Yesterday was the kind of day that really makes me feel good about the city I live in. I woke up in the early afternoon (having worked till midnight), and moped about my apartment. “If I was still in Colorado,” I thought to myself,” I wouldn’t be moping about, I’d be on my bike, in the mountains, halfway through another EPIC bike ride of 30 miles or more!”

“Why can’t you do that here?” I asked myself…

So just as I was gathering my bike stuff, which has become less than automatic, my phone rang, it was my friend, KerryO, inviting me for a bike ride with Terri & Mo (the three stooges ?). At first I was a little bummed…I had planned an impromptu EPIC city ride, without really knowing where I was headed, when suddenly my plan was interupted by…an organized effort! Well, it sounded more fun to ride with friends than to ride alone.

“Where should we meet?” I asked her. “No, I don’t know where the start of the trail is.” “No, I’ve never been ther eeither.” “How do you get to that street?” My end of the conversation went on and on like this. Finally I decided to just get on my bike and ride until I got close to a river, then I’d call and let her know where I was.

So off I went, helment on my head, gloves in my pocket, $10 stuffed in my tool bag. I zoomed down 5th avenue with the busses, just like I used to do in medical school (only this time I was wearing my helmet), until I saw a cross street that went downhill. I knew that must be the hollow I was looking for, so down I went. There were no signs for the trail. In a city that’s trying to keep young people around, you’d think theyd spend a little money advertising their bike trails. I had to stop and ask directions from the parking attendant…’just down the road…’ and I still missed the trail head.

Evenutally, though, I was on a beautiful, wide, paved bike trail, next to a set of railroad tracks. I couldn’t believe how green it was. A mile or two down that trail dumped me out onto 2nd avenue by the river. A quick series of U-turns brought me up a ramp and onto the formal start of the Eliza Furnace trail, aka the “jail trail”

100 feet further and I hopped off again, between some bushes, down onto Bates Street, back onto 2nd avenue and this time across the Hot Metal Bridge. I was now on the South Side. Up Carson Street to 18th avenue, turn right and now I’m on yet another river trail that I’ve never even seen before! (Why doesn’t the city advertise these things???)

I met up with the three friends, and we cruised all the way upstream and back down, enjoyed a starbucks while looking at the incline, gazed across the river at our beautiful city, back ot the parking lot. Back over the Hot Metal Bridge and this time UP Panther Hollow, back down 5th avenue taking a shortcut throug hFrick park and finally into my back yard.

Total mileage? Thirty miles! Thirty city miles and another not-quite EPIC ride with friends. Map coming soon. (That’s 3 maps I owe you guys now).