As with last Saturday, I had a Toastmasters speech contest to go to. This was the Division D contest, which featured the winners from the five Area contests, each of which in turn featured the winners from each Area's clubs' contests. So, Div D's contest featured the best speakers of 20-some clubs in the city. Really, if you're looking for two hours of free entertainment where you might learn a thing or two, it's hard to beat a division level Toastmasters speech contest. The morning was chilly, with a near frost overnight. Officially the temp was 39°F at dawn, and by 10:30 when I left, it had not changed much. I donned a light coat and gloves for the 10-mile trip, and was glad I did.
The light coat, however, is a light tan in color, which obviated my trip down the trolley trail. On a chilly but nice Saturday morning during archery season, I am going to stick to roads, thankyouverymuch. Too many idiots who can't tell the difference between a buck and a bicycle. I'd rather duke it out with traffic.
Most of the trip was uneventful, though of course not without a few lowlights. Twice in the first 15 minutes, I was verbally harassed. The first was on the uphill climbing into Perrysville from Three Degree Road. Two forward lanes, but the left becomes a left-only lane in 200 yards. Most people figure out that a 25 mph car can get past a 7 mph bicycle in an empty left lane and somehow squeeze back in in the remaining 175 yards; note I said most.
The second occurred at the corner of Perry Highway and West View Park Drive, where I dismount at curbside to head up the staircase. I had the green signal, and a small truck was waiting to make a right-on-red. Note that about half the drivers here take that right-turn-allowed-after-full-stop at 10-15 mph, so having to wait for a cyclist with the legal right of way was apparently too much. Something about being a fucking idiot but I didn't catch the rest. Again, I had the green; he was stopped at the red.
That wasn't all. For the third consecutive trip, I got some grief on or just after the climb past the HOV/Park&Ride entrance. This time, like the last two, the left lane was wide open; hell, both northbound lanes were empty, too. Even so, one guy has to come up behind me, match my speed (about 8 on the climb, 12 as I get over the top) and yell at me for being there. Sheesh.
As to the coffee: Leaving the contest, I ran into another cycling buddy who'd biked 10 miles in from the suburbs, and we headed over the Fort Duquesne Bridge together. He was headed out the Chateau Trail, while I was headed to the Science Center. I knew their snack bar was a good spot to catch a bite. I also got a picture of their excellent bike rack, to accompany an earlier photo of a stupid rack at 1 Smithfield, inspired by a post about a similarly stupid rack at Home Depot.
The coffee was from a push-button machine. I pushed the cappuccino button and got something that resembled it, but was overly bitter. Nothing like the Starbucks brew last Sunday. Oh well, I still stayed somewhere near $5, even with the bowl of soup.
As I type this (so far), I'm still at CSC, so I have yet to see what pleasures await for the trip home.
The trip home was chill, except for the 911 call. I round a bend on Perrysville Avenue to find a couple of cars that had just tangled. Ten seconds sooner, maybe five, I would have witnessed the collision. I called 911 to report it and get police rolling thataway. As I did not actually see what happened and was not involved, I left shortly afterward.
To sum up, the ride in was 10 miles, the ride home would have been at least 10 more miles, plus another two or three to add the side trip to CSC. I'll call it 23 miles, and I hardly broke a sweat because it was so cool out. This is a great time of year to go for a long bike ride!