Another Through-Ride of the Montour Trail

June 12, 2021
88.79 miles
Strava Activity

After some last-minute changes, I will now likely not be in Pittsburgh for the rest of the summer. I’m looking forward to a lot this summer, but unfortunately this means that I’ll have to leave my beautiful bike behind. I decided to take it on one more ride before I put it away for a few months: a loop of the Montour Trail to the west of Pittsburgh.

The day started out decently. I got lost at least three times trying to get to Neville Island, but I eventually made it there. I didn’t know that there was an Ineos plant in Pittsburgh; I made sure to get a picture in front of it.1

Signage with company names
Ineos sign. (full resolution)

There was one interesting incident: I fell on the bike again! I wish I had a cool story about doing something daring and heroic, but the truth is that I was just being a little stupid. I was passing through a dimly-lit tunnel, and I figured that since the tunnel was so short, I could just keep my sunglasses on. This meant that I couldn’t see the ground too clearly, and you can guess how the story ends. Luckily, I didn’t hurt myself very badly at all, and I decided to continue the ride.

The rest of the ride was more uneventful, but the scenery was pretty nice. There were a couple of viaducts, which are my absolute favorite! I stopped to have my classic cycling lunch: the peanut butter and raspberry jam sandwich, on an everything bagel.

Trail through field Trail on viaduct Bicycle and bench in front of creek
Some pictures from along the ride: the trail, a viaduct, and my lunch stop. (full resolution: left, center, right)

I ended up about ten miles short of a full century (100 miles). If I hadn’t done a century before, I would have wanted to go on, but having done multiple centuries already, I didn’t see much of a point in padding out the mileage, so I decided to just head home. I’d actually done my first century on this same loop several months ago. It’s pretty interesting to see how far I’ve come; back then, this was possibly the most climbing I’d ever done in a ride. Nowadays, I consider this a flat ride.

The trail conditions were pretty decent: there was one particularly rough section of gravel. Perhaps the surface of that section was not quite finished yet, since I remember that the same section was sealed off a few months ago, necessitating a detour. Anyway, to make up for it there was one section of freshly resurfaced trail, which was nice. I went a fair bit faster than last time, averaging around 15 miles per hour.

In fact, I apparently have the second-fastest time on the full Montour Trail segment on Strava! This is not particularly impressive, since there are only five people on the leaderboard, but in the words of an old high school friend,2 “we take those.” I suspect what happened is that one section of the trail is newly opened, so very few people have done the full route so far. I am still a little surprised at just how few through-riders there are (at least on Strava), though.

  1. For those who don’t follow professional road cycling, Ineos is a large petrochemical company that sponsors a well-known British cycling team, which was formerly known as Team Sky.↩︎

  2. Thank you, Daniel Du.↩︎