Saturday, October 26, 2013

Coffeeneuring Trip 4: A Wicked Long Trip

I couldn't think of a better subtitle for this one, but it was wicked long, or at least felt that way. Southside doesn't usually feel like a long ride, but somehow going 3+ places while down there seemed like a long trip. Maybe I'm also a little low on sleep as well, so better get this written before the urge to nap becomes too much.

First off, Southside is nearly 5 miles from my house, and Pittsburgh can be a cruel mistress towards those who aren't used to hills. It didn't help that the best way to describe the weather would be a string of profanities with the occasional "windy" or "cold" mixed in. Maybe gloves would have helped? But I have yet to find a single pair of (non-fingerless) gloves that are both reasonable for biking and don't feel like the seams digging into the sides of my fingers. Maybe it's because I have stubby fingers and child-sized hands, so anything will either be too long or too narrow. Plus mittens are super toasty and my fingers can all huddle up for warmth.
Right to Left: Cherry, Haavis, kdanger
Upon arriving in Southside I did the usual low traffic path through Southside works (I generally favor that or the bike trail over East Carson St.) which led me to Pierogi Fest as they were setting up. It was a kind of an odd event to see, with pierogi pillows, amigurumi pierogies, as well as actual edible ones. Alas, when I returned the line for the pierogi truck was super long and not going to happen.

And I had filled up on food from OTB (oddly enough pierogies, but we had already made the decision to go to bikebar, and kdanger preferred a sandwich). So first food related stop was for iced tea, pierogis, fries, a panini and iron city bites. OH MAN I CAN EAT IRON CITY BITES. THIS IS EXCITING. I FIND THIS EXCITING. I should also figure out whether or not I'll get got by the burgers. I should head down there on a day with minimal obligations and someone who wouldn't mind giving me a ride home.
Didn't feel enough like coffeeneuring...
I couldn't shake the feeling that OTB didn't really count (lack of coffee) so I decided to go somewhere else for a hot drink after that. We stopped in at Goodwill (with a slight lack of success) before kdanger caught a bus back to a meeting. The Bus is Late by Satellite High is pretty appropriate in Pittsburgh, although there wasn't rain today. I hopped back on the trail to head over to Beehive Coffee for my coffeeneuring stop. Woo, the apple chaider is pretty good, spicier mulled cider good. Would get that again, but with less worrying about getting my bike fixed.
Nice and warm.
Which leads to the last major errand. Making my bike less of a death-trap. For the third time in as many days I stopped by Thick. The first one was for dropping off my bike to get the brakes and seat fixed up (and a couple other things like a missing cotter pin). That bike was pretty much going to kill me if I rode it on any kind of slope, and now she's super pretty and ready to ride around town.
Haavis before getting the handlebars adjusted
Unfortunately, my tiny little hands couldn't reach the brake levers as they were, and I was getting worried that the bars would have to be rewrapped after taking the tape off, and I just got it yesterday, but they really just needed to be rotated into a more sensible position so that when I brake I'm not hanging on by my thumbs and stretching out as far as possible, but have some part of my hand still on the handlebars. It's way better, but I'll see how well it works over the next couple days before declaring everything fixed for good. I also got that darn kickstand off, because even after it was tightened I would hear that little clink, clink, clink as the pedals hit it. Keeping these adjustment in mind, I ended up with a pretty scary game on the ride home. In fact, you can play along with:

What's that jingling sound?

So you're on the Hot Metal bridge after your bike stopped being a death trap. You're still not used to exactly how she rides. You pass over one of the concrete seams and hear a metallic jingling. It happens on the next one. It doesn't sound like it's coming from in front of you, so you'll have to stop to take a look. Unfortunately it seems like you're going to have to get off and shake the back of your bike vigorously to find out if you're about to get thrown off or something.

The answer is the pedal cover. Of which you only have one. And it's missing a screw. I should really just take that thing off, but at least it doesn't mean the back wheel is about to fall off or something. After that excitement I had some even better things happen. Namely I found 2 new protractors! No idea how many times I've passed them without noticing them, but 435 is under the bridge at the start of the Eliza Furnace Trail in a little wooden frame. 433 used to be on the same box as 289, but it was glued to the remains of a sticker and I found it on the ground. So........ I adopted a protractor. Sorry.
Paper isn't a super great backing. And paint leaves better ghosts.
In conclusion:
Date: 10/26/2013
Coffee shop: Beehive Coffee
What I had: Apple Chaider
Miles: Good Question.
Party: shank, kdanger

Bonus Protractor:
By interpolation I should be able to find 434.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Coffeeneuring Trip 3: In which we learn that bananas and peanut butter and waffles are not good biking food.

Wow, that was some really dense food. Maybe I should have put together my own thing, and not gone with peanut butter (apples and caramel?) or had some kind of tea instead of coffee? (Or gotten clarification that an "espresso drink" is a latte). But dang, I could not finish that waffle. And biking back sloooooowly was the only way the return trip was going to happen

Funky Monkey waffles are not great biking food.
I feel like this doesn't quite do it justice, the plate is over half the size of the table width, and there's some kind of peanut butter sauce hiding behind that chocolate. So much to eat and it's all that heavy sweet flavored stuff that sits in your stomach like wow. such banana. so food. much dense. (I'm a little sad blogger wouldn't let me stick that in comic sans). And the coffee was quite something as well

This is more than just an espresso...
That was an "espresso drink" with vanilla-bourbon syrup. Super sweet and to me it barely tasted like coffee, but Margaret disagreed. I guess I'm used to more bitter coffee though. Maybe I'll try something else next time (because there is so going to be a next time in general, although not Sunday afternoon). Although the hot chocolate looks absolutely ridiculous (and the whipped cream is super sweet).

There was a 30 minute wait to get in, but they do let you leave a number and wander off. This allowed for some halloween costume shopping to happen. It's surprisingly hard to find a purple blouse that buttons up to the neck, but I did find one. Now I'm just not sure it matches my vest. Guess we'll find out.
Woo, higher collared women's blouse! Also, the return of the Errandoneuring jacket.
On the way back we both decided that campus wasn't our jam and went home (up Neville after that waffle, oh goodness), but I stopped by the newer bike store off Highland (on a bike it seems more like it's off highland, so I could get replacement screws for my Bontrager bike rack. The old ones are lost forever somewhere between Confluence and the Pinkerton tunnel due to Gregor needing a bit of a kludge upper bike rack connector. (I managed to forget where I squirreled away the other two screws after removing it, but after some searching managed to find them and reassemble a more Raz-appropriate bike rack). In the process though, I noticed that Haavis is missing the two screw holes to secure a bike rack. I guess I'll figure something out when I get her fixed up. I've been saying that for a while now.
Older picture of Raz with his bike rack.
In conclusion:
Date: 10/20/2013
Coffee shop: Waffles INCaffinated
What I had: Vanilla-bourbon latte + Funky Monkey waffle
Miles: 10.4
Party: shank, Margaret

Bonus Duck:

I was planning on going downtown or to the Strip District yesterday, but I seemed to have gotten some early morning bleh that made my back ache. So no bikes yesterday. But if I had, this guy would have been in my pictures.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Coffeeneuring Trip 2: In which assumptions lead to their platitudinal conclusion.

So there's a couple things to keep in mind while biking around to get coffee. One of which I encountered during my first trip, which is whether or not my destination is cash only. Unfortunately this trip I learned that assuming somewhere that sells coffee would be open at 11:00 isn't always a reasonable assumption to make.

Anyway, I had a thing that I was supposed to get to at 11:00, 11:45 at the absolute latest and thought it would be a good idea to have some coffee in me prior to being busy all day. And I wanted some company this time, so I planned to leave around 10:30, go to Oh Yeah! with Margaret, and get to the thing only slightly late.

Unfortunately, I had the hours wrong, and by wrong I mean I assumed they would be open. Not my finest moment. After a little biking around we ended up going to Bagel Factory in Shadyside. And to be honest, Baggel Factry kind of sucks. The coffee was okay (again, just got plain coffee), the cupcake was good, but nothing special, and the bagel was... meh. Almost worse than meh. Too much cream cheese that didn't quite taste right. Bleh. Yes, I think bleh is the word I'm going to go with.

Oh well. The company was good, even if the service and food was suboptimal. And that just leaves Oh Yeah! for a later date. And coffee happened, and this tided me through other people ordering Jimmy Johns... can't eat that at all because allergies.

Anyway, all that led into puzzlehunt! It was Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy themed! I only sort of screwed up my lines in the opening meeting! The puzzle I put the most time into went well! The puzzle I put distinctly less time into went pretty okay but apparently horrified some people! It was better than the alternative though. And I only had to sleep all Sunday to get the icky stress feelings to go away. I love and hate staffing puzzlehunt for that reason. On the one hand it's so cool to see what goes on behind the scenes, on the other hand everyone is super stressed out and it just makes me feel awful.

As usual, I got a new idea for a puzzle the week before, so lets see if we can actually finish this one in time for next semester's hunt.

In conclusion:
Date: 10/12/2013
Coffee shop: Bagel Factory
What I had: Coffee + cupcake + baggel
Miles: 3.1
Party: shank, Margaret

Friday, October 11, 2013

Surprise: You need to carry something and have no good way to do so.

I had planned to order food, bike the three blocks home, drop off Raz, and walk back, but unfortunately my food was ready too soon to do that. What to do? Well, the same thing I do whenever I have something that's too delicate to put in my backpack, or I forgot any sort of pockets or bag: ride home with whatever I have acquired in my mouth.

I have learned some things from carrying home cupcakes, bike tools, and now Chinese take-out. The first is that paper bags barely last as long as you hope they will. The new lesson is that my jaw isn't quite as strong as I think it is. Although I did have some success looping the handles of the bag behind my teeth; however it did make moving anything else in my mouth impossible (unless I wanted to drop everything).

Monday, October 7, 2013

Coffeeneuring Trip 1

So I've apparently rebooted my blog for the third time or so, and I guess this time it's going to be about bikes. Not regularly, or anything, just interesting bike rides I take.

And so I'm starting with my first trip of coffeeneuring. In which I biked from my apartment to the 61C Cafe with no breakfast. This wouldn't be a big deal as I was going there to have breakfast; however, I live in Shadyside, and 61C is in Squirrel Hill. Squirrel Hill is not just a name. It's very much a hill. I decided not to take Shady Avenue this time because it's a bit trafficky, and Negley Avenue is right out after the last time I tried it. It seems to last forever, and is straight up and down, and then I nearly passed out at the top. So I decided to cut through Chatham instead. Which is harder than Shady, easier than Negley, and more beautiful than both. And there was a lemonade stand! It was a great coincidence and very much appreciated.

So I got to 61C, and got a large coffee and an apple thing (the sign was handwritten, and I couldn't resolve it to a word). The coffee was good though, even though it was just a plain black coffee. Didn't have that much time to savor my breakfast, but it did make my stomach feel a lot less unsettled for my ride back. Which was super pretty. Basically that ride is the best reason to bike up to Squirrel Hill. I ended up walking my bike up Darlington Road for a block because I hate it when people bike the wrong way down a one way street, and that one connected better to the street I wanted to take.

Super pretty. I love me some fall. There were a number of surprise apples in the road, and sometimes blind corners with surprise cars. But no traffic, and the road is lovely. When I bike down this way I tend to worry I'm not on the road I need to be on, but it's too pretty to stop and look at my map. Plus that's what the drunkard's compass is for.

So I biked blithely on, singing Trust Me, I'm an Engineer. Particularly the part about my bicycle is wearing shoes. I still can't figure out how to get to the top of the buggy course, and avoid having to bike up the back hills (or worse, back up the buggy course), so I got to bike by a lot of people having a nice day on Flagstaff Hill. And finally stopped off on campus for the puzzlehunt playtest. But that's a story for another time (particularly one where I'm not in danger of spoilers).

Oh. And these guys were outside. Apparently there was a quidditch cup outside.

In conclusion:
Date: 10/6/2013
Coffee shop: 61C Cafe
What I had: Apple thing + large coffee
Miles: 3.9
Party: shank