« Back to Archive

Downtown to the Moon

La Quinta Inn, Pittsburgh airport. Google maps bike routing takes McKees rocks bridge (will revisit, I know I saw in a recent-ish thread), 51, neville island, 51 again and then University Blvd south. Also lists Steuben/60/Beaver Grade road as a secondary option, shorter by over 2 and half miles, but still the same amount of time. The time estimates google gives for biking are wildly pessimistic overall (I mean, 2 hours, come on!) but if I recall correctly, the latter option isn't exactly flat and the former might be pretty good that way so maybe, whatever the time really is, it's still the same? Leaning toward the former, just by density of name dropping 51/Neville Island here. Just want to collect some responses, see if there are any major wrinkles I should be aware of. Regards, Ben
2014-03-13 11:43:55
Second option is strongly dis-recommended, 60 from Crafton to Beaver Grade is treacherous - uphill, no shoulder, blind curve, posted 45 mph with 55-60 typical. Option 1 is good. Only fine tuning would be, after Coraopolis on 51, consider taking Thorn Run before University to Beaver Grade, University is a 4- lane highway, basically, Thorn Run is more residential and a mite slower. Still a bear of a climb for your enjoyment. From Beaver Grade you could probably even cut through Moon Area HS driveway and miss University almost entirely.
2014-03-13 12:16:05
+1 for the Thorn Run option. It's a good hill but University is just as bad with the added four lane crappiness. Also, there is a Flyer bus that can get you to Moon HS if you want to go multimodal & timing works out.
2014-03-13 13:20:48
Thanks for these pointers guys. "Pretty good" in terms of flatness to me means little wasted up/down motion. I always assume there'll be one pretty solid hill to get to whatever non-river elevation. This looks like more total rise than I'm used to, almost 500 feet, no? Will be sure to ease off the last couple of miles on 51 so I have enough in the tank to do it an ok pace. OK, so, 2 hours for 18 miles is a ridiculous estimate. This should be pretty free flowing, no? Does it sound foolhardy to estimate that it's doable on an el cheapo single speed (the working bike, at the moment) in an hour and 15, maybe 20 minutes? In terms of multi-modal, I'd consider it, just not sure how much time there really is to be saved. It's far, but it's not SO far. If the difference is less than 15 minutes, having to think about it isn't worth it.
2014-03-13 14:18:07
What about McKees Rocks Bridge->51->Neville Island->51->Montour Trail->Hassam Rd->Coraopolis Heights Rd? That'd put you on top of the ridge, with just a few side streets to navigate to reach your destination. Nice and low-traffic all the way from Coraopolis, one good climb on Hassam. RideWithGPS claims 13.5 miles from McKees Rocks Bridge, 1000' climbing.
2014-03-13 14:20:19
If you take Thorn Hill from 51, stay on it past Beaver Grade...... Take the right onto Rouser Road (or a little earlier, on Commerce) and take the Rouser/Marshall/Patton connection to University. Very quiet streets. A lot of people from the office park on Rouser walk there at lunch
2014-03-13 15:25:52
Great stuff, thanks folks.
2014-03-13 15:29:30
My only concern about the Montour Trail route is that it's going to be a limy cementitious mess for at least another month. Also, generally, man I would want gears for the trip. And things always take longer than you think.
2014-03-13 15:47:58
Also you should eat at Armstrongs at the corner of Beaver Grade Road and Thorn Run Ext. Have pie.
2014-03-13 15:50:52
I'm getting more comfortable without gears. But what would you guess about the grade of the main final climb? (guessing, I think correctly, that that's the climb to worry about here) Would love to reward a trip like that with Pie, but kashrut and all, have to wait till I get home.
2014-03-13 16:03:16
edmonds59 wrote:Have pie.
More wise words from Mr Edmonds!
2014-03-13 16:22:26
Armstrongs! Never had their pie - the food was always so tremendous and portions were huge so I never had room for pie. Wow. Something I might have to say I miss about work - no lunch run to Armstrongs anymore. Yeah, I second the food recommendation. As for the climb: I don't think there's anyway to get there without a significant climb for your final segment. Agree that University is a rat race and a good road to avoid. Also Edmonds59 described the state of the Montour Trail this time of year well. It's going to be soft and mushy at best. Good luck.
2014-03-13 16:58:50
Not to turn this into a foodie thread, but I will definitely echo the sentiment on getting dessert at Armstrong's. FWIW, they do offer carryout, and portions of their pie are HUGE and DELICIOUS!! As for the climb out of Coraopolis area, another option may be turning onto Main Street off of 51 in Cory. Not sure if it's shorter than Thorn Run, or any better in terms of grade, but there is less traffic, and lots of flatter graded crossing neighborhood streets that you can turn onto for a climbing break if needed. Follow it out onto Maple Street the rest of the way up to Coraopolis Heights Road /Reddan 's end directions. A direct climb up Maple past Cornell football field is also possible, but you'll deal with slightly more traffic, and a few lower visibility bends.
2014-03-13 18:03:07
BTW it's easy to view grade on routes using
2014-03-13 18:50:38
I am with RedDan but if you OK with roads initially and then you can jump on Montour Trial at Grimm Brother's (mile 3 of the trail and 11.9 of the route below) then you can use regular PMTCC route -- modification of this route would be as Dan described go to Corie/Montour Trail 0, stay on it until mile 8, get onto Enlow Road (this is bike path to Airport and no cars), so you have most of your route in no car trail.
2014-03-13 19:16:08
reddan wrote:Hassam Rd->Coraopolis Heights Rd
this is 8% 0.7 miles -- it's used as a competing piece of yearly Tour the Montour. :) : This year's 11th annual event also includes the King of the Mountain Challenge. All riders have the option to be timed individually up a 7/10ths of a mile hill (Hassam Rd - closed to traffic, not part of the main Trail Ride). At an average of an 8% grade, the man and woman with the fastest times will truly be the "King" and "Queen" of the Mountain and will receive a special bicycling jersey for their effort. Computer chip timing will be provided this year by Miles of Smiles.
2014-03-13 19:40:28
I can't say I agree with edmonds' assessment of 60 out of Crafton - the cars do go fast and you eventually have to cross a couple highway ramps, but there's somewhat of a shoulder and a center turn lane so cars have plenty of room to pass you. I used to ride to work that way and thought it was a rather pleasant place to ride on balance. Whether or not that makes for a better route (or what riding on Beaver Grade is like), I'm not sure, but I'd call it an option.
2014-03-14 00:38:32
Thanks all. Tempting though it is to check out a tiny bit of the montour trail and try the king of the mountain hill (or stay on it for longer than that), I'm leaning toward Thorn Run at the moment. Doubtless a much less scenic, more trafficky way to do climb than options (well, other than University, but hearing descriptions here ruled that out). So, in comparison to the others it's direct, and the fact that the shoulder looks nice and wide means that it's in the "good enough" category. The first part of that will hurt, but I'm not sure any worse than anything else to get to elevation. Wish me luck, I'll need it.
2014-03-14 09:21:13
Just be aware that there is another option. Rising out of "downtown" Coraopolis are Main Street (Extension) and Maple Street (Extension). These are on smaller roads, and each features a sidewalk on at least one side for much of the route up the hill. (If you want to go the sidewalk route, of course.) Near the top of the hill, the sidewalk fades, leaving you with a mile or so of narrow suburban street with no shoulder or berm.....a take the lane situation, clearly. You didn't say what day of the week or time of day you might be doing this. On a low traffic day/time, this connection to Coraopolis heights Road might not be too bad. Cpls Heights will then connect to Beaver Grade near Moon Park, a right turn onto Beaver Grade will take you a mile or a little more to Thorn Run.
2014-03-14 09:37:54
Today would be a good day to have pi.
2014-03-14 09:44:35
Good to know the range of options. I think I prefer shoulder to sidewalk as a smoother option, and shoulder to no shoulder except on roads where I'd rather take the lane, which I can't really say confidently about any "suburban" road unless I've ridden them before. This is a pretty fish out of water prospective ride for me. I'm sure it will be educational. Maybe my preferences will change with experience. And happy pi day to you, too edmonds. A nice way to round out the thread!
2014-03-14 10:06:14