Advice for a New Guy? Interested in going from Upper St. Clair to Regent Square

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winnerim
Participant
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Hi all.

I’m new to commuting but ride my bike to class at college. I also occasionally ride the Montour trail. My bike is a pretty cheap Schwinn hybrid.

As I mentioned in the title of the post, I’d like to commute to my internship this summer from Upper St. Clair to Regent Square. Google Bike Directions list the commute as a little over 16 miles. The most I’ve ever done on Montour trail (which as you know is mostly flat) is 16 miles.

I’m concerned I won’t be able to make the trip being a somewhat out of shape and inexperienced bike rider.

Any thoughts or suggestions? i.e. “take a different route than Google’s” or “watch out for this hill”

Maybe I should get my stamina up on Montour trail?

Thanks in advance!


HiddenVariable
Participant
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i don’t know the south hills or west of the city very much, so i can’t really speak to routes. but, even in pittsburgh, just about anyone in reasonable shape can ride 16 miles without much in the way of pain or discomfort. if you work your way up to it over a week or two, it should be no trouble at all, and if you do it regularly, 16 miles will seem like a mere jaunt to you.


Lenny
Participant
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Try to add just a little more miles each day or week cycling.In no time at all you’ll be surprised how easy commuting the 16 miles from U.S.C. to Regent Square will be,especially after the completion of the Montour and Yough trails.I live in the city and will be riding out to U.S.C. once the completion of trail from the Waterfront to Mckeesport will be finished.


Marko82
Participant
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Ugh, the South Hills is not the most bike friendly place to commute from (I live in Baldwin). But don’t let that discourage you.

Since youre just starting out, I’d suggest trying a multi-modal aproach first. You could ride your bike to the T station, take that into downtown, and ride to Regent from there. Or hop another bus from town to Oakland, then ride the bike the rest of the way. As your stamina and confidence increase, you can ride the bus/T less. I’ll have to give some thought to a usable route.

BTW, welcome to the board!

(edit) Something along this rout would be my approach, but this would be about a 1.5 to 2 hr commute each way

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=Unknown+road&daddr=40.3501098,-79.9690429+to:40.41006,-79.91759+to:40.42793,-79.91612+to:S+Braddock+Ave&geocode=FaZoZwIdZjw6-w%3BFZ2xZwId7sQ7-ykZtMnWfPo0iDFxJXiyo2CbQA%3BFcybaAId6o08-yllgQRVJu40iDF8iegtZfA46A%3BFZrhaAIdqJM8-ymZ61fVAu40iDH2u343Qk8UJA%3BFZr0aAId9ek8-w&hl=en&mra=dpe&mrsp=3&sz=14&via=1,2,3&dirflg=b&sll=40.42075,-79.908028&sspn=0.041689,0.090551&ie=UTF8&ll=40.37192,-79.937897&spn=0.165831,0.362206&z=12&lci=bike


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Port Authority doesn’t like bikes on the T at rush hour, but they’re fine on the bus racks.

I second using the multi-modal approach, especially for new cyclists, and especially getting through or across Mt Washington. As you gain experience and strength, you can try the various hills. Just gear down, drink up, and give it a go when you feel like trying South 18th or one of the other routes.

I’d avoid Arlington because of the trolley tracks. Since I don’t live south I can’t give you route advice, other than get used to riding in traffic. “south” and “bicycle” are not exactly mutually exclusive terms, but they don’t play nicely.


RoadKillen
Participant
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@ Marko’s map:

I can’t really comment on anything south of the river. But once you get to the Sandcastle area, an alternate route could be Glenwood Bridge – Duck Hollow Trail – then come up through Frick Park into Regent Square. The climbing would be a little less in total elevation, but probably steeper in parts. It is also mostly on crushed limestone instead of pavement.

Marko’s route looks like a perfectly fine route, but it’s always good to have options.


Mick
Participant
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Marko’s map -definately with Roadkillen’s mod – strikes me as about as good as it gets.

Going through Frick Park strikes me as a really sweet route. The Grays Bridge plus Browns hill does not.

@Winnerim- Where does Google send you? (You might want to start from a major intersection near your home for privacy.)

You will want fenders. If you aren’t in great shape, you’ll probably want a very low gear or two on your bike, too. Lower than most triple cranks have.


rsprake
Participant
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The climb from Duck Hollow through Frick Park can be a beast but it’s rad.


ejwme
Participant
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winnerim – keep in mind that “beast” is relative, depending on your fitness level. When people on here say it like that, I usually (and quite happily) walk those bits, but I’m a slow squishy softy.

Congratz on landing an internship, and good luck with the commute – I’d try all the variations and try it during off hours to get a feel before battling rush hour – but keep in mind that a lot of roads can be CALMER with traffic on them (in bumper to bumper, they can’t speed).

You’ll do just fine, don’t sweat it :D


winnerim
Participant
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@Lenny and @HiddenVariable thanks for the words of encouragement!

@Marko thanks for the advice and the map!

@StuInMcCandless thanks for letting me know about the T not liking bikes at rush hour and the other advice!

@Roadkillen thanks for the mod!

@Mark here’s the route Google takes me: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=Upper+St.+Clair,+Mcmillan+Road,+PA&daddr=702+S+Trenton+Ave,+Pittsburgh,+PA+15221&hl=en&geocode=FeK6ZwIdZSs6-ynFRfZ2Ffg0iDHGEm6imVslsA%3BFc4LaQIdkvA8-ykrL6LG3u00iDFsS_Vdu7rqjw&mra=ls&dirflg=b&sll=40.361719,-80.059605&sspn=0.074949,0.154324&ie=UTF8&t=h&z=12&lci=bike

@ejwme thanks for the words of encouragement!

I’m thinking I need to build up more on Montour trail before I try and do 32 miles round trip.


rsprake
Participant
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Try to add in some hills and time in traffic too! Have fun!

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