Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pittsburgh Night Ride

Having worked in Pittsburgh for the last 4 years, I am almost ashamed to say that other than the 2010 Dirty Dozen, 2 seasons of oval racing, and 2 Steel City showdowns, I haven't taken the bike and ventured out to explore.  But twice in the last 7 days, I've had the pleasure of enjoying a night on the rail trails around Pittsburgh.

The first night, I failed to properly charge my phone and the battery level wasn't sufficient to take any pictures, so I decided that I would soon take another ride and be sure to share some of the sights I enjoyed. With the holiday season soon upon us, the Christmas lights that have already been put up make things even more beautiful out there. 

So last nights ride was kind of impromptu. I through out a Facebook message and Mike Janeiro decided he wanted to join up.  He also has limited riding experience in the 'Burgh, so our options were going to be limited, but the weather was supposed to be nice so off we went. 

My work is literally steps of f the NorthShore rail trail, so I decided to leave my truck parked at work and ride down to the SouthSide to meet him (where we would eventually finish) at the Over The Bar Bicycle Cafe. After enduring the harassing remarks about riding if my full team attire from the old ladies downstairs, I jumped on the bike and hit the trail. I had some extra time to kill so I turned west on the trail and headed away from the city. I knew the trail ended just a short ways beyond work but I figured that I hadn't been that way in a while so it would be nice to see some new turf.

After a mile and a half, the trail ended, so I turned back around and started slowly pedaling towards the city. Even without the Christmas Lights, the Pittsburgh skyline is gorgeous, don't you think?

I made my way over the Fort Pitt Bridge and headed for the SouthSide to meet Mike. I got to REI a good 15 minutes early, so I poked around and explored a bit while I had a chance. The Cheesecake factory was SCREAMING my name, but I knew that we were eventually ending up at the OTB for dinner and I didn't want to spoil my appetite for the $1 tacos I'd heard about the week before. 

I met up with Mike and we decided to keep heading east on the trail to see where it led us. I was surprised to discover that just a few miles into our ride, we were met by a chain link fence and warning signs for trail users to proceed no further. Again, I turned around and headed back towards the city. When we got to The Point, it was finally dark enough that the lights on the tree were fully visible.

All in all, the ride with Mike was uneventful. We pedalled roughly 20 miles in just under 2 hours with several stops to take in the scenery.  We made it to the OTB and ran into one of Mike's friends from the MTB scene. I'd seen Dan Depenhart at some races previously but never talked to him. super nice guy and seems to be falling in love with CX racing. Thats always a bonus in my book. The tacos were as described and WELL worth the ride. After eating, Mike and I parted company, and I made the 7 mile ride back to the garage. 

Along the way, I couldn't help but be amazed at how many rabbits were out on the trail. Literally hundreds of them. Earlier in the night as they came up as a topic, Mike pointed out that in any other city, they would be rats, so we should appreciate the fact that they were just bunnies. As I continued on, I stopped to take a few more photos to share.  As pretty as they are, photos just don't do it justice. You really need to set aside an evening and ride around the city to see things for yourself. I know that I will be making another trip out into the cool night air real soon. 
hit me up on facebook if you want to join me!