Thursday, June 30, 2011

North Hills to Squirrel Hill *entirely* by bike (Nov. 12, 2007)

A week ago, I took the bike on a series of buses that got me to Murray Avenue in Squirrel Hill, starting in McCandless. Yesterday, I tried the entire trip there on two wheels. That, and I did it in a cold drizzle, too. It took less time, too.

I started at 2:40 p.m., and might have made it in just over an hour, but took 46th St instead of 44th St through Lawrenceville, which dead-ends at St. Mary's Cemetery (adjacent to the larger Allegheny Cemetery). In respect to its residents and those who were just visiting, I walked the bike through. This delayed me maybe 10 minutes, though it did make for a pleasant stroll. (I like cemeteries.)

My path: Perrymont, Lindisfarne, various small streets in Ross Twp., Babcock Boulevard, Maryland Street in Millvale, the sidewalk along Rt 28, 40th St Bridge, Foster St, 46th St, aforementioned cemetery, Friendship Avenue, Taylor St, Liberty Avenue, South Aiken, R on Fifth Avenue, L on Wilkins, R on Murray, and proceeded to Douglas Street. I made it to the far end of the 40th St Br in just over a half hour, and the entire trip in 83 minutes. At end, I was fairly wet (no fenders), but not that cold. Last week, with considerable bus help, it took 90.

The return trip, close to 6 p.m. when it was fully dark and raining steadily, was done with a lot of help from buses. I biked to Forbes and Murray, following, of all things, someone on a bicycle. My biggest problem getting home was that there isn't that much bus service on a Sunday night, so I stood shivering, waiting for anything to show up. Fortunately every bus that did show had racks. My situation would have been greatly helped by having figured out a bus itinerary in advance, but I just winged it.

The first bus was a 59U, which I grabbed right away, but I should have waited for the 61C that was right behind it, because the 59U (which the 61C passed) only got me to Oakland. Then I stood, dripping and shivering, waiting for anything going Downtown. A 71C eventually did, and from that I was able to get to a 500 that I'd already missed in Oakland (which I would have caught if I'd waited for that 61C).

The 500 got me all the way to West View, and in 15 minutes, I was home. Good thing, too. If I knew there was a 12A coming along just after the 500, I might have waited for it, but that would have meant standing in the rain 10 more minutes, and I would have been 25 minutes later getting home, since the 12A takes such a torturous path through Ross Twp. It took me less time to bike three miles from West View than it would have taken the 12A to travel two miles from Siebert Road to Perrymont.

The only scary part of the trip was coming down the hill on Perry Highway toward Three Degree Road. I had the green light, but did not know if the car making a left off of southbound Perry could see me, in the dark, in the rain.

I really need to get head- and tail-lights.

1 comment:

bus15237 said...

This was a watershed bike ride, deciding to make a 14-mile trip in the rain. I successfully made it there and back, but learned a lot in the process. As gas prices rise, more people (you?) will make the same decision. Study, learn.