BikePGH!

New Rider Looking for Tips.

This topic contains 18 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by  Drewbacca 1 yr, 6 mos.

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coreyb88

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May 16 2013 at 9:54am #

Just got a job in downtown Pittsburgh at Mellon, going to park in Oakland and ride into town. Never been a bike commuter, looking for any tips or hints that will make the transition smooth for me. Where to park, rules of the road I should know, equipment must haves, etc. Thanks for any advice you can give, I appreciate it!


Mikhail

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May 16 2013 at 10:01am #

Are you living far away from the city? Finding parking spot in Oakland could be tricky. From Oakland to downtown usual route is using Jail Trail (EFT).


coreyb88

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May 16 2013 at 10:02am #

I currently work in Oakland, and carpool in with someone. I will continue to carpool into Oakland and park in our normal lot. But from there, I will be riding in to work. The EFT seems to be the safeest and easiest route, that’s what I planned on taking.


Mikhail

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May 16 2013 at 10:15am #

Regular route to/from Oakland is S.Neville St to Boundary St to Junction Hollow Trail to Boundary st to Saline St to Second Ave (take a chute if you are not comfortable on a road) to Swinburne St to parking lot of EFT to EFT to Grant St. Reverse it back when coming home.

I use often Roberto Clemente Dr to S. Bouquet to Joncaire St (I use sidewalk) to Boundary. Depending on the mood I use Yarrow way from Joncaire to Boundary. If you like steps then by Stu recommendation use steps from Joncaire to street behind University Art Gallery — https://maps.google.com/maps?q=15219&hl=en&ll=40.440676,-79.95031&spn=0.001566,0.003127&sll=40.450111,-79.930569&sspn=0.003131,0.006255&gl=us&hnear=Pittsburgh,+Pennsylvania+15219&t=m&z=19


myddrin

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May 16 2013 at 10:18am #

Isn’t Joncaire still cobblestones/brick? That might be challenging, depending on coreyb88’s bike.

Where is your normal lot?


Mikhail

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May 16 2013 at 10:27am #

I ride 23 mm road bike. :) Sidewalks are concrete plates on both sides of the street and it’s ok to ride them. Yarrow way while is steep but very short (just climb from Boundary to right turn on Yarrow) and would take you more than half way to climb. One way to attack Yarrow is to build a speed on boundary and just fly on yarrow. When coming from Junction Hollow Trail to Boundary — make a right, ride 50-100 yards, make a U-turn, build the speed and go to Yarrow.


joeframbach

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May 16 2013 at 10:31am #

Isn’t the parking lot at the bottom of Joncaire $5 all day? Can you park there then bike through the hollow?


Marko82

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May 16 2013 at 10:53am #

EFT is probably the most chill way into town.

In case you missed it there is a commuting 101 guide under the “Projects” tab on the home page of this web site with some advice (it’s several pages – use the next button).

I think the best advice is to just give it a try. Some days will be great with good weather and nice drivers, and other days a challenge may be thrown your way – just like every other form of transportation. Don’t hesitate to come on here and ask a ‘dumb’ question either, you’ll find we are a great group here and will help out with lots of opinions – some of them may even be helpful :-) You may also want to try going on one of the group rides (like Flock) and talk to some of the guys/gals that have been doing this for a long time.

Good luck


myddrin

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May 17 2013 at 7:33am #

I ride 23 mm road bike. :) Sidewalks are concrete plates on both sides of the street and it’s ok to ride them.

Me too. But you couldn’t pay me to go down Joncaire, on the sidewalks or not. I think it’s probably a skill level thing. Despite logging quite a few miles and three centuries over the last few years, I still see myself has a bit of a novice.

So from my perspective, Joncaire is a no-go. If there is an obstacle on the sidewalk, there is pretty much no where to go but onto the cobble stones…. which is fine if you see said obstacle in time and can stop. But you know, some of those obstacles(cats, rabbits, deer) have a tendency to move suddenly. (Or to borrow a turn of phrase from every driver ever: “They appear from nowhere!”)

Also, I recall from my days rollerblading down it [both on the sidewalks and on the cobbles... because I was young and stupid] that the stop at the end seems to come up rather suddenly.


jonawebb

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May 17 2013 at 8:02am #

It’s a shame there’s not a better connection between Oakland and Boundary Street. I know the city is planning on rebuilding the Joncaire steps and adding bike rails, which will help. But for right now your best bet is the sidewalk along Joncaire, or entering from one of the streets connecting Craig and Boundary if you’re that far north.


JaySherman5000

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May 17 2013 at 8:25am #

@coreyb88: where is your parking spot in Oakland?

FWIW, if I’m traveling from Oakland to downtown, I just ride Fifth the whole way in. It’s pitched down pretty much the entire way except for a slight rise in Uptown right after the Birmingham Bridge. Aside from some potholes and traffic, it’s a really easy ride, and it’s a faster, more direct route than the EFT.

I don’t know what the morning rush hour traffic is like, but I’ve definitely made that run during the evening rush (and during Penguins home games). The motorists, for the most part, seemed to behave pretty well. If the idea of riding on a busy road seems intimidating, just take a few practice rides in traffic to start with. The jail trail is nice, but it really is a pain in the ass to get to from Oakland, which is why I don’t bother.


byogman

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May 17 2013 at 9:18am #

I ride down 5th every morning rush starting at Craft generally claiming the lane the whole way. It’s fine. The only annoyance is the parked vehicles on the latter half and crest of the small rise after the Birmingham Bridge.

From the point till you get to the core of downtown, the gentle downhill makes the light timing very bike friendly.

@coreyb88. I work at BNY Mellon and would be happy to ride along with. I just figured with initial emphasis on jail trail and/or the likelihood of a start that’s not western Oakland, that the routes wouldn’t be strongly overlapping.

But PM(Private Message) me if you’re seriously considering 5th and you’re ok getting yourself to 5th and Craft. I could even start with you further east on 5th a couple times… I just couldn’t do anything regular that way.


StuInMcCandless

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May 17 2013 at 11:42am #

About the steps. Carrying your bike is a learned art, but once learned, the 713 sets of steps around the city give you an easy way to bypass a lot of rough hills, and give your pedaling muscles a rest.

The Joncaire steps, all 144 of them, drop you almost at the corner of Neville/Boundary. You’re on the sidewalk or cobbles for maybe all of 100 feet. Going up, I just pause for a breath every couple of landings and take in the surroundings.

If nothing else, it’s a great way to avoid a bunch of traffic.


Benzo

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May 17 2013 at 12:17pm #

I miss that little narrow railroad trestle that delivered coal to the ‘cloud factory’ that makes steam for CMU. Now I feel like there is a lot more car traffic going up / down boundry as a cut through to avoid traffic on forbes. It’s probably way safer not having that there, but It does seem like boundary is becoming a busier street.


StuInMcCandless

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May 17 2013 at 12:45pm #

That trestle did have a traffic calming effect. I miss it, too.


epkiley

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May 17 2013 at 3:04pm #

If I were going up 144 steps I’d get something like this:

http://www.etsy.com/listing/104072889/bicycle-frame-handle

… or make something like it.


melange396

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May 17 2013 at 3:17pm #

@epkiley: that looks awesome, but way too expensive


StuInMcCandless

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May 18 2013 at 8:14am #

It varies by bicycle, since the center of gravity varies with the amount and location of stuff you have attached to it, whether permanent or temporary. I always hold onto the seat tube.

The photo of the little handle also has two major problems:
(1) The wearer is standing on the chain side. That is a 100% guarantee of getting chain grease on your clothes.
(2) The bike is shown level. You can’t do that going up a staircase. Or down.

I guess I should just go out and shoot some video to show how it’s done. The particular set of steps I have to deal with daily involves some long landings, too, so I’m alternating carrying it and rolling it as I move it along. Joncaire is mainly steps with short landings.


Drewbacca

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May 18 2013 at 9:54am #

StuInMcCandless wrote:
(1) The wearer is standing on the chain side. That is a 100% guarantee of getting chain grease on your clothes.

I noticed that too… makes me wonder if the model for the photo even rides a bike. I don’t see any kind of chainring guard which would at least help a little. Personally, I just shoulder the bike cross style… any time I attempt a different method I end up being clumsy with my bike.

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