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Just riding … no utilitairing.  Crazy, crazy warm.  Winter, what happened?!

utilitaire 2.12

We didn’t get rained on.  Of course.  Because we brought rain gear.

Number 2 in the Utilitaire Winter Cycling games … and I’m having a hard time deciding how to log this one, but will settle on #6: Any Store That Is Not A Grocery Store.  Basically a run around town, from hardware store to bike shop (yes, again) to coffee, to groceries to cupcakes (!).  Mileage: 21-ish.  Rain: none.

It began with a trip to the hardware store, because we needed some new axe handles.   We do a lot of chopping around here, you know.  Well, maybe not me as in we … but still.  Can’t have those ax heads flying off the handle.

hardware store

needing handles

mission accomplished

Then we got to head over the bike shop because I had forgotten a thing or two when I was there the other day.  It was exciting.  We got to witness a really amazing explosion … (Charles, my bike guy has a great sense of humor with these things; he made the video).

From the bike shop, we stopped and met  Grant for coffee.  He was killing some time before heading to work, and we were just … killing some time.  And trying to test our fate with the rain gods.

We hopped on the Greenway and stopped for some groceries, and then headed over to Chattanooga Cupcakes for some desert for later on.   And while I doubt that I burned enough calories to even eat the sprinkles off of one of these things, I just cannot resist …

Greenway

groceries

groceries

cupcakes

CUPCAKES!!!

We got home just as the first drops of rain arrived.  Perfect timing.

When I thought about today’s ride, I often wonder what the bird’s-eye view of our route looks like.  We wind our way on less-traffic’d roads, hopping on the Greenway whenever it works out, and taking what sometimes feels like a rather circuitous route.  I know I could go on Google Maps or Map My Ride and officially map this thing out in an accurate way, but I decided to just doodle it.  Obviously not really to scale or accurate, but close enough.  Surprisingly, it doesn’t look as chaotic as I thought it might.

So two of twelve completed, ten remain.  Bikes: 2.  Rain: 0.

not in any way accurate or to scale

bicycle games

I love creativity and fun – especially when it involves bicycles.  From #30daysofbiking to #cyclingcaptuesday, I have always enjoyed the fun of bicycle games, the conversations they start, and the enthusiasm they kindle.  And when the bicycle games get more people, new people, out riding their bikes more of the time, it’s even better.

My Flickr/blogger/Twitter friend and radonneur extraordinaire, Mary G,  who has an excellent cycling blog, Chasing Mailboxes, cooked up a grand idea for some winter cycling fun.  She is calling it the Utilitaire 12, and you can read all about it here and here.  My own heads-up for this project first came from another great cycling blogger/friend, the “Old Guy” (and don’t let that moniker fool you – this guy can out-ride most 20-somethings) – and he’s already a few steps ahead of some of us on the Utilitaire challenge.   Of course.

I won’t try to repeat all of the guidelines to the challenge which you can read for yourselves, but basically it involves making at least 12 destination trips by bike over the course of the next six weeks.  There is a very do-able minimum mileage for each trip, and you can’t simply make the same trip over and over (like go to the grocery store 12 times).  I think this is what I love about it most – it’s going to make me mix-up my destinations, maybe bike to a place or an event that I might not normally bike to, head to a variety of locations for different reasons.   Go to a concert, attend a meeting, cycle to breakfast … and lots more (with a little wiggle room for a substitution if you need it).    You can only officially log two trips per week, spreading the project out for some consistency, and you have to photo-document part of the journey.  Cool beans, eh?  Good for everyone, good for cycling advocacy – and I hope everyone will give it a go.

Today I got to log my first trip for my control card – a trip into town to the bike shop.  Also stopped for coffee and to my optometrist to fetch some new contacts, but my project destination was the shop.

I love my bike shop – it’s kind of like a really great coffee shop, only with bikey stuff rather than caffeine.  It’s got a certain “ambiance” – camaraderie, color, and conversation.   And I had a great conversation with my bike shop guys, Charles and Andrew, had them looking over the Utilitaire project in the shop.  We enthusiastically decided that this would be a fantastic advocacy tool for local cycling in our little town, and it looks like plans are into work to make a modified community event sponsored by the shop.  How great is that?!

Meanwhile, got my errands done on what began as a foggy-soup morning but turned into an incredibly beautiful day – still no sign of winter, cycling in a tee shirt.  Checking off one on the control card.  Hope you will join in the bicycle game fun.  😀

foggy morning