Flat places to ride
I’m thinking of coming out to visit yinz – I am saying it correctly? – in the next couple of months. However, I’ve been advised by my doctor to restrict my riding to level ground while I undergo treatment on my injured knees. (I hate trainers, and because of my valgus ‘deformity’ I can’t use spin bikes at my gym.) Any recommendations on flat trails or roads in the Pittsburgh area? I suppose I could ride the Montour or GAP, but I’d like to try something new to me.
Go North, Old Man.
It’s relatively flat from Moraine up to Erie, thanks to glaciers.
Falt? Along the river trails. Plenty of distance you can go, if you are willing and able to get up to and down from the bridges.
Even with no river crossings there are a few OK 3-5 mile rides. Dvilliotti was going to do 100 miles on the jail trail.
Other than that, the Shadyside-Point Breeze-Highland Park area is the largest “flat” space in western PA.
I have no idea about that space up towards Erie. It’s a hefty, hilly ride from here to there.
“The 225-mile trip for up to 100 cyclists will begin Aug. 5 in Erie with a 30-mile ride to Edinboro. It then will go 62 miles to New Wilmington, 75 miles to Little Washington and 58 miles to Morgantown. The terrain is generally flat in the northern half of the state and rolling and hilly in the south.” http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10191/1071771-139.stm#ixzz1KtMKUf2Z
However, if one pops over into Ohio when the Ohio takes its turn to the south, and rolls on the Western Reserve Gateway, it’s a nice level albeit circuitous shot to the Great Lake, Erie. (GoogleMap Pgh to Erie, then drag the little white bally thingy across the state line above Aliquippa. Couldn’t find an example on Bikely, sorry. Disclaimer: I have not personally taken this route, but heard of it from a friend.)
It is possible to find flat routes in Pittsburgh. I am wondering what sort of length thehistorian is seeking, and what time of day/days of week he expects to ride. It’s important to remember that flat is a relative term. My sister from the midwest was amazed at how well I handled hills on a ride during a recent visit. In my mind, I had picked a route that was pretty much free of hills.
Routes linking Sewickley to the west (through Leetsdale and Ambridge) are pretty flat, and could be used to create 15-20 mile routes, for example.
Your doctor doesn’t know enough about bikes. I’m sorry to put it that bluntly, but the issue is pedal force, not hills. As long as you have low enough gears, all hills are flat.
I like Babcock Boulevard going north out of Millvale. You’re following a stream, for the most part, for about seven miles. The problem is, going anywhere off Babcock, you’re climbing a valley wall, dealing with a twisty suburban road, or duking it out with a lot of traffic — usually all three. But seven out, seven back, and not having a river right next to you, is something different.
The turn-around point would be where Three Degree Road meets where Babcock takes a 90-degree turn. Babcock beyond this is suburban hell, Three Degree is worse, and while there’s a bit of a trail beyond that, it is most assuredly not for anyone with a fragile bike or body. Mud, ponds, and deep loose gravel define the first mile, then there’s this:
@lyle As long as you have low enough gears, all hills are flat.
As the resident low gear guy, I beg to disagree.
I go slow enough to have both balance and patience issues with hills, but fast enough to have effort issues that I don’t have on the flat.
Also, historian, when you visit, don’t be afraid to try the transit system, some/all of the buses have or will have racks, you could ride around the river trails, then grab a bus up to the east end plateau and see the delights up there. Or you could catch the West Busway to Carnegie, hook up with the Panhandle Trail and boogie woogie all the way to W.Va.
Mick, please excuse me the oversimplification. It was not intended to be a factual statement.
Thanks for the advice. I’ll let yinz know when or if I’m coming out. I have good and bad days. My longest ride was 24 flat miles in March, and I did an 18 mile ride in Harrisburg a few weeks ago. But I’ve done next to no riding since then.
Last time I did any riding that featured sustained climbing was a 2009 trip to Harpers Ferry and Antietam. Here I am on the battlefield:
Unless one is quoting speech, I feel that dialect should be written normally. Otherwise we would be seein lotsa really weird stuff in print.
What does anyone else think?
Helen S, I’m practicing for a future visit and probable relocation. My Pittsburgh-ese needs practiced before I get there.
“Pittsburghese,” as spoken by non-native Pittsburghers, tends to come across as condescending parody.
Also, English is widely spoken and understood here as well.
OK, I’ll drop it. I’d seen it used on the boards here and thought it would be fun to adopt it. My apologies if I’ve offended anyone.
No offense here for the pbgheze. I do encourage people to hold their printed words to a higher standard than their speech.
Pittsburgh is flat, if you stick to the rivers.
For example, here is a 22 mile (one-way) route that you could try: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=4473718 You do have to cross bridges, which involve some (short) climbing. But what do you expect, it’s Pittsburgh. I’ve biked all parts of this; the only noticeable “climb” is over the Ft. Duquesne Bridge, and maybe Blvd of the Allies.
1) Ft. Duquesne is also a pedestrian crossing. Cut up one of the earlier bridges if you want to move fast.
2) From Smithfield to Hot Metal, if you want to move faster, go up to Carson.
3) To move fast in the Waterfront, go east along the main access road.
So, park your car in Millvale, bike your way to Whittaker then come back (44 miles!). Or you can hump over town and get back quicker.
Once the Mon Valley trail is open, you can continue on to McKeesport (albeit with a moderate climb). I think there’s a metric century in there if you work it right. Or keep on to Clairton, not totally flat but still along the river, and with some serious potential for quality miles.
You’ll likely find that the more obvious pieces of Pittsburgh dialect (pbgheze? pot meet kettle) such as “yinz” is pretty hard to find other than when done in jest. I mean, it’s out there, but it’s not nearly as prevalent as people may like you to think. Other bits of Pittsburgh speech are way more common — dropping “to be” (ex. My car needs fixed.), distance as a function of time, landmarks that aren’t there anymore, “n’at”, “sweeper”, “redd up”, pronouncing “ow” as “ah” etc. As a native I have a hard time thinking of them, and for the most part don’t notice the dialect in conversation other than when it is pointed out. The dropping of “to be” is a pain in my ass as it sounds correct to me, reads correct to me, comes out of my mouth and through my fingers typing yet is absolutely incorrect for anyone outside of the area. I must consciously remember to look for it in my own writing, and not cut it from others, when proofreading.
As for the topic of flat riding actually in town… good luck. Neville Island comes to mind but it isn’t scenic nor does it smell at all inviting. Stick to the rivers as much as possible like folks said, walk if you have to. None of the hills in town are that long no matter where you’re going.
I do hope you’ll pardon my presumption in suggesting an exercise which may vanquish the “to be” demon for you as it has for others with whom it has been shared.
Memorize the opening line of Hamlet’s famous soliloquy, “…or not…”
Full disclosure: Not a Pgh native, (though I’ve been here for near a decade), I’ve developed an affection for “slippy”. I respectfully try not to use it in conversation with anyone rightfully entitled by circumstance of birth to do so.
Seeing or hearing “to be” dropped always makes me wince.
I have often wondered why the small univeristy to the north is not called “Slippy Rock” by locals.
Because being a college town, they try to use what they think is proper vocabulary?
true pittsburghese is pretty rare these days. people have actively been trying to remove it from their speech for over a generation. i use “yinz” occasionally in jest, but other things that i started saying in jest have become normal to me. dropping the infinitive is an example. the word jagoff has a certain charm to it, in my opinion. and the monopthongalization of au (e.g. the ou in house) has been rubbing off on me for years now. i’m also pretty fond of nebby.
“people have actively been trying to remove it from their speech for over a generation”
Boy, not where I hang out. The only one that really grates me is “warsh” for wash, but that’s probably because my MIL says it all the time, and every word she says grates me, but that’s another issue.
Nebby is kind of adorable because it’s multivalent, derives from Yiddish, I believe.
I had some friends from out of town, and I was explaining PGHese to them, things like, “The floor doesn’t need to be cleaned, but the floor needs cleaned.” “See, I just said Sawside instead of Southside! IT’S TAKING OVER.” “Wait till winter comes ’round, everything will be all slippy.”
They came to the conclusion that PGHese is a tribute to a guy named Don.
Holy shit. THAT is a word!
(Disclaimer: I thought that was the word for what is commonly known as a “muffin-top” combined with the top of the undies – esp. a thong, exposed. I could be mistaken, however.)
I thought it was an organization to get one-eyed people to wear thongs.
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