Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Counting people, random things and a really steep hill

I'd volunteered to count people on bikes and walking for the Bike and Pedestrian department of the City of Pittsburgh. We had a short training session.

I came out of the training to find Fizz was tangled with another bike that was parked after I'd locked up. The saddle was wedged in the other bike's brakes and handlebars, the owner must have lifted her bike over my saddle to lock up. I was reluctant to lift someone's bike to try and untangle them, but thankfully the owner was at the same training and returned a few moments later.

My assignment was Allegheny and Ridge.

Random things:

An interesting sticker at Schenley Plaza
 The Dero Fix-It station between Alcosan and the Bastille  is now all logo-ed up by the generous sponsor: Alsosan!

A tree down near the Bastille from a previous night's storm.

A new bench near the Bastille!

 The Milvale pavement markings on the bike lane up to/down from the 40th St Bridge were re-done recently.

Marko pointed out to me that there are sharrows painted on the bridge itself too. It seems PennDot's original intent of this bike infra was for us to use the bike lanes to ride up onto the bridge travel lanes. Nope. Not doing it.

The bike rack that took 15 months of planning, paperwork and permissions was finally planted in the cement outside our offices this past week.  My co-workers posted Facebook photos of it being installed while I was in Chicago. Even though I wasn't there to see it in person, I was so glad.


I'd learned that the Taco Truck has set up a permanent-ish gig at Gus's Cafe in Lawrenceville and I had time to kill before an appointment in Polish Hill so I decided to spend some time stuffing tacos in my face. I got a General Tso's taco and sat down at one of Gus's tables outside. I think the tradeoff Gus's has: the Taco patrons feel compelled to order a drink from their bar, so I did.

My appointment was at the highest point of Polish Hill, the top of Brereton. I've always made the turn at the church at Brereton and Dobson and headed towards Gold Way, so I'd never completed Brereton on a bike. Wow, it's steep. I've not ever encountered a hill this steep. The above photo does it no justice. Strava says it has a 14-21% grade. I felt that if I needed to stop on the hill that I would have drifted back and fallen down.... so I just kept going. "Don't stop, Colleen... keep moving... it's not a long hill... you can doo eeet!"

It took a minute or so at the top of the hill to let my heart rate normalize. I'd need to learn how to make an emergency stop on a steep hill without tipping over. I think if I get up out of the saddle, I'll be better situated to stop, especially if I'm carrying weight in panniers.
How the hell do the Dirty Dozen riders handle 25% grades? I have a better appreciation for that stamina and skill now.

When I spoke to someone who lives there, and bikes frequently, she said she can never make that hill, she walks the bike up the final steep section. She's 25 years old. Ha! I'm almost twice her age! In your face, kid!

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