SLOW rides in Pittsburgh area?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    SLOW rides in Pittsburgh area?

    Is anyone aware of any really slow-paced rides in Pittsburgh?

    I recently moved here from Michigan, and not being used to the hills yet (and a little out of shape in addition), I decided to go on the easy pace PORC ride on Thursday evening. I had fun, but had to cut my ride short. I don't think I even rode half of the planned route. It was hot, yes, but I still got dizzy, nauseous, and I puked. I had a headache for quite awhile after that....until I had consumed a full meal, a liter of gatorade, and a copious amount of water.

    I'm just looking for a less strenuous pace/length of ride for awhile until I get to where I can keep up with the major group rides. Anyone aware of a ride or want to start one?

    I'm thinking of something 5-7 miles on less-hillly terrain with fairly regular stops to start with, and slowly increasing the length and adding bigger hills as we (I) get better. I get really bored on solo rides, so a riding partner or two would be good.

  2. #2
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    You might want to try Boyce Park. Lots of trails, mostly tight singletrack with some small hills.

  3. #3
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    I'm not sure where that is. Must not be that close to me. I live in the N.Hills, a couple miles from North Park. I am NOT comfortable driving around Pittsburgh yet, so I don't want to venture too far from home for weekly biking.

    I'm not so much looking for a place to ride. There are 3 trail systems within a few miles of me, and there are parts of them that are more doable for me, and parts that are quite challenging. I'm really looking for other people to ride at my pace. Riding solo does not appeal to me.

  4. #4
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    I usually go to North Park on Wednesday or Thursday and ride the trails near the
    swimming pool. I also don't ride very fast and have gone on the "easy pace" PORC rides where everybody takes off and I have to race to keep up.

  5. #5
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    Sounds like I'd have to race to keep up with you. :-p

    I kept up while I felt well last week, but I eventually bonked, puked, and got too dehydrated to keep going. I'm still trying to work out my pre-ride preparation, but I am quite out of shape, and it sounds like you might be more along the lines of my pace.

    It's been suggested to me that I stay out of the Wed. evening organized rides at North Park due to my excessive slowness...at least until I get into better shape. What times do you usually ride? Interested in starting a weekly slow pace ride at NP?

    I haven't done the trails around the swimming pool yet. I've only done segments of the loop around the lake so far.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    What times do you usually ride? Interested in starting a weekly slow pace ride at NP?
    I would be up for maybe Thursdays about 6:00 - 6:15 PM. I don't have lights, so we would only be riding an hour and a half or so. Maybe meet at Pie Traynor baseball field.

  7. #7
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    Sounds good to me. If you don't have lights, I'd say that 6pm would probably be the best bet. I drive an orange Ford Ranger with a red "S" Specialized logo in the back window. I ride a yellow FSR.

    I have both a helmet light and a handlebar light, so later in the season, I could loan you one so we can ride. Neither one was nearly as expensive as most bike-specific lights on the market, so if you like one, it wouldn't be too expensive for you if you decided to buy something similar. Definitely less than $100.

  8. #8
    t2p
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    I believe the entire off road 'loop' at North Park - a few different sections tied together - is somewhere around 10 - 13 miles. Can't remember .... and there are different routes to take to achieve a loop.
    .
    There used to be a number of groups that rode the North Park trails ..... fast and slow .....
    .... maybe the slow riders have disappeared (I know this one has) ....... funny how some off road riders used to down the roadies for the same behavior they now display ....... drop them and keep going ...... oh well .......
    .
    If you start at the lower level - near Stone Field for example ......... the one climb that is a killer (to me at least) is the climb up to the 'upper level' ....... where the lodge and tower are ..... even when I was in great shape it would take me a bit to recover after climbing that one. Some riders would/will instead take the paved road instead of the climb (still not exactly easy) and meet the other riders near the top where you can see the trails from the road ...... the other climb that was a pain was climb not too far into the ride from the Tasty Freeze area (on Wildwood Road) up to the trails that lead to the pool and Pie Traynor field .........
    .
    You can start your ride up by the pool and Pie Traynor field - this will eliminate the big climb - but then a number of fun primarily downhill sections might not be so much fun in uphill mode ....... because of this, I preferred to begin at Stone Field when riding a complete North Park loop ..... we would head out of the Stone Field area ...... up a short section of road up to the church and begin the off road section there ........
    .
    (btw - there are some neat sections - some of my favorites - up by the pool and Pie Traynor field)
    .
    I rode for a few years in the evenings at North Park during the winter months ...... and although North Park is a great candidate for night riding (not too tight or technical), a good light system is a must in my opinion ......... I can't see descending 'bathtub hill' (the hill that brings you down to the level where the skating rink is located) without a high quality light system ......
    .
    btw: Hartwood Acres trails are a fun change of pace ......
    .
    .

  9. #9
    t2p
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    btw: Where did you ride that day ?

  10. #10
    t2p
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    Another option ....... is to ride (only) certain parts/sections of the ride with those guys ............
    ride a section or sections with them ........ when you get to a major climb or area where you struggle, bypass it - or take it easy - and then join them at another part of the loop later in the ride .........
    .

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    Sounds good to me.
    OK I'll be riding a GT hardtail.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by t2p
    I can't see descending 'bathtub hill' (the hill that brings you down to the level where the skating rink is located) without a high quality light system ......
    Wow, "Bathtub Hill". Haven't thought of that ol' tub for years. Used to work on Lake Drive in Wexford and we used to skip out for looong lunches and early knock-offs and ride the NP trails. A singletrack from the back of our office (Gentiva Health Services) parking lot ran up to the old BMX track which was razed for more stupid soccer fields. I'd forgotten how fun the roller coaster like trails of NP were, and right out the back door, literally. Thanks for the memories.
    "Sufficient to have stood, yet free to fall."
    -John Milton, Paradise Lost

  13. #13
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    I'm really only aware of one group ride at NP these days. It's a Wed evening ride starting by the cannon that's posted as easy/moderate on the PORC ride list, but after speaking to the guy that organizes it, he thinks that even his ride is going to be too fast/too far for me. And supposedly, the pace varies. The week he told me to find another ride, he told me some "fast friends" were joining the ride, so the pace would be higher that week.

    When I started mt biking, it didn't matter what pace you rode. All rides were social, no-drop rides. If someone got behind, the group (the WHOLE group) would wait at the top of the hill for everyone to regroup. The faster riders would wait a little bit after that and give the slower riders a chance to catch their breath.

    This whole pace-setting BS seems to me like a major barrier to getting new riders involved in the club. I realize it's a way to sort riders out by speed so that slower riders don't get dropped, but it really seems to me that the pace classification system that PORC uses is really ambiguous.

    Hehe...the route I've been using has quite possibly been one of the toughest. I usually park at the big lot just N. of the dam off of Babcock Blvd. So, no matter which direction I ride, I usually end up hauling up two of the biggest hills out there. Going N. and W. from that lot is fun as an out-and back b/c that hill is a great downhill. The last time I rode there, I decided to go the opposite direction (past the Tastee Freeze and towards the swimming pool), and that hill was difficult physically and psychologically.

    I have heard inklings that there are a couple of bike shop rides at NP, too. Both Gatto and Scholl's. I think the Gatto rides start somewhere off 910...I think the Nature Center trails are off-limits to bikes these days, anyway. I've heard that Scholl's does theirs on Wed near Pie Traynor field. I've been into Gatto twice and haven't received good service either time, so I'm going to pretend that they don't exist from now on. Haven't been to Scholl's yet.

  14. #14
    Mmmm Rocks Good
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    Ride slow=stay slow

    Not to be a smart a$$ or anything but I was in your shoes a few years back. I moved from Indiana after living in Fla for a long time and when I 1st started riding w/PORC it was a struggle, even on the slow rides. However, by continuing to show up and push myself I was able to eventually keep up. Sure, I got frustrated and had to quit on occasion but it's all good now. If you only ride w/slow riders and don't push you'll never get faster or develop endurance. My .02 cents worth. Keep pushing and one day it'll be fun for you too and you'll be joining the Wed PM rides as well.

  15. #15
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    Riding slow right now is pushing it for me. Yes, you were a smartass, not knowing my situation. But to be completely honest with you, I don't care how fast I go. I just want to be able to cover the distance without feeling like someone just shoved me out an airlock in the space station. I used to be able to ride that way, and I've never cared how fast I can ride. BTW, I am no newbie. I've been riding for several years. I'm just in a slump right now and needing help getting out of it. Riding 2 miles, and then quitting because my head feels like it's no longer attached to my body isn't going to get me anywhere.

  16. #16
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    [QUOTE=When I started mt biking, it didn't matter what pace you rode. All rides were social, no-drop rides. If someone got behind, the group (the WHOLE group) would wait at the top of the hill for everyone to regroup. The faster riders would wait a little bit after that and give the slower riders a chance to catch their breath.

    This whole pace-setting BS seems to me like a major barrier to getting new riders involved in the club. I realize it's a way to sort riders out by speed so that slower riders don't get dropped, but it really seems to me that the pace classification system that PORC uses is really ambiguous.
    [/QUOTE]
    .
    .
    This is unfortunate - at least part of the group should be waiting - counting the riders to determine if everyone is there before proceeding. At the least, to ensure someone is not injured and requires care. If a rider is that strong and does not like to wait - and or does not want to interrupt the 'rythm', he can repeat the climb ... or something. I was a serious off road motorcyclist for years. Rode often with some top riders - one good enough to qualify and ride ISDE. These riders would ride with riders of all levels - and wait for the slower riders at different points. Ironic - I believe some of these motorcycle riders were (are ?) PORC members.
    .
    .

  17. #17
    Mmmm Rocks Good
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    Your loss, what ever.

    [QUOTE="Yes, you were a smartass, not knowing my situation"
    Hey, I wasn't trying to be a smartass but if that's how you wish to interpret it, so be it. Your loss, what ever. At least I know you'll never be on my rides and No, I don't drop riders but I won't ride with or tolerate whiners either.

  18. #18
    t2p
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaMtnBkr
    Not to be a smart a$$ or anything but I was in your shoes a few years back. I moved from Indiana after living in Fla for a long time and when I 1st started riding w/PORC it was a struggle, even on the slow rides. However, by continuing to show up and push myself I was able to eventually keep up. Sure, I got frustrated and had to quit on occasion but it's all good now. If you only ride w/slow riders and don't push you'll never get faster or develop endurance. My .02 cents worth. Keep pushing and one day it'll be fun for you too and you'll be joining the Wed PM rides as well.
    .
    You may be an exception.
    .
    Quit and frustration is one thing. Dropping a rider and then never checking on him is another. One evening (darkness) at North Park, I was the only one to go back and check on a rider. Even his close friend did not go back - I guess he would have eventually. I don't believe I ever saw this guy again.
    .
    So - many riders will just drop it .... not fun.
    .
    And some riders will develop injuries ..... knee pain ..... etc. ....... That is an all too common theme among off road riders ..... riders that do not have the experience that many (more experienced) road riders have (for example). Some of the off road riders jump on their bikes ....... go like heck from the get-go ....... climb everything in site ..... and then two years later develop knee problems .......
    .
    .

  19. #19
    t2p
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    .
    Yes - lots of neat 'roller coasters' ......... and the faster you ride, the more fun it is ...... or was in my case ..........
    .
    speaking of said BMX track ....... imagine the look on my face when I took my kid to the area where I thought the BMX track was .......... and it was gone.
    .
    There must be a zillion soccer fields in the North Hills area .......... it is a shame they leveled the BMX track ...........

  20. #20
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    I agree that dropping a rider on a group is not cool. The general rule on a group ride is "wait at the turns if someone is behind you" This does not mean waiting at every intersection if the group goes straight through it, only turns. If someone is not waiting at turns, notify the ride leader so that the situation can be remedied. For whatever reason NateHawk took my comments as being a smart a$$. His loss. I only meant that if you only seek to ride w/slow riders you will never advance, I know because that used to be my ride theory when I first moved to Pa. from a flat land area. I am not the fastest rider but I always try to push a bit harder to get that much stronger. Have a good one.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaMtnBkr
    I agree that dropping a rider on a group is not cool. The general rule on a group ride is "wait at the turns if someone is behind you" This does not mean waiting at every intersection if the group goes straight through it, only turns. If someone is not waiting at turns, notify the ride leader so that the situation can be remedied. For whatever reason NateHawk took my comments as being a smart a$$. His loss. I only meant that if you only seek to ride w/slow riders you will never advance, I know because that used to be my ride theory when I first moved to Pa. from a flat land area. I am not the fastest rider but I always try to push a bit harder to get that much stronger. Have a good one.
    .
    Agreed (for the most part) ..............
    .
    When I rode Wed eves at North Park, we stayed together (for the most) part ......... until about mid-way and then it was basically go-for-it ............... there were some times when a few would go out ahead and stay ahead ........ but there was always someone to check on the guys at the back ........
    .
    I would also ride with another group on Tues or Thurs eves - these rides would start up near the pool ........ again, you could count on at least one guy to see if everyone was ok ....
    ..

  22. #22
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    When I did the "beginner" ride last week, ONE guy made sure nobody got lost. The folks at the front just rode at the front and kept going. The way this group ride worked was that if you got to an intersection and didn't see anyone behind you, you waited until someone got to your intersection. Then you could go. At one point, I got so far back (I was lightheaded, I puked, etc, and had to sit for several minutes) that nobody was waiting at intersections anymore. If it wasn't for the one guy doing sweep, I would have been completely lost on the trails. Even then, I got the feeling that this guy was trying to rush me along.

    I've ridden with groups before where things like this happened. I did a social road night ride in Indianapolis a couple years ago to tour the luminaries in a historic neighborhood near Christmas time. After seeing the luminaries, the group went downtown, hit the canal towpath, and rode back to Broad Ripple. When the group hit downtown, all hell broke loose. The riders leading the ride (this was advertised as a no-drop ride) rode like hell and dropped everyone else. The route was poorly defined, and this ride that started as a group of 40 riders or more was scattered all over the city. By the time I got back to the finish, everyone was gone. That made me (and lots of other people) absolutely furious.

    IMO, the way a group ride should work is that the leader sets the route/pace for the head of the pack. The sweeper rides behind everyone and makes sure noone gets lost or dropped. On big rides, a few riders need walkie-talkies to keep in touch. If it's small, the WHOLE GROUP should stop and wait for everyone to catch up at intersections or at the summits of big climbs. If the group is really big, then it should split into sub groups with leaders keeping track of each group. I've done group rides organized this way, and they were a blast whether I was sucking wind at the back, cruising in the middle, or flying towards the front. Even if you're at the back of a ride like this, you aren't worrying about getting dropped because you know that everyone will be stopping at some point waiting for you to catch up.

    It just seems to me like PORC isn't really gearing itself towards entry level riders or people new to the area or whatever. Seems like a lot of folks have a "I'm going to ride at my pace, join me if you want, but if you can't keep up, go find another group ride." attitude. I think I'm going to start attending meetings to see if there isn't something I can do about it. I'm not one to piss and moan about something and not back it up with actions.

  23. #23
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    PAMtnbkr-

    The reason I'm ranting left and right about this is because I was actually told to find another group ride b/c the ride leader thought I couldn't keep up. I told him that I might try just riding some with the group, and then taking off on my own if it looked like I couldn't keep up anymore or head back to my vehicle if I was totally crapped out. That wasn't good enough for him.

    How am I even supposed to ride with people faster than I am if those very people tell me to look elsewhere for a ride more my pace? Not cool. I am happy that a rider on the ride I DID do helped me out and got me back to my truck, but even then, the pace of that ride was faster than I expected for a ride advertised as "easy".

  24. #24
    t2p
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    PAMtnbkr-

    The reason I'm ranting left and right about this is because I was actually told to find another group ride b/c the ride leader thought I couldn't keep up. I told him that I might try just riding some with the group, and then taking off on my own if it looked like I couldn't keep up anymore or head back to my vehicle if I was totally crapped out. That wasn't good enough for him.

    How am I even supposed to ride with people faster than I am if those very people tell me to look elsewhere for a ride more my pace? Not cool. I am happy that a rider on the ride I DID do helped me out and got me back to my truck, but even then, the pace of that ride was faster than I expected for a ride advertised as "easy".
    .
    OUCH ......
    .
    make sure you don't go on a ride with this group at Morraine ..... or Frick Park .......
    .
    This was some time ago ........ but there was a small group of us that really welcomed new riders ..... and were always eager to accompany them on a ride and help in any way .... any reason for me to back it off a bit was ALWAYS welcome ......I guess most of us (with the 'welcome wagon mentality') are now semi-retired .......
    .
    if someone is exerting themselves to the point of a serious bonk and/or puke, it is obvious they are trying .........
    .
    btw ........ are you sufficiently hydrated ........ not eating too close (timewise) to the start of a ride ......... is your gearing low enough .........
    .

  25. #25
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    My last word

    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    PAMtnbkr-

    The reason I'm ranting left and right about this is because I was actually told to find another group ride b/c the ride leader thought I couldn't keep up. I told him that I might try just riding some with the group, and then taking off on my own if it looked like I couldn't keep up anymore or head back to my vehicle if I was totally crapped out. That wasn't good enough for him.

    How am I even supposed to ride with people faster than I am if those very people tell me to look elsewhere for a ride more my pace? Not cool. I am happy that a rider on the ride I DID do helped me out and got me back to my truck, but even then, the pace of that ride was faster than I expected for a ride advertised as "easy".
    Hey NateHawk,
    I have talked w/some of the people on the ride that you are speaking of and they remember you well. I know a large number of the people on that ride. There were people on that ride who are slow riders due to age or lack of ride time and they all said you were even slower than them and unable to keep up. I think you need to re-evaluate your fitness level if you can't keep up w/these slower folks. Again, I do not mean this in a demeaning or critical manner. I just think you'll need to up the mount of riding you do and then try the group again. PORC is not neccesarily for ALL "mountain bikers" and I say this because a lot of people here at work, will ride rails to trails on occasion and then come to work and call themselves "mountain bikers" I am NOT lumping you into this category, but not all "mountain bikers" are enthusiasts and regular riders who ride at least once a week for more than 2 hours per ride.
    I want all riders to enjoy group rides (I lead occasional PORC rides) but as a group ride leader I also look out for the overall interest of the group. If someone shows up for a ride and the ride is going to be way over their heads despite posting the distance, pace and technical level we'll be riding, it sometimes becomes a neccesity to ask them to bow out.
    Good luck working up to a fitness level that will allow you to enjoy the Thur PM rides w/PORC. It will be worth it in the end because of the amount of trail knowledge these folks have. One thing to know is that PORC rides go on year round, so there is very little fitness loss over the winter!

  26. #26
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    Quick question off the subject ( a little). PaMtnBkr, I am a member of PORC, but I guess you could say a non-practicing member (just joined over the winter and just had a little girl a few weeks ago, pretty busy at this point). What constitutes the riding levels for the PORC rides? And are the rides worth going to? My friend and I joined together and we ride together, used to be 2-3 times a week before his son and my daughter were born, and we both are in decent
    shape (not at the moment so much). We talked about going to a ride, but never could figure which. We didn't want to start with Dirty Harry's crew and get dropped, and at this point could not keep up with them. WE both are trying to get back into riding but our schedules are a bit tough at this point. SO, long story short, how do you evaluate the levels for th PORC rides? Just curious.

    by the way, we have never rode NP. Is it worth it? We live in West Mifflin and usually ride South Park, Frick, Boyce, Hartwood, if we have time Bavington, Moraine, Laurel Mountain, etc...

    And I am 27, he is 33. If that helps. No 24 at Seven Springs this year because of the kids. No time to train, and no time period. NExt year though!

  27. #27
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    No problem!

    Quote Originally Posted by aspang
    Quick question off the subject ( a little). PaMtnBkr, I am a member of PORC, but I guess you could say a non-practicing member (just joined over the winter and just had a little girl a few weeks ago, pretty busy at this point). What constitutes the riding levels for the PORC rides? And are the rides worth going to? My friend and I joined together and we ride together, used to be 2-3 times a week before his son and my daughter were born, and we both are in decent
    shape (not at the moment so much). We talked about going to a ride, but never could figure which. We didn't want to start with Dirty Harry's crew and get dropped, and at this point could not keep up with them. WE both are trying to get back into riding but our schedules are a bit tough at this point. SO, long story short, how do you evaluate the levels for th PORC rides? Just curious.
    by the way, we have never rode NP. Is it worth it? We live in West Mifflin and usually ride South Park, Frick, Boyce, Hartwood, if we have time Bavington, Moraine, Laurel Mountain, etc...
    And I am 27, he is 33. If that helps. No 24 at Seven Springs this year because of the kids. No time to train, and no time period. NExt year though!

    No problem! If you are riding 2-3 times a week you would be able to do the Wed PM ride. Here are some recent examples of ride postings:
    WED
    NORTH PARK (meet at intersection of Babcock & Wildwood)
    Pace: easy/moderate (2-3)(10-12 miles)
    6:15 PM LIGHTS REQ'D

    BOYCE PARK (meet at CCAC Boyce Campus back parking lot)
    Pace: moderate (3) (12-14 miles, moderate technical)
    6:00 PM - ride leaves at 6:15 SHARP!!
    Lights NEEDED for riding back out of park

    Ride levels are typically as follows:
    Easy- Typically 5-10 miles at a slower pace w/a lot of stops to catch your breath.
    Intended for riders who are enthusiasts but maybe still working on bettering their
    stamina and/or technical skills or coming back from injuries
    Moderate- Typically 10-18 miles depending on terrain w/a medium pace and fewer rest
    stops. Usually a more technically challenging ride.
    Hard- Typically longer rides 15+ miles at a truly fast pace and minimal rest stops. Fri PM
    Dirty Harry rides are typically race training rides.
    Usually when a ride is posted it will Inc:
    Pace (1-4) w/1 being easiest pace, 4 the fastest
    Distance
    Technical difficulty-usually described as what to expect, no real rating.
    Hope this all helps? Let me know if you have any other questions?

  28. #28
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    missed a few things!

    [QUOTE= And are the rides worth going to? YES! The rides are typically a lot of fun and if you like technical type riding there are options! Also, It's a great way to learn about places to ride and trails that you may never have known existed.
    "by the way, we have never rode NP. Is it worth it?" YES! North Park has something for everyone, climbs, swoopy stuff, rocks logs and some really cool trails!
    BTW-Congrats on the birth of your daughter. Good stuff!!

  29. #29
    t2p
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    North Park ....... is fun. ? Relatively easy - fast, rolling, not real technical. A few good climbs and downhills add to the challenge and fun. The fragmented 'loop' is somewhere around 10-13 miles. When I rode, we preferred to begin the rides at the Stone Field parking lot and ride the loop in a 'clockwise' fashion.
    .
    North Park is one of the better places to night ride during the late-fall / winter - early spring months. Not very tight - and not as bad as some areas during the 'wet' periods. The lit Stone Field parking lot is a plus - good place to park and begin especially during that time of year.
    .
    At one time (maybe still ?), some of the best off-road riders in the area preferred to train on the North Park trails because they felt it was a great place to gauge and improve their fitness. (Some of those rides were brutal ...... EJ (Sigety) ..... Rob/Bob? Anderson ...... etc) .............
    .

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    Quote Originally Posted by PaMtnBkr
    Hey NateHawk,
    I have talked w/some of the people on the ride that you are speaking of and they remember you well. I know a large number of the people on that ride. There were people on that ride who are slow riders due to age or lack of ride time and they all said you were even slower than them and unable to keep up. I think you need to re-evaluate your fitness level if you can't keep up w/these slower folks. Again, I do not mean this in a demeaning or critical manner. I just think you'll need to up the mount of riding you do and then try the group again. PORC is not neccesarily for ALL "mountain bikers" and I say this because a lot of people here at work, will ride rails to trails on occasion and then come to work and call themselves "mountain bikers" I am NOT lumping you into this category, but not all "mountain bikers" are enthusiasts and regular riders who ride at least once a week for more than 2 hours per ride.
    I want all riders to enjoy group rides (I lead occasional PORC rides) but as a group ride leader I also look out for the overall interest of the group. If someone shows up for a ride and the ride is going to be way over their heads despite posting the distance, pace and technical level we'll be riding, it sometimes becomes a neccesity to ask them to bow out.
    Good luck working up to a fitness level that will allow you to enjoy the Thur PM rides w/PORC. It will be worth it in the end because of the amount of trail knowledge these folks have. One thing to know is that PORC rides go on year round, so there is very little fitness loss over the winter!
    This is where my earlier comments about PORC's difficulty rating system being a bit ambiguous come into play. The person who told me about the Thurs ride mentioned that the pace is pretty easy and the group stops for lots of reasons. When I am feeling good, I can keep a good moderate pace at least. B/C I am out of shape, I need the frequent stops to catch my breath. It sounded like that ride would be much better for me, and it also sounded like Riverside park would be easier to handle than the sections of NP with the massive climbs. Well, both answers were a yes, and I lasted much longer on that ride than I had on certain parts of NP, but it was still too much for me. It wasn't until then that I realized how bad my fitness really was, and it was what prompted me to start this thread looking for slower rides in the 4-5 mile distance range.

    From my experience, most mtb clubs make an effort to accommodate ALL riders. With my experiences in the past few weeks with PORC, it seems like they aren't accommodating riders who lack the physical fitness to keep up on longer rides. Come to think of it, I haven't seen many "Clydesdale" riders around at all. The "beginner" easy pace Thursday rides seem like they work for people who have a reasonable degree of physical fitness, but for one reason or another ride at a slower pace than many other riders. I think I may have found my calling...lol...to organize a true beginner ride with a slower pace and maybe half the miles as most of the other rides.

    My ride with Leaf Magnet last night was exactly what I was looking for. The pace was slow enough that I was able to put down a few miles without feeling like I was going to die. When we stopped, we stopped for long enough for me to cool down and completely catch my breath. The ride wasn't so slow that I didn't get a workout. On the contrary, I felt that the pace was ideal for me to get the type of workout I needed. I needed to stay in my aerobic range so I could improve my cardio. I didn't feel like I had overdone it and gone anaerobic too early and stayed there too long. I hope that in coming weeks and months I will notice improvement to the point where my breaks don't need to be so long and I can start increasing my distance. I do think that in order to really see improvement, I ought to get out more than once a week, though.

    I also found that the trails around Pie Traynor and the swimming pool are MUCH more interesting to me than what I had been riding at NP before. The trails on top of the hill are easy enough that my wife should be able to ride there.

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    Cool Idea!

    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    This is where my earlier comments about PORC's difficulty rating system being a bit ambiguous come into play. The person who told me about the Thurs ride mentioned that the pace is pretty easy and the group stops for lots of reasons. When I am feeling good, I can keep a good moderate pace at least. B/C I am out of shape, I need the frequent stops to catch my breath. It sounded like that ride would be much better for me, and it also sounded like Riverside park would be easier to handle than the sections of NP with the massive climbs. Well, both answers were a yes, and I lasted much longer on that ride than I had on certain parts of NP, but it was still too much for me. It wasn't until then that I realized how bad my fitness really was, and it was what prompted me to start this thread looking for slower rides in the 4-5 mile distance range.

    From my experience, most mtb clubs make an effort to accommodate ALL riders. With my experiences in the past few weeks with PORC, it seems like they aren't accommodating riders who lack the physical fitness to keep up on longer rides. Come to think of it, I haven't seen many "Clydesdale" riders around at all. The "beginner" easy pace Thursday rides seem like they work for people who have a reasonable degree of physical fitness, but for one reason or another ride at a slower pace than many other riders. I think I may have found my calling...lol...to organize a true beginner ride with a slower pace and maybe half the miles as most of the other rides.

    My ride with Leaf Magnet last night was exactly what I was looking for. The pace was slow enough that I was able to put down a few miles without feeling like I was going to die. When we stopped, we stopped for long enough for me to cool down and completely catch my breath. The ride wasn't so slow that I didn't get a workout. On the contrary, I felt that the pace was ideal for me to get the type of workout I needed. I needed to stay in my aerobic range so I could improve my cardio. I didn't feel like I had overdone it and gone anaerobic too early and stayed there too long. I hope that in coming weeks and months I will notice improvement to the point where my breaks don't need to be so long and I can start increasing my distance. I do think that in order to really see improvement, I ought to get out more than once a week, though.

    I also found that the trails around Pie Traynor and the swimming pool are MUCH more interesting to me than what I had been riding at NP before. The trails on top of the hill are easy enough that my wife should be able to ride there.

    Hey NateHawk,
    I think you may be on to something! PORC is always looking for new ride leaders and I think what you propose is a great idea! PORC will be meeting this coming Mon. Come on down and propose your idea. If you can get out a couple of times a week (all I get is 2x/week) and push yourself you'll see dramatic changes in a short time frame. Keep working on it. One way to motivate yourself is to think of all the killer rides you can't do yet! Once you can do the longer faster paced rides, the riding opportunities will increase exponentially. Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas have so much riding to offer that you'll never get bored. Plus, when we do some road trips to places like Kennerdell or Big Bear Lake, you'll be right there to enjoy some of the best riding around. Keep pushing the pedals! The fitness will follow! FWIW-I am a true Clydesdale, 6'2" 225 Lbs but I have been riding here in the 'burgh for 6 years. When first moved here I could only do about 5-8 miles at Boyce Park at a sloooow pace w/lots of stops and a lot of pushing. Now I can go out and do a 5-6 Hr ride at Laurel Mtn w/out dying!

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    I've been planning on coming out to the meeting. I've come up with some questions and some suggestions lately. I missed the last one...lost track of what day it was. Oh, BTW, I saw the meeting location posted on the e-mail list, but I don't have the foggiest idea where it is or how to get there. Any suggestions?

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    Rivertown

    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    I've been planning on coming out to the meeting. I've come up with some questions and some suggestions lately. I missed the last one...lost track of what day it was. Oh, BTW, I saw the meeting location posted on the e-mail list, but I don't have the foggiest idea where it is or how to get there. Any suggestions?
    The Rivertown Inn (bar/restaurant) is about 2 blocks down the street from Dirty Harry's in Verona if you were heading towards Pittsburgh. If you are not sure how to get there you may want to look up Dirty Harry's and use their address for a direction search from your location. I know where it is and how to get there but can't give good directions.

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    I can't find this place to save my life. I still won't go anywhere in this city outside of my 5 mile radius comfort zone without knowing EXACTLY how to get there and EXACTLY how to get back. Damn roads make no sense most of the time. Looks like I'm going to miss out on this meeting. I've even tried e-mailing a few folks, but haven't received any replies yet. Ugh...

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    Not sure what to tell you!

    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    I can't find this place to save my life. I still won't go anywhere in this city outside of my 5 mile radius comfort zone without knowing EXACTLY how to get there and EXACTLY how to get back. Damn roads make no sense most of the time. Looks like I'm going to miss out on this meeting. I've even tried e-mailing a few folks, but haven't received any replies yet. Ugh...
    I'm not sure what to tell you about that. Pittsburgh is VERY confusing to find your way around. I still get lost. You didn't miss much, the meeting was really loud w/the Steeler game playing and the large crowd. I'd suggest getting a good map! There is so many killer places to ride in da burgh. Better luck next time.

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    I have a couple of good maps, but they never tell me if a road will let me turn around within 3 miles if I miss a turn or make a wrong one. They are also terrible when it comes to the highways, how and where to get on, where I can get off, and which directions I can go from there. Mapquest or Yahoo maps don't even show enough detail in some areas to make heads or tails of the spaghetti bowl of roads downtown.

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    I can probably help w/directions, Nate...

    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    I have a couple of good maps, but they never tell me if a road will let me turn around within 3 miles if I miss a turn or make a wrong one. They are also terrible when it comes to the highways, how and where to get on, where I can get off, and which directions I can go from there. Mapquest or Yahoo maps don't even show enough detail in some areas to make heads or tails of the spaghetti bowl of roads downtown.
    As an ex-patriated Pittsburgher, I understand your frustration with learning Pittsburgh's roadways. The fact that most of us natives referred to landmarks demolished decades before and referring to roads by several different names doesn't help, either. I lived inside the city for almost 20 years, worked near and rode in NP, and Dirty Harry's was my LBS. Let me go over it tonight and I'll give you the highly detailed instructions you need to get to Verona. Once you're there, just park, the dang town is like a block long.

    Keep on riding and the next thing you know maybe you'll be coming down here to Slatyfork for some hair-raising rides!

    Oh yeah, where abouts in the North Hills do you actually live? Familiar with Interstate 279 South towards the city?
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    Quote Originally Posted by davis
    Keep on riding and the next thing you know maybe you'll be coming down here to Slatyfork for some hair-raising rides!
    Is Slatyfork worth the trip from Pittsburgh? I have heard from just a few that it is. How far is it, and what would be the best way to go about a trip? Any suggestions would be great!

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    Quote Originally Posted by aspang
    Is Slatyfork worth the trip from Pittsburgh? I have heard from just a few that it is. How far is it, and what would be the best way to go about a trip? Any suggestions would be great!
    IMHO, Slatyfork is worth the trip from ANYWHERE. 4 hours from the 'burgh. 79S to exit 99 (Weston). #33 east to Elkins. #219 to Mecca...err, I mean Slatyfork. Check out pics from the recent Slatyfork Shuffle on the Passion forum, or just do a search on "Slatyfork". Depending on when you come, you may be able to get some real local guide service for free. We're not responsible for broken bikes and/or bones however. End of Septmber is usually peak fall foliage. We used to drive here constantly from Pittsburgh but ended up just moving here about 4 seasons back. It's better than you heard.
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    Quote Originally Posted by davis
    As an ex-patriated Pittsburgher, I understand your frustration with learning Pittsburgh's roadways. The fact that most of us natives referred to landmarks demolished decades before and referring to roads by several different names doesn't help, either. I lived inside the city for almost 20 years, worked near and rode in NP, and Dirty Harry's was my LBS. Let me go over it tonight and I'll give you the highly detailed instructions you need to get to Verona. Once you're there, just park, the dang town is like a block long.

    Keep on riding and the next thing you know maybe you'll be coming down here to Slatyfork for some hair-raising rides!

    Oh yeah, where abouts in the North Hills do you actually live? Familiar with Interstate 279 South towards the city?
    I live right off McKnight(mare) Rd. right next to the Ross Park Mall. I take 279 S. a little more often than I'd care to admit. I put Verona into mapquest, and the directions it gave me sent me down the Blue Belt to the Allegheny Valley Expressway. I've gone that direction a few times, and I STILL can't find the correct ramp to get onto the eastbound lanes. I always end up going westbound and then doing some illegal traffic maneuvers to get going the way I want. I can't see on any maps I have if I can get on that highway from 279 S...the detail just isn't there. Damn Pittsburgh roads. I miss the old perfect grid system in Indianapolis. Even though the trails here are infinitely better. In Indy, I could get an address from the phone book and just go. You usually don't need a map there because it's so easy to get around.

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    McKnightmare Road???

    Man, you have my sympathy. What a mess that whole area is. I can't find my old 'burgh maps, and a few things have changed since I moved 3 years ago, but I'll give it a shot. First off, forget the "belt" system altogether. That was developed in the '50's to confuse natives and non-natives alike. Try taking 279S and get off at the East Street exit (North Side). Forget the exit number but its right before 279 splits with the Veterans Bridge. Roll up the exit to stop sign. Straight through 2 or 3 lights until you reach East Ohio Street. Make a left onto East Ohio, and get in the right lane. Stay straight, sweep past the Heinz plant, and merge onto 28 North. You could cross the Aspinwall bridge then head east on ARB (Allegheny River Blvd) until you hit Verona, or pass Verona and cross the river at White Oak (or "Oak" something, can't remember the town's name). If you go this way, you'll need to turn right and backtrack west til you hit Verona, one town down. This isn't the shortest route, but it may be the easiest until you get more familiar with the road system. Good luck.
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    Ok, in looking at the maps I have, I think I can see the route you're describing.

    BTW, have you ever been into Pittsburgh Pro Cyclists shop in Squirrel Hill? Are they any good? I need new pivot bearings in my FSR, and I need a decent Specialized dealer to buy the parts from and perform the work. I've been into Gatto Cycles a couple times and have nothing but negative experiences there...so they aren't going to touch my bike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    BTW, have you ever been into Pittsburgh Pro Cyclists shop in Squirrel Hill? Are they any good? I need new pivot bearings in my FSR, and I need a decent Specialized dealer to buy the parts from and perform the work. I've been into Gatto Cycles a couple times and have nothing but negative experiences there...so they aren't going to touch my bike.
    I've was in Pittsburgh Pro Cyclists twice. My first time and my last time. My mother always told me if I didn't haven't something nice to say about someone I shouldn't say anything at all. Granted, a lot could have changed in the many years since my first and last visit. A current Pittsburgh resident would be better to answer this question I suppose. But, in my opinion, you gotta get to Dirty Harry's. Meet Barri and tell him that "Pat from Slatyfork" recommended you find them come he!! or high water. When my Switchblade or my wife's Racer-X needs work I'm reluctant to do, that's where our babies go. And that's an 8 hour round trip for us. They are the only bike shop that I've ever 100%, completely, without a doubt trusted. It's done right the first time, for a fair price. Not only do they understand bikes, they understand how to do good business. And no, I am not an ex-employee, relative, or have any other interest in Dirty Harry's other than they have always treated me right and they're just plain ol' good people.
    "Sufficient to have stood, yet free to fall."
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    Directions to Dirty Harry's

    I have been following this thread for awhile and hear are some directions to Dirty Harry's, it is different than Davis's directions but it will show you some other area's that you have not been through yet.

    Get on McKnight and head sout toward Pgh. At Siebert Rd make a left (it is the light where the Post Office is). Take Siebert until it T's with Thompson Run road, bear right and make a quick left onto Vilsak (there will be a 7-11 on your right). You will be on Vilsak for about 3 miles at the light go straight the light (you are crossing over Mt Royal Blvd) and down the hill. The road T's at the bottom, make a left onto Lower Glenshaw Rd. Stay on this road and you will come to a light w/ a Giant Eagle right across the street, make a right onto Rt 8. You will be on Rt 8 for a a good distance (you will see signs for Harwood Acres, this is a county park with some riding in it), passing such landmarks as a Shop-N-Save, a Glass Factory and a Jack Sullivan car dealership. You will come to a merge point with 3 options; 28S toward Pgh, Robert D Flemming Bridge/Lawrenceville and 28N Fox Chapel/Highland Park Bridge. Take the 28N Fox Chapel/Highland Park Bridge exit on the left. Take the 1st exit for the Highland Park Bridge and get in the left lane on the bridge. Can only exit 1 way off the bridge from the left lane onto Allegeny River Blvd. (FYI: At the first light is Washington Blvd, there is a bike oval down on your right approx. 500 yards in.) You want to stay on Allegheny River Blvd for about 5-7 miles, this will take you into Verona, Dirty Harry's will be on your left.

    dan

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    Quote Originally Posted by davis
    I've was in Pittsburgh Pro Cyclists twice. My first time and my last time. My mother always told me if I didn't haven't something nice to say about someone I shouldn't say anything at all. Granted, a lot could have changed in the many years since my first and last visit. A current Pittsburgh resident would be better to answer this question I suppose. But, in my opinion, you gotta get to Dirty Harry's. Meet Barri and tell him that "Pat from Slatyfork" recommended you find them come he!! or high water. When my Switchblade or my wife's Racer-X needs work I'm reluctant to do, that's where our babies go. And that's an 8 hour round trip for us. They are the only bike shop that I've ever 100%, completely, without a doubt trusted. It's done right the first time, for a fair price. Not only do they understand bikes, they understand how to do good business. And no, I am not an ex-employee, relative, or have any other interest in Dirty Harry's other than they have always treated me right and they're just plain ol' good people.
    I'll jump. Pittsburgh Pro just opened their new store on Forbes, about 1/4 mile from their old store. MY friend bought his Epic from them. I think that they have had a few bad apples in the past, but they aren't too bad from what I can tell. He just had his rear shock on his Epic rebuilt, and even though it took them a while to get this done, I am not too sure if this was their fault or Fox's fault. I would say give them a try since you are riding a Specialized. Besides, any store that can get Ned Overend to come ride with them (next week I believe) must be doing something right. Gatto's not too bad either. I am not much of a Giant or Cannondale fan, so that might be why I don't frequent their shop too much. But when I did go in, they were pretty cool with me. But if have already given them a try and weren't satisfied, then try Pittsburgh Pro.
    Now I ride a Blur that I got from a guy here in Pittsburgh (for the most unbelievable deal ever!) and even though I didn't buy it from Dirty Harry's, they have treated me like I did when I bring it in. They really took care of me when I lost my front wheel off of my roof rack after a trip to Frick (still salty about this). Scotty Root helped me out and gave me a deal that I thought was MUCH better than any discount online deal. AND he helped me out himself, gave me great customer service. I did spend a little bit of money with them in the past (albeit not on a complete bike) but I am a firm believer that if you give a shop your business, they will eventually reward you with their best pricing and service. Dirty Harry's did that right away. Customer for life. Just my opinion I guess.

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    Glad to hear that, Aspang...

    Quote Originally Posted by aspang
    I'll jump. Pittsburgh Pro just opened their new store on Forbes, about 1/4 mile from their old store. MY friend bought his Epic from them. I think that they have had a few bad apples in the past, but they aren't too bad from what I can tell. He just had his rear shock on his Epic rebuilt, and even though it took them a while to get this done, I am not too sure if this was their fault or Fox's fault. I would say give them a try since you are riding a Specialized. Besides, any store that can get Ned Overend to come ride with them (next week I believe) must be doing something right. Gatto's not too bad either. I am not much of a Giant or Cannondale fan, so that might be why I don't frequent their shop too much. But when I did go in, they were pretty cool with me. But if have already given them a try and weren't satisfied, then try Pittsburgh Pro.
    Now I ride a Blur that I got from a guy here in Pittsburgh (for the most unbelievable deal ever!) and even though I didn't buy it from Dirty Harry's, they have treated me like I did when I bring it in. They really took care of me when I lost my front wheel off of my roof rack after a trip to Frick (still salty about this). Scotty Root helped me out and gave me a deal that I thought was MUCH better than any discount online deal. AND he helped me out himself, gave me great customer service. I did spend a little bit of money with them in the past (albeit not on a complete bike) but I am a firm believer that if you give a shop your business, they will eventually reward you with their best pricing and service. Dirty Harry's did that right away. Customer for life. Just my opinion I guess.
    I figured the entire staff of Pittsburgh Pro has probably changed since my dealings with them, so to unload a heap of shite on the name didn't seem fair.

    But Dirty Harry's, they're the proverbial broken drum: You just can't beat 'em. How's this one: I take my Switchblade up for a rear shock issue. Over the phone, it sounds like a 5 minute bushing fix, I'm assured. Turned out that it needed to go back to the factory. Barri knows I'm headed back to WV that evening, so within an hour or so I'm rolling again on a loaner rear shock that had to be adjusted just so to get the thing to happen. My shock comes back from the factory to DH's. Barri calls and says he's coming to Slatyfork in a week and he'll just bring it down with him. After a few Guiness' we swapped shocks at ERTC and rode Prop's Run the next day just to make sure it was all good. It was. As if I expected anything else from the DH gang. They get my vote for LBS of the Universe.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbsantacruz
    I have been following this thread for awhile and hear are some directions to Dirty Harry's, it is different than Davis's directions but it will show you some other area's that you have not been through yet.

    Get on McKnight and head sout toward Pgh. At Siebert Rd make a left (it is the light where the Post Office is). Take Siebert until it T's with Thompson Run road, bear right and make a quick left onto Vilsak (there will be a 7-11 on your right). You will be on Vilsak for about 3 miles at the light go straight the light (you are crossing over Mt Royal Blvd) and down the hill. The road T's at the bottom, make a left onto Lower Glenshaw Rd. Stay on this road and you will come to a light w/ a Giant Eagle right across the street, make a right onto Rt 8. You will be on Rt 8 for a a good distance (you will see signs for Harwood Acres, this is a county park with some riding in it), passing such landmarks as a Shop-N-Save, a Glass Factory and a Jack Sullivan car dealership. You will come to a merge point with 3 options; 28S toward Pgh, Robert D Flemming Bridge/Lawrenceville and 28N Fox Chapel/Highland Park Bridge. Take the 28N Fox Chapel/Highland Park Bridge exit on the left. Take the 1st exit for the Highland Park Bridge and get in the left lane on the bridge. Can only exit 1 way off the bridge from the left lane onto Allegeny River Blvd. (FYI: At the first light is Washington Blvd, there is a bike oval down on your right approx. 500 yards in.) You want to stay on Allegheny River Blvd for about 5-7 miles, this will take you into Verona, Dirty Harry's will be on your left.

    dan
    These directions are also spot on. A more direct route, to be sure. I've been gone too long to have remembered the details to suggest this one to you. It may seem a tad intimidating, guessing from the earlier mentioned Pittsburgh Road Phobia. $5 says if he tries this route he ends up in Jersey!

    Let us know when you finally get there. And I notice Pittsburgh Pro now has a shop in Monroeville? Was this the old Bike Line store? But don't get too excited, Nate; Monroevile is like McKnightmare Road, but longer and a little more traffic!!
    "Sufficient to have stood, yet free to fall."
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    Quote Originally Posted by davis
    These directions are also spot on. A more direct route, to be sure. I've been gone too long to have remembered the details to suggest this one to you. It may seem a tad intimidating, guessing from the earlier mentioned Pittsburgh Road Phobia. $5 says if he tries this route he ends up in Jersey!

    Let us know when you finally get there. And I notice Pittsburgh Pro now has a shop in Monroeville? Was this the old Bike Line store? But don't get too excited, Nate; Monroevile is like McKnightmare Road, but longer and a little more traffic!!
    Pittsburgh Pro opened their new store in Squirrel Hill AND in Monroeville (old Bike Line)

    TRM opened another store in Robinson Town Center (Trek Store) and I hear are considering another in Monroeville (not sure where)

    Not sure how Monroeville will pan out if TRM opens a store. Then you'de have TRM, Pgh Pro, and Dirty Harry's all within a 7mile radius or so. Seems like alot in such a small space.

    And yes Nate, 22 through Monroeville sucks! Too many stop lights.

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    Thanks for the tips, guys. I'll check out Pittsburgh Pro because I need those bearings. My experiences with the Wexford Gatto (haven't been to any of their other shops) center around how they treat customers who aren't spending a lot of money. I talked to a guy who said they were wonderful to him when he brought his Blur frame in for a build-up. First time I went in, I was asking about trails (I had JUST moved) and got a severe cold shoulder treatment. The guy working wouldn't give me any info aside from the obvious that yes, there ARE trails at North Park, but wouldn't suggest a starting point or route. My second visit had me spending some money, as I needed a new set of tires. Took about 10-15 minutes for someone to come out of the back just to see IF I needed anything, and when the guy did come out, he told me the tire I was looking for was sold out (I had been on the phone with someone at that shop 20 min before I got there and they had the tires in), and walked away without suggesting any possible alternatives. They lost my business in a bad way that day.

    For other work, it sounds like Dirty Harry's is the place to go. If it didn't void my warranty, I'd probably see if Dirty Harry's could put new bearings on my bike.

    I actually am familiar with the Siebert/Vilsack way to get to route 8. However, I think it's quicker for me to use Peebles Rd to get there.

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