2020 Bike Tour: 3 Buds On Bikes – Day 1

Last night we stayed at the Hampton Inn in downtown Pittsburgh, right near the convention center. The room was really nice. As an added bonus, it was a large enough room to comfortably have 3 guys on separate beds and 3 bikes in the room. Breakfast was meager: due to COVID, there wasn’t any breakfast – just some instant oatmeal. I guess that’s good because I really wanted oatmeal anyway!

Time to go!

As we started, the weather was crisp and cool. Couldn’t have really wanted better weather. Blue skies, cool temps, and not much wind.

Leaving the hotel, we picked up a trail on the south-east side of the Allegheny and rode straight to The Point state park. The is the confluence of the three rivers in Pittsburgh.

After leaving the point, you have to go a few blocks down the Boulevard of the Allies before getting on the GAP trail. About half way, JB looked left and called over. We went back and found PPG Park. PPG is also known as Pittsburgh Plate Glass. When you see the skyline of Pittsburgh, there is a really neat skyscraper that looks like it has a castle rampart at the top. That’s the PPG building we saw. The complex of buildings surrounds a courtyard with a fountain. Each of the buildings is covered entirely with plate glass. Very appropriate for PPG. I’ve never seen it up close before. It was worth the diversion!

We made our way at a comfortable, yet quick, pace eastbound to the Hot Metal bridge. The Hot Metal bridge is named by its former function. It used to carry molten metal from one side of the river to the other during steel production. Now it carries cars, runners, and bikes. It has a separate bridge deck just for bike and pedestrian traffic. We stopped mid way and took pictures. It has a great view of downtown. You can see the PPG skyscraper off in the distance.

We pressed on and made our next stop in Homestead. This is the site of the violent clash between the Pinkerton strike-breakers and unionized steel workers. Several people were killed in these clashes. Ultimately the workers stayed fast and won the day. I found it to be an appropriate place to ponder as we enter this Labor Day weekend.

As you leave Pittsburg, there are several really nice bridges that help the GAP go across the various train tracks and switch yards. They are fun to go up and over and back down, plus they give some neat views.

The last two bridges for a while took us into, and then out of, McKeesport. We stopped for a snack and pressed on.

Working our way westward, we passed through several small towns before stopping for lunch in West Newton. We stopped at “The Trailside”. I’ve been here before and it did not disappoint. I also put away about a quart of beverage. I had been drinking all along, but didn’t realize how thirsty I was!

After lunch we pressed on to our stop for the evening: Connellsville. We pulled into the Comfort Inn and got washed up. I was able to get quickly cleaned up and made it to mass at St. Rita’s.

After mass, I met JB and Billy at a local pub for a dozen wings and a Blue Moon. Mmmmmm…. a bit of a guilty pleasure. I don’t often have a beer or chicken wings – but today was a good day to have both.

Tomorrow we head to Rockwood. We’ve got some good sightseeing to do along the way.

Overall, today was a fabulous day of riding. Good weather, good trails, good friends, and not a single zoom or MS Teams call!

Today’s Stats: 62.35 miles, about a gallon of water, one hamburger, 12 tasty chicken wings, one beer, and a great time.

Until tomorrow, may the Lord bless you and keep you.