OpenStreetsPGH July: East End Loop (w/ Video!)

This past weekend featured the final OpenStreets Pittsburgh event of the year. The last route of the summer was a 4.4 mile loop through the East End neighborhoods of East Liberty, Larimer, Homewood, North Point Breeze, and Shadyside.

As with the events in May and June, it was another hot and sunny summer day for cycling. I think this was the hilliest route so far and it offered a lot of variety in the topography and built features of the different neighborhoods.

My favorite part of this route was the Homewood sections, which is the neighborhood that I’ve spent the least time in out of those on the Loop.

I took the opportunity to stray away from the route and explore some of the public art and architecture in the area.

In a bit of serendipitous synchronicity I came across the Holy Rosary Church. I had just learned about the existence of this church last week while doing some research and was already planning an expedition to seek it out.

This is one of three churches that architect Ralph Adams Cram designed in Pittsburgh (there is a fourth nearby in Greensburg), along with East Liberty Presbyterian aka the Cathedral of Hope in East Liberty. So this East End Loop route ended up being a bit of a Cram Jam.

Cram supposedly considered the East Liberty cathedral (pictured below, also along the OpenStreets route) his masterpiece and “most profound spiritual experience” of his life.

To commemorate this final OpenStreets of the season (as well as my completion of the hat trick with this summer’s events) I also made my first foray into cycling videography. I felt inspired by all the Terry Barensten riding content I’ve been binging lately, but rather than splurging on a GoPro I decided to experiment with just my phone and a handlebar-mounted holder.

I had wanted to shoot the whole thing in a properly cinematic 16:9 aspect ratio but the possible configurations of phone and holder didn’t work out (except for some footage looking down over the front wheel and street which I used to bookend the video). So I opted for a Kubrickian or Errol Morris-inspired 3:3 frame. Anyway, I edited together a compilation of raw footage from the ride and slapped on some explanatory place-marking titles in iMovie. The onboard audio caught a lot of my huffing and puffing up the hills, but I don’t think there’s too much of my swearing or muttering about saddle sores in these clips.

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