Best Route Up From Jail Trail

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ultimattfrisbee
Participant
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Hi All,

I’ve been wondering what routes people take up from the end of the Jail Trail into Oakland or Squirrel Hill. Sometimes I ride by the soccer field on the Junction Hollow Trail, cross the RR tracks and come out by the lake, going up through Schenley Park, but I ride a touring bike and it doesn’t always love the park trails, especially when they’re muddy.

I’ve gone up Greenfield Avenue. It’s steep, which isn’t the main problem–it’s just that it’s ugly and narrow and thus a little scary. Anyone tried Frazier/Swinburn to Dawson to the Blvd. of the Allies?

Just looking for a safe and relatively pleasant route out of the Run. A gentle slope is always nice, but I’m not scared of the hills. What routes do you all take?


Mick
Participant
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I live near the Blvd of teh Allies and Dawson. To get up the hill I usually go up Bates. Not as conventient as it was before they redid the Bates Bridge.

If I were going farther north in Oakland, I’d probably take Junction Hollow. If I were going to Squirrel hill, I’d likely take paths through the park, then Bartlett or Beacon. I wouldn’t take Greenfild Ave to travel anywhere north of the Parkway.


brian j
Participant
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Yeah, I agree with Mick. I’ve used both Junction Hollow and Swinburn, and Junction Hollow is much better (at least around rush hour). The trail right by the lake can get muddy, for sure, but there aren’t any cars driving on it (usually).

Another, slightly longer, option, is to head up Neville and cut through CMU via the service road just past the parking garage (by service road, I mean the little road that CMU vehicles use to get around campus). It is windy and hilly, though, and it only gets you to Flagstaff.


edmonds59
Participant
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Road bike to Squirrel Hill – Junction Hollow to the rear CMU parking garage drive (behind the museum) and then through Schenley park.


ultimattfrisbee
Participant
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Junction Hollow feels safest and most convenient, without a doubt, but I’ve broken spokes on two long rides where I did that trail and rode home (I’m in Edgewood, actually) on the trails in the park. Came out at Bartlett. I have absolutely no idea if I broke them in the park, but it’s made me a little shy of it. My touring bike should be able to handle those trails–they’re hardly single-track, my back wheel is a touring one so it should be basically bomb-proof, and I’m going uphill on gravel so I can’t be doing more than 10-11 mph. I guess that, unless it’s really too soupy for my tires, which are semi-slick, that’s the way to go.

Mick, Bates has always seemed a little intimidating, but I’m assuming the traffic moves slowly enough when it’s busy so that you don’t feel endangered. The road just seems a bit narrow there. How do you find it in terms of safety.

I’m intrigued by the Neville-CMU route. Where to do you pick up Neville in the Run?

Thanks again.


ultimattfrisbee
Participant
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I think I see it now. Neville starts as Boundary Street in the Run. That looks intriguing. I’ll give it a try.


Vannevar
Participant
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edmonds59 – if I might impose on your goodness, may I ask for more details or even a g-map depiction of this? I’d love to have a better route from HMB to SH. TIA, V.

Road bike to Squirrel Hill – Junction Hollow to the rear CMU parking garage drive (behind the museum) and then through Schenley park.


edmonds59
Participant
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Will do, but have to run out right now. Nice day!


salty
Participant
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When I go up bates I take the sidewalk, and I’m not a sidewalk riding type. That stretch just sucks. The sidewalk sucks too and some curb cuts are missing, but…

Otherwise, I usually just go all the way to 5th on Neville. I take the trail sometimes but I think its slower for where I’m usually going.


Pseudacris
Participant
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@ultimattfrisbee, that’s a regular route for me, too & I vary my way home.

Usually I stay on Panther Hollow Trail til it dumps onto Boundary St. From Boundary, I either

1) Turn left on Joncaire and take the north sidewalk up to S. Bouquet St. Onward to Oakland destinations, or a hard right on Roberto Clemente Drive, to Schenley Drive, through the golf course to Forbes and on to Sq Hill.

or

2) Continue on Boundary till it turns to Neville and crosses Fifth. Then on to other destinations

or

3) Continue on Boundary, U-turn to the right through the CMU Parking Garage, make my way through the driveways past the various engineering buildings, and on to Frew Street.


Drewbacca
Participant
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“My touring bike should be able to handle those trails.”

A non touring wheel should be able to handle those trails in my opinion. Have you had a bicycle shop look at your wheel, adjust the spoke tension, etc.?


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Another handy option to know about is the staircase off Joncaire that takes you up behind the fountain by Carnegie Library. IMHO it’s a lot easier to carry a bike up a staircase than push through a quarter mile of stiff grade. Zero cars, too.


ultimattfrisbee
Participant
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The wheel problems seem to have abated since the last spoke replacement and adjustment. You’re right about the trails–they’re better than most of the roads I ride on.

I think I’ll try Boundary to Joncaire to S. Bouquet and into the park. From there I like to cross the Panther Hollow Bridge, duck under the Blvd and go up Overlook Drive to the Oval, across the Blvd. and up Serpentine to Darlington (adds another little hill, but a fun one) and then home through Squirrel Hill to Edgewood.

Many thanks for all the suggested routes!


Chris Mayhew
Participant
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You can see the CMU cut thru here. I love that route.

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/146508292


Mick
Participant
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Whenn I go up Bates, I take the sidewlk.

I’m not going fast enough to be a hazard to pedestrians nor to hit sidewalk cracks hard.

On the Road, folks are either coming from southside bars or getting off the parkway – not condusive to my peace of mind.

Where I live (near Dawson and the Blvd), even walking up Bates is faster/easier than coming up the hollow to Joncaire and backtracking.

Some folks take Swinburn when they come from the Hot Metal Bridge to my place, but that strikes me as the worst of both worlds.


Mick
Participant
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I think I’ll try Boundary to Joncaire to S. Bouquet and into the park. From there I like to cross the Panther Hollow Bridge, duck under the Blvd and go up Overlook Drive to the Oval, across the Blvd. and up Serpentine to Darlington (adds another little hill, but a fun one) and then home through Squirrel Hill to Edgewood.

IMO, the paths through the park are more scenic, easier, safer, and faster.


Nick D
Participant
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I live in South Oakland and vary the route pending on my mood. When I feel up for dealing with the grade and the traffic, I take Bates. My most common route is coming up Joncaire’s sidewalk.


Aryn
Participant
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All depends on where I need to go, and a little on how I’m feeling. The quickest way home for me, by a lot, is up Greenfield, and with a little traffic I’m faster than the cars, usually going by them stopped, which often feels safe(ish). Often I’m headed out to the east end somewhere, and go up Neville to Fifth. If I need to actually get to Oakland quickly Bates is the way to go. Maybe I should be more worried? but I always just ride in the street there (and greenfield.. and everywhere, except joncaire, because it is cobblestone and I can’t do it), but it is usually the middle of the day if I’m doing that route.

So, pretty much everything everyone else has said already. :)


HiddenVariable
Participant
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Junction Hollow feels safest and most convenient, without a doubt, but I’ve broken spokes on two long rides where I did that trail and rode home (I’m in Edgewood, actually) on the trails in the park. Came out at Bartlett. I have absolutely no idea if I broke them in the park, but it’s made me a little shy of it. My touring bike should be able to handle those trails–they’re hardly single-track, my back wheel is a touring one so it should be basically bomb-proof, and I’m going uphill on gravel so I can’t be doing more than 10-11 mph.

spokes usually break (at the elbow, anyway) due to fatigue. this can be caused by many different factors, but it is not likely due to the trauma of riding on schenley’s main trials.

also: am i the only one who kind of likes going up swinburne? it’s kind of the perfect combination of steep and long for climbing that hill, and i have never had an issue with automobile traffic.

also also: am i the only one that goes up joncaire on the cobbles?

like everyone else, i vary my route. i live in shadyside, and so bates is surely the fastest and most direct, but it’s also the least travelled by me, because, well, it sucks. and i don’t like riding on sidewalks. i rather like swinburne, but others seem to have different experiences. junction hollow to joncaire, or up neville, or through cmu are all fun alternatives. greenfield is tolerable to me, for the reasons pointed out earlier. also, you can take the road across from the swinburne bridge, which will take you up some funsteep (that’s a word, right?) hills up into greenfield, where you will have the roads all to yourself, and can ride essentially parallel to greenfield ave.


Gerry Durishan
Participant
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When going to Oakland I go to the Hollow then to Central Cath. If on a Mt. Bike I’ll cut up to Pitt Law – Bouquet St. When headed to Sq Hill I take Greenfield to Beechwood then Monitor. It’s not so bad to take Beechwood to Murray, just be careful cutting over to the turning lane. I’ve been coming in from Hazelwood to the Hollow most mornings. I ride in from the Waterfront in Homestead.


jonawebb
Participant
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I find it works much better to take one of the side streets off Greenfield (say, past Hough’s) and then cross the bridge to Pocusset, then follow that to Wilkins. There is little traffic on Pocusset and it’s a pleasant ride through the park.


HiddenVariable
Participant
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a lot of people don’t like pocusset because it has poor sight lines and while there is little traffic, the traffic that does go through there blazes through.


Gerry Durishan
Participant
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About 8 AM I took 2nd Ave to Greenfield the left on Swinburn to Dawson. It wasn’t so bad. There is about 100 yds of winding road that caused me worry. The cars were patient and I usually will pull over if I think it necessary to let cars get past me. BTW ~ Pocusset to the bridge isn’t bad ~ not a fan coming from Greenfield.

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