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

Monday, February 29, 2016

The Steepest Street : Canton Ave in Pittsburgh, PA

I don't ride up this street. I don't ride down this street. There's a few hundred Pittsburghers who do - Stef, Danny, Jon, people I know who are on a higher plane than I, and I admire them so.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Baltimore - Annapolis

mtd:74 ytd:134
Spring-temps and short-pants ride, which was just wonderful. Rode from the Bastille to Oakland, thence BigDog and RTB. Kudos to Gravel & Grind for a great post on shifting and shifters.

mtd:100 ytd:164

Baltimore Airport to Annapolis,MS

Started the day in Pittsburgh. Karen and I drove to Frederick,MD for a coffee-and-bike-fetish stop at Gravel and Grind, which was nice. Back on the road, saw two homeless camps in close proximity to the gentrification. Drove to the Baltimore airport, parked in the Econolot on the west side of the field.

Great route. Rolled into Annapolis in twilight, rode straight over to Davis' Pub which was just excellent. Karen had salmon, I had a chicked and sausage gumbo. Great place. Came out of Davis' Pub in darknesss, rode 5 miles across town to the Holiday Inn Express. All the drivers were very courteous.

This is a video of a Burma-Shave style set of trail safety signs:

Feb eom:126 ytd:160
Rolled out after waiting for the world to warm up a bit. Departed and saw the Navy football field.

Saw a velocipede buzzing along. We warmed up quickly, climbing over the Annapolis Bridge. Joined the B&A Trail.

In Severna Park, there's a very nice little cafe-seating area along the trail, and the businesses in the strip mall behind it open their rear doors for cyclists. We had crepes from Sofi's Crepes which were just perfect. There's also The Big Bean, a coffee shop, and a pizza shop in this complex. Wonderful scene. Saw a custom-built Georgina Terry rando bike, a Coto Donana, and it was a thing of beauty.

Rode further northwest. Stopped at Bombay Blue's Bistro in the mistaken belief it was a bakery. Enjoyed some wonderful ice cream: strawberry with pistachios and saffon, it was tremendous.

Rode back to the BWI airport. There was medium- to high-traffic on the trail for most of the ride, and everybody got along well. Departed the Airport Loop and bugged out to our off-airport parking lot, where the car was still still and it started.

This is a nice overnight trip. There's a model of the solar system laid out along the trail, and it demonstrates the tremendous distance in orbits of the outer planets as opposed to the inner plants. This video starts from mid-solar system, heading to the sun:

Sunday, February 21, 2016

When I Get Killed by a Driver: Evangelize, don't Critique!

When I get killed by a driver, please use it as an opportunity to evangelize drivers and the public, and not for internecine critique of small differences that are largely equivalent.

I want the driver who kills me prosecuted and then litigated, not out of any revenge but rather from the desire to add a tiny, incremental slice of momentum to the forces of negentropy.

I am chagrined that some good cyclists seize first reports of a driver plowing into experienced cyclists as an opportunity to restate their fave SafeCycling Shibboleth and nitpick the obvious-from-the-WWW errors in their judgement and technique. We should assume competence and support the cyclist.

I do understand the desire to say, "if they'd only (had kickstands?)" because it lets us separate ourselves from the victims, but that's an internal benefit and should remain unspoken because: comfort in, dump out.

If you bother my dependants, survivors, and friends with arcane online discussions of lane position or visibility, I will haunt you and your bike and let air out of your tires at inopportune moments forever.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Dropped; Dravo Disappointment

2.20.2016 4m
Feb-td:55 ytd:115
Just a magnificent day in the Burgh. Took a short ride to a meeting, was fortunate to encounter Jo-P enroute and she led me over the hill and via a much more effective route than I would have used.

She did drop me climbing 40th Street. I want to say it happened because I have a much lower granny gear, but that would be inconsistent with her mad skillz.

The meeting was a 412Flock meeting. I think there's some good things happening with the Flock.

Disappointed to learn there's a gas-fired power plant that's going to be built in close proximity to the Dravo Cemetery campground.

The site is a former brownfield, and a power plant is probably one of the only things that could be built there. This plant will probably result in a coal-burning facility shutting down or reducing operations. The locality badly needs jobs, although the current trend is to minimize the humans needed to operate every business - business processes have moved beyond logistics into employee-minimization - and I'm not sure how many local jobs will exist after the plant is in operation.

It does bring to mind interesting implications: should the local economy suffer because of the gentry who want to ride through, enjoying the undisturbed nature of low-employment?

Friday, February 19, 2016

Homecoming Crowd, Brightside Light

2.19.2016 27m
Feb-td:51 ytd:111
Yesterday was 30°F, today was 60°F. Great day for bicycling and I encountered many fellow-travellers.

Started at the Bastille. Rode into town with YC, checked out the new Smithfield Street bus stop with leaning rails (to keep homeless people from sitting, I guess) and solar panels. Disappointed there's no computery bus info displayed. Loved, loved, loved the flowers outside the Library on Smithfield Street:

Today was my first day riding with a BrightSide light. It's really not very daytime-effective, but I think it'll be interesting to see how it works at night.

Met JonP which was cool. Rode to the Pump House, ran into Jerry. I think using the Pump House for a rendezvous point for people-with-cars is going to be less effective this year; it seems to have locked gates pretty often. I think people will begin to say: meet you at USS across from the Pump House.

Met PH. Rode though the Southside, a Jeep with a bike on the back was very courteous to us (thanks DB!) Marko overtook us and joined. Stopped to check out Altar of the Dog, K. joined us. Saw SB on the Ft.Duq bridge, she warned us about an accumulation of salt that made the switchbacks behave like a gravel pit.

On the Chateau trail, rode past JohnM taking a walk. People everywhere, it was a great day to be out.

I think everybody tried to get out on the trails on Friday afternoon because Saturday they're likely to be crowded.

Monday, February 8, 2016

RIP Michael Prater #CrankOn

Michael Prater, a 42-year old cyclist from Cincinnati, was killed by a hit-and-run driver. He was a father, husband, and an REI store manager. The local cycling community had a Ride of Silence for him, and 600 cyclists turned out.

I was impressed that the Cleveland REI store came down and provided staffing for the Cincinnati location so those folks could all have the day off.

At the ride, they read aloud this poem by Mike Murgas, which I learned about from the local news coverage.

The Ride of Silence...

Tonight we number many but ride as one
In honor of those not with us, friends, mothers, fathers, sisters, sons
With helmets on tight and heads down low,
We ride in silence, cautious and slow
The wheels start spinning in the lead pack
But tonight we ride and no one attacks
The dark sunglasses cover our tears
Remembering those we held so dear
Tonight's ride is to make others aware
The road is there for all to share
To those not with us or by our side,
May God be your partner on your final ride

Marcha en Silencio…

Somos muchos esta noche, pero marchamos como un solo hombre
en honor de padres, madres, amigos o hijos que ya no tienen nombre...
Con el casco bien calado y la cabeza agachada
marchamos en silencio, prudente la mirada.
En cabeza oigo ruedas su recorrido comenzar,
pero hoy solo marchamos, nadie quiere atacar.
Disimulan nuestras lágrimas las gafas oscuras
recordando nuestros seres queridos con ternura.
La marcha de esta noche es para otros advertir
que las carreteras son y están para compartir.
Para aquellos que con nosotros ya no están:
¡que Dios les acompañe en la marcha final!.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

You Are Here

2.6.2016 8m
Feb-td:24 ytd:84
Really a nice day today. Started in Oakland, rode over to Millvale. Saw this e-billboard while crossing the 40th Street Bridge and I was really glad to see it; I think the Max Vanka murals are some of the finest art in Pittsburgh, and they represent an anti-war, economic-justice view of Christianity that's no longer emphasized.

Saw this new mural at Sidewall at 608 South Millvale, done by Lizzee Solomon.

You Are Here transports the viewer from the dreary land of
“eternal twilight” into a tropical paradise. The smell of
coconuts is thick in the air, hibiscus petals gently tickle
your cheeks, your skin is crispy with sun and salt. You are
never too hot because there is always a cool breeze to catch
and a broad, palm shade to retire under. You hear a samba
band in the distance. It is almost Carnival. You are here
and the world is waiting.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Helmet Not Required

Feb-td:16 ytd:76

When I travel and get my gear in different bags - I often end up with the wrong gear. Today I got to the trailhead and didn't have a helmet or my Buff. I missed the Buff more. Apparently riding without a helmet, which certainly worked in my Youth, is still possible.

Rode into town, stopped at Gasoline Street Coffee. Great hot chocolate and some excellent cake-bread mashup.

I think this is the coffee shop closest to the GAP Trail's end in Point State Park. Ride the plaza off Golden Triangle Bike Rental and you're there. Park your bike just outside the big windows. Totally excellent.

Met Y and hung around for a bit, then went out in search of a little-known spot in Pittsburgh. Happily we found it after a bit of searching. I don't know what this started off as, but it's ended up probably as a different space than the original intent. The place is known to some as "Temple of the Dog".

Temple of the Dog, Pittsburgh

It was so nice to be out today.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A Learning Opportunity

1.29.2016 - 1.31.2016 20m
Jan-td:58m ytd:58m
Traveled to Florida with my friend R. to take a seminar with Adventure Cycling. There wasn't a lot of riding in the program, but there was a lot about logistics and philosophy and some role-play exercises. It was really an interesting class.

AdventureCycling, #acaLFE_2016, #acaLTC_2016

We camped in a Florida state park for the course, it was very nice.
AdventureCycling, #acaLFE_2016, #acaLTC_2016 photo by Ron

On the trips I've gone with, you start off with a group that knows each other and generally, the trip leader's job is to avoid catastrophe and ensure the riders have a good experience. The A-C task is a bit different, and they approach it in a different framework.

A-C participants generally don't meet until the night before the ride commences, so they're not a group. There is shared cooking equipment, shared meal preparation, and shared meals every day and that drives the group culture. Dinner's always at 6pm, breakfast is always at 8 am, and on a rotating basis people do food shopping and meal prep - within a budget.

I was kind of at a loss about what to do about "Presentation" when it was my turn in the rotation, so I made a centerpiece of out an ice cube sculpture which representing Stonehenge. It wasn't much but I was trying. The staff had a good sense of humor.
AdventureCycling, #acaLFE_2016, #acaLTC_2016  photo by Sherry

Once it gets rolling, it's a daily routine that keeps the self-contained group moving forward. It was very interesting to see such a different model. A-C pushes problem solving to the earliest level and expects participants to resolve their own issues whenever possible; it's not a hand-holding exercise. I got a lot to think about out of this course.

Group photo taken on the last day:
AdventureCycling, #acaLFE_2016, #acaLTC_2016

It's always cool to meet and get to talk operations with experienced cyclists. It was great to have briefings from Adventure Cycling leaders that have an established culture and body of knowledge to draw from.

And it was awesome to ride bikes in Florida in January. A young local told me, Clermont is the only place in Florida with hills. I hadn't really noticed them, I thought it was a very gentle terrain, but he seemed quite proud of them.