Monthly Archives: January 2012

Utilitaire 12 Q&A

Wow! The Utilitaire 12 just went live this morning, and already people are planning their strategies for completion. Excellent, I say!

People asked quite a few questions as well so I’ve put together this post to address them.

Note: I will update this page as additional questions arise.

Carradice on the Surly LHT

While some people were asking questions, Tim over at An Old Guy on Two Wheels decided to use today to double down and complete two utilitaires. AND blog about it. Yeah, that’s right!

OK, on to the questions:

Q1. What constitutes a “week?” For example, the challenge starts today, but when does this week end?

A1. For purposes of the Utilitaire 12, a week starts on Monday and ends on Sunday.

Q2. I assume that a stop does not qualify if it is part of an exercise/training/organized ride. But it would qualify if it is on the way to or from that ride?

A2. Correct. A stop does not qualify if it is part of an exercise/training/organized ride.
If you ride to and from an exercise/training/organized ride start, I will accept that as a utilitaire substitution.

You can also choose to do a qualifying utilitaire prior to starting or after finishing an exercise/training/organized ride, and that is acceptable.

Q3. Can you count a destination as 2 different utilitaires on 2 different days? For example, if I bike to work, that counts as one. But I work in a library, so if I bike to work on another day, could I count that as going to the library?

A3. Technically, I suppose you could do that. However, it is not really in keeping with the spirit of the Utilitaire 12, which is to get out on your bike to do different kinds of utilitairing.

Q4. You mention biking after dark. Could we count a ride before dawn if we use lights and describe?

A4. Yes

Q5. Must all trips be a round trip? (Work to movie to home – count as a movie ride?)

A5. The example you cite is a good one. You may ride from work to a movie and then home. No matter where you decide to start and end, you must ride to and from the event, and each leg must be at least one mile.

Q6. Must the purpose of the trip be declared before you leave? For example, I’ve used up 2 grocery trips, but heck, I need milk so I am off to Safeway again. On the way home my hair is blowing in my face and I can’t see, but luckily there is a barber on the corner. What chance! I stop by the barber and get it cut. Can I count that as a “Haircut” ride?

A6. Great example! No, the purpose of the trip does not have to be declared before you leave.

Q7. I want to know if riding a populaire and getting a bite to eat on the trip counts??

A7. No. You may not complete a utilitaire while you are also participating in an exercise/training/organized ride. As noted in question 2, you may utilitaire by riding to and from the exercise/training/organized ride start, and this would count as a substitution for one of the other utilitaire options.

Q8. Do you need to leave from home and go back to home on the same ride??

A8. No. See Question 5.

Q9. Could I also request one of the following substitutions?

1. going to the gym
2. going to the post office
3. going to school
4. going to the zoo

A9. Yes! However, only one substitution allowed per participant.

Q10. Would “CSA Pickup” and/ or “Farmers Market” be the same category as “Grocery Store” or can I use them in lieu of?

A10. Two-part answer. Part 1 = No. CSA Pickup and/or Farmers Market are not the same category as Grocery Store. Part 2 = Yes, you may use either CSA Pickup or Farmers Market as a substitution.

Q11. Does Friday Coffee Club count as a community event? ;)

A11. Excellent question. Yes, Friday Coffee Club may count under the “Community Meeting” category.

2-12-12 UPDATE: Church also counts under the “Community Meeting” category.

Q12. If you are on the board for a non-profit that holds a community event, would biking to a board meeting count or does “community meeting” have to be open to everyone?

A12. Another two-part answer. Yes, biking to a board meeting counts as a community meeting. No, a community meeting does not mean that it has to be open to everyone. It can just be a meeting in your community.

Q13. Is it ok to extend a ride a bit to meet the distance? … The two museums in my town are both about 1/2 mile from my home — so is it ok to ride a non-direct route to get there to turn it into more than a mile, perhaps 2?

A13. Yes, that is allowable. Each leg of the ride must be at least one mile, for a total of at least two miles.

Q14. For the utilitaires that occur in the dark, do both parts of the ride have to be in the dark?

A14. No. For example, you utilitaire to work and ride in after sunrise (requiring no lights), but ride home in the dark (requiring lights). This will count toward your two utilitaires that must be completed in the dark using lights.

I hope these are helpful, and please, feel free to ask about anything else that is not clear. And keep me posted on how your utilitaires are going!

Winter Cycling Challenge: The Utilitaire 12

If you regularly read this blog, you know that I use my bike as my main form of transportation. I’ve found it is the best way for me to travel around the city and get the things I need.

Riding to coffee on the Romulus

I know some of you like bicycling for those same reasons, which is why I’ve decided it’s time for a pre-spring bike challenge. Are you ready? Today I’m launching the Utilitaire 12, which will run from today through March 16.

What’s a utilitaire? Essentially, it’s utility cycling– a ride on your bike to do an errand, or to transport yourself some place for a specific purpose. Cycling to lunch, to the grocery store, your job… it all falls under utilitairing.

For purposes of this contest, riders can select from a full list of Utilitaire 12-eligible categories.

Utilitaire Control Card

Successfully complete 12 utilitaires in six weeks and win a prize, provided you adhere to my Utilitaire Rulebook!

I hope you will consider being part of the movement. Here’s how it works.

  1. Complete 12 utilitaires from now through Friday, March 16, completing the Utilitaire Control Card (click to open) as you go.
  2. Each utilitaire must be at least two miles round trip, , but there is no maximum to what you can ride.
  3. Any day is a good day to utilitaire! You can complete a utilitaire any day of the week.
  4. You may complete a maximum of two qualifying utilitaires per week.
  5. You must complete utilitaires from at least seven of the 12 categories represented on the Utilitaire Control Card.
  6. Each category may be used a maximum of two times. For example, you may count riding your bike to a movie a total of two times.
  7. You may utilitaire twice in one day one time only!  For example, you could choose to utilitaire to lunch, and then do another ride to dessert.
  8. At least two utilitaires must occur after dark, and you must describe the lighting method used.
  9. To show evidence of your ride, you must take one photo during your utilitaire and submit at least one thing you learned or observed during your trip.
  10. If you think of a utilitaire that does not fall into any category listed on the Utilitaire Control Card, you may request to substitute your proposed utilitaire for one on the card. Requests must be submitted to me, either via a comment on this post or to the e-mail address listed below.
  11. PEDESTRIAN ALLOWANCE RULE: Because stuff happens, two of your utilitaires may be by foot.  Your walk must at least 10 minutes each way, for a total of 20 minutes.
  12. There are no geographic limitations on the Utilitaire 12.
  13. Deadline for submission for the Utilitaire 12 is March 18, 2012.
  14. Submit your Utilitaire 12 paperwork, including your Utilitaire Control Card to me at gersemalina “at” gmail.com.
  15. All qualifying rides must be submitted at the same time. That is, send me all 12 together, NOT ride 1, ride 2, etc. If you have been blogging your utilitaires, you can send me the links to those as well as the completed control card.
  16. Be prepared to be featured as a guest post on this blog if when you successfully complete this challenge.

Shopping Utilitaire with the Burley

15 16 rules, 12 utilitaires, and six almost seven weeks to get them all done. I know you’re up for it.  As you are out and about, feel free to tweet about it using the hashtag #utilitaire. I can’t wait to hear how it’s going!

Five Things Friday: Randonneuring Edition

The D.C. Randonneurs have their annual meeting this Saturday, and they’ve also arranged a pre-meeting 106 KM Populaire out of Glen Echo, Maryland. Are you going? If so, perhaps I’ll see you there.

My first brevet bike, the Rivendell Romulus

The upcoming meeting got me thinking about some of the things I enjoy about randonneuring. I decided to list five of them here. Why five? It makes the perfect number for a blog post!

1. Exploration. Before randonneuring my cycling radius was pretty small, and consisted mostly of the trail networks in and around Washington, D.C. Through randonneuring rides, that radius has grown.

I regularly ride the roads of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia now. I visit and explore places that I would otherwise never see. I follow the cue sheet over mountains, through historic areas, to coffee shops, quaint towns, and windy roads I never knew existed.

Sometimes I see these places in daylight and other times in the dark. I’ve come to appreciate the beauty of both.

2. Time Keeps Moving and Stands Still. When I pick up my cue sheet and brevet card, I know that I have a pre-determined amount of time to complete my journey. If I don’t make it within that timeframe, I am disqualified. Time keeps moving forward so I must keep moving forward, too.

At the same time, time stands still. After a ride starts, I insulate myself from all the other happenings in the world, and reserve my energy and concentration for whatever the ride might bring. World happenings? No idea. Local news? Clueless. Time pauses until I complete the event, and then it’s back to seeing how time marched marched along in my absence.

3. Simplicity. The tandem, my spouse, the bike, the clothes I’m wearing, the road, the elements, the cue sheet, brevet card, and me. The occasional thought about where and when I’ll get to eat next. Periodically making sure I still have my control card. During a ride, we live the simple life.

4. Fellowship. One of the main reasons I like to do an organized ride is to be around other people. During brevets, I share hellos, meet new faces, and catch up with randonneurs I have not seen for a while. Felkerino and I also use the time on rides to share lively chats, quiet moments, and enjoy being together.

5. Accomplishment. Being a randonneur has not brought with it the fame I expected (yes, that is a joke), but completing the distances required of a Super Randonneur series and 1200K brevets with my tandem and life partner fills me with a sense of accomplishment.

Knowing I can get by without eight hours of sleep (thought I do love sleep), ride more than 200 miles in a single day, and get up the next day and ride 200 more is a pretty cool feeling. Granted, it’s not always such a great feeling at the time, but afterward, it’s awesome.

Hope to see some of you at the D.C. Randonneurs annual meeting. Thanks for reading, everybody, and have a great weekend.

Building Community, Bicycle Style: #fridaycoffeeclub

Whenever I ride around town, I usually see a number of other cyclists out and about, but I seldom have the opportunty to interact with them, except for a wave or maybe a passing smile. We’re all managing the complexities that come with urban riding and trying to get somewhere.

On the Morning Commute

Thanks to Twitter, flickr, and the local bike-centric blogs, however, I’ve come to know several cyclists who are part of the #bikeDC scene. I read about where they’ve ridden or what their recent commutes were like. I see photos of their bikes. I know what kind of gear they’re using, or what cycling-related issues are on their mind.

Being in touch with people this way gives me a feeling of community, even though our primary space of interaction is virtual.

While I know that the people with whom I share my ride stories, tweets, and flickr photos are out in the city somewhere, and I could run into see them during one of my rides around town, so far that has only happened to me once (I crossed paths with @sharrowsDC).

Recently, a small group of us decided, via Twitter, that it would be fun to meet up in person at Swing’s Coffee around 8 a.m. on Fridays for pre-work coffee and conversation. Swing’s is located on the corner of 17th & G Streets. It’s one block from the White House Plaza, which is one of the primary commute thoroughfares for downtown cyclists.

Morning cup at Swings

We call our Friday meetup the #fridaycoffeeclub, or as Tales from the Sharrows so charmingly wrote:

#bikeDCcommutercofeemeetupfuntimebreakfastifyouwantbecausetheyalsoservesomepastriesbutivenevergottenoneohyeahforgottomentionthatthisisatswingscoffeeandyoushouldcomenextweektoo.

At first, I felt a little odd talking to people who I’d previously conversed with only through the internet. On the one hand, I felt like I knew them through their writing. On the other, I had never laid eyes on them. Ever!

Having a virtual person become a real person and then carry on a conversation with me that isn’t in the form of typing initially felt somewhat surreal. And I felt a little self-conscious, too. I hoped I measured up to all my panda photos!

#fridaycoffeeclub

Those feelings have dissipated, and I must tell you that I LOVE #fridaycoffeeclub. Felkerino describes it as a happy hour for grownups. We order our drinks, chat bikes, share recent blog posts, discuss the state of bike lanes, or whatever else comes to mind, and then we all scoot off in our own directions.

When I was in high school I worked in my little town’s coffee shop/restaurant. I never understood why people showed up to just hang out and drink coffee. Two decades later, I’ve figured it out. Getting together with others to share warm greetings, hot beverages, and light conversation is a civilized reprieve from the hustle of the city and pressures of the work day.

#fridaycoffeeclub also makes the city feel smaller, more cozy.  Gradually, I’m putting faces to the names of people in my virtual cycling community, and meeting some really interesting people in the process. If you ever find yourself near Swing’s Coffee on Friday around 8 a.m., I hope you will join us. And if you want to make sure that we will be there, you can always check in via Twitter. Search for #fridaycoffeeclub and look for tweets from @dailyrandonneur or @gypsybug!

Bikes to Like: Dan B.’s P-38 Recumbent

It’s time for more Bikes to Like, and you know what’s not been getting any love in this series? The recumbent! To remedy that situation, I called on one of my favorite recument riders, Pittsburgh-based randonneur Dan B.

If you’ve ever met Dan, you know that he is one strong bike rider. Not only does he possess excellent endurance, his hill-climbing skills are amazing. Whenever I see him pedaling up a tough grade, I have to remind myself, “Dan is no ordinary recumbent rider.” He’s effortless!

Since he has put his steed through so many randonneuring and other endurance challenges, I asked him to share a little bit about his bicycle with me. He kindly agreed, and here is what he had to share about his bicycle.

1. What kind of bike do you have?

My primary bike is a steel-framed P-38 recumbent, made by Lightning Cycle Dynamics in Lompoc, California.

Dan on the P-38 recumbent during a 600K

2. Where do you ride it?

Where do I ride it? Just about everywhere. It’s my primary brevet and touring bike, my backup commuter, and my backup go-fast. It doesn’t go on the mountain bike trails, but then again, neither do I…

3. What do you like about your bike?

I like the way it helps me ride long distances with no discomfort; I like the way it burns up the flats and the rollers; I like the fact that (as recumbents go, anyway) it climbs well; and I like the way that motorists tend to give me a wider berth on it than when I’m on my Bianchi.

4. If you had to describe your bike in one word, what would it be?

Functional. :)

5. Fenders or no fenders?

Fenders, definitely. A rear fender especially is a great place to mount a tail light and reflective material.

Another shot from the back of Dan’s P-38

6. What is one of your favorite memories with this bicycle?

Favorite memories…hmmm. I think one of my favorites was on the last leg of the Endless Mountains 1240…my knee was almost toast, I had no energy left, and I still had 25 miles to go. I was sprawled by the side of the road, waiting for the painkillers to kick in; staring at the bike through the numb haze, I suddenly realized just how much fun I had had that year. Memories of the DC brevet series and Crush the Commonwealth on the P-38 helped me get back in the saddle.

Of course, one of my least favorite memories was also on that bike, on that ride, a couple days earlier. Four flats in 5 miles almost led me to chuck it off an overpass.

7. Does your bike have a name? If so, what is it?

No name. I have certain monosyllabic endearments that are frequently employed whilst servicing the bike, but those are just between it and I. ;-)

8. What is your favorite accessory on your bike and why?

Favorite accessory…probably the Schmidt hub/head lamp/tail light combo. Not having to worry about batteries is awfully nice.

Just riding along on Day 2 of the Shenandoah 600K

9. If your bike could talk, what is one thing it would say to you?

“Are you effing kidding me?” is the most likely quote. The poor thing has handled just about every challenge I’ve thrown at it, including 12 of the 13 hills of Pittsburgh’s Dirty Dozen…the fact that it turns into a unicycle on a 37% grade is really _not_ much of a failure in my book.

10. What did I forget to ask that you want to tell me about your bike?

If one is looking for a solid all-rounder of a performance ‘bent, this is a good model with which to start. Not the best at anything, but can handle just about everything short of technical singletrack. I often refer to it as the classic sport-tourer of the recumbent world.

Thanks for sharing your steel P-38 with us, Dan, and for representing the recumbent contingent! Hope to see you on a brevet again soon.

Paris-Brest-Paris by Tandem

Have you heard enough about PBP yet? Well, hang on just a minute, because I’ve got one more story to share with you.

Felkerino and I co-wrote a short piece about what it meant for us to complete this past August’s Paris-Brest-Paris by tandem. It was published in the most recent edition of American Randonneur, the quarterly newsletter distributed by Randonneurs USA.

Felkerino and me, with Rob Hawks on PBP 2011 (c) Antoinette Galon

Randonneurs USA members may have already seen the article, but for those who have not, we decided to post it over at one of my favorite blogs, The Daily Randonneur. Click on over and check it out. It will make you immediately want to buy a tandem and start training for PBP. Kidding, though I do hope you like it!

See you on the road, everybody.

Link Love: Data, Photos, DIY, and Time Machine Edition

It’s already mid-January. How are your 2012 resolutions coming along? One of my resolutions is to read more in 2012, and while I originally intended that to refer to books, I am currently applying it more to blogs. Here’s what’s been on my screen of late.

The road's a callin'

  • Mining the Capital Bikeshare Data. Coffeeneur and local cyclist JDAntos is taking full advantage of the usage data Capital Bikeshare recently published on its site. I’m quite impressed with his distillation of the data into visual explanations of how people (“regular riders” and “casual users”) use the Bikeshare system. So far, JDAntos has assembled two posts, one that deals with various facets of Bikeshare use, and another that discusses CaBi in terms of trip duration. Thanks for helping us make sense of this information, JDAntos!
  • Around the World on a Bicycle.  In the late 1800s, Thomas Stevens became the first person to ride around the world on a bicycle– on a penny-farthing! Currently, you can read his tale for FREE via Project Gutenberg. Thanks to Vélocia for alerting me to this one.
  • Touring and Taking Photos. Go Bicycle Touring posted a list of some of their favorite touring blogs that also include beautiful photography. I like seeing how people capture their touring experiences and, as Go Bicycle Touring notes, seeing others’ photos gives me ideas for my own pictures, too.
  • Sew Your Own Bags. Errin, over at Frontage Roads, bought a sewing machine and has been making bags for himself as well as his cycling friends. His most recent post is about a frame bag he made for brevets.  It’s tailored to fit his Kogswell. I look forward to his report of how his self-sewn bag works out.

That’s a wrap on the links.

Are you riding this weekend? I’m hoping to do so, and trying not to obsess too much about the area forecast and terms like “wintry mix.” The weather people aren’t always right.

My Favorite Cycling Cap: Little Package Earflap Cap

Wearing the Little Package cap on the cold weekend ride

Randonneurs can get pretty attached to their bikes and gear, and I am no exception. While super special gear is not necessary to go out on a bike ride, there are certain pieces that I’ve acquired since I started cycling year round that make me feel good and also make my bike rides that much more comfortable.

Danger Panda and Little Package cycling cap

One of those pieces is a merino wool cycling cap I custom ordered last year from Little Package Cycling Caps. This cap is one of my favorites for several reasons:

  • It’s merino wool… my favorite!
  • The measurements of this cap are custom fit to my noggin so it’s not too big, and not too little. It’s just right.
  • My cap has a four centimeter brim, which I prefer to a five centimeter or more brim. The shorter brim allows me to look up and around more easily without craning my neck. I know it’s just a centimeter, but it makes all the difference on a ride.
  • It is reversible! Green and brown on one side, pink and brown on the other. I love the two color schemes.

Little Package custom cap – green and brown on one side…

Little Package cap – pink and brown on the other!

  • I can handwash the cap in cold water, and it does not shrink.
  • Because the cap has a reversible earflap, that is, brown earflap on one side and green on the other, the cap has a double earflap. The double earflap means extra merino wool on my ears on cold days, making it perfect for a day where temperatures are in the 20s or low 30s.
  • I regularly wear this cap on cold winter days (Washington cold, that is, not Midwest cold), and feel comfortable throughout the day. This cap is made for days that start in the mid-20s and creep into the 30s. I wear it with a helmet cover and if I start to heat up I take the helmet cover off, knowing that my head can vent a little and the double earflap will keep my ears nice and cozy.

I love knowing that I have a unique cap made just for me and to my exact specifications. I also like supporting a woman-owned business like Little Package. The quality of Caroline’s caps is excellent, and I (and others I know) have been putting her caps through their randonneuring paces for years now. Year after year, these caps keep showing up, ride after ride after ride. Yes, they are randonneur-approved!

Like I said, there are some randonneuring/cycling pieces that stand out from the rest, and my custom merino wool double earflap cap (say that five times fast) from Little Package is one of those items.

I’m sure you all have your favorite winter pieces, too, and I’d love to hear about them. In the meantime, it doesn’t hurt to do a little window shopping!

Winter Cycling: Hardcore or Something Else Entirely?

Today, Felkerino and I ventured out for a 120-mile training ride from D.C. to Brunswick, Maryland, and back. Training for what? I don’t know. Training to be fitter for the spring brevets, I suppose. And to justify all my winter gear purchases over the years.

Felkerino, nice and layered up

About half of our ride was completed in freezing or sub-freezing temperatures. Days like this require my vanity to take a back seat, and instead I focus on what clothing and gear is mostly likely to keep me comfortable throughout the day.

Today’s weapons of choice were:

  • three wool base layers;
  • Ibex Breakaway jacket;
  • reflective vest;
  • Rivendell triple tube (I use it as a neck gaiter);
  • Little Package wool cycling cap;
  • Sugoi helmet cover;
  • Ibex Kilometer gloves, with liners
  • heavy winter running tights;
  • two pairs of Smartwool socks;
  • toe warmers; and
  • Performance neoprene booties.

I also wore my Camelbak. I loathe wearing a Camelbak, as I think it only enhances my nerd image, but I loathe dehydration and drinking out of dirty bottles even more. A Camelbak is the only way I can make sure I hydrate sufficiently.

My rando-bandit look, sans gloves

Felkerino dressed similarly, but went the balaclava route as opposed to a neck gaiter. I’m not a huge fan of the balaclava unless the temperatures really have no hopes of getting over freezing. I prefer to have the option of easily adding or subtracting fabric on my neck and face so I often go gaiter. Ed calls it my rando-bandit look.

As we pedaled through town this morning, I felt pretty tough. While other people slept in or went to the gym, Felkerino and I were going out for a full day of riding. Go us!

My point of pride started to ebb somewhat, however, when I went to take a sip from my Camelbak. Frozen. Argh! To have this embarrassing piece of equipment rendered useless was the first blow to my bad#&$ winter ride.

Felkerino on Lilypons Road, I believe

We pedaled around 25 miles and Felkerino mentioned that his feet were cold. Mine had gone from toasty to tingly cold, too. Tingly cold toes are preferable to throbbing toes or hands, but definitely not optimal. Felkerino supposed that our toe warmers were defective. I responded that I did not think they were defective. They just were not up to the challenge of a freezing morning. After all, they’re just toe warmers, not a space heater.

In Poolesville, we continued to debate the toe warmer issue, and warmed up with a little breakfast. As we sat, my toes began to warm. This improved my disposition, and we put our hats and gloves on to start riding again. I pulled my pink triple tube up over my face, and I think I succeeded in freaking out a small child at a nearby table. I must have looked pretty weird. Sorry, kiddo! The tailwind that followed us out the door made the ride rather comfortable up to our midway point in Brunswick, Maryland.

The breeze had been increasing throughout the morning. While downing my midday sandwich, I had considered taking a layer off and switching to lighter gloves, but after we pulled out of town and straight into the teeth of the wind, I was glad I had kept on all of my layers.

The post-lunch section after Brunswick was also fairly choppy and included one of the favorite local climbs, Mar-Lu-Ridge, the “easy way.”

Climbing Mar-Lu

The cyclist-free roads (except for us), biting headwind, unstoppable runny nose, and uncomfortable temperatures had me seriously reconsidering my bad#&$ image. Was I hardcore, or just an idiot? Bad#&$ or dumb#&$? I chewed on that topic in my head for a while. After over 30 miles of the headwind trying to push us in the opposite direction, we arrived back in Poolesville.

90 miles done and 30 to go. Why didn’t we choose to endure the headwind on the first half of the ride, I wondered. I then rationalized that I was glad we had a tailwind push us out to the midway point, as a sub-freezing headwind does nothing for a rider’s morale, and would probably have encouraged us to shortcut. No, better to deal with a somewhat stiff above-freezing headwind on the return leg. At least you know that each labored pedal stroke is getting you that much closer to home.

Felkerino and I churned our way back to Potomac for a treat and a coffee. The warm coffee felt heavenly rolling down into my stomach. Though I know that I could have chosen something healthier for the final run-in home, the sugar snack sure made a tasty reward for all those cold miles into the wind, and inspired me to pedal the final 17 miles home with verve.

Braving the stinky tunnel under Canal Road

While I asked myself several times why we had chosen a 120-mile ride in January, I am pretty happy Felkerino and I pushed ourselves today. My Camelbak thawed after about 40 miles of riding. The sun stayed out all day, the skies were a beautiful clear blue, the temperatures were uncomfortable but definitely not unbearable, and we layered well.

Felkerino and I enjoyed spending the day outside together, even though we had to shout at each other a few times in order to be heard over the wind. It helped me envision what we’ll be like as an older couple, ha! We have the gear and lights to ride in the dark, and as long as the temperature is not dropping like a stone, night riding is not a big deal to us.

The other great thing about a long cold winter ride is returning home. It feels so good to know you spent the day exerting yourself physically, and getting a little windblown and dirty. It makes curling up on the couch with a blanket simply delicious.

My thicker gloves and general disposition meant that I did not take that many pictures of the day. I know Felkerino will be posting his soon, though, and I’ll update this post with a link to flickr when he does. UPDATE: Felkerino’s photos… just press here.

Hope everybody had a great weekend, and maybe even enjoyed a bit of the outdoors. Let’s talk again soon.

Link Love: Getting Reflective Edition

It’s been a great week out there in creative writing cyberspace, and I have some excellent content to share. What are you waiting for? Read on!

Alec rounds the bend on Last Train from Clarksville

  • Reflective Vests. Gypsy by Trade, who currently calls Alaska home, writes about the importance of the reflective vest. He even made his own. Reflective vests– so critical to wear, so hard on my vanity.  Gypsy by Trade put a new spin on it for me, though.
  • Reflections on a High Mileage Year. Mellow Yellow Bent rode over 14,000 miles in 2011 and logged more than 10,000 “official” kilometers through RUSA rides and his completion of Paris-Brest-Paris. Yowza! All amazing accomplishments. Mellow Yellow talks about the fun he had as well as what he missed while pedaling to complete his 2011 goals.
  • The Long Journey of Recovery. The first time I saw the Hudson Valley Randonneur, he was doing final preparations on his bike as we readied to start the Endless Mountains 1000K. The next time I saw him, he was being moved onto a stretcher and into an ambulance after a car rear-ended him and left him with 24 broken bones in his body while his bike lay crunched in the middle of the road. George wrote about his amazing journey of recovery from this horrific accident for the latest issue of American Randonneur, and has now published it on his blog. Thank you, George, for sharing your incredible story. PBP 2015– I’m in!
  • Police Officer, Cyclist, and Plaintiff. Remember when Girl on a Bike was struck from behind by an aggressive driver?  Girl finally had her day in court. You can read all about it, as well as the judge’s sentencing decision, here.
  • Rawland rSogn Eye Candy. Just for the record, I DESPISE the term “bike porn.” EWWWWWW, I hate it so. That said, flickr member bmenutti posted some lovely shots of his Rawland rSogn, some with an Ostrich front bag on the front, and some with an Acorn saddle bag on the rear and a Sackville bag on the front. Like!
  • My Friend’s Randonneur Bike. Rando-buddy Alec talks a bit about his VO Rando bike and the places he’s ridden it. Conclusion? Anywhere and everywhere is a good place to take your bicycle!

Thanks to everybody who took the time to write these fine posts. Now, make sure to turn off your computer and get out for a ride!