Monday, July 14, 2008

Sapphic Bridge Bikers

This weekend was full of cycling, which seems to be a mid-summer theme. The more confident I get on the bike the more I want to be out and about, enjoying the beautiful weather and neighborhoods of Pittsburgh.

Last Friday I biked to work for the first time, taking an easy round about route home and back. It made me realize how nasty exhaust coupled with heat beating off the asphalt can be. Saturday I met up with pal Barbara for a 'bridge tour' of Pittsburgh. We started out just shy of the 31st street bridge, which I had crossed to meet her, so we began the tour with the 16th and kept on going. We crossed the familiar 9th, 7th, and 6th street bridges, which I traverse often walking back and forth to work -- then headed across the newly re-opened Fort Duquesne bridge. At this point it was off to uncharted territory with a trip across the West End Bridge which seemed incredibly daunting. Gathering up my gumption I made it across, using my twinges of fear to propel myself forward. From this point we headed down Carson Street gathering a good deal of road grit along the way and headed over the Smithfield Street bridge, to the bike rental station and a cool drink.

Hydrated, we headed up 2nd Ave to the 10th street bridge, coasting down the South Side trail over to Hot Metal. We decided to skip the Birmingham Bridge which involved a back track through town. From the South Side we continued down 2nd Ave, through Hazelwood and over to the Glenwood Bridge -- Barbara paused to snap a picture of Dyke street along the way. From the Glenwood we headed out into Homestead and across the Homestead High Level Bridge. When we reached the end we stopped again to re-group, sticky, hot and dirty and prepared ourselves for the climb towards Squirrel Hill. I dug in and used what energy reserves I had left to get myself up the hill -- we made it, and refreshed ourselves with an iced coffee and an air conditioned sit down before heading home.

It was quite a ride. Beat but satisfied, I've decided to take a day or two off of riding and relax by the pool, soak up the sun in a less active way. Nothing sounds better than an evening at the pool with a good book and nice cool drink.

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