Monday, March 23, 2015

Errandonnee 2015: Nine & Out

This past Monday, after waiting out the rain, I completed my ninth and final errand of the 2015 Errandonnee season. This last one was and easy one. A ride to the town hall to pay the water bill, the one errand I try to do by bike every month.
Nine out of twelve isn't too bad. Should be worth an honorable mention anyway.
I really wanted to do all twelve, but between the rain that day and my feeling of being a bit burnt out from the miles I put in that week, I just wasn't feeling it. Well, there's always next year.

Least Interesting Picture Ever

Errandonnee 9

Category: Personal Business
Distance: 10.4 miles
Observation: Why is it I spend almost $400 to equip my bike with lights, yet practically every car driver I see can't be bothered to turn on the lights that their cars came with?
Hey! After four years of blogging, I think that was my first ever rant. Here's to four more years of positivity.

Errandonnee Totals:

9 errands from 6 different categories.
63.1 miles. 

Thanks for putting this on MG! I look forward to doing this again.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Another Three Errandonnee(s)

Since temps were in the fifties and the roads were clear on Saturday, I decided to take the Trucker out for it's first voyage of the year.
My first stop was to Hartley Nature Center to see if there was anything new going on since my last visit.
I passed by the official greeter on the road to the parking lot.

As is normally the case, I had the rack to myself. I don't believe many people ride their bikes to get here. Most drive here with their mountain or fat tire bikes to ride the trails, which is something I really should start doing once in a while. I'll skip the driving part though, as it's only a couple miles from my house.

Once inside, I wandered around and checked out the exhibits showing wildlife that is local to the area. I was going to say local to the park, but I doubt there are any Northern Pike in the nearby pond.

This guy's name is Billy. I didn't here him sing.

Being this close, I'm glad this Snapping Turtle is behind glass, although I would be more glad if it was outside, free in the water.

After leaving the kept animals at Hartley, I decided I needed to be around some that were a bit more wild. A short while later, I found myself at a nearby cemetery that has a duck pond, and believe it or not, ducks!
Not wanting to spook them all into the water, I gave them their space and made my way towards my next mission: Seeing if the scenic route I sometimes take on my commute home from work is open for the season yet.

After going around a road closed barricade, I found that it was not ready for riding yet.

Oops, spoke too soon. Well, if guys on road bikes can make it through I guess I can probably make it too. Plus, I won't be riding this road home until Wednesday at the earliest. The snow will probably be gone by the time I come through.

Saturday's breakdown:

Errandonnee 6

Category: Wild Card
Distance: 2.6 miles
Observation: I need to take better advantage of the amenities that are just outside my doorstep.

Errandonnee 7

Category: Personal Care
Distance: 1.1 miles
Observation: A ducks place is in the water, mine is on my bike.

Errandonnee 8

Category: Non-Store Errand
Distance: 11.8
Observation: Looks can be deceiving, or maybe I'm just a wuss.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Errandonnee: Two Categories Complete

On Thursday, I continued by quest to complete the 2015 Errandonnee with another commute to work and a stop at the grocery store on the way home.

Well Lit
I start work at 7am, so I leave home while its still dark. Having to leave the house shortly after 6:00 does have it's advantages though.
First, there is a lot less traffic to deal with that early in the morning.

Stop Ahead
Second, it gave me a great excuse to install a dynamo headlight and taillight on my Ogre.
Win, win.

Shades of Green
On my way home I stopped at a grocery store to pick up something for Friday's breakfast, once again locking up in the corner. I must subconsciously believe that either my bike or I have been naughty. It couldn't be me though, so that only leaves one alternative.......

Thursday's breakdown:

Errandonnee 4

Category: Work or Volunteering
Distance: 6.2 miles
Observation: The dark isn't so scary when you're well-lit.

Errandonnee 5

Category: Store
Distance: 6.7 miles
Observation: I always feel very conspicuous while taking a picture of my bike in public. Never seems to stop me though.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Errandonnee 3, Commute # 1

Today was my first commute by bike of 2015. Over the past couple of months I've put a lot into building up my Ogre, so I plan on riding to work a lot more than I have in years past.

The Corner Office
One of the doctors at work is gone for the week, so I was able to use his office as a parking spot.
It's hard to beat a corner office overlooking Lake Superior.

Twisty Tree
I had to take a picture of Trish's favorite tree while I rode home up east 4th street. In the next couple of years, they will be rebuilding this street. New water and sewer lines will be put in, along with bike lanes. Unfortunately, all of the big old trees will have to come down. I'm not so sure it will be worth it. I hope they find a way to keep them.

The Home Stretch
The home stretch.
The ride downhill to work is fast and easy, but I think I like the ride home better. It's easier to appreciate things while moving at a slower pace.

Errandonnee 3

Category: Work or Volunteering

Distance: 12.7 miles

Observation: It's not a race. Enjoy your slowness.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

A Sure Sign of Spring

Well, it's that time of year again. Time for the 2015 Errandonnee Challenge, put on once again by MG at Chasing Mailboxes. 12 errands by bike in 12 days. Easy peasy, I hope.

My first stop was a trip to the University of Minnesota Duluth. I originally planned on going into the Tweed Museum to check out some art, but the nice weather got the best of me, and I opted to stay outside and check out the various sculptures around campus.

The first piece I saw had me a bit puzzled. The parts all looked very familiar, yet I had no clue what it was supposed to represent. Modern art can be such a mystery.

Four Sides
The second piece was equally mysterious. Which side is the front?

Put a Bird on It
"Wild Ricing Moon"
That one is so obvious. It's also the only one I looked up.

My second stop was at Super One Foods to pick up some seed for the birds.

In the Corner
Hey Look! Art at the grocery store. What a harmonious melding of colors and shapes, while still remaining highly functional.
I simply must have it.

Thistle Fail
Thistle Fail.
It looks like the redpolls are going to have to deal with sunflower seeds for another day.

Blueberry Beverage
On to plan B. Although unsuccessful errands still count, I had to ride away with something. After 11 miles of riding, it sure hit the spot.

The Breakdown:

Errandonnee 1

Category: Arts and Entertainment
Distance: 6 miles
Observation: You don't need to know what something is to appreciate the beauty of it.

Errandonnee 2

Category: Store
Distance: 5.6 miles
Observation 1: There was no thistle, so I decided to wet my whistle.
Observation 2: Apparently I'm both an artist and poet.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Let's Try This Again

Is it really that difficult, or do I just make it seem that way? Probably the latter.
It shouldn't be that hard. Take some pictures, write a few words (don't over think things). Done.

January was a good month on the bike for me. Since it wasn't too terribly cold, I was able to break 100 miles for the first time ever. That may not seem like much, but the darkness and cold & wind always seem to conspire against my getting many miles in, so I'm pretty proud.
February was a different story. Temps were about ten degrees cooler than normal for the month, plus just about every day I had off seemed to be really windy. I only got in 35 miles through the 27th, so I was really happy to have gotten in 24 miles on Saturday.

After pushing the Ogre up the second half of the steepest climb of they day, I stopped for the first photo op of the day. I needed the rest too. That thing has to weighs forty+ pounds, and since I built it for utility, I guess I'll have to be the one to go on a diet.

I planned on bypassing this road, since it's usually closed. I'd never seen it plowed before, so I couldn't pass up the opportunity to ride it.

There were plenty of soft spots, so I had to choose my line carefully and the going was slow, but I eventually made it through to the end.
It's a very pretty stretch of road. I wish it were longer than a mile and a half.

I rode along with the man in the moon.............

and with Pegasus.

On the way home I came across another road that is usually unplowed, so again I had to go on a little detour.

I made it about a mile in before coming to the area where logging was being done. No wonder there weren't any birds around. This area is changing all the time. I'll have to get back here before the ground thaws and the ATVs rut everything up.

3 hours riding in the sunshine. A good way to end the month.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Coffeeneuring Ride 4: Acclimating

Warming Up

With winter coming soon, I thought it would be smart to try to become acclimated to the cold before the temps start to plummet too much.  So today I jumped at the opportunity to ride 10 miles into a 20 degree wind chill for a cup of hot coffee.
Long story short, (and I do wish I could write an actual story) after getting off to a late start, I made it to the coffee shop five minutes before it closed. This meant that I had to enjoy my beverage al fresco, which is also good for acclimating. Come January, weather like this will feel like a heat wave.

Date: November 8
Location: Casa Latte 5493 Miller Trunk Hwy, Hermantown MN
Beverage: Snickers Latte w/ Almond Milk
Distance: 20.4 miles
Observation: Tailwinds Rule! Even more so when it's cold out.