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Route for 13 y.o. from Sq'ill to CAPA and help letting go

This topic contains 85 replies, has 32 voices, and was last updated by  sarah_q 1 yr, 6 mos.

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sarapgh2

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Aug 16 2012 at 4:06pm #

sarah_q Yes, I’ve seen trains there a number of times. they are not slow there at all and I’d personally question the safety of choosing to cross a live train track versus walking a bike through the chute. It’s not a great example to set and bikes messing with trains will always lose.

Just my two cents.


sarah_q

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Aug 16 2012 at 4:27pm #

Point taken about the RR crossing. I don’t know… there are track crossings all the time (south side comes to mind) and I find myself portaging over tracks more often than I’d like. There are good sight lines there (better than the chute, ironically). OTOH, you’re most definitely not wrong about bike v train.

I’ll ask my husband. Personally I think the chute is dangerous, even on foot. My husband is a good counter point since he doesn’t mind the chute. Your probability of survival from a chute crash >> train though, so there’s that.


StuInMcCandless

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Aug 16 2012 at 4:47pm #

Trains aren’t moving all that fast through there, maybe 30, 35 tops. Whether you get hit by a train or a Honda Fit, you’re still dead. Crossing two sets of tracks is like crossing a 30, 35-mph street. Look both ways before crossing, and if there’s something coming, you wait.


stefb

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Aug 16 2012 at 7:16pm #

I only see a train around 620am on Friday mornings.


Marko82

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Aug 16 2012 at 7:26pm #

I usually cross the tracks headed toward oakland, but use the street headed toward town. I’ve only encountered a train twice and both times the train was moving at about 15mph and you could hear it from a fairly good distance. If you stress the need to look-both-ways TWICE and if you see or hear anything you wait – then I think the tracks are the safest option.


stefb

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Aug 16 2012 at 7:29pm #

I have actually been stuck trying to cross the tracks near the CMU garage when a train has been stopped for an unknown reason. again, only Friday mornings. Also please make sure he knows to slow down to a crawl when going over wet tracks. I have seen people eat shit going 10mph


sarah_q

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Aug 16 2012 at 9:02pm #

My husband has a nice scar on his left shoulder thanks to River Road so my son knows tracks are bad news. I’ll remind him that dew can be a problem in the a.m. even when the road looks dry. Thanks.


helen s

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Aug 17 2012 at 1:30pm #

I don’t understant what the problems are with the street and chute. I have been ridning that for my commute for over 10 years with no problems. Stay on the road going towards town as you are downhill and traffic can’t go too fast until after the end of the chute. Slow down if there is gravel.

Coming home, I ride in the chute swinging wide for the first turn and ringing my bell alot for the the 2nd.

Other than the 1st Ave Grant corner coming into town, riding downtown is not a problem. Not usually very busy when I come through just after 8, and all traffic is slow during afternoon ruch.


Swalfoort

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Aug 17 2012 at 1:36pm #

In a good news/bad news sort of update, I think I had heard that the CMU boiler facility was no longer coal powered, significantly reducing the number of trains on this section of track. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the track is probably less frequently used, but use might be more spread out during the day, as they might not have timed deliveries. AND, trains might be moving slightly faster, without a stop imminent.

Bottom line. Stop, look, listen. Then look and listen again. Proceed with caution.

Will a 13 year old do this every time? Probably not. But learning to do things right and then manage the risk in NOT doing it right is part of what he will learn through this academic year (and beyond).


StuInMcCandless

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Aug 17 2012 at 2:04pm #

@sarah_q – I admire the fact that you care. The majority of parents just start handing the kid a car key after age 16 and expect everything to just work. Yours, having lots of on-road vehicular experience, will have a much more successful transition when that time comes.


jonawebb

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Aug 17 2012 at 2:15pm #

@stu, come on now. The vast majority of parents care. They may hand over the car keys for any of a variety of reasons, perhaps most significantly not having any other transportation option to offer their child, who is state-sanctioned as being ready to drive.


Anonymous

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Aug 17 2012 at 4:19pm #

@jonawebb I am not Stu but I’ll bite. What Stu meant that most parents did not go with kids through night driving, rain& night, snow & ice. Did you teach your kids how to controlled skidding on a snow? Or signs of aquaplaning? Well, even a simple defensive driving is out of questions for most parents I know. :(


jonawebb

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Aug 17 2012 at 4:29pm #

You know, that’s not what he said. I just didn’t want to get so far off into left field. And I didn’t see anything about anyone, Sarah included, giving advanced driving lessons to their kids here, in any case.


Marko82

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Aug 17 2012 at 4:30pm #

@Mikhail & jonawebb, well if the parent doesn’t have or understand the requisite skill how are they going to teach their child? I had to teach the neighbor’s kid how to parallel park because neither she nor her husband know how. The kid learned in like ten minutes. I still can’t talk her mother into giving it a try because she head-in parks everywhere she goes so she doesn’t see the need to learn something she doesn’t have an immediate need for. Sigh.


jonawebb

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Aug 17 2012 at 4:48pm #

@Marko, right. I was pretty much surprised when it turned out I was supposed to teach my kids how to drive. In FL, where I grew up, we had driver’s ed, at the high school I attended, and everyone learned there, from actual instructors. But not here in PA. So people do the best they can, I guess.


ejwme

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Aug 17 2012 at 4:58pm #

sarah – looking and listening for trains reminds me, I’m not sure where you stand on the issue but if I remember being a teenager, you could have my earbuds when you pried them from my cold, dead ears. If he’s going to have a sound track, it’s worth extra emphasis to at least pause the beat to avoid becoming train pancake.

I always take the road rather than the chute unless I’m on foot. I’ve never really had a problem but I admit I don’t do it often. In rush cars are usually jammed up, otherwise it’s easy to hear/see them coming and avoid them just like most other traffic. But I’m irrationally more scared of trains than cars.


edmonds59

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Aug 17 2012 at 5:38pm #

My son and I stopped to watch the steam train pass on the North Side on Sunday, he did not appear to be relentlessly drawn toward the train as the kid in War of the Worlds was toward the aliens. Seemed to behave just fine.

That was a horrible horrible part of that movie for me.


Chris Mayhew

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Aug 17 2012 at 5:55pm #

@Helen_s The chute is usually sandy. It’s totally a blind turn. The first time I ever took it a guy on his bike came around the corner talking on his cell phone.

Coming out of the run the road is fine although that turn is usually really sandy.

I’ve raced people taking the turn vs hopping the tracks. Tracks are way faster.


Anonymous

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Aug 17 2012 at 6:00pm #

@Marko82 If I don’t have skills then I try to find either friend with skill or instructor/school, or even friend of my kid. It’s amazing what teenagers can do.

I taught my friends and their kids to drive. And I taught my older daughter how to ride during night heavy rain — we wait specifically for this type of condition and went on the road around midnight. Two years after she got her license ther was an opportunity with big snow and we went to empty parking lot (not cleaned) just to learn how car would behave in snow. And I cannot to persuade my younger one to learn how to drive. She plainly refuses to get her driver license. :)

But I differ between worry and carry. Carry in my mind (could be wrong here) it’s when someone actively trying to do something to avoid bad situation or exit them gracefully. While worry part is all passive.


Dan

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Aug 17 2012 at 6:11pm #

Sarah – I live right around the corner from you on Beechwood, and I ride through town on my way to work in McKees Rocks. If timing works out right, we could bike-pool into downtown – at least initially. Lately I’ve been going down Greenfield Ave to the JT instead of the other alternatives that you mentioned, but I’ve tried them all and don’t have a problem with any of them. I could also accompany him to the end of the Ft Pitt bridge for the roadless option that Mikhail posted.


ejwme

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Aug 17 2012 at 6:38pm #

Mikhail, I like your word “carry” as an amalgamation of care and worry. It sounds just right for so many things. Not sure if that’s where it came from, but that’s how it strikes me just now.


Vannevar

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Aug 17 2012 at 7:13pm #

May I ask, what’s this “chute” thing being discussed? Is it the (single-width) concrete lane that wraps around second avenue at the south end of the Jail Trail?


Chris Mayhew

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Aug 17 2012 at 7:15pm #

Yes.


sarah_q

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Aug 18 2012 at 1:23am #

As of now he has no interest in driving and only wants to live in cities where he can walk/bike/bus everywhere. Of course he’s so young I don’t necessarily expect this to last.

He sneers at riders with no helmets or earbuds so I am completely confident that he won’t ride with his iPod or without a helmet even if I am not there. He also hates seeing cyclists doing risky things reflect poorly on us (e.g. riding up on the left across a yellow line to get through stopped traffic).

Thank you @imdlorax but I can ride with him on mornings he wants to go so I think we are all set. But it’s nice to know that the cycling community is out there watching out for him. Very reassuring.


sarah_q

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Aug 18 2012 at 2:38am #

I think the most rewarding part of this was playing Big Jilm for him just now. I always sing this coming out of Panther Hollow onto Saline St.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuMvqejrHzg


HiddenVariable

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Aug 18 2012 at 5:15am #

that is amazing.


Pierce

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Aug 18 2012 at 1:05pm #

“He sneers at riders with no helmets”

Maybe take him the next time you go to Amsterdam?


sarah_q

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Aug 18 2012 at 1:46pm #

If this was Holland there would be no need for this thread.


Swalfoort

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Aug 28 2012 at 9:22pm #

So, has he started riding yet? How’s it going?


sloaps

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Aug 28 2012 at 10:38pm #

a thirteen year old ween fan; oh the places he’ll go.


salty

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Aug 29 2012 at 1:15am #

wow – once in 3 years i fall behind reading the board and i almost miss a ween reference? that’ll teach me.

fwiw, i think the same thing everytime i pass that place.


sarah_q

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Aug 29 2012 at 12:31pm #

Public school starts Thursday. His orthodontist is downtown near the school so we are riding to his appointment today.

I think the first few days he is going to ride the school bus so he can stake out his territory and see who else is on the bus. The bus stops literally right in front of our house.

I think his plan for 8th grade is to bus some days/ride some days. In highschool (same building) he wants to bike commute mostly full time depending on the weather.


Adam

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Aug 29 2012 at 4:39pm #

As for #2 — I started biking 6 miles each way to school on my BMX when I was in the 3rd or 4th grade LOL. There was much less fear in our society back then.

I grew up in the country but the ride involved roads where crazy drivers would speed 50/60mph past you. When I started we were very specific on which route I would take etc and it was more or less a once in a while deal but by the time I was in 5th/6th grade all the way until I graduated high school it was an almost every (warm) day thing and sometimes even in bad weather.

I remember having to carry a trombone home while riding my bike the last day of school in the 8th grade LOL.

My mom was DEFINITELY not without fear over it, and if we lived in the CITY things would have been quite different.

Sounds like your kid is a mature enough of a rider to handle it. I’ve had a hard time letting my teen do things on her own but at some point it is better to let them have those freedoms while they still live under your roof than to keep them in a “cage” and release them into the world when they turn 18 and they have yet to be in a position where they really have to make decisions for themselves and evaluate the consequences of those decisions.

Out of all the kids I grew up with, including myself — the “trouble makers” like me and all of us who did stupid things as teenagers ended up being more responsible as adults than the kids I know who were sheltered and turned into the party version of the “Tasmanian Devil” because they had no experience of the dangers of alcohol and all of those dangerous things.

I am not saying let your kids run wild and get drunk and do dumb things. I am just saying I had the parents who would prefer I be open with them and if my friends and I wanted to drink they would rather see us do it at our homes where they can make sure we were safe instead of driving drunk out on the roads. We all turned out responsible while kids I know who’s parents kept them locked up in the house drank and smoked themselves out of college because they went completely wild once they got out of the cage.


sarah_q

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Aug 30 2012 at 11:51am #

Well he can’t stand his bus driver (same guy as last year) so the motivation to bike just went up quite a bit.

We did the planned route to school yesterday but it was such a beautiful day we detoured on the way home and rode around all over the place. Such a fun way to spend the last day of summer with my kid. :)


Pierce

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Aug 30 2012 at 12:16pm #

@sloaps

Maybe he’ll be an ocean man

@sarah_q

Ha! Annoying bus driver/students is the same reason I started riding my bike. (Also the fact that I frequently got up late)

Even though my bus drove behind my house, the driver wouldn’t stop unless I was at the stop several blocks away and one time he literally drove around me and in response I flicked off the bus as it passed me.


edmonds59

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Aug 30 2012 at 4:09pm #

Sarah q that’s awesome. Savor those times.


sarah_q

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Sep 7 2012 at 1:19pm #

This was AWESOME! My kid loved it. The highlight was when we were flying down the jail trail past stalled traffic on either side and he yelled, “ha ha we win!!!”


benstiglitz

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Sep 7 2012 at 6:22pm #

That’s all I ever think when going down the trail and there’s traffic on the highway. I wish I had a banner I could carry that said “want to get there faster? ride a bike.”


Mick

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Sep 7 2012 at 7:06pm #

When I’ve been curising on the jail trail I definately rung my bell for stopped traffic on the Parkway. I’ve even gone up the ramp to the bridge just to make sure they saw me.

It was gratifying.


sarah_q

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Sep 7 2012 at 10:29pm #

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