Utilitaire 12: Done and Dusted!

MG’s winter cycling challenge, the Utiltaire 12, combined randonneuring with the directive to complete a dozen trips around town by bike. What could be more fun — and practical?

In my first post on the challenge, I had completed seven of the needed rides among the 12 allowable categories. I’m pleased to say that on the last day, March 16, I was able to squeak in under the deadline with a full complement in the books.

MG allowed up to two rides in each of the categories, and a minimum of seven categories; I managed eight categories. I had dreams of one each in all 12, but fell short, unable to get to “Museum or a book reading,” “Library” and “Movie.”

The U12 required photographic evidence, so here goes. I hope the judge looks kindly upon my case.

No. 8 – Feb. 24 – Bicycle Shop – BicycleSPACE, Washington — 7.3 miles

BicycleSPACE, on a quiet Friday evening.

I had a hankering to get out of my home office after a long day staring at the screen, and to go to a real bike shop. Since BicycleSPACE is moving to a new location at 1019 7th St. N.W. I wanted to see their original location one last time.

I found it quiet on a Friday night, with Jordan getting some work done on the computer. I hung around, bought some knee warmers, and thought about how D.C.’s cycling scene is really exciting these days, and that it deserves a great shop that caters to everyday cyclists. Thanks for being here, BicycleSPACE!

No. 9 – Feb. 28 – Work – Capitol – 3.3 miles

Up at the Capitol in my new wool hat from Little Package.

When I’m not working at home, I set up shop in one of the press rooms in the U.S. Capitol. The digs are nice and there is a lot to cover, but I’m always glad to get out into the fresh air after work is done.

This was Cycling Cap Tuesday, as seen on Twitter — #cyclingcaptuesday — and I wore one of my two new wool hats from Caroline, owner of Little Package Cycling Caps. Amazing quality and a perfect fit.

No. 10 – Mar. 2 – Community Meeting – Friday Coffee Club – Swing’s Coffee, Washington – 5.9 miles

Jon, Leslie (obscured), MG, DF, Kirstin. Good looking Friday Coffee Clubbers!

MG and I a few weeks ago started inviting folks we know from the D.C. bicycle commuter scene (and from randonneuring) to meet up with us Friday mornings at Swing’s Coffee in downtown Washington. I named it Friday Coffee Club.

We publicize it by Twitter — #fridaycoffeeclub — and it’s open to anybody who wants to stop and chat for awhile before work. You don’t even have to ride a bike. Just come on in and say hello.

This day my daughter DF was in town to join MG and me on a trip to visit family and hike trails in Arizona. DF and I rode over to Swing’s on tandem and had a nice visit with everybody before getting out of the D.C. grind. What a great way to start vacation!

Friday Coffee Club, in full swing, at Swings Coffee.

No. 11 – Mar. 14 – Store, Not Grocery – Apex Optical, Washington – 6.2 miles

Apex Optical. Do you ride, and need glasses? Go here.

MG and I have been very happy to find a shop that is staffed by an avid cyclist who really, really knows glasses. Garrett, at Apex Optical, 2001 L St. N.W., helped MG and I buy Rudy Project prescription sport glasses and has provided invaluable service.

We also get to talk bikes, which makes it a great destination. I went here to get a replacement part and spent longer comparing notes on bike projects with Garrett than it took for him to repair my Rudys. Cool.

No. 12 – Mar. 16 – Community Meeting – Friday Coffee Club – Swing’s Coffee, Washington – 5.9 miles

Fun photo time at Friday Coffee Club!

I had big plans to fulfill one of the unused categories on my Utilitaire Control Card but time got away from me this week. To get that last ride I took advantage of being able to use one category twice. Today’s Friday Coffee Club was relaxing and friendly, as always, and wrapped up my Utilitaire 12 neatly.

Epilogue: MG and I run most of our errands by bike these days, but the Utilitaire 12 challenged me to do even more, such as go to shows and to get my library card. I’ll fill in those unused categories in the coming weeks, just for the fun of it. That’s the idea, right?

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