Giveaway: Apres Velo T-Shirt designed by Just Eleanor

Apres Velo t-shirt designed by Eleanor  Dalkner.

Apres Velo t-shirt designed by Just Eleanor.

Way back when Felkerino and I attended the Philadelphia Bike Expo, I purchased an Après Velo t-shirt featuring Tour de France imagery.

The design on the shirt was created by Just Eleanor. Eleanor had a booth at the expo and was selling both t-shirts and posters.

Front of the t-shirt. Sorry for the wrinkles, but I carried it away from the expo rolled up in my pannier.

Front of the t-shirt. Sorry for the wrinkles, but I carried it away from the expo rolled up in my pannier.

Her designs appealed to me so I picked up one of her shirts. Unfortunately for me, the one I purchased has never been worn because it does not fit. My loss is your gain, readers, because I’m giving it away.

This short-sleeve t-shirt is a women’s size large and fits like a true women’s size large, which I’m glad about because I really can’t stand those women’s t-shirts sized as large and then you try them on and wonder if a 10-year-old could even fit into it. I digress…

Apres Velo shirt, back.

Apres Velo shirt, back side.

The color is marketed as oatmeal and black. It’s not bright white, not ivory. Oatmeal.

A small decorative pocket embroidered with “Après Velo” adorns the front. As you can see in the photo, the back of t-shirt features the phrase “Après Velo Cycling Team” on the top portion. Sleeves and back of the shirt are black.

To conclude:

Size: Women’s Large (true to size)
Color: Oatmeal/Black
Design: Tour de France design by Just Eleanor.

Interested in this t-shirt? Let me know in the comments of this post by March 31, 2014, and I’ll randomly select a winner.

A photo of my sister's cat, Ethel. Just because.

A photo of my sister’s cat, Ethel. Just because.

How do random drawings work in giveaways I’ve done through this blog? After the giveaway deadline, I take all commenters’ names, write them on a piece of paper, put them in a hat, and Felkerino closes his eyes, reaches his hand into the name cap, and picks out one name. Winner is then contacted with the email he or she used when inputting their comment. Good luck!

On Naming Your Bike: The Baby Post of Bike Names

One of the posts people read frequently on this blog is Say My (Bike’s) Name: On Naming Your Bike, in which I described my  tandem partner’s affinity for naming bikes and my own tendency not to do so.

Bike collage

That bike naming post received great comments about people’s processes for naming bikes as well as their bikes’ names. I liked them so much that I thought they deserved their own post, rather than being an addendum to my original remarks.

Below you will find the “Baby Post of Bike Names,” a first attempt at capturing the bike names shared on Chasing Mailboxes. Thanks to all contributors.

Enjoy, and if you have a name to add please do so in the comments. I will update the post accordingly.

By the way, the name The Big Cat stuck so our Co-Motion Java Tandem is frequently referred to as such. Meow? Rawr!

Baby Post of Bike Names

Amelia — Cannondale Quick 3. Named after Amelia Earhart, she flies far and fast. @astridbear

Archie, short for Archaeopteryx –  Blue 1974 Raleigh Professional set up as a fixed gear. Because I used that as my animal totem in the Furnace Creek 508 years ago, and somehow that became the bike’s name. Emily O’B

Audrey – Mixte named after Audrey Hepburn because she is a pretty little mixte that I ride to work or to the coffee shop/pub in my street attire/makeup. She even has a woven basket. @Vic_toria

Baby – Circe Helios Duo tandem. @velovoice

Battleship Stupid – Surly Big Dummy @I_am_Dirt

The Beast – Salsa Mukluk fatbike. It’s big and likes to roll over things. Christopher T.

The Beast – Specialized Crossroads Sport (very heavy)
. Laura

Betty – Electra Cruiser. Because that’s the name she comes with (it’s model). @girlonabikedc

Big Blue – Blue Raleigh Grand Prix: Big Blue. Rootchopper

Big Nellie – Tour Easy Recumbent. So named because I yelled “Whoa Nellie!!” as I passed 45 miles per hour fully loaded on Big Savage Mountain. Rootchopper

Birte – Koga  Named after the person who signed off on the QC tag checklist…but I just call it, My Traveller. @mujozen

Blackie – 
Black Trek 1200. Rootchopper

Bluey – Jamis commuter. @jerdlngr

Blue – Jamis. Her name is Blue because, well, she’s BLUE. pencilfox

Bridget – 2010 Surly Cross Check. @velovoice

Casper the Little White Moulton – Moulton. Judith S.

Clover – Surly Disc Trucker, dark green. Named after one of the workhorses in Animal Farm for color, dependability and ability to haul lots of stuff. Sally H.

Demon - 2010 cannondale F5. robyn

Doris – Specialized mixte. Named after the BMW satNav system, Drive On Roads Intelligent System. Take the bike rather than the car, any day. LisaEmms

My Dumpster Bike – rando/commute bike. Because that’s where my wife found it and insisted I go dumpster-diving to get it. Andy

Electric Dream Machine – Felt ZW5. EDM for short. Laura

Esmeralda – Surly Long Haul Trucker. Iron Rider

Esmeralda – Brompton. @MrTinDC

Esmerelda – 2010 Raleigh Venture 3.0. The 2008 Raleigh Venture 3.0. James R.

Essie – Raleigh SC30. James R.

The Fixie – Raleigh Super Course. An admittedly unoriginal name that reflects its conversion. MT Cyclist

Fleur – Linus Dutchi @seven2seven8

Frankie – Handbuilt frame from tube steel. @josephlrc

Frankie – Red 80s steel frame with lots of replacement parts including crazy mustache bars with black-and-white zebra tape. Named after Frankenstein, but androgynous. Sally H.

Free Spirit – Schwinn Free Spirit. Laura

Giant – Giant Innova. Pronounced: gee-aunt but with more of a French accent to make it sound fancier. Renee Christine

Giddyup - Salsa Vaya. Because it’s light and quick. Christopher T.

Greased Lightning – Jamis Ventura Race. @TurtleDub616

The Great White – Santana Noventa tandem. Named such due to its pearl white color, and also my penchant for singing the Jaws theme as we overtake an unsuspecting half-bike. - pearl white Santana Noventa tandem. Paul

Gregor – a stupidly big bike named for the mountain that rides (Gregor Clegane). TheAirgonaut

Idéefixe – Bianchi San Jose, a fixed-gear. Named as an homage to Idéfix, Astérix’s dog and as a quasi-joke about fixation with bicycles. @ricksva

Ivan – Dahon folder. Tim

Jealousy, the Green Dragon – Lemond Ventoux, repainted British racing green. @josephlrc

Jon Snow – Specialized Allez. He knows he’ll never inherit the title and lands, but he is noble and strong nonetheless and goes off to join the Black Watch, and does an honourable job defending the kingdom. @Vic_toria

Julek – Trek 8000 mountain bike. @seven2seven8

Julius – Peugeot folder, named after its color. “Orange Julius,” get it? MT Cyclist

Kermit – Velo Orange Polyvalent. Because he’s green and has an affinity for swamps. @girlonabikedc

Lady Raincorn – 
Peugeot Versailles (white with rainbow accents)
. Laura

The Lead Sled – Cannondale mountain tandem, charcoal gray in color. Another bike Felkerino succeeded in naming.

Leela – Takara Tribute, 80s steel frame. Smart, sturdy, light purple, one eyed (headlight) so named after the Futurama character. Sally H.

Liesl – 1950s Puch Rugby Sport. @velovoice

Lil Bleu - 2008 cannondale six13. robyn

Little Nellie – Bike Friday New World Tourist. Named after James Bond’s kit helicopter in You Only Live Twice.

Lorelei – 1979 Puch Princess mixte. @velovoice

Lucy – 2012 Brompton custom S8L. @velovoice

Miss Persimmon Pimpernel — Electra Townie. With her deep orange paint, white fenders and rack, and a flower bedecked front basket, she is every inch a lady. @astridbear

Mongo – Surly Big Dummy. Tim

The Mule - Heavy as hell old Specialized Sequoia, a corruption of Mjolnir, Thor’s hammer that only he can lift. Rootchopper

Old Faithful – Specialized Expedition (mountain-y hybrid). Laura

Ole Red - 1995 Cannondale Super V-900. robyn

Old Ironsides – Specialized hybrid. Named to note its substantial weight and steel-like qualities, but in truth rarely use the term. Steve

Pauline – Surly Long Haul Trucker, because the silver screen like smoggy pearl color reminded me of old silent movies like “The Perils of Pauline,” in which the heroine goes on many adventures, as I plan for the bike to do. James R.

Pearl – Cyclepro Mixte. My husband rescued and rebuilt it for me. True love, my commuter! @JenBrenneman

Pig, short for Iron Pig – Novara Randonnee. Originally named for how it handles with a 60 pound load, it’s kept its name (fondly) for the way it got me across the country. Pat L.

Pilot Vanishing Point – Custom Fast Boy Cycles mixte. Named Pilot Vanishing Point (a certain type of fountain pen), after the lugwork. @justshinyorg

Puck – Jamis 26″ mountain bike. Tim

Rachel – 1996 Specialized Rockhopper. James R.

Riley – 2014 custom Enigma Etape.

The Radish – 70s Motobecane 10-speed. @seven2seven8

Resolute Ruby – 2007/2008 Cannondale Quick. The story of how she got her name is here. russtyred

Robin – 2011 Surly Pacer. @velovoice

Rocinante – CCM. This bike somehow made its way south of the border to Washington, Illinois in the late 1970s. Every part was worn out, I eventually added a third wheel to it so I could compete in a high-school tricycle race, and shortly thereafter, I retired it. It was politely exotic and pretty much shot. 16incheswestofpeoria

RocketGirl – Titanium Seven  @LDMay, who also works for NASA)

Rollie – ’75 Raleigh Sprite, the bike that launched my bike-wrenching obsession. MT Cyclist

Rootie – Trek mountain bike, because of its root beer color scheme. MT Cyclist

Ruby – a ruby-red 2010 9:Zero:7 fat bike. Michael L.

Sandy – Bianchi Volpe. @TurtleDub616

Silver Bullet – anodized silver Santana Sovereign. The frame looks like it’s made out of aluminum (Coors) beer cans and it’s fast! MikeC

Speedy - 2007 Cannondale Supersix. robyn

Sweetpea – ANT mixte. Nancy L.S.

Sweetpea – Surly Long Haul Trucker. Because it’s an apt description of her nature and color. @kfront

The Tank – Specialized Sirrus. @WilyMouse

“Taxman Craig” (or simply “Craig”) – Shogun Ninja I bought off Craigslist the very day I received my tax return. Jordan L.

Thorp – Custom road bike (named after Jim Thorpe). Tim

Tiny – Bike Friday Pocket Rocket. Bob T.

Tropical Gail and Storm - 2008 Cannondale road tandem. Captain half is Tropical Gail; stoker half is Storm. robyn

Venture, short for Aventurine – Surly Disc Trucker in matte green. Julie S.

Veronica – 2008 Raleigh Venture 3.0. James R.

Violet – Specialized road bike. Because the first road bike I test rode was purple, and the name stuck. Apparently there really are reddish violets.  @jerdlngr

Woody Anne – 2000 Surly Cross Check, named after a bar down on Winnebago Street. Michael L.

Yellow Submarine – Dahon Speed Pro folder, due to an unfortunate episode involving a (surprisingly deep) river, back when I lived on the Isle of Man. @WilyMouse

Zwijn – Schwinn World Tourist. Zwijn is Dutch for hog, sounds like “sfwain.” I’m Dutch by birth, as are most of the people in my corner of Iowa. Plus, the Netherlands is solid bikes from one end to the other, so it works. Nathan

Errandonnee: Final Day!

It all comes down to this. All qualifying Errandonnee trips must be completed today, March 20.

Errandonnee to Chinatown Coffee with Felkerino

Errandonnee to Chinatown Coffee with Felkerino

Will you finish? I’m rooting for you. Thirty-two official finishers so far, from lots of different places.

Don’t forget to email me after you complete your rides and complete your paperwork so I can put you on the finishers list. Write-ups are not due today, but should be sent by March 25.

Coffeeneuring w/ Felkerino

Coffeeneuring w/ Felkerino

Thanks to everyone who has made the Errandonnee such a creative and dynamic challenge.

Delayed Post-Marathon Satisfaction

Marathon medal
During and even after running the D.C. Rock ‘n Roll Marathon on Saturday, I felt pretty glum. Frustrated that I had not run faster despite not setting a time goal. Mad at myself for lingering in a low point for five miles during the event. Disappointment despite finishing without injury. 
I’m not used to those feelings during an event, and can only recall my first marathon (Chicago, 2002) being a similar struggle. Usually, running a marathon means a short low point (say a mile or two), and a majority of the miles and immediate aftermath are a rush of gratitude and elation. Two or three days later I tend to dip into a funk that lasts for a few days and then I even out into my old self (whoever that is).
This particular time the opposite is occurring. I spent part of the run and most of the two days following it feeling funky. Yesterday and today I’ve been basking in the post-marathon glow. I feel great. My body is recovering nicely. I’m proud of my accomplishment and not down on myself like I was. It’s so weird how a person can go through so many different ways of perceiving an experience. 
I reviewed the marathon results this week, noting that 16,578 people completed the half-marathon and 2,730 ran the full. What a vast difference in participation rates! 2,730 people is still a big number, but compared to those who ran the half it is tiny. I still think having comparatively few runners remain in the second half of the event contributed to my mental state in the second 13.1 miles.
I also took another look at where I finished relative to the rest of the course. Overall, I placed in the latter half of runners, and was smack in the middle of all the women finishers. My time of 4:28:42, while not fast, was a consistent time for me and a personal best on this course at exactly eight minutes faster than my previous best. 
It’s funny how my post-marathon feelings have been so reversed this go-round. I dislike the dips that come with events like this, but I am really glad that the post-marathon satisfaction arrived, even if it might be too late to wear my finisher’s medal around the office. 

What Kind of Person Rides a Surly Long Haul Trucker?

"I heart your bike: " Surly

“I heart your bike: ” Surly

Occasionally I check the statistics page of this blog to find out what searches led people to Chasing Mailboxes.

The most common search terms are for the blog name itself and in a close second “Surly Long Haul Trucker.” Third? “Surly LHT.”

Recently I saw that some people stumbled upon this space via the phrase “What kind of person rides a Surly Long Haul Trucker.”

Indeed. What kind of person does ride a Surly Long Haul Trucker?

I delved into my archives and found at least a partial answer to that question. Lots of people! Touring cyclists, randonneurs, commuters… we really like the Surly LHT.

Me and the Surly on the Mt. Vernon Trail

Me and the Surly on the Mt. Vernon Trail

Surly LHT. Blue Velvet Version

Surly LHT on the commute. Blue Velvet Version

Kristen (in the middle) on a Surly LHT on Adam and Crystal's first day of their cross country tour

Kristen (in the middle) on a Surly LHT out for a bike overnight on Adam and Crystal’s first day of their cross country tour.

Surly Long Haul Trucker!

Surly Long Haul Trucker heading out for a bike tour on the W&OD!

Mike's Truckaccino Surly LHT

Mike’s Truckaccino Surly LHT. Commutes and randonneuring

Surly Bicycles on the W&OD

Surly bicycles on the W&OD. Heading out for a bike touring weekend.

Lane, on the Surly LHT

Lane, on the Surly LHT on a weekend “training” ride

Mike and his Surly on the fleche. I think this is an LHT, but w/ a different fork?

Mike and his Surly on the fleche. I think this is an LHT, but w/ a different fork?

Kirstin on her Surly LHT

Kirstin on her Surly LHT. WABA 50 States Ride


David on a DC Randonneurs Brevet

50 States Ride - Surly LHT

Surly LHT on the WABA 50 States Ride

John and his Surly LHT at the D.C. Randonneurs '12 Populaire

John and his Surly LHT at the DC Randonneurs Glen Echo Populaire


Chris on his Disc Trucker at the Hains Point 100

Jesse's Surly LHT. Sorry I only got it from this angle

Jesse’s Surly LHT at Friday Coffee Club. Sorry I only got it from this angle

Justin and John on Pennsylvania Avenue (Photo by Felkerino)

Justin on the LHT and John with his SOMA on Pennsylvania Avenue, post-Friday Coffee Club, I think (Photo by Felkerino)

Ben and Lane talk Surlys

Ben and Lane talk Surlys.

Felkerino calls the Surly Long Haul Trucker the Schwinn Varsity of our time. Perhaps he’s right.

I really like answering this question “What kind of person rides a Surly LHT.” Do you ride a Surly LHT? How do you use it? Let us know in the comments.

Errandonnee Extension to March 20: Snow Day Bonus Day

Given today’s snowfall in the Washington, D.C., area there will be one additional snow day bonus day to meet the Errandonnee challenge. See? The Errandonnee is just like school.

Even the snowman is mad about winter

Even the snowman is mad about winter

That means all errandonneurs/errandeurs/people who are riding their bikes to complete the Errandonnee have until midnight in their respective Errandonnee time zones on March 20, 2014, to complete all 12 errands. All other rules apply.

Well done to everyone who has already completed the challenge! As of this writing, there were just under 15 official finishers. Please remember to shoot me an email upon your completion of the Errandonnee in order to make sure I receive your submission. 

One last thing– I am considering a slight revamp of the categories for next year so if you have any new Errandonnee categories to suggest please let me know!

D.C. Rock ‘n Roll Marathon: Run Hard, Brunch Harder*

Me at the marathon finish

I generally arrive at the starting line of the D.C. Rock ‘n Roll Marathon with wavering confidence. I love the course, which creatively sews together a scenic 26.2-mile tour through all four quadrants of the city, but spring marathons are generally a challenge for me.

While my idea of a successful run is extremely attainable– complete the course with no lingering pain and a smile on my face– I find winter training more difficult due to limited sunlight and colder days.

This particular event offers both half and full marathon options, and there is a sign at packet pickup stating that marathoners may convert to the half simply by running the shorter distance. It’s that easy.

Given that the half provides marathoners a bailout option, it creates a bit of a personal dilemma when game day arrives and I’m wondering about the adequacy of my training. Doubt and the possibility of stopping halfway creep into my mind.

My body was loose and fresh as I ran the 1.5 miles to the starting area, and for the first half of Saturday’s run I felt great. It was a PERFECT day (still not sure how that happened) and I conserved energy by staying calm and avoiding the urge to surge around others.

Marathoners run most of the first half with those running the shorter distance through Northeast and Northwest, and we then carry on to complete the second 13.1 miles in the Southwest and Southeast quadrants.

In addition, the route passes by my house at mile 16.5. Yes, that’s right. Mile 16.5.

North Capitol

North Capitol

The course’s beginning miles follow roads frequently used on other local events. Constitution Avenue, Memorial Bridge, and Rock Creek Parkway are all part of the greatest hits of D.C. runs.

I most enjoy this marathon when it extends into parts of the city where organizers don’t usually route events. We climb away from Rock Creek up to Calvert Street and enter Adams Morgan, the neighborhood where I first lived when I moved to D.C.

Tromping up Columbia Road and the steady incline along Harvard Street is great fun. It’s super lively and people provide excellent encouragement.

Another highlight of the first half is the section along North Capitol over to H Street in Southeast. These areas have undergone so much change recently; it’s interesting to run by them and see the differences in the neighborhoods.

Halfway around, on East Capitol Street

Halfway around, on East Capitol Street

The time came to make the split for the second half and I knew I was well-conditioned to continue. No bailout on this day. Another favorite segment ensued as I glided down Constitution past the U.S. Capitol.

However, at mile 14 or so I started thinking about how I had finished at the halfway point the year before and wouldn’t it be great if I was off to brunch right this minute instead of still running.

Felkerino, who was riding around to support me, met me and that lifted my spirits (he was the best cheering section a person could wish for throughout the event).

I put my negative thoughts aside for the moment and continued through the 9th Street Tunnel (I don’t know why I think it’s fun to run through there, but it is), and we runners steadily padded our way along… toward my house.

Felkerino met me again as I passed our complex (as previously noted, mile 16.5. 16.5!). I don’t remember saying this, but I apparently told him, “I am really gutting this out.” It is not characteristic for me to say those kinds of things, but it shows what a mental struggle this run had become.

I really wanted to quit at my house. However, I had told a few people at work that I was running the full marathon and did not want to show up Monday not having met my stated goal. Also, since the only real thing that plagued me at that moment was a bad mood, I was obliged to continue.

Going by the Canadian Embassy. I don't feel so great here, but it's not  Canada's fault.

Going by the Canadian Embassy before the 9th Street Tunnel. I don’t feel so great here, but it’s not Canada’s fault.

We ran by the Waterfront and Ft. McNair, a couple pretty parts of Southwest. We then turned by the salvage yard and the cement plant (not so pretty, in case you’re wondering), over the bridge on South Capitol Street (which is fun in its novelty, but a tough surface for the feet) and on into Southeast. This part of the course is really lovely because you run more than two miles through the open green space in Anacostia Park.

However, it is also a fairly solitary section so you don’t get a lot of energy from spectators. And if you have read any of my previous run reports, you know I love spectators at marathons because they cheer like crazy and tell you all “Good job!” and say that you are awesome.

This solitude gave me plenty of time for reflection. I reflected on how all the half-marathoners were probably out wearing their finisher medals and eating brunch, laughing and talking about how awesome their runs had been. I thought about how they were so smart to stop when they did. What kind of fool was I to think that the full marathon distance was a good idea?

Then I became completely annoyed with myself for having such an extended low point. I asked myself what else I would want to be doing Saturday morning. I could not think of anything. Okay, maybe brunch, but brunch could wait. The day was absolutely perfect. In the 60s, by the late morning. We even had sun! I was running in shorts. What was the problem?

I then evaluated what was really hurting. My calves were tight. Other parts on my body felt tight, but nothing was in an unmanageable state of discomfort. Conclusion? My low point was truly mental.

These ruminations led me to lose count of my mileage and I passed the next mile marker, which read 22 and not 21, as I had thought it would. It was a marathon miracle!

Tandem taxi service

Tandem taxi service

This marathon miracle meant I had 4.2 miles to go. That’s my lunch run. I mentally put myself at the start of my lunch run with my running friends. I pretended that we were all out for a slow meander to the Lincoln Memorial and back, which is the 4.2-mile loop we do almost every day.

At each mile marker that followed I imagined where I would be on my lunch run, and what sorts of things we would be chatting about. It buoyed my spirits and distracted me from the plodding that I was most assuredly doing.

We made our way up the long steady Minnesota Avenue hill, one of my favorite parts of this course. It is the last big challenge of the marathon, you can see the people stretched out in front of you, and you get a good downhill after you crest the top. From that point it’s a flat to downhill jog to the end.

The proximity of the finish further rejuvenated me and I picked up my pace. I could not wait to cross the finish line. I imagined myself sprinting along, but I’m pretty sure it was just a slightly faster plodding that what I had been doing for the last 10 miles. I crossed the finish line in high spirits, with Felkerino cheering me and taking photos.

Marathon time

Obligatory marathon bib and medal shot

Obligatory marathon bib and medal shot

One of the reasons I like the marathon distance is that it almost always involves confronting some sort of mental or physical discomfort. I was disappointed that I had gotten so down for what was an unusually long period for me, but glad that I pushed through.

Felkerino and I rode away on our tandem and I finally got that brunch I’d been hoping for. After running 26.2 miles and just shy of 4 hours and 29 minutes of running through the streets of Washington, D.C., I felt I had truly earned it. I think that second 13.1 miles of running made my food extra tasty, too.

Note: All images in this post, with the exception of the last two, are courtesy of my personal cheering section, Felkerino.

* I originally titled this summary as “Four Quadrants, Many Moods,” but at mile 18 I saw a spectator sign that read “Run Hard, Brunch Harder.” It has stuck in my head and seems a more fitting title for this run.

Standing Desk Diary: My Feet!

A photo of the Surly LHT, just because.

A photo of the Surly LHT, just because.

It’s been one month since I started using a standing desk at my j-o-b. While I’m definitely settling in, I’m still surprised sometimes when I walk around the corner in the morning. Oh right, I work at a standing desk all day.

Overall, the adjustment process continues and I am happy to report that it is mostly positive. I have read all of the comments people made on my original post closely, and modified my setup and routine based on them.

Standing desk

Standing desk

Weeks 3: March 3-9

  • Reading about alignment. Thanks to the comments, I purchased Every Woman’s Guide to Foot Pain Relief: The New Science of Healthy Feet, by Katy Bowman and eagerly read it. It’s really helping me figure out a healthy standing position and the perils of wearing a positive heel.
  • No heels allowed. I ditched the heels completely and have not worn them since the beginning of March. I first stopped wearing heels because of the pressure on the front half of my feet and then I completely lost my appetite for wearing them after reading Katy Bowman’s book, in which she succinctly writes about the long-term health problems that can arise as a result of regular wear of shoes with a positive heel. I purchased a pair of Sanita clogs, and found them to be pretty comfortable for standing and walking around the office.
  • Upper back stiffness. Discomfort nagged occasionally at my shoulders and neck muscles, but I continue to tweak the angle of my monitors so that I look straight on at them.
  • Sitting on my desk. I completely cheated and sat on a corner of my desk one day to read whatever was up on my monitor. I was tired, it was late in the day toward the end of the week, and I did not feel like sitting down away from the computer. I don’t want to make that a habit.
  • Alignment. The Katy Bowman book has opened my eyes to alignment of the body and feet. I regularly look down at my legs and feet to see how I’m standing. I am trying to stand evenly and not place my weight one side or the other for extended periods of time. I try to stand with good posture with body weight evenly distributed.
  • Tight calves. I don’t know why, but my calves felt tight this week. I don’t know if that is from standing in shoes without a heel or from running or what. Any ideas?
  • Foot pain lessening. The first weeks of my standing desk, pain would radiate from the balls of my feet in the afternoon. I also had occasional twinges from my right ankle. The combination of ditching the heels, wearing better shoes, and taking sitting breaks whenever I feel like I need to seems to make a difference, and I am standing without foot discomfort.
  • Standing desk field trip. This week someone in my office passed by and saw my standing desk. He uses one, too, and showed me some of the various facets of his setup. His desk is wider than mine and in addition to a monitor and keyboard, he also does paperwork while standing. I still prefer to read or scribble while sitting, as it provides a welcome break from the standing routine.
Kevin's DIY standing desk

Kevin’s DIY standing desk

Week 4: March 10-15

  • Brevets and standing desks, how do they mix? Over the weekend, Felkerino and I rode a 200K. Monday I returned to my standing desk setup and my legs and body felt fine. I was relieved about that, as I’d like to continue standing as the brevets continue and get longer. We’ll see.
  • Stretching stretching stretching. My monitor setup seems to be pretty good now. I’m not craning or twisting my neck anymore. I’m taking stretching breaks, both for my shoulders and for my lower back. I have never liked stretching much, but now I’m getting into it!
  • Standing mat ordered. Based on comments, I researched standing mats and ordered one. It has yet to arrive, but I’ll let you know when I start using it.
  • Obsessed with my feet. Thanks to those who recommended the Katy Bowman book, I’m now preoccupied (in a good way!) with my feet. Sitting at a desk with my legs and feet out of view seemed to follow the “out of sight, out of mind” cliché. Standing really increases my awareness of my legs in a weird way. Has anyone else experienced this???
  • Minimalist shoes. I now spend part of my day in minimalist shoes. I own a few pair of Merrell minimalist shoes and one pair of Vivobarefoot slippers. I use them for walking and some weight workouts. Based on Katy Bowman’s book (have I mentioned this book enough yet?) I decided to try using them for a few hours at my standing desk. They’re great, although my vanity is suffering a little from this no heel business.
  • More movement. Maybe I mentioned this previously, but I am more active throughout the day with my standing desk. Instead of procrastinating little trips around the office, I do them whenever I think of them. It’s remarkable how much inertia took over when I sat all day. I would just sit and sit and try to combine all my walking tasks into quick bursts before I went to lunch or something. None of that at my current setup. I continue to have more energy throughout the day.
  • Sitting when I want. I regularly take short sitting breaks and, when I’m ready or need to resume work at the computer, I do it. The shift from standing to sitting throughout the day is taking on a natural feel, although I definitely spend over half my day on my feet.
  • Standing desk discussions. People still pass by, see my desk, pause, and ask me about the desk itself as well as how my setup is working out. One of my running buddies set up his own DIY standing desk after a couple of runs where I expounded on my new office lifestyle. (His is the second standing desk photo in the post.) I was quite impressed by his creativity. The setup for the mouse is my favorite.

Overall, I’m still giving the standing desk a thumbs up. As I said earlier, I’m curious how the standing desk will work as we head into the brevet season and what is generally a more active time. It’s still novel, but given that I spent most of my school and work life sitting, it could be a long time before I tire of it.

As always, I’m eager for feedback so let me know of other stuff I may want to be thinking about. I’m also curious about people’s experiences using minimalist shoes while at a standing desk so please fill me in if you can…

Errandonnee Roundup!

We’re well past due for an Errandonnee roundup, wouldn’t you agree?

The Cannondale tourer. Errandonnee to work

The Cannondale tourer. Errandonnee to work


To see what’s been going on in the Twitterverse, I put together two Storify posts for you.

See part one, “Getting out, getting stuff done, and riding your bike = Errandonnee,” here, and find part two, “Oh the places you’ll go when you do the Errandonnee,” here.


Many people use Instagram to document their errands and you will see a nice visual stream of those if you click this.


Others use flickr to document their rides. Rootchopper set up an Errandonnee 2014 flickr group for us so feel free to add your pics to the mix.

Also, today I received a lovely Errandonnee flickr set from stakx that I highly recommend you check out.

This is the special badge you receive in Pittsburgh if you finish the Errandonnee! Courtesy of Vannevar.

This is the special badge you receive in Pittsburgh if you finish the Errandonnee! Courtesy of Vannevar.


Meanwhile, here is some Errandonnee news from the blogs, which are from various places here on planet Earth.

  • Errandonnee is a Word with TripleDouble Letters, Bicitoro writes on her blog. I can’t get enough of the title of this post!
  • A podium finish for Vincent, who became the first official finisher. He completed the Errandonnee (which he aptly described as a “ridiculous quest”) in 29 hours
  • Randy and Nova’s Bicycle Scrapbook– an errandonneur, errandeur, person running errands by bike in Kansas!
  • Red Riding writes about “Lots and Lots of Errandonnee” in Pittsburgh, Pa. And see part 2 here. She is Pittsburgh’s first official Errandonnee finisher!
  • The case of the missing shampoo bottles leads to trip to the general store. An Errandonnee by Tuckamoredew in Edmonton, Alberta.
  • Lynne boldly takes her bike into almost any store that has room for her bicycle! She writes about her recent trips around Portland.
  • The Coffeeneuring Regional Office is also doing the Errandonnee, and he’s almost halfway done, depending how one categorizes it.
  • I’m getting hungry looking at this post, which includes a delicious-looking dish of Bibimbop. Vannevar in Pittsburgh, so glad you are errandeuring!
  • A winter errand to Dairy Queen, Kent Fackenthall writes. Did you know a Blizzard will fit into a bottle cage? Well, sort of.
  • Velovoice has such a pretty Brompton! See it in this write-up of her first two errands for the challenge.
  • Life in the Cycle Lane learns that squirrels are mischievous. Also, see his nice Surly Ogre setup!
  • A car repair by bike? Rootchopper gets it done.
  • Town Mouse also has a Brompton, and uses it to attend an Environment fair, and filed it under community meeting. (How many seconds does it take you to fold a Brompton?)
  • MORE BROMPTONS! Brompton Diaries gives the Errandonnee a go again this year. Seven trips down, five to go!

Did I miss you? Let me know in the comments!

Finally, if you have not started the Errandonnee yet, but still want to do it, there is still time to join. The Errandonnee goes until the 19th of March, the day before spring officially begins. So they say, anyway.

Errandonnee: Q&A Updates

Jesse's Surly LHT and Swift Industries saddlebag with the PDW taillight.

Jesse’s Surly LHT and Swift Industries saddlebag with the PDW taillight.

Hello, errandeurs, friends, and others. I have received a few additional questions about the Errandonnee categories that this post attempts to answer.

Remember, you can do the Errandonnee in 12 days or 1. Since the last day to complete the challenge is March 19 (midnight in your area), that means you still have plenty of time to throw your helmet into the ring.

I will also add these to the original Q&A so we have one go-to spot for all questions.

Q1. My only question is, pronunciation, when I tell friends what I am doing. Errand-O-nnee or Er-RAND-onnee?

  • A1. I have always pronounced it Er-RAND-onnee, but given that it is a made up word I think the first pronunciation is perfectly fine, too!

Q2. Can we submit a Strava map image in lieu of a ride photo?

  • A2. Yes, you can submit a Strava link, although a photo is preferred.

Q3. If I bike to where I planned to run an errand, but fail to actually complete the errand, does that still count? In my case, I went to a bike shop only to find that it’s closed all week.

  • A3. Yes, you can still count it, provided you documented it.

Q4. Could riding to school count in the work category, or is it more of a Wild Card?

  • A4. Are you a student? If so it counts as work.

Q5. Will a bookstore work in lieu of library (if we go for “reading research”), or does that fall under “any store other than grocery store”?

  • A5. Library and book reading. 1. A book store cannot count as library, but as noted, as store that is not the grocery store.

Q6. The phrase, “also includes book reading” confuses me — does that mean that riding somewhere to read a book that I already have, could go under the Library heading?

  • A6. I had not considered this interpretation of riding somewhere to read a book one already owns. Yes, it qualifies. I will count it as a “Library Without Walls” library.

Q7. Could visiting a friend who’s going through, let’s say, a very tough time, count as “Community Meeting?” Or is the point of that category that more than two people are involved in whatever the event is (and that the purpose of the event is “bigger than”, or “outside”, those two people)?

  • A7. It would not count under Community Meeting. That is intended to be, as you suggest, larger than two people. However, you could count it as a Wild Card, OR if you visited and had lunch or breakfast or something, you could count it in the Breakfast or Lunch category.

Q8. Does daughter’s ballet class count as a community meeting?

  • A8. Yes, you may count it as a community meeting.

Any other questions, please let me know and I’ll add them to the list. And keep up the great tweets and blog posts!