Utilitaire 12, Week 3 Roundup: Wheels Keep Turning

Friends of the spoked wheel, I am having the best time reading about all the utilitaires people are doing. I’ve found that it’s the everyday adventures that give life its spice, and that’s what I see in the utilitaire posts, tweets, and photos. In daytime, darkness, weekdays, sick days, and all kinds of weather people are out pedaling to get things done and make the everyday routine special.

Additionally, people often turn their utilitaires into multiple destination rides, which has given me a great idea for my NEXT challenge.

So let’s talk utilitaires. What’s been going on? Here’s some of what I know:

  • Porta-John finally got his library card. He also shaved his beard, but said it does not make him a faster cyclist. Are you sure?
  • Bicycle Bug got a bad haircut, and believes the Utilitaire 12 is partly to blame, as his usual barber lives closer than the minimum utilitaire qualifying distance. While I’m sorry for the haircut, the writeup made me laugh. Maybe next time, you should just extend your route a little, Bicycle Bug!
  • Biking in Heels attended a meeting for one of her local cycling advocacy organizations, Livable Streets. She even made sure the Massachusetts Secretary for Transportation was familiar with the state’s transportation issues. On a separate outing, she went out for a haircut. Apparently, it went better for her than Bicycle Bug.
  • bikesncoffee took a lovely photo of his recent utilitaire to the Baltimore Museum of Art, and included some cool sketchbook photos.
  • @tangobiker saw a concert. Or would this be a movie? Guess I’ll know when the control card arrives! Oh, and need I mention… he also coffeeneured?
  • Another utilitaire tweep, @SognRider, took on wind and rain for one utilitaire, and went out to lunch on a nice day for another.
  • There are two people with Rawlands participating in the Utilitaire 12. @SognRider is one, and Five Toed Sloth the other. Five Toed Sloth ventured out with his to the hardware store and the grocery store. Because of the low trail of the Rawland, he prefers carrying weight in the front, as opposed to panniers. Did you see his nice basket?
  • bikesncoffee wasn’t the only one at the museum. PhysicsGirl on the Loose, who’s been doing some catching up on her various utilitaire writeups, ventured out into some snowy streets to see the the Royal Ontario Museum. Extra credit!
  • I always enjoy Chesapeake Sailor’s utilitaire observations. On one ride, he observed that his Ostrich bag needs more cushioning for his banana, and on his most recent utilitaire to breakfast, he learned that bamboo on the trail hangs low with snow.
  • shebicycles went to the bike shop, and what I would consider a community meeting on wheels. Loved her photos from the ride. Earlier in the week, she took the Xtracycle to the grocery store. That bike is so cool!
  • Pedal ‘n Pearl intrigued me with her recent utilitaire to a “tiny desk concert” that featured the Cranberries. She also coffeeneured to Lot 38, a new shop I want to check out.
  • I’ve been remiss in highlighting Big Orange Bike‘s posts. She’s been out utilitairing with her little one!
  • One Speed: GO! coffeeneured, ate, and picked up some camera stuff, including this item he called “film.”
  • A Rebalanced Life purchased some cool stuff at the Cascade Bicycle Club’s Bike Swap, including a Swift Industries bag that I’d like to know more about.
  • Over the Hedgerow picked up groceries and utilitaired to a haircut. I think it looks nice, as does his bike setup.
  • Lynne Fitz ventured out for a haircut, too. What’s wrong with this picture? Her bike is outside and not sitting in the salon.
  • An Old Guy on Two Wheels went on a date with his Dahon to see a movie. He went to REI, too, and bought a Clif bar in a flavor I want to try. It has coconut! And guess what? He also got a haircut!
  • Not sure which category this one would fall into, as it could be “Any Store that is not a Grocery Store” or a substitution. but Rootchopper dropped off his car at the shop and, rather than sit and wait, rode home on his bike to do other things. Smart thinking, Rootchopper. You’re definitely in the running for an honorable mention!
  • This other guy I know, The Daily Randonneur, finally wrote up his first seven utilitaires, and I even made it into a couple of the photos!
  • Our most far-flung member of the challenge, Berlin by Bike, took a night ride to the library and then took herself out to dinner. Later in the week, she coffeeneured to a flat white and some awesome-looking pancakes. And I learned about KeepCups.

That’s what I know. If I missed something, fill me in via the comments, and I hope everybody has a great week of utilitairing!


  1. Have you had the chocolate dipped coconut Luna bar? Love it! I can only buy one at a time otherwise I eat them all. So far I have found them at Trader Joe’s and Yes market.


  2. I knew the Utilitaire 12 Challenge had taken off but it’s gone far beyond what I was aware of. Bravo, MG!

    Froggie and I haven’t met but he’s from down my way. He gets extra bonus points for commuting on Clark Street near Crystal City. What a mess that road is. (Arlington will fix it once Long Bridge Park is done.)


  3. Once I get the bag mounted properly I’ll post a good long review, for now: it’s an Ozette Rando in a grey waxed canvas that actually looks amazing with the Vaya’s deeper grey colorway. And if any of you tell my sister that I’m expounding on the color of my bike and how it coordinates with my new bag I’ll take you out silently in the night.


    Look for something coming up about my ride this Sunday, it involved a headwind to the farmers market, a headwind to a haircut, a headwind to the store, and a headwind home…spring must have hit Seattle!


  4. I’m maybe back tracking on the aerodynamic face vs. speed argument. Saturdays ride was a good test. Every other time I have ridden 100 miles I have finished in almost exactly the same time. This time it took 14 minutes longer than average. BUT I rode down the length of the mall fighting off herds of tourists for the last stretch. So, maybe it was roughly the same time. But twice the average elevation gain. Hmm… ok maybe no beard yields 4% improvement? Not enough to warrant staying clean shaven.


    1. I like your attempted calculations. Hey, I keep meaning to congratulate you on that ride! That Occoquan segment is challenging, and you’re right. Town riding never goes fast.


      1. Thanks – But I think I ended up skipping most of the Occoquan portion! I wasn’t familiar with the roads and after doing a little bit of math I was worried that I was going to run into dark sooner than I had planned. It probably would have been fine (or mostly fine), but I ended up shortcutting then riding 2 laps of Hains Pt. in twilight to get the last few miles in. Next time I won’t leave so late in the morning.


  5. This is an awesome project! I wish I had seen it earlier – it might have inspired me to get in some winter cycling. Unfortunately, most of what I get to is either close enough for walking (about a mile) or easier via public transit. Nonetheless, if I can do my errands by bike in the summer, I should at least try doing them in the winter as well.


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