Where once was a steel mill is now occupied by an REI, a movie theater with an awesome Monday special, a grassy square with live music, clothing chains, apartments and new homes. This 11.6 million dollar bridge not only allows me to cycle 10-miles from my house off of main roads to the south side, which is a strip of bars, restaurants and tattoo joints, but it also connects Pittsburgh to the 150-mile-long Great Allegheny Passage that expands to Cumberland, Maryland where it is joined to the 182-mile long C&O Canal trail that continues to D.C. Thatâ€™s 332-miles of multi-use-trail free from vehicle usage. Awesome!
The phrase I heard repeated over and over yesterday after the mayor cut the ribbon and a swarm of folks meandered smoothly in the 40-degree weather was â€œIt doesnâ€™t even feel like this is Pittsburgh!â€ Well, it is. Welcome to the revitalized Steel City and its network of rails-to-trails that follow the three rivers, which surround this hilly city. Not only are we a drinking town with a football problem (Go Steelers!), but a city with at least five institutions of higher education, hundreds of miles of off-road trails within pedaling distance of the city, home to the best mountain biking magazine in the world and a community of outdoors people that give a damn.
If you are coming out this weekend for Dirt Ragâ€™s annual Punk Bike Enduro December 2nd (and you should) I highly recommend taking a spin across the bridge and grabbing a beer or slice on the opposite end. Itâ€™s a great feeling. â€“Shannon Mominee