Hey everyone! I have a question about bike routes. I go to college in Oakland, and I'm originally from the North Hills of Pittsburgh (McCandlass). Does anyone bike from the north hills to downtown Pittsburgh or Oakland? Is there a route you would recommend?
OMG did you come to the right place. Paging @stu...
Lol. I tried it one time and I was not experienced enough and maybe took a bad a route. But if there is an ideal route I'm missing I would be down to try again!
I do this daily. I'm near the Perry/Perrymont corner. You have three options: Perry, Babcock, McKnight. Each has its benefits and drawbacks.
Are you a Pitt or CMU student? Definitely consider combining a bike ride with a bus ride. Specifically, consider the possibility of using the 2 Mt Royal route, and biking from Millvale to Oakland.
In general, though, always take the lane, always obey traffic rules, signal your movements, and be very visible -- lights fore and aft, and light colored clothing.
I can give you better specifics if I knew more precisely where you hang your hat.
Hey! Thanks so much for the help. Awesome to hear someone makes this ride! Everyone keeps telling me I'm nuts.
I'm not too far from you, near the west ingomar/perry corner or pine road/perry corner. I go to CMU, and live on the edge of Friendship
I've considered taking the 12 bus to the city, and then taking the Eliza furnace trail up to Oakland. I'll look into busing to Millvale, because that makes a lot of sense too!
If I biked the entire thing do you have an opinion on the safest route from this area?
You're a bit north of me. Try Northway Mall as an intermediate destination. Can you make it to the little road just south of Cumberland (Hillvue Lane, back entrance to Northland Library)? Really where you want to get to is the administration entrance side of Carson Middle School, to the right as you get to the top of the driveway. Go out the back of that and you'll find a trail. It's only a couple hundred yards long, and it does get a tad mucky on days like today (2" rain over the weekend), but drops you out at the dead end of Ridgemont. Left on Demmler, right on Fox Ridge, left on Perrymont for a couple hundred yards, right on Lindisfarne, to the end, left on Sunderland, peel around to the right, cross Babcock at the light (it's good about detecting bikes), and ride around to the back of Aldi. That's the shared 2-and-12 bus stop. Inbound 12 aims out the back of Northway, the direction you were going. Inbound 2 goes the opposite, back toward Babcock.
And yes, you are indeed nuts. Join the club.
Biking the whole way, regardless of method. First, a refresher of the rules of the road. 75-3301c1 says a cyclist (pedalcycle, in PA legalese) must use the right lane or stay as far right as practicable. Let's unroll that a bit. On a four-lane road, like Perry between Brandt Funeral Home and a few miles north of Zelienople, you may use the entire right lane. Use it. Stay a little left of center in that right lane. Cede it to nothing other than an emergency vehicle. Anyone who wants to go faster, they can get in the passing lane put there for that purpose and pass you. Same as if you were a backhoe. Or a downed branch.
On a two-lane road, "as far to the right as practicable" does not mean "as far to the right as possible", i.e., you, not the driver behind you, get to decide what can be put into practice and what can't. I am not going to put myself in danger by riding in the loose gravel, broken glass, downed branches, wet leaves, carrion, tall curbs, broken drain grates, and other things that can darn well kill me if they cause me to lose control.
75-3301a6 allows drivers to cross a yellow center line to pass a cyclist, if they can otherwise see it is safe to pass you. Just like if you were a downed tree branch, only you're moving.
So, on a two-lane road, I still take the lane, most of the time.
* Babcock, in the few miles between Three Degree Road and the Shaler town line, has a really nice, wide, paved shoulder. I will use the shoulder here, but I am not required to.
* Babcock, in the 3/4 mile between the Shaler line (roughly the "1717 Sigmas" building) and the Rita's Italian Ice on the north end of Millvale, has no shoulder. This bit of road sucks. I still take the lane, and I don't care that I'm going 12 and they want to go 45 and follow me down the road while leaning on the horn. Too bad for them. It's not my problem if they don't know they can pass me, and it's still not my problem if oncoming traffic prevents them from passing.
It takes some gonads to deal with that part of Babcock.
On to McKnight. Inbound McKnight is fairly easy, though I am rarely on the 50 mph part north of Perrymont. I also usually exit onto Babcock past North Hills Village, because the section of McKnight past that is difficult to dangerous, and the road surface of East Street is currently a moonscape.
That's more than enough to chew on for one post. BTW, I have several hours of front and rear video documenting my travels on these roads.
As an aside, just a tip (I live in the West suburbs but my conditions are not dissimilar from y'alls). Do a dry run, in and back, on a Sunday morning, it'll be much more pleasant, even fun, and you can assess the conditions with much less stress. I do not recommend making the first time the time you have to be somewhere on time! That could just put you off the whole thing. :)