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!


  1. So I live in the boonies and trying to figure out 12 different places to go without having to ride a Populaire to get there. Question: what if I ride to the gas station and fake an attempt to put gas in the bike – would that count as one of the 12?


  2. Got it, I think– when I substitute Farmers Market for Grocery Store, am I doing it on the category level? So I would get up to 2 Farmers Market rides and no Grocery store rides, correct?


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