I'm not sure why, but it seemed like a good idea to lead a pre-Icycle Bicycle ride this year, for the benefit of the high-mileage types. Bright and early, 8 AM, 16 degrees or thereabouts. Five intrepid sorts coalesced at the Swinburne St trail head; myself, Lance, Alan, Don, and Jon. A decent assortment of bikes as well, ranging from my P-38 'bent to Jon's tasty 1982 Raleigh Pro.
Since I'd never done the route before, I decided to try out Oscar Swan's Gill Hall ride; basically, a 30-mile tour of the South Hills, primarily incorporating Streets Run, Brownsville, Snowden, and Gill Hall Rd. Nice route; the initial gradual climb up Streets Run is a good warmup (except for the crappy crossings of numerous RR tracks, that is!), and Snowden/Gill Hall have some decent climbs to get the blood pumping.
Attrition on this one was high; Lance took off early, as he had to get home for the benefit of guests. We managed to get separated from Jon up by Lebanon Church Rd; fortunately, he was equiped with a phone capable of accessing The Google, so managed to find his way back. Alan hopped off the road to pick up the trail in Baldwin. Don and I were the only riders out of the original five to make it to the start of the Icycle Bicycle as a group, although Alan and Jon met us there later.
Icycle Bicycle was well attended, and quite mellow. Since the trails were a bit slippery, we just did a loop consisting of Carson-->West End Bridge-->North Shore-->31st St Bridge-->Penn-->Second Ave-->Hot Metal, and back to REI. Good fun, although I was saddened to see that I was the only recumbent this year.
Lesson learned: put the frickin' fenders back on before going out in the salt and slush. Blah.