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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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4th Day of PBP 2011

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. Continue reading “Paris-Brest-Paris by Tandem”

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. Mining the Capital Bikeshare Data. Coffeeneur and local cyclist JDAntos is taking full advantage of the usage data Capital … Continue reading Link Love: Data, Photos, DIY, and Time Machine Edition

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:
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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.

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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! 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 … Continue reading Link Love: Getting Reflective Edition

Bikes to Like: Christian M.’s Terraferma

This year I had the pleasure of meeting Christian, who completed his first Super Randonneur series in 2011. I came to know Christian through his bicycle. There was something about the creamy orange paint that caught my eye; it looked like a delicious orange pushup. Intrigued by the bike’s careful setup as well as the 650B tires, I asked to feature Christian’s bike and he kindly agreed. Here’s what he had to say about his bike.

1. What kind of bike do you have?

I have a Molteni Orange Terraferma 650B.

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Rides for All Seasons

Or so it’s felt the last three days. From temperatures in the 60s, 40s, and today’s dip into the 30s with snow, it’s been quite the climate roller coaster here in the Mid Atlantic.

Alec rounds the bend on Last Train from Clarksville
  • Saturday – Last Train from Clarksville 201K Permanent

Saturday’s too-good-to-be-true weather had anybody who ever pedaled out and about. Felkerino and I, along with a few friends, decided to carry cards and ride Crista B.’s “Last Train from Clarksville” 201K permanent. The route took us through Maryland rollers, up to Fairfield, Pennsylvania, and back.

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Link Love: Happy New Year Edition

It’s been a couple of weeks since I did a link love post, but the blogosphere has been busy in the meantime. People have posted some good stuff for us: Bike Find. Spokes of a Wheel writes about a lovely vintage child’s bike from the 1970’s that found  that found its way from Switzerland to his bike shop in Vienna, Virginia. Disrespect in the Bike Lane. … Continue reading Link Love: Happy New Year Edition

We Interrupt this Commute for a Spin Class

Welcome 2012! Brrr! If you’ve been out and about in D.C. the past couple of days you know that we’re being treated to some fine winter weather. Temperatures in the teens, and highs barely eking above freezing.

There should be a winter law where all the traffic lights in the city go to flashing red, and the person whose body temperature suffers the most by waiting for the traffic light to turn gets the right of way. People in cars would have to wait while the cyclists and pedestrians kept moving toward their destinations. Who’s with me?

Cold January Day Panda (c) Felkerino

On days like this, I find myself lollygagging on both the outbound and return legs of my commute. I meticulously slip into my layers, give my glove and cap selection a serious workover, and pull my socks on oh-so-carefully. Given that my commute is generally just over four miles, the time spent putting on my clothes is probably comparable to the time it takes me to actually bike to and from the office.

Often, I try to work in a few extra cycling miles work off the energy built up from sitting at my desk and to enjoy the outdoors. Today, though, I decided to not do any more miles outside than necessary. I also succeeded in procrastinating my commute home even more than normal by walking over to participate in a spin class at the nearby gym.

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