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

Friday, June 2, 2017

May: gone so soon?

Tues 5/30 11m
Wed 5/31 8m
EOM May:148 ytd:587
Tuesday, rode around town with my wife Karen. Her front brake was rubbing the wheel so we disconnected it. Rode around town, got crepes, saw a Singing Busker - I guess voice majors got to make a living, too. Nice ride. Afterwards we stopped at Thick and they replaced the front brake mechanism.

Wednesday, I rode around Exurbia where I live and people aren't used to bikes. Everybody played nice.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Almost Six Months

May 10, 21miles
May 13, 14 miles
May15, 8 miles haircut
May16, 15 miles
May 19, 19 miles
mtd:129 ytd:568

May10, rode to GTB, then went Southside, met Rusty. Rode to Thick, stopped at Big Dog, rode to Costco. Great day.

May 13, got to ride with some folks from the Duquesne Club all around town.

May 15. Short errandoneur type-ride; rode to a meeting and the barbershop.

May16, rode around town. Saw Ray, met Handsome Kyle. Stopped at OTB. Saw a Rivendell Cheviot and a pair of Farraday electric bikes which looked really sharp; belt drive and internal rear gearing. Wow.

May19, rode around town with some folks attending a seminar.

I can't believe it's the second half of May and I've only got 568 miles.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

The Cyclist and the Pennsylvania Castle

May 2, 2017 11m
May 5, 2017 41m

May mtd: 52 ytd: 491

The cyclist was wearing a helmet when his head struck the pavement.

There's kind of a contretemps in Pittsburgh politics, with a year-old video of a cyclist on the North Side getting honked at, then getting into a brief argument with, a City Councillor who's a candidate for Mayor. She drove away, and the cyclist gave vigorous chase, catching the Councillor at the next red light and re-engaging.

I know the cyclist, and he's a good person and an experienced bike commuter.

I've done that, chased down a driver and re-engaged them. Lately I'm thinking: you should never chase down a driver to argue with them. You should never chase anybody via any mode to argue with them, because: what if you catch them? How does that end well?

How does that end well when they have a legal firearm, a concealed weapon permit, and the PA Castle doctrine recognizes cars and vehicles as areas where lethal force is authorized if you feel threatened for serious injury?

A story in three parts: The Cyclist and the Castle, (2 roles, 1 Male 1 Female)

Part One: The Initial Exchange. The Cyclist is taking the lane on a street with one lane in each direction. There's no bike lane on the side. There's no generous shoulder. There's a slight incline.

The Driver is late for a downtown public meeting. They're listening to a few voice messages while they're driving in. Traffic is backing up. The sun is bright on the dirty front window, and the Driver is squinting into the glare.

The car ahead turns off the road, and now the Driver is following the Cyclist. Just one lane. No chance of crossing the yellow lines to pass, because there's continual opposite-direction traffic. Hit the brakes. Honk at the cyclist. Lose track of which message I'm listening to. Honk again. No way they're going to be even almost on-time for the meeting.

Coming up to a stop sign. The Cyclist shouts, What's your problem? The Driver shouts, Stay in the damn bike lanes, that's what they're for! The light turns green, the Driver passes the Cyclist. The Driver moves much faster, and in a second is out of range. Event One is over.

Part Two: The Pursuit. The Cyclist is emotionally dissatisfied at the state of affairs. He takes off, intent on catching the Driver. For five blocks, the video shows the Cyclist striving mightily. His Strava recording shows that he crossed the five blocks much faster today than he usually does.

The Driver is stopped, third in a queue of six cars at a red light. She's got the phone out, sorting through emails. She's texted her staff that she'll be late.

The Narrator speaks from the wings. Analysis will conclude that at this moment, the first exchange has been concluded, the actors have been well separated, nobody is at risk, and the Cyclist has gone to great effort (as documented by the heart rate monitor) to pursue and catch up to the Driver. This sets the stage for The Second Event.

Part Three: The Second Event The Cyclist squeeks to a stop right next to the Driver's open passenger window. Over-exerted, spittle flies from his mouth as he shouts into the open car window. He intends to have another word with the Driver.

The Driver is startled at the shouting, turns to see the Cyclist with neck veins popping and chest heaving at her open window, and fears for her safety. She is trapped, boxed in by other cars. She reaches for her concealed-carry pistol and shoots the cyclist twice in the chest (fortunately, not striking his chest-mounted video camera). Blown back by the impact, the cyclist falls to the cement.

Media coverage will include the phrase, The cyclist was wearing a helmet when his head struck the pavement. The Driver will tell the police, "I was afraid for my life". The Prosecutor will find no reason to file charges.

I just don't think it's safe or prudent for a cyclist to chase a driver to argue. I've done it in the past, but I've stopped doing it.

The reader may care to read the PA Law on Castle Doctrine, more recently known as Stand Your Ground:

  • "Vehicle." A conveyance of any kind, whether or not motorized, that is designed to transport people or property.
  • Read the Law. Keep an look out for the phrase "occupied vehicle", which is construed to be part of the Driver's Castle.

Tuesday May 2, I rode around downtown to two meetings. Got to hang out in Gasoline Street Coffee for a while.

Saturday May7, I escorted a couple from New Mexico from their downtown hotel out on the GAP to Boston, PA. Living in the desert, they were really impressed at all the springtime greenery along the trail.

Sunday, April 30, 2017


Sun April 30, 2017 37m
Apr EOM 94m ytd 439
A group from PA Downtown, which is the Pennsylvania chapter of the National Main Street Center, is in Pittsburgh for a four-day conference so the people who were in town on Sunday got to take a bus out to West Newton and ride back to Pittsburgh on bikes from Golden Triangle.

A day before the ride the weather forecast was doom-and-gloom, the morning of the ride it was cold and dry, and by the time the ride started it was Summertime. These folks did a really good job, and the trail was in better shape than I expected after the recent rain.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Edibles on 4/20

April 20, 2017 21m
Apr EOM 57m ytd 402
Rode around town, went to an appointment, then met Yale for more scouting. There are these plants called Eastern Redbud that Yale taught me are edible, the buds are legumes.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

RVA in the 412

April 19, 2017 12m
Apr mtd 36m ytd 381
A group of Richmond, VA community leaders (CEOs, business owners, n'at) are taking a tour of role-model cities so they got to take a bike ride to Point State Park.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Honk if you Love Bikes

April 18, 2017 18m
Apr mtd 24m ytd 369
Ride errands around town. Stopped at newly opened, cyclist-owned coffee ship Arriviste on Ellsworth. Great coffee, nice space; has to be tough to open close to Crazy Mocha. First use I've seen of this TLD in a URL: http://arriviste.coffee/

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Color Park and Clearing Land

April 12, 2017
Apr mtd 6m ytd 353

I like this painted cement barriers used to define the trail. They look like Easter M&M colors.

This is on the Smithfield Bridge ("inbound" as they say), and the land on the bank of the river is being cleared for the new switchback ramp they're going to start building this year. No news on whether the transition between Mn Wharf and Point State Park is going to be upgraded, but this switchback in itself is a huge improvement.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Small Rides

Wed March 29, 2017 4m
Thurs March 30, 2017 10m
Mar EOM: 79m ytd: 347
Small rides around town. Stopped at Thick, I'm brain-blocked about choosing pedals and I stand there in front of them, hoping for insight. Thursday, rode to an appointment.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Errandonnee 2017 Complete

Mar.27, 2017 4m
Mar mtd: 65m ytd: 333

Errandonnee 2017-12 : Personal Care. I had a crown that ejected from my person last night, so I rode to the dentist to get it re-installed. And with that: Errandonnee 2017 Complete! 12 Errands, Seven Categories, 30 miles.

Total Errandonnee Miles: 34, of 30 required

The categories, Seven of Which Must be Satisfied, with Four Six Seven Accomplished:

  • Personal Care ✔ (6,8)
  • Personal Business ✔ (4)
  • You carried WHAT on your bike (or back)?!
  • Arts and Entertainment ✔ (2,10)
  • Non-Store Errand (11)
  • Social Call ✔ (7)
  • Work or Volunteering ✔(3,9)
  • Store ✔ (1,5)
  • Wild Card (surprise me!)

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Errandonnee: Libraries and Memorials

Mar.25, 2017 13m
Mar mtd: 61m ytd: 329

Errandonne 2017-10 : Arts & Entertainment. Rode to the Little Free Library off Franklin Ave in Aliquippa, deposited my recently acquired (and read) copy of The Autobiography of Malcolm X (as told to Alex Hailey).

Errandonnee 2017-11 : Non-Store Errand. Rode to the Taylor Lee Banks Ghost Bike on Route 51, State Bike Route A. Being out in the elements, especially the wind, has blown the ghost bike around. A few zip ties and it was "ship-shape and Bristol-fashion".

Total Errandonnee Miles: 30, of 30 required

The categories, Seven of Which Must be Satisfied, with Four Six Seven Accomplished:

  • Personal Care ✔ (6,8)
  • Personal Business ✔ (4)
  • You carried WHAT on your bike (or back)?!
  • Arts and Entertainment ✔ (2,10)
  • Non-Store Errand (11)
  • Social Call ✔ (7)
  • Work or Volunteering ✔(3,9)
  • Store ✔ (1,5)
  • Wild Card (surprise me!)

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Errandonee Redux

Mar.23, 2017 4m
Mar mtd: 48m ytd: 316
Errandonnee 2017-08: Self-care. Scheduled appointment at the psychologist again. "When in doubt, breathe." That's his window at the yellow arrow.

Errandonee 2017-09 Work: Rode to Crazy Mocha, made some Gig-Economy Flex-Work phone calls.

Total Errandonne Miles: 17, of 30 required

The categories, Seven of Which Must be Satisfied, with Four Six Accomplished:

  • Personal Care (6,8)
  • Personal Business ✔ (4)
  • You carried WHAT on your bike (or back)?!
  • Arts and Entertainment ✔ (2)
  • Non-Store Errand
  • Social Call (7)
  • Work or Volunteering ✔(3,9)
  • Store ✔ (1,5)
  • Wild Card (surprise me!)

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Errandonnee 2017: Shrink Wrapped

Mar 22, 2017 8miles
Mar mtd: 44m ytd: 312

Errandonnee 2017-06: Personal Care. Biked to a therapist appointment, in the building which apparently contains more mental health professionals than any other in Pittsburgh.

Errandonnee 2017-07: Social Call. Stopped at Chilren's Hospital to visit a friend.

The categories, Seven of Which Must be Satisfied, with Four Six Accomplished:

  • Personal Care (6)
  • Personal Business ✔ (4)
  • You carried WHAT on your bike (or back)?!
  • Arts and Entertainment ✔ (2)
  • Non-Store Errand
  • Social Call (7)
  • Work or Volunteering ✔(3)
  • Store ✔ (1,5)
  • Wild Card (surprise me!)

Monday, March 20, 2017

Errandonee 2017: It Begins

March 20, 2017 5 miles
Mar mtd: 36m ytd: 304

Errandonnee 2017-1: A Store. REI for no-finger gloves on the first day of spring.

Errandonnee 2017-2: Arts & Entertainment. I read at Barnes & Noble for a while. Disappointingly little is new.

Errandonnee 2017-3: Work. I made several work phone calls and did some Cloud-Google-gig at Panera's.

Errandonnee 2017-4: Personal Business. My silver-gray locks needed whacking.

Errandonnee 2017-5: A Store. Stopped at Staples to retrieve a ship-to-store audio cable.

The categories, Seven of Which Must be Satisfied, with Four Accomplished:

  • Personal Care
  • Personal Business ✔ (4)
  • You carried WHAT on your bike (or back)?!
  • Arts and Entertainment ✔ (2)
  • Non-Store Errand
  • Social Call (includes restaurants, coffee, and other social activities)
  • Work or Volunteering ✔(3)
  • Store ✔ (1,5)
  • Wild Card (surprise me!)

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Bloggus Interruptus

Feb. 16, 10 miles
Feb 21, 11 miles
Feb EOM: 130m ytd: 268
Mar.7th, 21 miles
Mar.16, 10 miles
Mar mtd: 31m ytd: 299

Pardon my interruption.

Errandonnee 2017 is upon us, 12 errands in 12 days with at least 30 miles, sounds like fun!

Reworked my cockpit, replaced my old sun-faded rainbow tape with some new Pride Tape which is for sale in the retail shop at the PPG Hockey Arena. Have to see how it holds up.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Bumper Bike, Tunnel to the Point, Olives

Thur 2/09/2017 10m
Sat 2/11/2017 11m
Sun 2/12/2017 24m
Mon 2/13/2017 15m
Feb mtd: 109m ytd: 247
Thursday I rode around town, stopped at Adda Coffeeshop, was surprised to meet Bumper Bike, a/k/a Aaron Isaiah Massengill. He was energized and talkative as always; it must be said he's troubled and mentally ill. It was nice to see he's still alive.

This is the location of a new power plant proposed for the Buena Vista area on the GAP:

Sat if was 58F outside and I just don't know how to dress for that temperature.

Sunday I rode around town. Saw a cyclist on a nice Specialized bike, turns out it's an e-bike:

Hooked up with YC for a few miles. Rode around Point State Park to discover (for myself) an access tunnel that MvD identified in her Frigid Bitch video. I had no idea it existed.

Stopped in Bloomfield for dinner. Afterwards, descending 40th Street from Penn in the dark, I hit a pothole and my Ortlieb pannier broke it's main mounting bracket. I've had this one in continual use for six years, I really can't grip about it.

Monday I rode around town. Picked up some great olives at Salonika Imports. Really a pretty day:

Thursday, February 2, 2017

LORAN Station Carolina Beach

Wed Feb1, 2017 29m
Thur Feb2, 2017 20m
Feb mtd: 49m ytd: 187
Wednesday I rode across the Intracoastal Waterway, which qualifies as the big hill around here, and took River Road. I passed an old USCG Loran station, which was decommissioned in 2010. It took like 25 years to decommission the LORAN network. Photo from the bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway:

Thursday I rode south to Federal Point. Less windy. The drivers here are cooperative.

I've been getting a little experience with campfire technique, and I've done some batoning for gee-whiz (and without cutting off any personal parts!) Campfire building is something I want to develop this year.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Goodbye January

Tues Jan 24, 2017 18m
Mon, Jan 30, 2017 19m
Jan EOM:138m ytd:138m

Tuesday was a ride around town day. I was able to take a photo of the newly-placed sign on the Ft. Duquesne Bridge, which I am so pleased about: there was always the possibility of a transient cyclist bearing left and going airborne over the staircase. This is a great sign.

Monday I rode from Carolina Beach State Park, near Wilmington NC, to Federal Point. Lovely place, fairly typical of a beach town in winter months. All the historic signs down here, of course, talk about blockage runners and the great battle of Fort Fisher and unspoken (of course) is the fact that these were Confederate efforts in the War on Slavery.

The inlet is the Cape Fear River, which in more recent memory calls to mind a movie title.

After the fall of Norfolk, VA, Wilmington NC was the Confederacy's primary Atlantic seaport. The Naval Bombardment that preceded the battle of Fort Fisher was the world's largest known naval bombardment to that time.

Carolina Beach is a nice place. There's a bit of a boardwalk and what looks like a few rows of carnival shops, closed for the season. Really nice swing-seats looking out to sea.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Ballad of Glacial Progress: Bike Lanes in the Great Bye-and-Bye

(to the tune of Joe Hill's 1911 song The Preacher and the Slave)

You can Bike, bye and bye,
    on that Bike Lane besides the fray;
    'twill be done on that great Someday;

So till then, keep your place,
    can't ask cars to slow their pace;
    don't yinz know this ain't Amsterdam?

There's no budget, there's no rush,
    folks in Power want no fuss;
    they'll get to it: When They Can.

Politicians shout Complete Streets,
    autonomous cars are in the fleet,
    but we lose when parking is the fight.

But for now: Take the lane! Ride inside!
    cars will bully, friends will die;
    we'll mark the scene with a white Ghost Bike.

Join an Advocacy Group, go Ride in Silence,
    whistle to block out the violence;
    you'll have Bike Lanes in the bye-and-bye.

I must acknowledge that I came to know the phrase, "Pie in the Sky In the Bye-and-Bye" in late-1960's newspaper ads for the Rev. 'Ike' Eikerenkoetter, in the back pages of the NY Daily News when I was growing up. The Rev. Ike would say: "You don't have to wait for your pie in the sky by and by; have it now with ice cream and a cherry on top".

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Route 28 Mural Way

Thurs Jan19, 2017 18m
mtd:101m ytd:101m
I got to ride with RC and KC today, nice weather great time. We started Southside. Rode the Hot Metal Bridge, the Ft Duquesne Bridge where I saw a new sign warning about the split between the stairs on the left and the ramp on the right - I've always wondered if a transient cyclist might night propel themselves airborne for a brief moment if they didn't know there were stairs there.

We rode out to the Heinz Plant, and then rode the new-to-me bikeway/walkway along Route28 from Penn Brewery to the 31St Bridge. It was a nice ride. Then we rode out to the 40th Street Bridge, and out to Caffe d'Amore for great coffee.

Back inbound, stopped at The Clemente Museum in Engine House 25, which none of us have been to, and we need to check it out:

Stopped at Kindred so RC could ogle some hardware. Saw an amazing, old, wonderful Chinese bicycle with pushrod brakes.

Smithfield Street Bridge, Southside Trail, and I felt a bit of squishiness in my rear tire. Fortunately I got back to the vehicle while it was still rideable. This is my second flat in this set of Schwalbe's.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Southside Grass Topiary & Dispensary

Tues Jan17, 2017 19m
mtd:83 ytd:83
I was fortunate to get a ride in between passing bands of rain today. It was so warm, over 60F, so I was riding in short sleeves.

Started in Millvale. Crossed the 16th Street Bridge and noticed this monstrosity of a Borg-structure being erected.

This is just butt-ugly. People may build what they want, I suppose, but what I wonder is: can Pittsburgh possibly have used waterfront property for another car parking garage?

Rode to Point State Park, where the rivers had receded and the debris was being cleaned away. Rode over to Thick Bikes, to see the new signage, with letters constructed out of bike frame elements.

I think - although I cannot speak definitively on the subject - that a topiary will be installed in the framework. It is unwarranted speculation that the Living Wall will feature medical marijuana, and there is no basis for asserting that the Stairway to Nowhere at Thick will provide access to a planned Medical Dispensary. Just Saying.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Things that make me go: unnghhhh.

Fri Jan13, 2017 21m
mtd:64 ytd:64
Today was a bit sunny and like 34F. Drove my car across the Versailles Bridge (pronounced Ver-Sales, to differentiate it from the France place) and parked at the trailhead. Rode from Boston, PA (known as Little Boston, to differentiate it from the Massachusetts place) to the Yough Twister and back.

It was a very nice ride. The Mon-Yough Trail Council does a tremendous job on the trail. The Red Waterfall and the White Waterfall were both doing their thing and looked like they'd be cleaned up. The trail was very clean. Not too many people out, but a few.

In the Things that make you go, unnghhhh. category, some driver left the roadway on State Bike Route A and smashed a roadsign before getting back on course. They also smashed the Ghost Bike for Taylor Lee Banks that was affixed to the road sign.

About two miles south on Route 51, which is also State Bike Route A, there's another Ghost Bike for Arthur Bell which was struck in the last year by a car that had departed the roadway. It's incredible how much out-of-control driving is going on.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Bikes Belong in Robinson

Jan 11, 2017 11m
mtd:43 ytd:43
Today's ride started in Robinson Township, the support municipality for the multi-modal transport center at Ikea. Curiously, also from Robinson is P-G letter writer Dolores Brinham, who opens with:
To me, bicycles belong on trails, parks, playgrounds, etc.

If only "those people" would stay in their proper places. Barbara must not have heard of the "Bikes Belong" campaign. Perhaps even more to the point, perhaps Barbara never considered whether somebody from Robinson should be advocating for "her" parking spot in a city she's not a resident of. But I digress.

I've had a hard time aligning riding conditions (temps above 25F, dry?) with opportunities, and today I saw the chance to ride my bike to meet a friend for lunch in Carnegie. So I parked the van in Robinson and biked to Carnegie. It's a surprisingly easy connection via Campbell's Run Road. Although it's a two-lane with no real shoulder, all the other road users played nice.

Obligatory Control Tower photo, at the Campbell's Run Road, Railroad Avenue, Mansfield Blvd interchange. An operator used to turn the road-lights red as trains approach. Imagine the train company saying, To me, cars belong in parking lots. Imagine the drivers saying, To me, trains belong in the rail yard. I would think we'd have a lot of very cross vehicles and operators.

I prefer multi-modal inclusion:

Friday, January 6, 2017

Shoppe Along the Way, Burgettstown

Fri Jan6, 2017 17m
mtd:32 ytd:32
Today was cold but (following on my previous post) I had a higher likelihood of dressing successfully for 22F as opposed to 45F.

Parked at the Panhandle-Montour Connector and rode west on the Panhandle to Burgettstown, thinking I would go to Walden Family Restaurant, get some chow and warm up, and reverse. Discerning humans know that whenever a story begins with "what I was thinking was...", the original path will not come to pass.

Walden's was closed when I arrived, as the sign listing their hours clearly states. But now I was kind of in a jam because it was VFC (very f'ing cold) and I really needed to warm up before reversing. So I tried the door at the newly opened Shoppe Along The Way, a general store on the Panhandle Trail which was open, heated, and smelled like coffee.

Very nice people. I'll be back there again. I think they're in a perfect spot once springtime gets here. A fair amount of cross-country riders use the Panhandle to get to the Montour Trail, to get to the GAP Trail, to get to DC and eventually Yorktown, Virginia which generally is understood to mean the East Coast. I think The Shoppe Along The Way is in a good position.

But more than anything, I'm grateful that a business that was staring at closing time on a slow day, extended hospitality to a cold transient who was hoping to warm up.

The ride back was great. No wind, fortunately. It was dark by the time I was strapping the ECR onto the bike rack.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Drizzle fo' Shizzle and EastAsia n'at

Jan 2, 2017 15 m
mtd:15 ytd:15
I do not know how to dress for 45F. I never have.

This afternoon's rain never really stopped as much as it transitioned into drizzle fo shizzle. Between the warm temps, the presence of a lot of melted-snow-moisture in the ground, and the low winds it was kind of a gray day and it turned into a bit of a low-visibility afternoon. Still, it was 45F.

I rode the LHT out to Five Points in Hopewell. I usually avoid Broadhead Road, because it's congested and single-lane, with lots of businesses but I thought it was more prudent than Route 51 with it's high speeds. So I rode Broadhead to Five Points, and it worked well. Everybody played nice.

I was so over-warmed when I got to Five Points that I pulled into McD to get a cold drink and cool off. Changed to lightweight gloves. I definitely should have been wearing a light (rather than a medium) wool sweater. There are two lasting truths:

  • We have always been at war with EastAsia
  • I don't know how to dress for 45F