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Twitter has opened up a world of new possibilities for this introvert. Most recently, I've found a great blog from @sharrowsDC, who blogs his bike commute daily. From here, I stumbled upon some characters who do long distance bicycling. They're called randonneurs

One of these cool kids, @gypsybug of the excellent Chasing Mailboxes blog, issued a winter cycling challenge: 12 utilitaires in 6 weeks. What the heck is a utilitaire, you ask? 

"Essentially, it’s utility cycling – a ride on your bike to do an errand, or to transport yourself some place for a specific purpose.

I decided I was up for the challenge.

I only managed to log 7 of the required 12 utilitaires (and photograph them). During many of my early (ie cold weather) rides I found myself oddly reluctant to remove my gloves and dig out my phone to take the obligatory photo. Admittedly, most of the rides in this "winter challenge" took place in less than wintry, downright balmy conditions

Anyway, it was a fun challenge and it got me out on my bicycle when I might have wimped out otherwise. Thanks @gypsybug!
Utilitaire #1: 2/2  to work via 15th St bike lane

Utilitaire #3: 2/6, walk to dinner in NYC on work trip

My front light. I favor the blinking setting.

Utilitaire #4: 3/8 to haircut (night) ride

Red blinky light on my reflective backpack
Utilitaire #2: 3/9 Coffeeneuring, ME Swings

Utilitaire #5: 2/28 massage
Utilitaire #6: 3/13. Homeless bus stop takeover!

Utilitaire #7: 3/16 Coffeeneuring to ME Swings


Peaks of Otter

We finally hiked one of the Peaks of Otter, near Bedford, Virginia. We climbed Sharp Top. Even in drab winter, it's a beautiful view. It must be truly stunning when everything is green and lush. We'll definitely return to bag Flat Rock and Harkening Hill.

Early section of the trail is rocky. It's 3.6 miles round trip from the Visitor Center.

Stone house near the summit of Sharp Top
Looking out from inside the stone house

Looking north from Sharp Top summit. Abbott Lake and Peaks of Otter Lodge below.

View of the valley

Hubz on the very top

Buzzards Roost is to the South

Buzzards Roost visible in the center of the photo, barely

Another view of the valley

Firewood. It's awfully cold and windy up here. Wonder if they got it started?

Looking at Flat Rock, which is slightly higher (3,994 feet) than Sharp Rock (3,862 feet).