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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



  1. That's awesome!! I'm so glad you participated, and it's great to have gotten to know you through your blog, tweets, and of course, #fridaycoffeeclub!

  2. What a cool challenge! I've read recently about other runners who have been utility running. Love the idea and the pics you took to show us your utilitaires!

  3. that looks like a blast!! i'm not a regular cyclist and opt for running because i'm a disaster on the bike and can barely manage not falling just on my feet...but i loved reading about ur challenge...hehe. :) also have to say i'm adoring the headlamp photo. :)

  4. This looks like a fun challenge. I love the whole utility-cycling community around DC. I hope bike commuting continues to grow!

  5. No way! You have connected with people who know IN REAL LIFE my friend on Twitter and REAL LIFE and who did Paris-Brest-Paris with him - @dailyrandonneur and @gypsybug! I've not met them but I trust, as they are friends of a friend, that they are awesome people. How cool. Are you going to do #30daysofbiking starting in April? That's another cycling twitter thing I found. I'm pretty sure I'm going to be joining in. :-)

  6. Donna - how FUNNY! And yes, they are really awesome. Hopefully when I get a little more experience on the bike they will someday let me tag along. #30daysofbiking sounds like a must! As much as I love trail and ultra running, I have to say, bicycling is more pure fun.

    1. Love the idea and will incorporate this into my daily life. So European.

  7. Totally love this! As an impatient person who loves multi-tasking and time-saving tools, "running" errands is one of my favorite things to do. Thanks for the inspiration—and the reminder that fitness isn't about what you do at the gym for an hour, but about what you do with your *whole* life.

  8. We have a great group of Randonneurs out this way. The club I ride with is full of them. I haven't taken the challenge yet though. Maybe after Ironman.

  9. I like to run/bike errands, too. You're kind of AWESOME. See you this summer!


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