Monday, February 13, 2012

Utilitaire 12.4

Thanks to John Romeo Alpha at One speed Go,  I heard about Utilitaire,  which is like the LGRAB summer games, but with a more utilitarian bent.  The brainchild of Chasing Mailboxes blog, Utilitaire 12 asks you to do a number of utilitarian tasks in a time period, with a set of criteria. Complete rules can be found here.  Like a brevet, you need to check off events on a control card, and accumulate a certain number of events during the 7 weeks of the challenge.

I think this sounds like just the kind of fun that one needs this time of year- a beacon of hope in the long slog towards spring!  I only found out about this today, and it's been going on for a couple of weeks, so I'm behind,  but I'm going to retroactively count a couple of things from the last weeks to be posted later :).  A lot of the "categories" are things I do so often that I don't bother documenting them anymore,  but, in the spirit of the event, I'll play along.

Today I completed one category,  the "community meeting".  I left work early to volunteer for Livable Streets, buttonholing people on a street corner to tell them about the dire state of MBTA funding, and what they could do about it.

 There was a meeting at the Boston Public library, with a kind of rowdy rally before the meeting. LSA was giving out information and encouraging people to go to the meeting, or otherwise get involved.  I got into a good rhythm,  and was having a good rate of success with getting signatures.  I had a funny moment though, when I accosted the next guy standing on the streetcorner, only to find that I was talking to the MA Secretary of Transportation :)

Me " do you ride the T"
Richard Davey  "yes, every day"
me  "are you aware of the T's funding crisis"
Richard Davey (deadpan) "Intimately."

At this point I realized who I was talking to,  and got all flustered.   He was very nice, and thanked me for being an advocate for the T, and seeing my LSA sticker told me to say Hi, to J_  the director of LSA.

Minerva locked up next to the gracious and charming McKim Mead and White wing of the BPL
The meeting looked like it was going to be standing room only,  and as I've already submitted written comments, I decided not to stand in line for the meeting itself,  heading off to release the hound.
People queueing to get into the meeting, in the less charming  totalitarian vastness of the Phillip Johnson wing of the BPL.  The whole wing smells like cigarette smoke.  Gah!
I rode Minerva again today,  and she's just lovely.   I haven't ridden her to work since the first of the year, and I'd forgotten how effortless and wonderful the DL-1's ride is.  It makes me wonder if I should invest effort into making her a truly bombproof commuter along this lines of this fabulous commuter.
The Scientist is going to Europe a couple of times this summer to give talks, I wonder how he would feel about tracking down aluminum westwood rims :)

The route home from the Library took me along Comm ave, which is really lovely this time of year, with the alee' of trees all wrapped in white lights.
Every time I'm about to remove Minerva's lights, I get a random compliment on them, so I keep them a bit longer

I also got to enjoy the Mass Ave bike lanes, which are a delight.   The Mass Ave bridge lanes seem meagre in comparison especially where they crap out on the Cambridge side.    Rode home with stops at both Trader Joe's and Whole foods to get some treats for a midweek Valentine's dinner.  Grocery shopping is another one of the controls, for the Utilitaire, but I do that so often, that it's hardly blog worthy, unless I bring home a record amount of stuff..

Edited- I forgot I'm supposed to report milage, which is a bit approximate, because I' doing it via google map. This ride 4.2 formwork to meeting, to home
Since the second half of the ride was after dark, I should mention that Minerva has a generator hub and an IQcyco headlight and B&M rack mounted tail light


  1. Hey there! The challenge is getting started in U12 a little late, and only being allowed two controls per week. I can just get the 12 in, I think. I also do most of them regularly, and some things not listed, but it's fun, and bloggy, and on a bike, so I'm in.

  2. The Utilitaire 12 is a fabulous idea. I will adapt if for use in the tiny rural Florida community where I live. It will be a lot of fun for the biking crowd here. Thanks!!

  3. Great utilitaire, and AWESOME that you talked w/ the Secretary of Transportation!