Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Cycling in the Burg

I really enjoy biking in Pittsburgh. You really need to ride defensively, but things have gotten a lot better in recent years. Now there are great riverside trails. Now you can ride for miles without having to deal with much traffic. On the Southside you can access the trail at the far end of Station Square and ride past the South Side Works ending just short of Sandcastle. On the Northside you can start beyond the Science Center and ride all the way to Millvale. They have created a nice little park in Millvale. You can also start in Schenley Park in Panther Hollow and ride the Jail Trail to downtown. From the downtown side of the jail trail cross Grant and you can stay on the sidewalk to the Southside and access the Southside Trail. Soon there will be a bike and walking lane for the Hot Metal Bridge.

If you like to climb there are a few rides that I like. Sometimes I take the Jail Trail downtown, cut over to the Northside and cross the West End Bridge. I climb Greenleaf, which is a long and steep climb to Mt. Washington. I then ride across the ridge of the mountain and come down to the Southside. I ride the Southside trail, connecting to the Jail trail and head home.

Another ride I do is to take the Jail Trail to town and cross to the Northside. I then take East Street, cross 279 on the bridge and continue to Ivy. This is a nice challenging climb past WPGH. I come out on Perrysville, which I take to Cemetary Lane. This a fast windy decent. I make a right on Babcock and take it to Evergreen. I then follow it through Millvale and cross 28 to the Millvale trail. I take the trail back to town, ride through town and pick up the Jail Trail. I also enjoy riding through Fox Chapel, Harmarville, Oakmont and back to Highland Park. I climb through the Zoo and back to Shadyside.

One caveat when you are riding through Panther Hollow, beware of the wild turkeys. The Toms attack cyclists. See Brian O'Neil's P-G articles:
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06190/704197-155.stm or http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06208/708918-155.stm

I've noticed a lot more young people riding single speed or fixed gear bikes. They are getting old racing bikes and retro fitting them. This is great. I would like to try one of these bikes. Climbing up the hills might be tough, but they would be perfect for the riverside trails.

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