I'm writing in response to Paul Hennigan's "First Person" column "Grab a Bike and Go" (Aug. 10). The fact that his ride started at the Golden Triangle bike rental Downtown suggests that some riders in his group may have been inexperienced cyclists, in which case staying on the trails along the rivers makes sense, but to call a ride along the rivers a "bike tour of Pittsburgh" is a serious misnomer. It neglects the other great feature of our city: the hills.
I recently celebrated my 40th anniversary of moving to Pittsburgh from a flat area in Eastern Virginia. For some years, I avoided riding the hills, finding long routes around them to get where I was going, but now I can't imagine taking a ride without at least one good climb and, of course, one good coast back down.
As a start, I suggest 18th Street. This climb leads to many areas with views and fine riding. From the top it's pretty easy to get to Mount Washington for the classic view of the city. And there are so many great ways down. My personal favorite is Brosville Street, near Arlington Avenue. Brosville has been recently paved, there's very little traffic and it's steep, fast and has some wicked curves. Who needs Kennywood? To the north, Troy Hill Road and onward leads to Riverview Park, then a great ride down via Woods Run Avenue to pick up Chateau trail along the Ohio.
The examples are numerous. I would encourage Mr. Hennigan to take his students on some climbs next year -- what are all those gears for, anyway? -- and get a real bike tour of Pittsburgh. He might practice with the upcoming Pedal Pittsburgh ride on Aug. 25.