Utilitaire 12: #1
What’s a utilitaire? If you’re asking this question then you probably don’t read any of the other far superior DC Bike blogs (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc). At this point, I could direct you to my blogroll but even this list is just an illustration of the half-assed effort I’ve put into this blog. I would suggest for an extensive list you click the few links I supplied and then explore their blogrolls. But I digress…
Wikipedia, the source of all indisputable truth, defines a utilitaire as: en informatique, un utilitaire est un logiciel conçu pour aider à gérer et à régler une pièce d’équipement informatique, un système d’exploitation, un logiciel ou les informations enregistrées sur un support informatique en accomplissant une tâche ou un groupe de tâches associées.
There, I’m sure that clears it up and now you understand why a bike blog is writing about this. What? You say you can’t understand what I just wrote. You say, since we live in AMERICA it should be in AMERICAN! Well in that case, let me direct you to the originator of this challenge, Chasing Mailboxes D.C.
Basically, it’s a six week challenge to get you to use bicycles for errands including going grocery shopping, dinner, work, etc. There are 12 categories and an extensive list of rules. For example Rule #4: You may complete a maximum of two qualifying utilitaires per week. Also, each trip must be documented with a photo and an observation made during the trip. Some of the control card items will be simple, others make take some effort. A few are only difficult because of the rules involved. For example each utilitaire must be at least two miles round trip. Both the barbershop were I occasionally get a haircut and library are within two blocks of my home. I suppose I can ride in circles until my mileage is reached.
Since my goal to track yearly bicycle mileage has failed (hey, remembering to hit the start button on your mileage app is NOT easy), I figured this would be a great new challenge. The six week period would be a lot easier to stay engaged as well. So here goes:
#1. Bike to work, Round Trip Mileage: 17 M (extra: in the dark – 1 of 2), February 2
Having to teach at 8 o’clock in the morning is inconvenient. Having to teach at 8 o’clock in the morning and not be allowed to drink coffee while doing it because the room has new computers is inhumane. Additionally, I’m not sure a college student is functioning at his peek at this time. Nonetheless, this is what I must endure. On the bright side, having to leave so early in the morning allows me to hit the roads before the majority of car commuters are on the roads and delivery trucks haven’t yet arrived to park in bike lanes yet either.
With sunrise still an hour away, I stumbled to get my bike out of storage, lit myself up with 5 bike lights (1 solid white light on the bars, white blinky on helmet, red blinky on back of helmet, and 2 planet bike red blinkers at tail end). I never want to hear a driver say, “uh, I didn’t see him.” Anyway, I managed to get a blurry shot of my bike prior to leaving. You can see the coffee mug that I would need to consume prior to arriving at work. The blurriness of the photo confirms that my camera is on the same sleep schedule as I am. Neither of us were functioning as advertised at this point.
I would have taken another photo of my trip en route but it would have looked like this:
Towards the end of my trip, the sun began to rise. The dew and mist began to rise. It was still one of those unseasonably warm winter days. The morning smells began to form reminding me of a morning after a camping trip. It seemed like a good time to park the bike and start doing tai chi or other zen-like activity in the surrounding fields like you sometimes see on random PBS shows. However, I had a room full of people dying to hear about the wonders of mitosis. Joy.
The complete Utilitaire 12 series can be found here.