of water. I walked ahead thinking: hey, waterproof Merril boots, no problem. Come to find out: waterproof means rain, it doesn't mean impervious to walking in five inches of water. My feet were soaked.

We rode out toward Boston PA, taking the McKeesport Loop. Stopped in Zach's Bike shop, where I saw the owner's bike with heated hand grips by AME. Most excellent.

Continued to Boston and went a few miles out on the GAP proper. Saw new mile marker 126. My front derailleur cable had frozen in place, and I was unable to shift onto the small ring. I had picked up an accumulation of snow and moisture that was like cement on the frame the the derailleur mechanism. I'm going to have to look at shielding the mech, or maybe identifying some sort of ice-preventing lube. It serves me right; I should have realized that two frozen cables on my van were an indication of conditions.

We had planned on riding to West Newton and it seemed like conditions were conducive, but my left foot was soaked and it was fairly cold out, like 25F, so I opted to exercise judgement.

This was really a nice day: a bit of sun, no wind, 25F. It makes me wonder about all the days I skipped because it was only 45.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

ECR second snow ride

Dec.14, 2016 16m
Dec mtd:79 ytd:2891
Thursday, I parked the car in Shadyside. Ran some errands, rode the ECR to Keystone Metals on the SouthSide Trail. Really enjoyed the ride in the snow, especially where there was a bit of undisturbed snowfall. The bike needs pogies, though, in temperatures this low.

I was pleased to see that the Gift-Giving for the homeless folks is underway again, this photo is on the SouthSide trail under the 10th Street bridge:

I've been doing some studying on what tire pressure to run for the snow. Seems pretty clear that you can't set the pressure inside (a heated building) and then consider that reliable outside. This link seems to offer a scientific approach, or at least a quantified approach - which for me, results in {31 front, 33 rear} for normal road riding, {11 front, 12 rear} for packed snow or dirt, and {8.5 front, 9.5 rear} for soft snow.

Rode over to a public meeting about the Ft.Pitt Blvd Bike Lane, connecting the GAP Trail from Smithfield Street to Point State Park. I thought the city planning staff did a lot of good work, and they also did a good job of running a contentious meeting (with property owners objecting to the loss of car parking spaces for the bike lanes).

Rode back to the car after the meeting, this time with chemical handwarmers in my gloves. Big difference.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Squirrel Hill Tunnel

Dec.10 2016 3m
Dec mtd:63 ytd:2875
Achievement unlocked! The inbound Squirrel Hill tunnel was closed due to construction on the nearby Greenfield Bridge, which to a certain category of people seems like an opportunity.

It was a very cold morning, and Forward Avenue was quite slippery. At the base of Walnut Tower, there's a parking area providing access. Apparently, the PennDot webcam recorded our entry and played it for the folks at home.

Fun ride, and intrepid company.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Christmas Gifts for The Cyclist In Your Life (#TCIYL)

The Post-Gazette runs a Gifts for Cyclists column today. It's great they see cyclists as a large enough group to justify the effort. The P-G suggestsThese are good products, great shops, and   I completely endorse the Support your Local Bike Shop Approach . If you want the Bike Shop to be there for you, then you've got to be there for the bike shop. BikesOnline.com is not going to help you figure out that noise in your bottom bracket.

for the GAP and C&O riding cyclist in your life:

finally lights are usually a safe bet, from your Local Bike Shop.

  • Head Light: Cygolite Expilion 720 USB Light (or the 850)
  • Tail Light: Cygolite HotShot Pro 150 USB (or the 100)

Thursday, December 8, 2016

40? Sure 55? Meh!

Mon Dec.5 2016 18m
thur 12.8 18
Dec mtd:60 ytd:2872

Monday, 40F, I met GC in McDonald and rode the paved Pandhandle Trail to Walden's Restaurant, trailside in Burgettstown. Omelettes, coffee: perfect. The weather was great. When I go out riding in 40F and have a good time, I regret all the days I passed on days of 55 because of some fickle sense of insufficient warmth.

Which brings to mind Yehuda Moon (hat-tip Monica):

Wednesday, I came across a tweet from somebody who has a few of these vests. "I need one", I said. We worked out a PayPal thing and it's on it's way. (I got the Honk if you like bikes version). You could reach out to @EthicalPaul on Twitter if you're interested.


Thursday I took my van to the shop. Rode home without my Buff in 20F, very cold. Later in the day I rode (with my buff, this time) over to Rochester and back; very comfy. It's amazing the changes that little bits of equipment can make.

Friday, December 2, 2016

A Questionable Neighborhood

Thursday Dec.1, 2016 6m
Friday Dec.2, 2016 18m
Dec mtd:24 ytd:2836
Thursday I rode around town and got a lot of errands done. Dropped things off, picked things up, very efficient on the bike.

Friday I rode from the Rez, to Beaver, to Rochester, and then home again. Crossing Bridge Street in Rochester, I realized I was in a Questionable Neighborhood. Maybe you can ask any questions you want here?

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Are you in that much of a hurry? YES I AM

Tues Nov.29 2016 15m
Wed Nov 30 2016 17m
Nov. EOM:393 ytd:2812
Tuesday I parked on the SouthSide Trail and rode around to a bunch of errands. Shadyside, Squirrel Hill. Intercepted YC and we rode Murray and Browns Hill to the Waterfront. Riding northwest into the South Side, crossing Hot Metal Street in the bright-green corridor, an opposite-direction driver tried to kill me.

I'm going straight ahead, in a green-crosswalk with a prominent bike symbol. She's opposite direction and turning left across my path. She saw me in front of her, and did not want to stop so she kept on going. I stopped. I yelled at her, I waved at her, I got ready to get off the bike and run away, and finally she stopped.

The window was open and I yelled to the driver, Are you in that much of a hurry?

"Yes, I am!" was the response. Can't make that kind of stuff up.

Wednesday, rode from the Rez to Beaver, PA which involves a teeny-tiny bit of I-376. Stopped at the Library. Rode to the Y in Rochester. On the way back: Starbucks, because: Christmas Blend. Everybody was very nice. Nobody was in that much of a hurry.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Brilliant Stanwix Dog-Leg

Sun Nov.27 2016, 13m
Nov. mtd:361 ytd:2780
Today was unseasonably mild, about 50F and calm, so I rode myself over to the haircut place and took a standard route home. Great day for a short ride.

Today's Post Gazette (caveat: dense Yinzer comments) carries Adam Smeltz' report of the proposed Pittsburgh on-street segregated bike-lane which is absolutely a brilliant layout, but it may not seem elegant until you recalibrate the scope of evaluation.

The ostensible goal is to connect the GAP from Grant Street to Point State Park. The chosen solution is: a two-way bike line on Fort Pitt Blvd, and then bike lanes on Stanwix Street (maybe both sides, maybe one side), turning left on Penn Avenue, and reaching Point State Park at Penn and Commonwealth.

I suspect that to Pittsburgh cyclists familiar with the area, this may seem like a terrible way for a cyclist riding DC-to-Pittsburgh to get to Point State Park. It's an inelegant yah-tah, a slightly-too-kludgey approach to the Point. And that's true.

Connecting the GAP to the Point is not the only deliverable in this project.

Here's the 2016 layout of City of Pittsburgh bike routes, with the Mon Whorf trail de-emphasized (because it doesn't connect anything to anything)

Let's consider the assets in place in 2016.

  • Great commuter bike route from downtown north-east along Penn Ave.
  • Great commuter bike route along the NorthShore of the Allegheny River
  • Great commuter bike route from Grant Street via the Eliza Furnace Trail
  • Great commuter bike route on the SouthSide Trail.
What's missing from the 2016 bike route chart is a downtown connection, that integrates the Allegheny corridor and the Mon corridor into a connected network. That's the Holy Grail, and that's what this proposal delivers: a bike lane connection from, for instance, the Strip to SouthSide.

Consider again, if you will, the tremendous connectivity delivered by the Stanwix dog-leg:

Consider further: it takes place completely on streets the City Of Pittsburgh owns. No budget crisis in the State Parks (as in, Point State Park) can impair this network.

The Ft.Pitt Bldv - Stanwix - Penn connection is a thing of beauty, a strategic windfall wrapped in a tactical gain. It's like the 2017 bike version of I-579.

The Smithfield Street Switchback may be constructed, and it's a win if it becomes financially possible - but the use of the opportunity is brilliant.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Right-handed gloves and Airlocks

Sun Nov.20, 2016 5m
Tues Nov.22, 2016 4m
Fri Nov.25, 2016 3m
Sat Nov.26, 14m
Nov. mtd:348 ytd:2767
Sunday I had hopes of riding my ECR in the snow. Where I live, there was about 2" of snow on the ground. When I got out to the Montour Trail, there was about a half-inch of snow on the grass and the trail had no snow. The trail was a bit wet and soft, so I took a short ride on that.

The ride was short because: I brought out two right-hand gloves. Sigh. This is what shakedown rides are for, I suppose - identifying the gaps and getting the silly glitches out of the way. My left hand was plenty cold by the time five miles had gone by.

Tuesday I rode 4 miles around Shadyside, running errands.

Friday I rode 3 miles, to the I Made It Market to check out the offerings of Apothecary Muse where were excellent. Saw this document from SupportiveBureaucracy (tagline: be the paperwork you wish to see in the world)

Saturday I spent some time marshalling an intersection for the Dirty Dozen bike event in Pittsburgh. Originally I thought: hey, I'll ride my bike to my assignment. After driving to the top, I thought: no way I'd ride my bike up here. What an impressive thing to observe.

After my DirtyDozen duty I had about three hours, so I drove to the Montour Trail to check out the new thermal hatch on the National Tunnel. Backstory: for years the National Tunnel accumulated thick ice, stalagmites and stalactites during freezing temperatures, from the water leaking into the tunnel. Last year, the Montour Trail closed the tunnel with plywood and: No ice! This is significant because, the ice reduces the service life of the tunnel.

This year, the Montour Trail is conducting an experiment: can they put a double-doorway, like an airlock, at either end of the tunnel and still prevent ice buildup? All the benefits, none of the inconvenience! So they've got sensors measuring internal temperatures.

I really appreciate their approach to problem-solving. If the tunnel can remain open year-round, that's a tremendous thing. It makes me wonder about the Big Savage Tunnel.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Horse Farm AeroPress, Helicon Brewing on the Panhandle

Fri Nov.18 2016 20m
Nov. mtd:314 ytd:2732
I had a chance to ride with RC as he needed to complete his 2017 Coffeeneuring, for which he chose Coffee Without Walls at the Horse Farm on the Montour Trail.

He conducted a bit of a skills demo using an Aero Press, which produced some great coffee. It was like 70F, sunny, a nice day to be outside and feel the sunshine.

Encounted this "good human" sign, showing the distances to trash cans. Very well played.

Came upon a work crew assembling the door covers on the National Trail. They were really very good about letting people pass through their work site.

Apparently, in an ongoing series of experiments, they're experimenting with NOT closing the tunnel for the winter - just closing the opening, and leaving a flexible-plastic thermal barrier in the doorway. This is kind of exciting.

The National Tunnel crew, led by Bill Capp, began closing the tunnel for the 2016 - 2017 winter season. This year we plan to put strip seal air locks at each end to block air flow. If the strip seals (think beer distributor cold room) reduce the air flow sufficiently we will be able to both keep the tunnel open to trail users this winter and keep ice out of the tunnel. Last year closing the tunnel kept ice out, but it also kept out trail users. Volunteers: Joe Lodge, John Kozak, Pete Merther, Tom Prezel, Jesse Forquer, Doug Ettinger, Bill Capp, Dave Oyler

On Facebook, Farmer Troy Bogdan mentioned the soft opening of Helicon Brewery on the Panhandle Trail, in Oakdale where the (now-razed) Purina factory used to be. Apparently before the place was called Oakdale, it was called Helicon. I really like the idea of a trail-side brewery, especially after seeing three of them on the W&OD east of Leesburg VA.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Loss of Celestial Weaving

Nov. 17, 2016 14m
Nov. mtd:314 ytd:2732
I did a little bit of riding in the Strip District. Sad/happy to see the mural at the Pittsburgh Midwife Center, Celestial Weaving Girl, by Lucas Stock, being replaced by their expansion.

Sad that the mural's going away, happy that they're expanding and growing. This is a bit like what happened to Squirrel Convergence on Butler Street, when the new building for Iron City Bikes went up.

This is what Celestial Weaver Girl looked like:

Met Yale. Then we met BN and his brother Jeff, then a few friends of Yale (FOY) showed up, and we had to leave before people would think it was some sort of flash mob.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Alleyway Signs and a Postal Relay Box

Nov.15, 2016 9m
Nov. mtd:302 ytd:2718
Rode with RC again, early-ish in the day, to accompany him on Coffeeneuring Number 6. Parked under the Birmingham Bridge. Rode out the Penn Ave bike lane, then at 16th Street we yah-tahhed right onto Spring Way

So we're riding along in the alley, and conversation turns to: On Penn Ave, we've got bollards and paint and boxes and lots of rules and guidance. Here in the alley, there's No Stinking Rules; there's dumpsters and cars and bikes and people and somehow it all works really well, without any special zones because there's no space for special zones, and somehow pragmatism succeeds in the absence of social structure.

Then we saw this sign:

Even in this slightly stinky alley, progress is being made. The only problem is, at this early stage it's not evenly distributed yet.

Rode up to Polish Hill. My compliments to those that go up there routinely, the place is well named. Went to LiLi's for coffee. Great coffee, great shop. The mailbox outside wins Best Decorated - even if it's not a real mailbox, just a postal relay box.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Coffee, Coffee, Coffee

Nov.11, 2016 16m
Nov.12, 2016 13m
Mov.13, 2016 9m
Nov. mtd:293 ytd:2709
Friday Nov.11, I rode w/Karen from Southside Riverfront Park out to Millvale and Pamela's on Lincoln. Kind of a blowy day, but nice for November riding. Took this photo at PPG Place:

Saturday Nov.12, I met RC at the same spot for his 5th Coffeeneuring ride. We went out to Espresso a Mano in Lawrenceville, which provided an opportunity to see this new mural by Jeremy Raymer.

The woman depicted (twice) is Lina Cavalieri, the muse of Piero Fornasetti.

PieBird Bakery PittsburghSaturday I rode from Lawrenceville to Tazza D'Oro. We planned to ride to PieBird Bakery's pop-up event, pie and coffee from noon until 3pm, but when we walked in at 2pm they were sold out. No Pie For You! So we rode up One Wild Place to Tazza D'Oro, then Penn Ave to Allegheny Cemetery, back down to Butler Street.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Coffeeneuring 2017: Accomplished

Nov 8, 2016 3m
Nov. mtd:255 ytd:2671

Lots of things going on today. I voted. I rode my bike. I completed Coffeeneuring 2016 with today's Coffeeneur 2016-7.

Rode with Karen to Beaver Falls Coffee and Tea Company. Double macchiato and a Wassail.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Orwell's Artifacts, Bike Friendly Deutschtown - Millvale

11.07.2016 22m
Nov. mtd:252 ytd:2668

Today I started riding in Downtown for a meeting. Came across this curiously persistent artifact of Yinzer Times Gone By that only George Orwell (and maybe Rick Sebak) could love: the Horne's Tree. Let's unpack this, shall we?

  • A Christmas tree, which is no longer called by that name ('The Electric Tree'), not to be confused with the Penn Ave Unity Tree.
  • Named after Hornes, a business that no longer exists.
  • Sponsored by a corporation that pays no taxes and exists to profit from arbitraging medical expenses
  • A civic celebration of Light Up Night and Sparkle Season, economic euphemisms for frenzied selling

Rode across the 6th Street Bridge, around Nova Place in order to check out the new East Ohio Street Experience. Reversed and rode the Parking-Protected Bike Lane on East Ohio Street. Very nice.

One way to 'solve' the homeless problem: put fences around areas they might take shelter in.

One year ago - Dec.10, 2015 - there was a Christmas Tree on this spot, and people of Good Will were leaving food and warm clothing for those less fortunate.

Rode from Deutschtown onto the trail along the Allegheny, to Millvale. Saw a sign in Millvale that made me really happy. Now both Deutschtown and Millvale are bike-friendly; that's progress.

Stopped in Millvale to look for some vinyl at Attic Records; no joy. Serendipitously, I came across the soft-opening of a new tea shop in Millvale. Yes, tea shop in Millvale (and apparently an impending presence down the street for Tazzo D'Oro, also). So let me declare: Millvale has popped. The shop is Tupelo Honey Teas, (facebook) bike rack out front, nice people. 211 Grant Street, Millvale PA.

Crossed the 40th Street Bridge, rode to Highland Park in ongoing pursuit of a vinyl recording. Still no luck. Took Highland Ave, to Ellsworth, descended via Junction Hollow. Saw R and C.

Back to downtown, and took a picture of the Last Hurrah of the Ginko Trees near Golden Triangle Bikes.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

DC to Meyersdale

11.01.2016 5m
11.02.2016 60m
11.03.2016 52m
11.04.2016 53m
11.05.2016 50m
11.06.2016 10m
Nov. mtd:230 ytd:2646
To most folks, a relative's one-way moving truck rental is kind of a nuisance; you still have to get back home. But to a cyclist, a one-way rental is an opportunity to throw your bike in the back and ride your bike home. On Tuesday Nov.2nd, I drove a rental truck down to Richmond, VA. Rode around Richmond, met a friend for dinner, went to one of the "two" Amtrak stations in Richmond - Staples Mill is the Amtrak station with RORO bike service.

Of course, the bike service is available on the 0430AM departure to DC. I don't know that I've ever spent the night in a train station before. Kind of quiet.

Disembarked Wednesday morning at DC's Union Station, in the last stages of morning rush hour. Riding in DC is tremendous! I rode Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and then M Street out to Georgetown. Instead of starting on the C&O, I took the Key Bridge, the Custis Trail, and the W&OD out to Leesburg. I really like this route. Stopped at Green Lizard Cycling and Coffee for espresso, and in Leesburg for a late lunch.

There's a 5-mile penalty for riding the W&OD to MP36, but it was worth it. I really like that ride. The transition from Leesburg to the ferry wasn't bad. I'm continually bemused at Jubal Early's name on the ferry - he's the architect of the Lost Cause myth of the Confederacy. Those "South Shall Rise Again" memes? Straight out of Jubal Early.

Camped at MP50 after riding 60 miles.

Thursday I rode into Brunswick MD for coffee & breakfast at Beans in the Belfry. Awesome. Rode north. Skipped Shepherdstown and Harper's Ferry, rode into Williamsport. Stopped at Tony's for dinner, and Desert Rose Cafe for coffee. Back on the trail to MP101.

Friday I departed Williamsport. Saw some great demonstrations of stone balancing on the paved WMRT.

Stopped in Hancock. Checked out Blue Goose Bakery & Fruit. It's not really a place to stop on a bike trip, but they do have pie and wine. Breakfast at Weaver's. Rode to Little Orleans; Bill's Place was empty, possibly because of squirrel and turkey hunting season. Back on the trail to the Paw Paw Tunnel.

I'd like to reassert my long-standing belief that the southern portal of the Paw Paw tunnel is the most dangerous place on the C&O. Banked slickrock, on a narrow surface, no guard rail, a steep drop into a slimy creek. Could be a lot better.

I learned there's actually two NPS campgrounds on the north side of the Paw Paw Tunnel. The small hiker-bike close to the tunnel is where I should have stayed. The really big campground at MP156 is for groups like the boy scouts who showed up at 2130 and were pretty loud until 2300. But the big lot has cell coverage.

Saturday I departed PawPaw. My plan was: 28 miles to Cumberland, then 22 miles up to the Big Savage Vista. I got there, but it was a lot more work than I'd expected. There was a terrific wind up there overnight, the top of the tent was moving quite a lot. Great sunrise.

Sunday I rode from Big Savage Vista to Meyersdale. Unfortunately, my fave breakfast spot (the GI Dayroom) is closed Sunday, as is just about everywhere else. Sheetz doesn't have indoor seating. The Subway shop had tables and chairs. On a Sunday, outside of the normal season, there's not much out there.

After-Action Report: trying to do 50-mile days, fully loaded, in November's reduced daylight and cold temps, with the election as a deadline wasn't smart. It was a great ride, but it stopped being fun.

  • I got tired of laying down all the time - I was warm enough on the bike, and when I got off the bike I needed to get into my sleeping bag to stay warm. I felt like I was in the hospital, laying down for 12+ hours a day.
  • There really isn't much open in the way of support businesses once the season shuts down - some towns are effectively Dead To Bike Tourists.
  • Being on the trail was a welcome respite from the Election Season.