Thursday, November 24, 2011

Bicycling to a concert (August 1, 2008)

Current mood: adventurous

First Fridays at the Frick is an ongoing concert series here in The 'Burgh. The evening of the first Friday in June, July, August, and September, bring your picnic basket and a blanket and a bottle of wine if you like, sit down on the grass, and listen to a nice little concert. Location is The Frick Art & Historical Center, in the Point Breeze section of the city.

Last night's concert was the Pittsburgh Symphony Brass, so even though the rest of the family was tied up, I wanted to go. Problem: No car. No problem: Have bike. It's only 14 miles, and the weather was beautiful. So I biked.

The trip did not get off to a good start, though. Not 10 minutes out, I realized I lost my headlight. The fool thing has been trying to pop off at least once a trip for the past month, but this time, I didn't see where it came off. I'll give it a good look in the morning, but I'm assuming it's gone. Drat. The light itself was quite nice, but a bottom-of-the-line light means you get bottom-of-the-line attachment qualities. Meaning it parted company with its mounting at the first bump, branch or bus bike rack it got near.

The 14-mile trip took just over an hour, not bad considering that I had one major climb, from the Allegheny River at 40th Street up to Penn Avenue. Sure I was sweaty, but I brought my water bottle. If you ride a bike, you expect to sweat. Especially if it's 80+ degrees out.

Entering the concert, I bolted my bike to a sturdy fence, then sat down to enjoy the concert.

At intermission, I checked out the two museums on the premises -- one for antique cars, one for art. Always changing, always impressive. Also both free, as is the concert -- of course with a donation bucket at every door.

Coming out of the second museum, it was starting to get dark and I saw lightning in the distance, so decided to cut short the festivities and get on the road. Not having a light meant I would be on the road in the dark. My back light was still there, but the concern was in not being seen by oncoming traffic.

Thus I had two problems: Do I chance it in the dark heading straight home, or would it make more sense to head for Downtown and catch a bus? Observing the lightning, I thought Downtown was the better option. If I do get caught in a storm, I can duck into at least a bus shelter, better yet a restaurant, to wait it out.

Turns out I was headed straight for a storm, but thankfully I got on the road just in time. I made it all the way Downtown with nary a raindrop, but within five minutes of my arrival, it was raining, and soon enough it was pouring.

I had a good long wait Downtown. Apparently I had just missed both 10 p.m. trips that would get me close to home, so stood there for most of an hour. Storms passed by on both sides, but I stayed dry throughout.

The 1D showed up, but didn't have a rack. Ten minutes later a 12A arrived, and did have a rack, so off I went. A half hour later I was off the bus a mile from home, and 10 minutes after that I was all the way home. Riding Perrymont was not too difficult, except when a car came at me. Its headlights momentarily blinded me, which is a problem on a dark road at night without a light.

Anyway, aside from the lost light, it was a successful trip, one I hope to repeat again soon.


Follow-up #1: This was followed about 48 hours later by bicycling to Squirrel Hill, and back. I might've bused back, but forgot the bus pass, so pedaled the entire trip, both ways. That'd be about 15 miles each way, a nice little ride. When I got home, I needed a shower, dinner and a nap, but I'm not sore.

Follow-up #2: Yay, I found the light. It took about 20 minutes of retracing my steps, but there it was, intact and operational. So now it's going back on the bike, but taped down so it will stay put.

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