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Posts from the ‘around town’ Category

utilitaire 8.12: caffeinated

Everyone is going separate ways today, but my beloved and I managed to take a little time out to ride for coffee before he heads out of town later today.  Utilitaire checkpoint #2: coffeeneuring.  Once again a traverse through town on the Greenway, and for whatever reason, I am always compelled to stop on this bridge.  I want to start keeping a tally.  There are other bridges, other underpasses, other places I ride through and across as often, or more frequently, than this bridge… but I always consciously think about this location, this bridge, whenever I cross it.  I have no idea why.

As for coffee – I know that Starbucks often gets a bad rap.  Yeah, it’s not some trendy local roaster, I can’t get a latte with a picture created in the froth, but it’s really about the only game in town.  I tend to avoid the Inman Street Coffee House run by the Salvation Army, because I have a personal aversion to the big screen tv’s they have hanging on the walls playing Fox News, and I take issue with some of the national organization’s position statements.  Sorry, Tim (and the other kids who work there).  At Starbucks, I am always greeted with a smile and treated very well by the barristas I have come to know,  I’d rather listen to music than blaring tv’s,  I’ve made a few friends here (both cyclists and non-) and truthfully, they manage to make the best skinny vanilla latte in the neighborhood.  Not to mention, it’s a convenient ride off of the Greenway.

Rode back, no time for trip-chaining today unfortunately.  Time to get on with the other stuff.  Sigh.

coffee on the go

utilitaire and a little more

Trailhead Bicycle shop

Utilitaire 6.12: it began as a trip to the bike shop, #8 on the control card (for the second time).  And then transformed into a fun family-friendly community ride on the Greenway, and finally a quick stop for dinner – along with picking up a few boxes of girl scout cookies. Mmmm.  🙂

Dillon is home from school for a quick weekend visit, and we took a ride to the bike shop.  Our shop owner, Charles, had also gotten a small group of us together at the end of the day for what is hopefully the first of many more family fun rides on our local Greenway.  The idea is to bring families together for some easy and kid-friendly rides, promoting a little more bike friendliness within our community, and working on building/strengthening an advocacy network.  I think there is also a leaning toward trying to fill the rides with “bicycle variety” – fixies, cargo bikes, and other non-typical bicycle”oddities”.    As the weather warms up and the days grow longer, we hope to include other activities like themed rides, bike picnics, frozen yoghurt stops, maybe even a wine-and-cheese type of stop for the adults.  Who knows?  We’ve also talked about incorporating some of the Utilitaire-type destinations and goals into the mix, but ultimately to appeal to a wide range of cycling abilities and interests, and get more people out on their bikes.

ready for fun

soon-to-be-new-dad Jeff test driving & planning ahead

We left from the shop, rode the Greenway from end to end, and stopped to a few minutes of discussion and planning within our fledgling start-up group.  I think we all had fun; I know I did.  Mostly, I hope we can grow the group and the idea … I would love to see more of my local friends join in the fun.  I took a lot of photos and am posting a few – hope these friends don’t mind, as I didn’t really get permission.

After the group ride, Mark, Dillon and I headed back, stopping for a quick bite on the way.  I didn’t manage to get a full-fledged night ride in as I had hoped … but we did get home before it started to rain.  Night rides will have to wait for another day.

gathering

Dillon tries out Jeff's fixie

Charles, owner of Trailhead Bicycle

utilitaire 5.12

After giving myself a few days off – no biking, swimming or much of anything else – I got back out today, thankfully feeling more like myself.  I rarely get sick, or injured, and typically try to push through it if I can.  But taking a few days to rest and lay back was a good thing, I think; I feel so much better than I did on Friday.

It was raining all morning, but the clouds began to break up shortly after noon, so I decided to make a grocery run – #5 on my Ultilitaire control card.  Two bags of groceries, a gallon of milk, a quiet ride through dripping trees, cows in damp fields, and the smell of springtime in the air.  Zig-zagging a route on back roads and out of traffic, feeling my legs again after several days off of the pedals.   Mileage guestimate: 7 miles.  Daffodils emerging: gazillions.

yin & yang storm clouds

back roads home

daffodils

utilitaire 4.12

Per Utilitaire 12 rules 5 and 6, today’s ride will get logged as a second entry for “any store that is not the grocery store”.  I rode to Target.  Barely.  This cold has gotten the best of me over the past few days, and my sinuses feel like they are filled with cement.  My teeth hurt.  But I needed a few small things – laundry detergent, juice and a couple of cards to send to my boys –  and this is a short round trip (8 mi).

My observation for the day: our local school-bus driver could stand a refresher course on the 3-foot passing rule.

utilitaire 3.12

Today’s Utilitaire 12 destination: our local public library.  I almost didn’t make it out today; I am battling an annoying upper respiratory bug, which makes me want to just sit around with a box of tissue and lots of hot tea (along with an ample dose of decongestants).  I figured a new book might help, and the library would be a quiet and relaxing destination, so I decided to ride Elisabetta for a relaxing kind of ride.  Fortunately, it was a really beautiful day – and all the more incentive for wanting to get out of the house.

I am not a frequent visitor of our local library, I am sad to say.  I’ve found the book selection to be lacking, and have been frustrated with attempts with inter-library loaning.  Within the past few years, the library has undergone extensive renovations – and the physical facility changes are very nice.   I looked for a couple of books (which they didn’t have, of course), thumbed through a few other volumes, and took a look around at all of  the new rooms.   There is even a cozy coffee/sandwich shop, Lasater’s, that has opened on the main floor of the library.  With the proximity to the local University, it appears to be a popular and well-frequented addition.   Thumbs up for the coffee, too.  Even though I left bookless, I enjoyed the trip.

I rode on the Greenway to and from town – always a nice ride on a sunny day, lots of people out walking and jogging.  I don’t keep an odometer on Elisabetta, so I am only guessing on today’s paltry mileage – 16-ish?  It was just enough for the way I am feeling today … Hoping this passes soon.

library coffee shop

feeling bleh...

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