Utilitaire Update: Seven Down, Five to Go

By now you probably know my randonneur spouse and my real-life spouse, the inimitable MG, has a new challenge that puts a twist on the RUSA populaires. She has named it the Utilitaire 12. Read all about it here.

The Utilitaire Control Card. Lots of Empty Boxes to fill.

In keeping with the randonneur ethos, MG has come up with a big batch of rules about distance, the number of repeats (two), substitutions and other caveats. Explaining-to-your-colleague-at-work summary: over 6.7 weeks one has to complete a combination of 12 errands and social outings by bike, and document each with a photo.

Since I am married to MG, a.k.a. The Randonneuse Prime, and I like riding my bike around town, I decided to undertake this challenge.

Week Four started today and I have seven qualifying rides completed. The pressure is on, because we are losing one week to a no-bikes trip early next month. Only two rides can be completed in the same week, which means I have to get 10 rides done before the trip and then two more in the five days after we return.

As controls go, that’s cutting it a little close. Then again, I completed the Coffeenuering Seven challenge on the last day, with two hours to go. So, I’m hopeful.

Here are my results so far, by date, category, destination, distance, and night riding option.

No 1: Jan. 31 — Work — U.S. Capitol — 4.2 miles
I usually ride my old Cannondale touring bike from home to work appointments, which is far faster than Metro and a little faster than using a Capitol Bikeshare bike. This was my birthday, one of those landmark numbers and all, and it made me feel good to get in a ride.

Helmet, Hat, Suit. It was really warm today.

No. 2: Feb. 5 — Dinner — Chipotle, Alexandria, Va. — 20.4 miles
MG and I needed to stretch our legs and skip cooking dinner after a hilly century ride the day before. Old Town Alexandria is an easy destination and there was no traffic because of some big professional football game that everyone cared about. No line in Chipotle either!

Off to Alexandria on Pro Football Championship Day.

No. 3: Feb. 6 — Dentist — Southwest D.C. — 5.7 miles
The dentist office is less than a mile from home, so I rode there, then went on and got coffee to go with my newly-cleaned teeth and gentle admonishments to keep brushing. MG allows one substitution from the category list and one of them clearly discriminates against some of us who don’t mention their age anymore: “To Get Your Hair Cut.” Ha ha!

The Dentist. Whoo.

No. 4: Feb. 12 — Concert — Black Cat club, D.C. — 7 miles — Night Ride!
We had tickets for the indie band Dum Dum Girls but MG was not feeling well and neither was I, so I decided to take the tickets to the show and sell them. They didn’t attract enough fans to sell out so I went in to see them. Kristin G. and bandmates were great and didn’t play too long, a little more than an hour, so I saw their entire set.

I was home and tucked in earlier than most nights. I probably shouldn’t have gone, but it was close by and I would have stayed up blogging or working or something anyway.

Dum Dum Girls. Four Serious Rockers.

No. 5: Feb. 14 — Store, not grocery — Curbside Cupcake — 4.1 miles
I worked from home today and thought it would be fun to have dessert waiting when we got home from Valentine’s Day dinner. I tracked local truck vendor Curbside Cupcake via Facebook until the lunch hour and then dashed out to get a set.

Their trucks were selling out quickly (CC’s biggest sales day of the year, I found out) but I got to the Capitol Hill truck that still had carrot cake with vanilla icing for sale. Their six-pack holder fits perfectly in my Ostrich saddle bag and the little gems made for tasty treats the next three days.

A cupcake journey. Oven>Truck>Bike>Our Home.

No. 6: Feb. 14 — Dinner — Luna Grill & Diner, Dupont Circle, Washington — 6.9 miles — Night Ride
The second half of this both-in-one-day double Utilitaire. I met MG after work and we rode up to our favorite local spot, Luna Grill & Diner, for a quiet Valentine’s Day dinner. We were both still under the weather, so the easy atmosphere and comfort food hit the spot.

Valentine's Day. Making our way by bike.

No. 7: Feb. 20 — Breakfast/Lunch/Coffeeneuring — Caffe Amouri, Vienna, Va. — 34 miles
MG and I got out for a most welcome Washington’s Birthday ride on the W&OD Trail to Vienna, Va. to the independent Caffe Amouri coffee shop. After a thrilling, massive ride in the Shenandoah hill country on Saturday, we were ready to spin our legs a little, despite the cold wind blowing from the north. We scrapped plans for a longer ride and came home after this stop for quiet time before the work week. The coffee (MG’s) and my soy latte were perfecto.

Croissant, Latte, Helmet, Espresso Machine. Not much missing here.

That’s my Utilitaire 12 roundup so far. The rides have been a lot of fun, but I have the tougher ones to complete in the remaining time: movie, library, museum or book reading and community meeting are among the remaining catetories. I have managed to post rides in six categories so far, and only seven are required, but I’d like to get a ride in all 12 categories. Stay tuned; this could go to the last hours of the last day, March 16.

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