Saturday, March 21, 2009

Cool Riding

Today we went for the first ride of Spring. Funny, it still felt like winter. The temperature was in the mid-twenties when we pulled away from Coffee Tree. It didn't feel so cold with my fingers wrapped around a latte, but as soon as they were hanging in front of the brake levers at 20mph I knew it was cold.

You see so much more on a bike than you ever see from a car. We rode through Highland Park and down Allegheny River Boulevard to Oakmont. We hung on to the back of some young riders. Drafting and focusing on not looking/feeling old helped me forget about the cold. After crossing the Hulton Bridge we decided to climb Guys Run Road. Somehow the road got longer and steeper over the winter. As we were in the first part of the climb I noticed an unmarked sheriff's car on the right. The casually dressed deputy was standing by the car. Across the street a scruffy older guy was coming out of the house. Another unconcerned deputy was standing by him as the man was taking a box out. I noticed the window was posted. The reality of the recession hit me. The man was being evicted. As I slowly worked my way up the climb a real life Grapes of Wrath was unfolding in front of me. This recession is not worthy of a fine natural food like a grape. If someone writes the great American novel of this time it should be something like the Doritos of Wrath.

Somehow the scene of the man losing his home made me forget about the effort of going up the hill. While pondering where the old guy will go now, the peak of Guys Run came upon me. We continued through the beautiful large homes of Fox Chapel, then through Sharpsburg across the river, and climbed the hill into Morningside. It's amazing that as soon as you cross back into the city that the roads turn to absolute crap. Not only does riding around here take physical effort, but it calls for serious concentration or else you will flat out or bend a rim. Call it the Pittsburgh twofer: firming the body and sharpening the mind.

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