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Utilitaire 12: #2

February 7, 2012

Browsing the bike blogs this weekend, those who have taken up the Utilitaire Challenge are kicking butt. A few began their trip with one intended destination in mind ended up tackling a long list of errands – all on a bike! If the rules didn’t specifically forbid it, I’m sure most could complete the Utilitaire in a week (or even a weekend). Maybe a 1-day challenge next year?

#2. Bike to Grocery Store, One-way Mileage: 3.7 Miles, February 5, 2012

I emptied out all remaining clutter from my Topeak trunk bag. A glance at my wife’s shopping list made it clear that I would need all space possible. After pumping up her Schwinn 1960s Traveler, we headed out into the brisk but sunny day. We took our usual route to Trader Joe’s by hooking up to the Rock Creek Park Trail at the National Zoo. We enjoyed the decreased volume on the trail – likely do Super Bowl festivities.

We soon realized that the only reason the trail appeared empty was due to the fact that all users were waiting in line at Trader Joe’s. I’m accustomed to long lines at this store, but today’s started at the cheese section (six feet from the entrance). Your best strategy for this type of situation is to immediately get in line. Your partner will then be tasked to find all the items before time’s up when you reach the cashier. It’s kind of like the old game show Shop Til You Drop. Anyway, these are the things I daydream about to make grocery shopping bearable.

After finding most items on the list, the Tetris Grand Masters (seriously, were these cashiers recruited after reaching level 1000 of Tetris like in The Last Starfighter?) filled every available space in my bag with groceries. The trunk bag stood up nicely to the challenge. Leaving TJ’s, we headed over a couple of blocks to a Whole Foods centered in the GW campus (it’s a urban campus so there’s not really a defined center with a quad and barefoot frisbee players like other schools). I had no idea there was a Whole Foods here. Also, and more importantly, not counting residential side roads, this was the first time the wife rode on city streets (L St too)! There’s a fine line between encouraging and pushing. I’m excited she’s reached this point on her own and hope it’s a breakthrough. Looking forward to the next hurdle, I told her she should began a Utilitaire 6. No response.

Afterwards, she told me the only reason she decided to bike to Whole Foods was because she knew I would be more inclined to go to another grocery store if it involved biking there. This worries me. She’s right. Has she found my kryptonite?

Want to get a colonoscopy?


We can bike there.

Let me just grab my gloves.

Or worst…

Want to go shoe shopping with me?


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