Saturday, November 30, 2013

Small, barely detectable ways.

Yesterday, I'd stopped listening to the negative voice in my head that said I shouldn't take E and S up on their offer to let me ride with them. The voice told me I'd just be the clueless noob that was slowing them down. So I asked if I could tag along on a ride, and these generous folks obliged.

S took us to an amazing mural tucked away in Lawrenceville.

E suggested a trip through Allegheny Cemetery. I've always wanted to go there. It's one of those places in Pittsburgh that every Pittsburgher should visit and I had been a bad Pittsburgher for far too long.
I could spend hours with the camera there. I did get these shots of a Civil War memorial.

After we left this stern maiden, there was a hill. A long hill. I had no idea where it would end, it seemed to keep going forever. I was struggling and just wanted to get off the bike and walk it as I had so many times as that tubby kid in Norwood unable to get up Seneca hill on her 3 speed. Another one of those voices in the back of my head started yelling at me with a bullhorn in drill sergeant fashion. She didn't say nice things and I think I heard her drop the f bomb. However, she got me up the hill. I was winded and slightly embarrassed by my lack of stamina; I dare to whine about this on the day of the Dirty Dozen.

I think I did as well as any noob might, I did miss a hand signal and caused E to endanger himself to get me herded safely across a lane. I also ride in the door zone far too much. I need to knock that nonsense off.
I also took note of my escorts' keen eye for dangers along the way, such as traffic control boxes that one might ride into and drainage holes and potholes. They silently pointed to them.

So, I learned much and made new generous friends, including meeting someone they'd stopped to see in Oakland for gadgetry goodies.

19 miles, a new record. A new, higher bar has been set.

View Saturday Nov30 2013 in a larger map

YTD Miles: 448
Today's BMI: 27.4

Monday, November 25, 2013

Is it cold enough for yinz?

I attempted to do some cycling this morning with temps in the teens. I used the same layering I had on Saturday when it was around 30 degrees. I got about a half mile before I realized that my ears were not protected at all. They were screaming at me. I'll add a hooded windbreaker on my lunchtime ride and see how they fare. For now, I'll settle into my workday with tingly ears and a warm bowl of quinoa pumpkin almond raisin oatmeal.

There's an added benefit with wearing 3 thin layers of tight stretchy material: they act as if they were some compression-type girdle Spanx garment. I'm keenly aware of much flatter abs. I feel like I just did 200 crunches. Maybe no one  knows there's middle-aged flab hiding under there?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Curses! Foiled!

I started out late in the day after working Saturday morning... about 3PM and left with no particular route in mind, I just wanted to get out in the cold and pedal around, testing the triple layering I'd dressed in. I took the Ft Duke/Pitt bridges over to Station square and ran into this bit or rudeness:


Then I stopped and attempted to locate a geocache.

Is it under there?

 No. How about under there?

I never did locate it. Curses, foiled again.
Stupid geocache.

Then, I happened upon this:

It's rather odd to see police cars on the bike path. I think someone was having mental health issues, so I didn't gawk too much.

Further down the path, my bladder started pestering me. 

Great, a port-o-potty! Hey, there's music coming from the SUV parked next to it in this desolate park. *spidey senses start tingling* I glance in the driver's seat to see just how dangerous a situation this might be, and sure enough, I'm interrupting a wanking session. Maybe he was getting a BJ, I dunno... I only saw enough to know I'd crashed some private party. I went right on past and FAST. My bladder would just have to wait. Curses, foiled *again*.

Further down, I fully expected the path to lead me to the Hot Metal bridge, but much to my frustration, there was orange plastic fencing and "KEEP OUT" signs at the Riverfront park "Closed for Season" they said, and I had to turn around. Curses! Foiled AGAIN!

By the time I got back to the port-o-john, creepy guy had left, which made my bladder very happy. I tried to find the Hot Metal by taking East Carson, but by now it had started snowing like crazy, I was caked in snow and thankful I'd worn my goggles as the snow was hitting me in big golf ball sized globs. Visibility was poor, can drivers see me? Had I passed the bridge? @)##%*I@)(*!!  
Nervous Nelly that I am, I went back to the safety and familiarity of the trail. Will I ever learn my way around this city via bike?

I took the Smithfield bridge back into town and back to base. My layers worked wonderfully and only my fingers and toes got a bit numb in the hour and 45 minute trip. It wasn't until I'd changed back into my street clothes and walked out to my car that I realized how dang cold it was outside.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Soup is good food.

Yaaa! Soupaneuring is coming! I like soup.  I love making it from scratch, broth and all, so I'm thankful for rule 2c. You see, I'm MSG intolerant/sensitive/allergic, so eating soup (and many other things) in restaurants just might put me in the ER. Yeah, I'm one of those total PITAs asking the waitstaff all about the ingredients in dishes.
Lentil, veggie, noodles, daal, miso! Mmmm, soup. Last year, I made a big batch of snert or erwtensoep. Yes, SNERT. Snert is a fun word. It's a fun soup too, it uses pigs' feet.

Here's one of the fun things you can do with pigs' feet:

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Another first... the Eliza Furnace trail

This was my reward for a 10.8 mile ride, a stunning view of Dahntahn... that and some seitan wings. I took the Eliza Furnace/GAP trail there instead of my normal route via the trails by Station Square, which is an avoidance of riding in traffic Dahntahn. I still don't know how to efficiently traverse the streets from Point State park to the trailhead at First Ave. I can't wait for the Park/GAP connector to be finished.
I nommed on my wings and cole slaw, wishing I'd had Hubby with me. Eating alone in a restaurant can be awkward. I'm still working on getting the Mister on a bike of his own, but I wonder how much of a menace he'd be on the trails. I scold him constantly for walking on the wrong side of the trail "You're going to get someone hurt doing that!". He'll step off to the left on a trail and not bother to look behind him first to see if someone is coming up behind him. "That's like changing lanes on a road without signaling or looking in your rearview mirror!" It doesn't sink in. Imagine him on a bike. Yikes.
I made it back to the North Shore just as a Pitt football game had ended, holy cow! People, everywhere! Drunken hordes of football fans hogging the entire width of the trail! I aborted the trail and took to the roads, now full of drunken footballs fans in cars and busloads of drunken college students. I made it back, now tired from my ride and boy, do I need a drink.

Friday, November 15, 2013

My first 'crash'

I hope all my crashes are like this one: only painful to my ego and able to remain upright. I blame it on a woodpecker, yeah… it was the woodpecker’s fault. I was cruising along a portion of the trail along the river that has a chainlink fence on one side. I heard the telltale knocking of a downy or hairy woodpecker very close to me on the river side of the trail and looked over to see her clinging to the underside of a dead tree branch. Before I knew it, I’d drifted into the fence my handlebar caught one of the links and The Lilac Monster stopped dead. I didn't hit the ground, thankfully… I don’t need any falls!  I could feel the stares of the workers on the other side of the fence who stopped unloading a truck to look at the fool not paying attention to where she’s going. I laughed to let them know I wasn't injured and went quickly on my way.

The Bean Run

Coffeeneuring trip #7
6.7 miles
La Prima Espresso

I'm still frustrated by all the trail closures along the Allegheny. I had intended to end up at Prestogeorge but I saw La Prima first and got sidetracked. I bought a bag of something called 'FTO Sumatra Permata Gayo'. It's described as having the flavors of molasses and dark cocoa. My grinder will see these beans tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


The first snow of the season: as usual everyone panicked and traffic was snarled everywhere. Why? The snow hadn't even coated the roads! It coated the trees and grass very well. Gorgeous.

Monday, November 11, 2013

I finally patronize the Enrico Biscotti Company

Coffeeneuring trip #6
6.6 miles
Enrico Biscotti Company

Forced to take surface streets to the Strip as the trail there is under construction until Feb. Took a wrong turn as I'm not used to taking roads over there. I backtracked to Smallman instead of walking my bike down a one-way street.
I steered clear of this place because 'biscotti' frightens me: what if it tastes like anise? Yuck, I hate anise ever since an unfortunate episode with Jagermeister early in my life. *shudder* The kind woman behind the counter assured me there were many varieties anise-free. I picked up an oatmeal raisin pecan biscotti in the bakery, but had to go next door for the coffee. An odd place... one of the bakers pleasantly stopped his work to help me and wasn't even sure how much to charge for a mug refill. He decided $1.50 was fair and I told him to keep the .50 change due to his pleasant nature.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A history lesson with your coffee?

Coffeeneuring trip #5
4.4 miles
Buon Giorno Cafe
Having never cycled in this part of town, I learned that I need to attack this area from a different angle. The bus lane along Smithfield is restricted and I had to walk my bike several blocks to get there. I dashed in quickly as I hadn't allowed time for the slow pace of walking. 

I also found a tag of the plaque marking the 1845 Fire that destroyed much of downtown for the Tag-O-Rama game.

You are too early, Christmas tree!

I found the Heinz Field workers putting the finishing touches on a Christmas tree. ON-NOVEMBER-FIFTH.

Monday, November 4, 2013

My bike needs a disco ball!

Crazy Mocha, Cultural District, Liberty Ave
Coffeeneuring trip #4
4.2 miles

In a twist of coincidences, the Cell Phone Disco is cataloged in Vannevar Bush's (fellow Coffeeneur-er) website

Friday, November 1, 2013

There's no such thing as 'too reflective'

Can you see me now? I like to glow. The mornings are getting darker and I felt the need to up my visibility. The crappy light I bought for my handle bars did nothing but illuminate the inside of my basket, so I took the advice of fellow cyclists and bought a Busch & Muller Ixon headlamp. This thing is awesome. Thank you German engineers! I can actually see where I'm going *and* drivers can see me. 
The reflectors are from 3M, FIKS and RydeSafe. Too much?