To keep things simple and not have a melange of threads to keep track of, I will keep track of all things C.M. in just one place. This will let us discuss the last ride while planning the next, and make it easier for any late-comers to catch up on anything we discussed in past rides.
That said, let's get this show on the road.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 30, 2015, 6:00 P.M., AT THE DINOSAUR.
* Simple ride, just down to the Point and back, using Fifth inbound, Forbes outbound, returning to Dippy.
* Helmet and lights required. It will be dim to start, dark to finish. Sunset is at 5:35.
* We will not cork, just as we (mainly) have not on any recent C.M. ride in Pittsburgh.
* We will take the lane at all times, riding two abreast in the right lane or the only lane, as the law allows.
* Bad pavement conditions or visibility issues will cancel. Mere cold will not. (Different conditions will apply in non-winter rides.)
The purpose of Critical Mass, now as ever, is to demonstrate to everyone that cyclists have every bit as much right to operate on public streets as any other vehicle. That said, THIS RIDE WILL OBEY THE LAW. No running lights or stop signs. No corking (usually).
More to follow. I should add some cross-references to earlier threads in which we discussed riding strategy, legal issues, and specifics of problematic locations.
WE ARE HERE TO MAKE THINGS BETTER. If you plan to cause trouble or make a scene, please stay away, or go do your own ride.
A brief review of recent threads about Critical Mass in Pittsburgh. First, know that from mid-2010 to mid-2013, CM in Pgh simply did not exist. It was entirely replaced by a ride originally known as Flock of Cycles, later Pittsburgh Bike Party, a ride that still exists, usually on the third Friday of the month. That came to be after the original C.M. imploded in a disagreement over law-abiding-ness, and the law-abiders won, forming Flock in its place.
OK, enough history. Let's review the last couple of years.
We note that Cleveland's C.M. ride is doing very well, attracting hundreds each month. [link
The 20th anniversary of the first C.M. ride, and a brief ride occurred here. [link
An early attempt to form a C.M. ride ended up with a half-mile ride to a watering hole. It did indicate that there was some interest. [link
Only six riders and a very cold day, but we had a formal C.M., riding down to the Point and back. Not bad for a first try. I resolved to do this again. [link
Another down-and-back ride like in February, but with only three people. [link
A two-person C.M. ride on one of the most dangerous roads in the city, East Carson Street out to Becks Run Road. You have to read this to believe it. It's amazing that nobody got killed on this. [link to blog post
No message board thread, but a daring ride out through the southern part of the city, out South 18th Street and Brownsville Road through Carrick. [link to blog post
A ride through Manchester, over the McKees Rocks Bridge, through Windgap to Crafton, then back into town on Steuben Street through the West End Circle, and back downtown.
East Street to Perrysville Avenue, which turned out to be fairly easy. [link to message board thread
] [link to blog post
Panther Hollow Drive through Schenley Park, a road that is scary as hell for cyclists. Considerable discussion about how to go about routing this ride. Includes several photographs. [link
There were no rides in October (Halloween), November (Thanksgiving), or December (nobody showed).
I am open to suggestions on where to ride, again if necessary.
I welcome the accompaniment of elected officials, media, police, and anyone else with a stake in getting people around on two wheels.
Google Calendar entry:
Could someone please try this and let me know how well it works? All I see is an icon.
Stu, I'll be there for the jan ride.
But that google-calendar thingy didn't work for me.
when I clicked it, my g-cal opened in a browser and it was
offering to make a new event for me, today.
Still on for tomorrow.
CANCELING. No January 30 ride.
The primary reason is that I will not be able to make it myself because of unsafe conditions this morning. The secondary reason is that, with snow expected throughout the day, road surfaces will be iffy anyway. A third reason is that the one other person who was likely to attend got called out of town unexpectedly last night.
Let's try again in February.
Thanks, Stu. Let's hope the roads are dry for the February ride.
Is there going to be one this Friday or are you waiting till March? I would like to try to join one sometime this year. Looks very cold but dry, so I will still be out.
I am not much of a group riding person at all but I think I can handle a small critical mass ride one time soon.
Yes, this is still on. It's also Winter Bike To Work Day.
Stu- please submit things for the calendar to our submission page, to make sure we get everything correct. those links weren't working.
also, winter bike to work day may be delayed
OK, thanks. I haven't figured out how to make Google Calendar work for myself, let alone for public view.
I managed to work up the gumption to bike my usual 10.4 miles down Perry/Perrysville this morning at 23 degrees. That forecast of ONE Fahrenheit for 7 a.m. on Friday _is_ a little off-putting.
For clarification, was winter bike to work day postponed due to, uh...winter?
Sure seems that way, doesn't it?
It's a shame, it's cold but the sun is nice.
I had a nice little ride all by myself. Without really trying, I laid out a challenging course, which I might do again next month when the weather is more conducive to gathering a crowd. From Dippy:
* R Forbes
* L Craig
* L Fifth Ave
* R Sixth Ave
* jiggle across Liberty to Seventh St
* cross Andy Warhol (7th St) Bridge
* L Lacock
* becomes Reedsdale
* L Allegheny Ave
* becomes North Shore Drive
* L Mazeroski Way
* R West General Robinson
* R Federal St
* cross Roberto Clemente (6th St) Bridge
* L Liberty
* R Sixth Ave
* R Grant St
* L Forbes and return to Dippy
On that last entry, I actually did that earlier, biking to the start of the ride. Afterward, since I work in the Frick Building, I stopped at my office for a bit, then caught a bus home.
Some of the more challenging aspects of the route:
* getting left on Forbes
* lots of foot traffic on Craig
* lots of car traffic on Fifth, the whole way in
* passing buses in Oakland
* claiming and keeping that lane on the rise after the Birmingham Bridge
* claiming and keeping that lane on the rise up Sixth Ave to Centre
* really bad pavement on Sixth from Smithfield to Wood
* claiming and keeping the lane across the bridge
* the transition to Reedsdale is NOT bike-friendly
* Reedsdale itself is one lane, then two-lane, and bikes use the LEFT lane
* if Stage AE is having an event, as it was last night, people and cars are everywhere going every direction
* WGen Robinson might have a lot of parked cars, might not, but if it does, you might get a lot of grief from motorists who want to double the speed limit past PNC Park
* the transition off the 6th St Br requires a left lane change
* Grant requires a left lane change at Forbes
* claiming and keeping the lane all the way out to the Birmingham Bridge
* THE toughest part of the ride is claiming and keeping the lane AFTER that corner
* the second toughest part is getting directly in front of cars going 65 mph off the bridge and forcing them to slow to 15
* the third toughest part is claiming and keeping the lane on the climb up to Craft
To reiterate, if you can negotiate this seven-mile loop through the city, you can deal with most anything.
Thanks for doing this, Stu. I wimped out.
I still got my Friday afternoon ride in last week but had to pick my son up at daycare at 5:00. I was considering trying to get down to the dippy at 6, but it was going to be a rush.
* THE toughest part of the ride is claiming and keeping the lane AFTER that corner
* the second toughest part is getting directly in front of cars going 65 mph off the bridge and forcing them to slow to 15
One of my favorite routes Forbes from Downtown to Beechwood in Squirrel Hill. I actually enjoy the urban traffic route more so than the Jail trail. There is something about keeping up with the traffic through uptown in the lane that is more exciting than trail riding. This section is a pain in the ass though. If it is early to mid rush hour it is cake. The cars are mostly slow or idle. However, mid day or weekends the calming traffic down at 65MPH is frightening. Forbes to Oakland is a nice ride if something could be done with this transition. Most cars go up this ramp the same speed as I-376 even though it is a 25MPH ramp.
I agree going back on Forbes is nice save for that transition, especially times like these when sidewalk based climbs are going to be an icy mess.
Will be leaving downtown at 4:15 if anyone wants to calm traffic through that spot together.
I have created a group under MapMyRide named Critical Mass Pittsburgh
. I will create and collect maps of rides there -- past, present and future.
For example, here is the map
for the 2/27 ride, which we will repeat 3/27.
Also created an event
for the F3/27 ride.
for April 24 is up!
Canceling tonight's C.M.
Too many severe thunderstorms popping up.
In fact, I might just catch a bus home, since I'm dragging a laptop with me.
A bit ago, I looked out the window and saw it was raining. I wondered how long it would last and looked at Weather.com hour by hour , which said that we had "0% chance of precipitation"...
Try Wunderground. With their animated radar display you can get pretty good at judging gaps in the rain. Observation beats forecast.
can also be very accurate for the immediate future, if you're only concerned about a specific address. Animated radar's probably better if you're more interested in weather from point A to point B.
Bump for June 26. Details forthcoming. For now, just show up and we'll ride somewhere. 6 p.m., dinosaur.
This is still on for tonight. We might get rained on, but I don't think the heavy rain will start until later.
Dinosaur at 6.
Tires on pavement 6:15.
Critical Mass was lightly attended on Friday - but it was a helluva fun ride!
I am not a group rider person. With my social anxiety I just like to avoid anything larger than groups of 3 people. Humans scare me when they are grouped together no matter what they are doing. I tried it last year in the every neighborhood ride and really wasn't for me.
However, I would like to join a CM one day but it is just always at the worst time of the day for me on a Friday.
Stay tuned. We'd love to do something other than on the last Friday, and I'd love to do something other than a peloton-type group ride, even if said peloton is a tiny group.
This is still on for today. I've done almost zero promotion.
Dippy at 6, brief speech & reminder of what we're about, tires roll at 6:15.
* L Craig
* R Fifth
* L Aiken
* L Baum
* L Millvale
* R Centre
* L Neville
* R Fifth
* Loop back around Schenley/Bigelow and Forbes back to Dippy
Stop at reds. (I don't think we have any stop signs on the route.) If we get split, don't cork, but front group will hold beyond the light so we can stay together.
Take the lane, and/or take the right lane.
Would you believe nine riders?! I had met only one or two previously, and had done almost no promotion of this, but word apparently got around through Facebook, Bike-Pgh's calendar, and word of mouth.
No flipped birds.
No trouble at all from traffic.
No problem explaining the (very few) rules, and the point of the whole proceeding.
No objections from anyone about adhering to traffic law.
The ride was very short, maybe 25 minutes' duration. We got split a couple of times at lights, but the front group paused to let the others catch up, just like Flock.
So: Short, sweet, successful. And at least a tie for the biggest turnout since 2010!
You got split up with 9 riders? uh...
Not being critical, it's just a little uh...
Good job nonetheless.
We weren't corking, we were trying not to cork. If the front of the small pack was not the first in line at a light, it was hard to get all nine through in one cycle. Aiken at Baum was one, Baum at Millvale was another, and I think the triple left lane change on Fifth after Bellefield, coming back, got us split, too.
Our max speed was 17 mph, on Fifth, outbound. More commonly we were going about 12-13.
Top! This is still on.
5:45 - Gather at Dippy
6:00 - Try to be there by then
6:10 - Briefing
6:15 - Tires rolling.
Here is the route
L Bellefield, left lane
L Fifth, right lane to McKee
L double lane change to left-most inbound lane
L Blvd of the Allies, fully occupying the right-most going-forward lane
Continue straight onto Panther Hollow Rd through Schenley Park
R Greenfield Rd
R Greenfield Bridge (say goodbye to the bridge)
R bend onto Alger
R Greenfield Ave
Those interested in returning to the start will come back up via Saline St and the trail. Everyone else can then hop onto the Jail Trail to head wherever.
Critical Mass has a branding problem. Maybe I should call the ride Critical Manners, instead, as the one other person who showed up for last Friday's ride suggested. The two of us ended up joining the Flock dance party ride.
Ironically enough, the roll-out path for Flock was identical to the original plan for CM, only that we turned right off of Bates onto Zulema instead of left onto Blvd of the Allies, and we did have to pull one big long lane change on Fifth Ave in Oakland with 40 riders anyway, just as planned for CM. So that worked out pretty well.
I cannot really comment much on the SF story. Don't do stupid stuff like go the wrong way down a one-way street in the first place, and don't complain about motorists complaining about it if you do. Is that really too much to ask?
Stu: "Critical Mass has a branding problem. Maybe I should call the ride Critical Manners..."
I agree. There is no room in Pittsburgh for that SF garbage. I hope we never have idiots like that here. There is room for everyone and just provoking motorists is going to make it worse for all. If some cyclist did that to me, I would have run them over and so would most people. You need to protect yourself and if you are in danger or feel in danger, you do what you gotta do.
Here is the video. We don't need this crap here!
SF Man Arrested for Critical Mass Attack
I think this is justified. The cyclists deliberately rode on the wrong side of the road in order to start a confrontation. I'm really only amazed that that woman wasn't so scared that she didn't run anyone over.
Speaking of marketing problems- how come the Flock ride wasn't posted here?
On this thread or the board at all? It wouldn't be on this thread because it isn't CM. I can't speak for 412 Flock, but I know they all have board accounts.
But back to CM (Mass, Manners, whatever), I should get busy and plan the 9/25 ride. Choices right now are
A) Try the Halket-Allies-PantherHollow-Greenfield route
B) Make a beeline for the Rankin Bridge and come back in on 837 to the Waterfront
Ideas? Opinions? Suggestions?
Sorry for going OT.
I was thinking Flock should be posted on the board.
IIRC, that is how the Flock first organized. I've missed Flock rides that I would have made it to had they been posted here (uh... like the dance ride.)
This Friday, Sept. 25, we will try again with the plan proposed for August. Last chance to cross the Greenfield Bridge!
I don't care if I get one rider or 41, or ride by myself. Meet at Dippy at 6, and we'll take a little ride around Oakland and Greenfield. Shouldn't take more than an hour, so if you have 7:30 plans, you can probably still keep them.
Another Critical Mass of one. As planned, I rode Bellefield, Fifth (including a double left lane change in heavy traffic), Halket, then Blvd of the Allies. I'm amazed how little trouble I had. Right forward lane, left tire track. No horns, no fingers, no close passes, no tailgating. Two blinkies in back, wearing a pink shirt (and a necktie). Nobody gave me any trouble at all.
When will the next critical mass ride occur? I've always been a lurker when they were planned, but never actually pulled the trigger on it. If it happens at a good time, I can try to get some people together to bump up the numbers.
Always the last Friday, 6 pm, Dippy. Tires roll at 6:15.
Emphasize to all potential riders that it's a law-abiding ride, but taking the lane, on streets not known for their bike friendliness.
The point is to show how riding legally and visibly -- taking the lane -- is eminently safe. (Safe is a relative term. Motorists regularly plow into scofflaw helmet-less buildings)
Stu - I meant to make it on Friday. Apologies.
It would be good to pull Pittsburgh CM from it semi-moribund state.
Maybe we should get serious about that idea to ride Rt 51 from Brownsville Road to the West End Circle at 7 a.m.
I'm tempted to cut that short in favor of riding through the Wabash Tunnel, too, but I'd rather climb one mountain than two. There's just more than a bit of irony that we would encounter the least trouble in the illegal section, and the most trouble in the legal section.
And if we do do the Rt51 ride, it won't be on a last Friday, but rather when we can get a bunch of people to do the ride together. I'm hoping for at least four, preferably closer to 10. Hell, what am I saying? 50!
I'm thinking we shold save the Rt 51 7 am ride for some specific goal. Like if the idea of having bike infrastructure in the South Hills gains enough stature that there is actually public debate about it.
I would do Route 51. Set a date and let's do it.
Parallel thread for the book of faces here
How about I just say Plan A will be Thursday, October 15. We need a meeting place, and a more definite time. 7:00 seems kinda early, especially if I have to leave at 6 to get there from my place. Maybe gather at 7, try to absitivelyposolutely be there 7:15, briefing of the rules 7:20, roll out at 7:30. That would put us downtown (via West Carson and Smithfield St Bridge) about 8:30. I don't want to show up at work much later than that.
This is definite. Plan to meet at the McDonalds at 4214 Brownsville Rd between 7 and 7:15. We roll at 7:30. There will be at least two of us. It will be cold; expect 40 degrees at riding time, but dry, so dress appropriately.
I am out. I have conflicting meeting 18:00-20:00.
I plan to be there!
@stu, is this am or pm?
Oops, sorry. Still have a meeting 08:30-09:00.
Four of us rode in from the 51/Brownsville McDonalds. Very little trouble. Lots of sitting still, looking at someone's taillights. A half hour barely got us to the Liberty Tubes. (That's where my front camera quit.) The only spot where traffic moved much faster than us was between the Parkway West split and the West End Circle, which is still posted 40, but ambient 55. Opted to use the West End Bridge rather than West Carson St. The tiny bit of one-lane 51 just before the Parkway interchange was of minimal disruption to anyone; our moving minimally slower allowed enough space for only one car to make the merge from the Parkway off-ramp.
Brentwood McD's to Point State Park, 58 minutes, about half of that time spent with the pedals sitting still -- either stopped or coasting.
this was a very pleasant ride, on a great roadway surface. All the drivers played nice. One gentleman stopped next to us took the opportunity to express disagreement with our taking the lane on the West End Bridge - since he pays for it and we don't - but he was very civil about it. Wrong but quite courteous. Thanks Stu! great ride.
It's nice to do a ride like this in a group. Too bad there were so many cars in our way on Route 51. They kept our average speed low (10mph) and their exhaust also stank up the valley. If we could replace half of those cars with bicycles, it would make this commute faster and less noxious!
Me, Ed (Vannevar), and John (Marko) on 51 near 88.
At West End Circle. Stu in White.
The only halfway difficult part of this ride was the part after Woodruff St. We opted not to deal with Port Authority's stupid rule about bikes in the tunnel. But the only part of the ride that seemed the slightest bit dicey would have been averted altogether if we'd turned onto Woodruff and ridden the tunnel, which also would have shaved several minutes and a mile or two off the ride.
The main point, though, was proven: It is neither unsafe nor difficult to bike 51 from Brentwood into town, if you don't mind taking the lane on a four-lane road, which is what you should do anyway.
Right lane, left tire track, cede to nobody, and be visible. It's really difficult to get into much trouble that way.
Bravo yinz guys!
It's amazing how chill this ride was. We didn't get a single horn honk or any aggressive driver behavior at all.
I suspect that if you did this solo you might encounter some driver issues, but maybe not. I was sure surprised.
I think the group of neon clad riders and this "The only spot where traffic moved much faster than us was between the Parkway West split and the West End Circle, " is why. I'd love to be proven wrong.
"I suspect that if you did this solo you might encounter some driver issues..."
Yes, definitely. You picked a very good day to do this (or maybe a bad day for experiencing the real thing). Traffic was light today, for some strange reason. Yesterday, there were many more cars. It just goes that way sometimes. Some days, traffic is light and you breeze through. Other days, traffic is horrendous, you can't figure out why, and it takes twice as long to get to work.
The construction and lane closure seems to have slowed things down in that area, with a net positive result. Normally, you have people weaving in and out of lanes, jockeying to get onto the Parkway (left exit), which is often backed up the entire exit ramp and onto 51. Then you have people coming from the right, i.e., Banksville and the Parkway, trying to merge onto 51.
The portion between the Parkway split and the West End Bridge is a high speed area but it also has an extremely wide shoulder where a bicyclist can be out of the traffic lane. On the West End Bridge itself, people start out in the left lane, to get past a few extra cars, but they have to come all the way to the right to get off on Lighthill Street. It can be truly cutthroat at times.
I think if one tried to do this every day and solo, there might be a bit different impression of the road conditions. I've seen bicyclists for brief periods, in the past, but their tenure seems to be short. I am happy that you are safe and had a positive experience but 51 is not a pleasant place to ride at all.
Friday, October 30. Dippy at 6. The ride starts at sunset, so this won't be too long. Maybe head up Craig to Baum to Euclid to Centre to Craig again and return to Dippy. Baum isn't any worse than any other 4-lane street, AFAIK.
This ride is on, even if I'm the only one on it. Here is the route, less than three miles total, but covering both recent fatalities.
1) The first, of course, is within eyesight of where we start. We will loop around the back of Schenley Plaza first, the better to replicate the path Susan Hicks was taking last Friday.
2) Bellefield to Centre, then up to Allequippa Street, where we turn left to climb up to the VA Hospital. This is where Hank and Christine got mowed down on Monday.
Descend University Drive back down to Bigelow and Forbes, and return to Dippy. I doubt it will take much more than a half hour.
Thank you to @loriflynn and @shooflypie for coming out to join me on this.
As stated, we retraced the final steps/wheels of both incidents. I was back downtown by 7:30.
Stu it was nice meeting you and Lori. I feel so bad because I thought she said her name was Gloria. We were standing along Forbes with noisy traffic, so if Lori reads this I apologize for calling you Gloria instead.............
Any chance of a CM this Friday?
I was not planning one, but as it turns out I am going to be in Pittsburgh.
Last second but:
Critical Mass Ride this evening. Stu and I will be there, hoping for a few more. Meeting around 5:30, leaving around 6 pm. Meeting at Dippy. No plan, just riding around.
Thanks to Mikhail for joining us. Brief recap: Forbes, Morewood, Ellsworth, Shady, Penn all the way to Braddock (passing the site of the fatal wreck a couple nights ago by Lang where a car landed on its side in someone's front yard), Braddock all the way to Edgewood Towne Center, out the back gate that's sometimes closed. Then we looked for the end of the Busway Trail at the Swissvale-Edgewood line, but I goofed and we ended up at the Wilkinsburg end of it instead. Then South St in Wilkinsburg to Braddock again, to Kensington, where we at first missed the trail over to Reynolds (hey, it was dark!), then Reynolds to Beechwood to where we parted ways by Bakery Square.
Observation: Pittsburgh is, I'm guessing, the only Critical Mass in the country whose rides start at a ghost bike.
what is the Busway Trail? thanks!
There's a sidewalk along Edgewood Ave in Swissvale starting at Lacrosse St and running to the south, crossing Braddock Ave and ending around Waverly St. You can bike on Waverly St. past the bus stop and come out onto Braddock Ave (much higher car traffic) near McKim St. Overall, it's one of the best bike routes from Swissvale/Edgewood/Wilkinsburg/Regent Square to the Rankin Bridge.
Probably the best built but least known bike infrastructure in the city. But even I can't find it.
I'm just going to have to go out there and roll video showing how to get to the four ends of it. Thanks to Edgewood Boro not playing nice with Port Authority when the busway was extended in 2003, the two pieces do not connect.
Of course, thanks to Edgewood Boro not playing nice with Port Authority in the late 1970s when the busway was first planned (opened in 1983), it took 20 more years to build it past South Ave in Wilkinsburg in the first place.