Bike Ride 2013 - Day 1
Pittsburgh, PA to Whitsett, PA - 46 miles

Greenway Sojourn 2013 - Day 1

map courtesy of the Great Allegheny Passage website

Early AM (~7:00 AM) - lots of hurry-up-and-wait along with the other 250 or so other bike riders.

  • Park our car and check-in at GAP Trail Mile 0 in Cumberland, MD.
  • Load up bikes on transport truck.
  • Get on the bus with our luggage for the ride to Pittsburgh, where the bike ride will begin.
The Bus Ride from Cumberland, MD to Pittsburgh
  • Lots of beautiful rolling hills planted with a variety of crops, including wheat and corn.
  • Saw an Amish buggy and 3 motorcycles following at a respectable distance.
Around 11:00 AM
  • We arrive in Pittsburgh to find that our bikes have been unloaded and are waiting for us in the grassy green at Point State Park, where the Monongahela and Allegheny join to form the Ohio.
  • The fountain at Point State Park is huge rising 200 feet in the air - beautiful!
Downtown Pittsburgh - aerial view

Downtown Pittsburgh showing the confluence of three rivers: Allegheny (upper left), Monongahela (across the bottom) and Ohio (disappearing off to the left).
(picture courtesy of the Visit Pittsburgh website)

fountain at Point State Park, Pittsburgh, PA

200' high fountain at Point State Park, Pittsburgh, PA

sand sculpture at Point State Park, Pittsburgh, PA

Surprise!
A team of artists building a HUGE sand sculpture facing the Point State Park fountain.

  • We carry our bags from the bus and transfer them to the big box truck that will take them to each night's campsite.
  • We find our bikes, pick up a yummy bagged lunch and we're on our way through the streets of downtown Pittsburgh for a few miles before arriving on the Great Allegheny Passage trail head.
United Steel Workers headquarters, Pittsburgh, PA

The United Steel Workers building -
if you look carefully, it's a composite of what looks like Stars of David

  • It's pretty warm outside, but we've got plenty of water to drink.
  • We feel like we're one of the last ones to be under way, but we're usually in sight of other riders.
  • The first part of the ride takes us through the railside remnants of industrial Pittsburgh.
  • The trail planners ingeniously designed a series of bridges that take us up and over working railroad tracks, so that we are able to see and ride through both sides of the tracks as we work our way through Pittsburgh and into the countryside.
Downtown Pittsburgh

Looking back at the downtown Pittsburgh
as we cross the Hot Metal Bridge that traverses the Monongahela River.

  • Our training runs at home paid off - we feel good and are moving at a good pace.
  • We stop after a few miles to eat our lunch and find ourselves next to an amusement park. All we can see is the roller coaster. (We learn later that it's the Kennywood Amusement Park in West Mifflin, PA, 12 miles SE of Pittsburgh.)
Roller Coaster

The roller coaster at Kennywood Amusement Park,
that seems to almost lean over the trail

  • The trail is long, but flat - only one nasty hill in McKeesport, PA (think back to the old Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoons, which mentioned McKeesport more than once).
  • All day long we find ourselves passing other riders along the way.
  • The organizers of the ride provide several water breaks - one big one at about the half-way mark - and there's a little ice cream store - it tastes sooooo good (and it cost only $1.50).
It's only 5:30 PM!
  • We finally arrive at the first campsite - yay.
  • We're among the first to arrive, so we get to pick a nice spot to pitch our tent on the edge of the big baseball field that will serve as our home for the night.
  • We find our bags easily next to the luggage truck.
  • We pitch our tent quickly and easily. So glad that we've done lots of camping in past years.
  • Dinner is served - and plenty of it.
  • The shower truck is here, compliments of Rubber Dickies Portable Showers, an ingenious service providing hot showers to the group. What a welcome sight after a long, hot day's ride.
Shower Truck

Our shower truck was provided by
Rubber Duckies Portable Showers

After dinner -
  • It feels wonderful to wash up.
  • We're tired, but not exhausted.
  • We're a little sore, but not bad considering we just rode 46 miles.
  • We're camped out in a big baseball field right next to a working railroad. We can't see it through the trees next to the ball field, but we hear the train whistles many times during the night as the trains rumble by.
  • As we get ready for bed, the most beautiful full moon rises over the trees. Another beautiful day awaits tomorrow.

Click here to continue to Day 2 of the journal.