Robineering

The weatherman warned that there might be snow this evening. Or their might not. I want his job.

Just to be safe Little Nellie got the call today. I can say for certain after riding her 20 miles today that the tweak to the saddle position is a rousing success. And the repair to my shifter cable likewise.

The ride in was nothing to write home about.  And since I am at home as I write this ther wouldn’t be any point to doing so if I did.  Cruising along between the Humpback Bridge and the Memorial Bridge I spotted two robins bopping along the side of the Mount Vernon Trail. They didn’t have their bright orange breast feathers yet but they were definintely robins.

There were a bunch of soldiers doing what must be a required fitness task. They put on massive back packs and walk along the trail. I can tell they are being timed because they look down at their watches and because there’s another soldier timing them at what looked like the finish line just north of the 14th Street bridge.  One of the soldiers was actually running with his pack on. All I could think of is, “Dude, your body’s going to remember this in about 20 years.”

The ride in was dry with a head wind. The ride home was in a spitting rain.  The tailwind made it tolerable. Once the sun went down it was exceptionally hard to see as the light from my helmet lamp and the cars on the parkway were reflecting off of all the water.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Rather than race around trying to get flowers for Mrs. Rootchopper, I diverted to the Safeway and picked some up. (Here’s hoping the Mrs. does read my blog.)  It took me five minutes to pick them out and buy them. It took ten minutes of walking around in the rain beforehand trying to find something to lock LIttle Nellie to.  I ended up just locking the rear wheel to the frame near some shopping carts.  Sadly, this is all too familiar in Mount Vernon. Fairfax County is way behind on accommodating biked as transportation.

For those of you who are into the errandoneering challenge, I scored two rides today. 1 bike commute of 29 miles (errand number 6) and one trip to the grocery store (errand number 7) in the dark (a one-half mile diversion off my bike commute).  So that gives me 1 of 2 night time rides.

Happy Ash Valentines Eve.

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I Just Wasn’t Made for Paperwork

The Rootchopper Institute’s favorite randonista, @gypsybug, has started another biking contest. Last winter, she hosted the Utilitaire Challenge, which involved running errands by bike. Then this fall she hosted the Coffeeneuring Challenge which entailed visits to coffee shops. This winter’s biking extravaganza is the Errandonee Challenge, which is similar to the Utilitaire.

During the Utilitaire, I went out on a day when the winds were howling to run some errands. I put my head down and plowed into the back of a parked car.  (For those of you who think this sort of thing is lame beyond compare, consider this. Dabis Phinney, one of the great American bicycle racers of the 1990s, once rammed the back of a car during the Tour de France. He launched himself face first through the car’s rear window. I, dear readers, managed only to fall ignominiously to the pavement.) @gypsybug was kind enough to award me an honorable mention for my efforts.  I managed to complete the Coffeeneuring Challenge without injuring myself or my bike, but I don’t think my central nervous system will ever recover from all that caffiene.

Against my better judgment, I decided to give the Errandonee thing a go. I rode Little Nellie in blustery winds to the local pharmacy. This 2 1/2 mile trip should have taken me all of 20 minutes except for the diabetic man in the line in front of me who wanted his medicine but didn’t want to pay for it. Sir, bitching and moaning about the U.S. medical system is in aisle 2. Please move aside.

After getting home and taking off my layers of clothing, I looked in the bag from the pharmacy. No receipt. In order to be reimbursed by the persnickety folks who run the flexible spending account program at work, I needed a receipt. So I put the clothing back on and headed back to the drug store where, thankfully the receipt was found and the diabetic guy wasn’t.  I rode home and prepared to file this blog.

I checked the Errandonee rules and learned that trips only count if you document them with a photo. Argh!!

So, right there I made the executive decision to bail on the contest. Paperwork and cycling just don’t go together for me.

I then decided to do some taxes and some college financial aid forms.

Do I know how to party or what?