Back to Pittsburgh: Coffeeneuring in Plonk Season with Hyla

We’re kicking off the week with a Coffeeneuring Rewind from another Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, participant. Hyla’s succinct write-ups and accompanying photo-diary make for an amusing read and had me reliving the days when there were more leaves on the trees. (Yes, that was just last week for  those of us in the D.C.-area!)

  • Coffeeneur #1: Hot Chocolate at the Coffee Tree Roasters in Shadyside. 5524 Walnut Street, Pittsburgh! 10/7/12. 6 miles Round Trip.

I snuck out of the house while my non-bike-riding houseguest was enjoying a nap (Hi Mom!).

It was a cold wet day and the Steelers were playing the Eagles, so the streets were pretty quiet.

I saw some girls playing field hockey: one of the few sports I actually enjoyed in Junior High. I enjoyed hearing the sticks hitting the ball.

  • Coffeeneur #2: Big Dog Coffee 10/13/12. Approx 14 miles Round Trip.

Passed a bunch of people listening to a 1960s World Series radio broadcast outside of the old Forbes Field. Then I stopped by Iron City to have some more tweaks done to my new old bike (note dangling cable in bike photo). Really old friction shifters swapped out for kinda old friction shifters and new cable. Yay!

Stopped at Big Dog Coffee at 2717 Sarah Street, but was in the mood for Early Grey Tea with a spot of milk. Delicious buttery toast with cranberries and walnuts. Not too sweet or greasy (not counting the butter).

Then off to find a parking chair to photograph for the Wheelset of Fortune game played each week on the Bike Pittsburgh online message board. Not as easy as I thought…lots of zig zagging through South Side alleys and crowded streets. Great day to ride!

  • Coffeeneur #3, Highland Park’s Taza D’Oro (1125 North Highland Avenue, Pittsburgh). 10/14/12. Round Trip ~6.5 mi.

A popular spot for cyclists to convene, this is where the seasonal Team Decaf rides depart from. Not only does this place have good coffee, tea, pastries and lunch/Sunday savory items, they also have a lovely set of baskets filled with inner tubes, water bottles, and a few other items for sale. The normally springy sfogliatelle was a bit soggy today, but I enjoyed it with a macchiatto.

It was nice to cross paths with a few familiar faces and indulge in some cautious filtering along the seriously-jammed Southbound S. Braddock Avenue. These Squirrel Hill Tunnel Diversions are no fun. Also: IT’S PLONK SEASON! Watch out for walnuts, acorns and beech nuts.

  • Coffeeneur #4:  Café at the Frick. A “running some errands” 4.5 mile loop. 10/20/12.

Rode the nutty, twiggy, leafy Forbes Ave bike lanes to the Squirrel Hill Post Office. Mailed a package to Connecticut for $6.30. Stopped by Probikes and bought a helmet on clearance for $20.

Had the house blend tea at the Café at the Frick (7227 Reynolds Ave, Pittsburgh) with a side of scones (plain, sour cherry & pumpkin sage) + clotted cream for $10.12 + gratuity.

Visited the carriage & car museum for the first time: highly recommended and FREE.

Stopped by FIKS for a lightning-quick retroreflective transaction, and back home. Found a crisp $20 bill on my front lawn!

Lots of stuff to do around the ol’ homestead today so got another short loop in: ~4.5 miles. Mediocre Darjeeling tea and an orange-walnut dipped biscotti at Coffee Tree — Bakery Square (6425 Penn Ave Pittsburgh).

Bike racks and plastic outdoor furniture abound. Oogled Pittsburgh’s nascent bike-sharing system.

The East End Brewing charity reverse keg ride was a lot of fun! Afterwards, I stopped in at Biddle’s Escape (401 Biddle Avenue, Wilkinsburg) for a cappuccino and chocolate croissant. It is so great to have an alternative to the terrible Katerbean in the Regent Square neighborhood.

Biddle’s Escape now has a wellness center upstairs with yoga, pilates and sundry corporeal offerings. The back of the coffee shop has beautiful beads and spools of hemp twine with which you can do crafty things to your bike.

  • Coffeeneur #7: Eat N Park, 10/28/12. Round Trip 3.4 miles

At Marko’s suggestion: Eat N Park! New-ishly remodeled Squirrel Hill location (1816 Murray Avenue Pittsburgh). I eat plenty of junk food, just not usually at chain restaurants.

I’m confused by the gimmicky menus: I like to know what the ingredients are. What is a Breakfast Smile? Promise Spread? Scrambled better-n-eggs?. The waitress was awesome & the place seemed filled with regulars. Overheard: “Parking is gonna be a b*tch dahn ‘ere. You’ll hafta pay like 30 or 40 bucks.” [not if you ride your bike to the stadium!!!]

I do have to hand it Eat N Park for sourcing a portion of their ingredients regionally, and for doing a lot of outreach about nutrition and offering non-heart-attack-inducing square breakfasts that looked appealing on the menu. I ate there by myself but they gave me a huge comfortable booth and didn’t make me feel rushed.

Thank you for guest-posting your coffeeneuring rides, Hyla, and congratulations on completing the Coffeeneuring Challenge!


  1. If you ever have the chance to visit Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania I would recommend that you stay in one of the hotels on the south bank of the Monongahela River located in a place called “Station Square”. The views of the incredible Pittsburgh skyline rising up above the brown Monongahela River with its bridges and barges is amazing to say the least. There are all kinds of shops, stores and restaurants in Station Square and a clean, convenient subway / trolley (known locally as the “T”) that provides easy access to the bustling downtown area known as the Golden triangle.


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