Thanks to Rough Diamond Century founder Dave Lusher for updating the route for 2023.
HEADS UP: THIS ROUTE STARTS WITH 40 MILES OF ROAD RIDING, WITH SIGNIFICANT CLIMBING BETWEEN MILES 11 AND 33. NEAR THE END OF THE DAY, WE ARE ON SEVERAL ROADS WITH GNARLY TRAFFIC CONDITIONS FOR SHORT PERIODS.
If you want to ride with Rough Diamond Century founder Dave Lusher and President Jim, they are leading a W PA Bike Club ride leaving from Millvale Riverfront Park at 6:30 AM on Sunday August 13 . You are welcome to pick your own starting point and start time as well.
If you ride some or all of the Rough Diamond, please consider donating to Armstrong Trails: https://armstrongtrails.org/support-the-trail/#donations. They are making enormous progress towards extending the Armstrong Trail, South to and eventually across the Kiskiminetas River, to connect to Tredway Trail. Once they are successful, the RD Century Ride can eliminate all of the nonsense riding on Rt 356 or up and down multiple hills to avoid Rt 356. Moreover, the bridge and trail connection are critical to connecting Pittsburgh to Leechburg via the Rough Diamond Trail network and of course Pittsburgh to Erie.
We added a visit to the 3740 cafe at mile 25. The owner agrees to extend a 10% discount to anyone, who mentions they are riding the Rough Diamond ride on 8/13. Cafe opens at 8 AM Sunday, so even if riders start at 6:30, the cafe should be open by the time they arrive.
Route notes for 2023:
– Dave and Jim are starting from Millvale Riverfront Park at 6:30 AM and riding clockwise. Route is here: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/43795990
– Due to two construction road closures, both the New Kensington and Freeport bridges are unusable for routing this year. Thus we are using the Oakmont Bridge.
– Using a GPS with a map display is highly recommended.
– Route is 100.6 miles this year.
– At mile 4.6 we cross the Highland Park Bridge on the left sidewalk.
– At mile 78.1, the left turn from 4-lane Broadway Blvd (Tri-Boro Expressway) to 4-lane Mosside Blvd. We recommend pulling into the Sheetz on the right (the entrance is well before the actual Sheetz). Leave the Sheetz from the same entrance/exit. Pick your moment to cross 2 lanes of traffic and take the lane in the left turning lane. After turning left onto Mosside Blvd, take the right lane. It becomes the turning lane for the road we are heading for.
– At mile 82.3 the turn into Keystone Commons industrial park is not a mapping glitch. It sets you up to get onto the Tri-Boro Expressway at a traffic light.
– At mile 85.8 on the approach to Rankin Bridge, President Jim likes to take the sidewalk as it climbs to the right to avoid being over-taken by high speed cars.
– At mile 86.7, after crossing the Rankin Bridge, as you approach the entrance to the Waterfront, you need to take the lane and tough it out in this high traffic area.
– On the plus side, we are riding the Roaring Run Trail, the Westmoreland Heritage Trail, the trail along Turtle Creek, and finish riding into Pittsburgh on the GAP and out to Millvale on the riverfront trail.
Note that as a trail project the Rough Diamond is ASPIRATIONAL. Meaning there are missing bits, and at times you need to climb steep long hills and ride busy highways. If you read the news, you know over the coming years the Rough Diamond will get better. Still, for most of us, this is the only time of the year that we ride along the Kiskiminetas River.
A gravel bike is appropriate for this route, but I’ve ridden it many times on my road bike with 28mm wide tires. Some of the trails along the Kiski are not rails-to-trails, meaning they are not graded. Or rather, there are a couple of gravelly pitches over 15%. On a road bike I usually walk them. On a gravel bike, I sometimes walk them.
Pro tip – Be sure to follow the correct trail leaving Saltsburg!
Route is here: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/43795990. You need to have your own navigation for the route.
This is a self-supported ride. We indicate enough convenience stores on the Ride with GPS to give you some ideas for where to stop. Several likely stops it you are riding with Dave or Jim:
- Mile 25.1 – 3740 Café (Dave likes coffee shops)
- Mile 54.4 – BP convenience store in Saltsburg. Also, public bathroom nearby on trail.
- Mile 76.5 – Parkside Creamery (Jim likes ice cream).
- Mile 78.1 – Sheetz