Country Mouse in the City

Folks who live in the city escape to the country to get away. Those of us who live in the country often seek out more urban settings for our weekend escapes.

Our usual vacation spot, Confluence, isn’t exactly urban, but as I’ve mentioned in past blogs, I can jump on my bike and ride into town anytime I need to mail a letter or pick up a few things for dinner. Here at home, shopping involves a half hour drive to get anywhere worth going.

This weekend, I went even more urban, though, when a writing friend of mine, Mike Crawmer, invited me to meet him and a co-worker for a bike ride around Pittsburgh.

Mike is what I’d have to call a “serious bike rider.” For his fiftieth birthday a few years back, he biked across Pennsylvania.

Me? Fifteen miles is a long ride. I think my maximum was 22 miles one day.

Parts of the ride were considerably different than my usual route. We rode along a graffiti-covered wall, past the county jail, and into the city. We crossed the Smithfield Street Bridge and skirted Station Square.

I have no pictures of all this. I was busy pedaling and dodging pedestrians. And cars.

But parts of the ride seemed vaguely familiar. We rode along converted a railroad bed, same as I usually do. The trail followed a river, just like in Ohiopyle and Confluence. Only instead of the narrow, rugged whitewater of the Youghiogheny, it was the wide smooth expanse of the Monongahela. Instead of kayaks and rafts, high speed motor boats cruised the river.

We did stop for some photos. And a rest.

This is Mike and his co-worker Verity.

And here I am with my trail guide for the day. Mike in his bike attire. Me in my yoga clothes pretending to be bike attire.

On our way back, we rode through Station Square and downriver, across from the Point. I snapped this shot of Pittsburgh’s skyline from my vantage point at river’s edge.

By the time we finished, I’d ridden about twenty miles. Not bad. The good news is I’m able to move this morning. My knees and hips are all functioning just fine, thank you very much.

But I’m still not ready to bike across the state.


Mike said…

Thanks for not stating exactly how many years ago I celebrated the big 50! I enjoyed your company and the chance to show off a transformed city. And it truly was a beautiful day for a bike ride. We'll have to do it again...and the next time I'll take you on some real city streets!
Sara said…
I'm not sure I'd be brave enough to go biking in Pittsburgh! I bet it was neat though.
20 miles! Phew!
Annette said…
It wasn't scary at all, Sara. We weren't on any of the major streets and the worst crossing had a traffic light, so we weren't dodging vehicles. Pedestrian traffic at Station Square took the most finesse and it wasn't any worse than navigating across some of the narrow foot bridges at Ohiopyle on a busy weekend.

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