I suffered through an extremely slow morning at work. So, I left and spend the afternoon on the new bike. First, I went to Ladles for lunch; everything was excellent as always. While I was eating my burger, it dawned on me just how beautiful the weather was. I cannot remember the last time we had such a nice day. The sky was a deep, clear blue. Scattered across it were big, white, puffy clouds.
By early afternoon, the waxing crescent moon was completely visible overhead. I’m assuming the visibility of the crescent moon during daylight hours is amplified by the summer solstice, which was only a few days ago. Yes, this was going to be a good day.
While waiting to pay my tab, I jumped on Twitter to talk about the amazing weather. I ended up chatting with a friend who had just finished reading my first blog entry about my new bicycle. He gave me a bunch of great recommendations and suggested a local bike shop, Gatos in Tarentum.
After paying, I set off for Tarentum. I believe it took between 20 and 25 minutes; I wasn’t keeping very good track of time. It certainly isn’t flat, but because it runs along the Allegheny River Valley, it’s about a flat as you’re going to get here. According to Google Maps, the trip there was exactly 5.9 miles.
I bought larger pedals, insulated water bottle, speedometer, riding gloves and a kickstand. They put everything on for just a few bucks more. I also found out that my bike’s frame supports disk brakes, although I don’t have them. The guy who was working there explained that disk brakes are only superior in wet conditions, otherwise my current brakes are fine. Because I don’t plan on riding in the rain or snow, it doesn’t seem like something worth doing right now.
It took me ~30 minutes to ride back, although I didn’t stop at home. Instead, I went to my grandmother’s place on the other end of Cheswick. This time I had a tripometer and was able to track my distance, a total of 6.7 miles. I spent about an hour and a half with my grandmother and then returned the short 0.8 miles home.
My total distance traveled by bicycle for the day was 13.4 miles. Not bad for my second day with a bike. My ultimate goal is to be able to travel the 15 miles down river into the city of Pittsburgh, spend the day in town, and then return home without my legs falling off. I think this is a realistic goal.
After returning home, I wanted to get some photography of the sky. My first inclination was to head to Wagman Observatory, but I ended up at Yute’s Lookout. I don’t actually know if that’s what it’s called, but it’s one of the highest points in Allegheny County and bares markers from both the United States Geodetic Survey and Allegheny County Department of Public Works. I created a venue for it on Foursquare named after the USGS marker information.
The lookout is on private property owned by the Yute family. The owner is very kind and will usually allow people on his property. I caught him doing some welding at the base of the hill and he said that it would be fine for me to take some pictures.
In the pictures below, my main focus was to capture the sky, clouds, and moon. But as you go through them, keep an eye out for other little details. In some of the pictures, you can clearly see terrain overlaid with pockets of shadows from the clouds above. There’s two pictures of me with wild looking hair, it was extremely windy at the summit. And, if you’re not from the area, these pictures may help you fully appreciate what I mean when I say, “hills.” What you can’t tell from these pictures is that the terrain continues like that for hundreds of miles.
I’ve been home for a few hours now. My body certainly hurts, but mostly in a good way. I don’t know if that’s related to the handful of ibuprofen or if my body has just been yearning for physical activity. (Maybe a little of both?)
Update: the clouds pictured below are fair weather cumulus and altocumulus.