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Pittsburgh By Bike (III)

June 30th, 2011 | Categories: Events | Post Comment

Market Square where the tables and chairs are NOT nailed down. Would they last long in B’more?

An Adventure So Grand, It Requires Multiple Blog Posts

So, there Mark & I were soaking in the cool public space of Market Square.  We had just missed the Thursday Farmers’ Market but there was still a lot of activity with street level shops, restaurants and the shiny Gothic Pittsburgh Plate Glass building.  No wonder the next “Batman” is being filmed here.  During college, we used to come up to Pittsburgh on Saturday just to get out of Frostburg.  We had taken a few Urban Planning field trips to see the ‘new’ Station Square and burgeoning South Side scene.  I hadn’t been in PGH since November  24, 1995 and I didn’t get to see much of the town.  Over the past decade, I’ve come to loathe in a very respectful manner the town’s professional football team.  Had they been in the NFC, I would probably root for them often. As they are in the same division as my team, it only guarantees the two toughest games on our schedule against a quality organization.

“We don’t ‘mess’ around!” No, they do not. And I was happy with our bike parking room

Football aside, there’s a lot going on in the Pittsburgh bike scene that I had to check out. Clarence did such a great job bringing PGH’s bike culture to light in StreetFilms that I was due for a visit.  Before leaving B’more, I got in touch with my counterpart, Steve Patcham, and Bike PGH to see about getting a tour and trading some notes.  After the serendipitous meeting with Patrick, we meet him back at his office and were immediately impressed with the handcrafted hanging bike rack in the City Planning Department’s office.  They even had name tags for each hanger.  Patrick & Jason took us for a spin through town on their commute home over the Allegheny River, around Heinz Field and over the Ohio River.  We then rode a fast but wide road to Patrick’s place where we gladly lightened our loads and dumped the panniers.

Heading out to grab a bit, we rode the paths along the Monongahela River behind Station Square to the South Side on Carson Street.  Yeah, this wasn’t the same Pittsburgh of my youth.  Patrick must have read my mind when we pulled up to OTB Bicycle Cafe on Carson St.  Not only is the entire bar decorated in bike decor, but everything on the menu is bike themed!  After a delicious meal, we opted for a little more bike riding so we did what is common to Pittsburgh cyclists:  We Climbed Hills!

Patrick & Mark after climbing Mt. Washington

Patrick took us on a long, slow climb up through Arlington and Mt. Washington.  We stopped at Grandview Park for some amazing views of the city as thunderstorms lit up the twilight in the distance.  Next came a rush-inducing drop along P J McArdie Roadway where  we topped 45 mph.  From there, we headed back to Patrick’s.  We had more of Pittsburgh to explore tomorrow…



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