Curvy, swooping roads: we all love ‘em. Whether you pilot a bicycle, motorcycle, or car, there’s nothing like the feeling of leaning into a tight corner.
A developer named Adam Franco likes them so much, he created an online map that highlights the world’s most curvy roads. Here’s what Pittsburgh looks like:
Thanks to our busy topography, we’ve got a good smattering of curvy roads, and locals will immediately recognize several of them in the above image. What’s interesting to me is that most of the roads I cycle on are highlighted. More on that in a second.
While one could take issue with the map’s methodology, I still found it fun to explore. And there's lots more to be found at Franco’s Curvature website, whether you’re interested in Pittsburgh, Boston, Maine, or anywhere else.
The indented bit that follows won’t be of interest to anyone outside this area, but I’m going to call out a whole list of Pittsburgh roads that are highlighted, going region by region.
In the central city, the eye is immediately drawn to the orange kink of Beechwood Blvd, one of the curviest roads on the map. That area also features Circuit and Overlook in Schenley, and Johnston Ave in Glen Hazel. Farther north, there’s Stanton Ave and the two loop roads around the Highland Park reservoir.
Farther east Brinton, Saltsburg Rd (380), and Lincoln Rd get called out.
The South Side is represented mainly by 18th St and Arlington, as well as Brownsville, Noblestown, and Chartiers.
The North Shore includes Brighton, Perrysville, Spring Garden, Mount Troy, Hoffman, Pittview, and the loop road inside Riverview Park.
Continuing up the west bank of the Allegheny you hit Middle, Saxonburg, and Dorseyville in Etna; Squaw Run, Fox Chapel, Field Club, then Gibsonia Road (910). Up toward Tarentum they include Days Run, Bakerstown, and Sun Mine.
Farther west in the Sewickley Hills there’s Little Sewickley Creek, Audubon, and Roosevelt, among others.
According to the map, the longest and curviest roads in the region are the artificial agglomerations of multiple roads that comprise Pittsburgh’s Green, Blue, Orange, Red Belts.
And one final note pertaining to roads...
In addition to tracking fastest efforts on a segment (KoMs) Strava recently introduced the concept of “Local Legends”, an award that goes to whomever has performed the most efforts on a particular segment over the past year.
So I’ve earned my first Local Legend award for a mere four reps on a segment going from Squirrel Hill to the Bud Harris cycling oval.
That’ll go just fine next to my only remaining Strava KoM, on an obscure, rarely-used 500-meter segment in the city.