Ride 9 – Cycling for Cash

Date:   Thursday  30 March 2017  
Starting Point:
  Reston
Destination:  Tysons Corner
Mileage:  23 miles total
Posted by:  Dan

Goal?
The goal of this ride was to get to withdraw $40 from the ATM at work.

Who?
It was just me.

Riding Conditions?
It was cooler today.  It was in the 40’s with a little sun on the way in and then cloudy and in the 50’s on the way home.

What did I learn?
I counted 17 lanes of traffic on I-495 from the W&OD Trail Bridge that crosses the road also known as the Beltway.  That is way more than I would have thought.  I would not have noticed this if it had not been for the errandonnee challenge.

How did it turn out?
As a result of this ride, I have an extra 40 bucks on my person.  I am not too sure yet where I will spend it, but it is good to have some walking around money.

I also added a couple of other errands along the way.  I stopped for jet fuel (a Milky Way bar and a Gatorade) and to watch some little league “spring training” on the way home.

I am thinking that the ATM withdrawal counts as “personal business,” watching baseball practice counts as “Arts & Entertainment,”  and that the jet fuel stop counts as “Personal Care?”

I would have really liked to take tomorrow afternoon off of work and to bike downtown to the Nats Exhibition Game against the Boston Red Sox planned for Friday afternoon but the weatherman is saying that there is pretty much a 100% chance of rain.  So, I’m out.

Next up, I think that I am going to do a Slurpeeneuring Challenge with my kids this summer.  I don’t think this is a thing…  but I am going to make it a thing.

And, I will definitely do the Coffeeneuring Challenge in the Fall!

Before I go, I want to thank chasingmailboxes.com for creating this challenge as it has really been fun to complete.

Scoring?
Total Miles (so far):  107
Total Errands Completed: 15
Errand breakdown (by Category):
>Personal Care: 1 (Jet Fuel Stop)
>Personal Business: 2 (Scavenger Hunt Clean-Up, ATM)
>You carried WHAT on your bike (or back)?!: 2 (Chips for Anna + Groceries)
>Arts and Entertainment: 2 (Starbucks by Myself and Spring Training)
>Non-Store Errand: 1 (Post Office)
>Social Call: 1 (CAFIN w/ Becca and Sarah)
>Work or Volunteering, School: 2 (Commute to Work)
>Store:  2  (7-Eleven and Aldi)
>Wild Card: 2 (Scavenger Hunt Set Up and Rescue)

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The W&OD Trail Bridge over I-495.  How many lanes of traffic can you count?

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Jet Fuel

 

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Spring Training and Cherry Blossoms.

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More Cherry Blossoms

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Daffodils with Tulips.  Spring is coming.

 

 

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Ride 8 – Post Office/Coffee Run

Date:   Wednesday 29 March 2017  
Starting Point:
  Reston
Destination:  Tysons Corner
Mileage:  23 miles total
Posted by:  Dan

Goal?
The goal of this ride was to get to and from work, but I stopped at the post office to mail a letter and then at Starbucks on the way to rack up a couple more errands for the challenge.

Who?
It was just me.

Riding Conditions?
It was around 50 on the way in and then almost 70 on the way home.  That’s not too bad!  It is nice that the weather is getting warmer.

How did it turn out?
I found the Post Office in Vienna for the first time ever.  Even thought it was not far off my route, I never knew it was there.

I also stopped at a Starbucks in Falls Church that I have never visited before.  I ordered a large cup of Pike’s Place Roast black.  I drank a little while I surfed the internet and ate a Blueberry Crisp Cliff Bar.  Then I drank the rest of my water from my Camelbak water bottle so that I could fill it up with the rest of my coffee to drink later (which I did).   : )

I’m counting mailing the letter as a “non-store” errand and counting my coffee run in the “Arts and Entertainment” category.  I hope the judges agree with my categorization.  I think this brings my total number of errands up to 12.  My total mileage now exceeds 80 miles!  I have decided that I am going to try to break 100 miles during the challenge.  Stay tuned.

What did I learn?
I learned where the post office is located in Vienna, VA.  I also learned that you can get a passport at this Post Office.

I also noticed during the ride in that almost 100% of the joggers were female and almost 100% of the cyclists were male.

Scoring?
Total Miles (so far):  84
Total Errands Completed:  12
Errand breakdown (by Category):
>Personal Care: 0
>Personal Business: 1 (Scavenger Hunt Clean-Up)
>You carried WHAT on your bike (or back)?!: 2 (Chips for Anna + Groceries)
>Arts and Entertainment: 1 (Starbucks by Myself)
>Non-Store Errand: 1 (Post Office)
>Social Call: 1
>Work or Volunteering, School: 2 (Commute to Work)
>Store:  2  (7-Eleven and Aldi)
>Wild Card: 2 (Scavenger Hunt Set Up and Rescue)

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Ride 7 – Scavenger Hunt Clean-Up

Date:   Sunday 26 March 2017  
Starting Point:
  Home in Reston
Destination:  Around the Neighborhood
Mileage:  3 miles total
Posted by:  Dan

Goal?
The goal of this ride was to collect the four unfound baseball cards hidden yesterday before the scavenger hunt.  I’m environmentally responsible!

Who?
It’s surprising I know, but my wife went with me.  So, it was Jennifer and me running this errand.

Riding Conditions?
It was 50 degrees and overcast outside during our very short ride.   But it was not windy.   I would describe it as cool and calm.

How did it turn out?
We successfully collected all four of the unfound cards.  Nobody crashed or got hurt.  And Jennifer and I are still talking.   🙂

I think that I am going to count this ride as “Personal Business.”  I hope the judges agree with my categorization.  I think this brings my total number of errands up to 10. My total mileage now exceeds 60 miles!  I have only two more errands left to complete the challenge.

What did I learn?
No one besides the scavenger hunt players found any of the hidden cards.

Scoring?
Total Miles (so far):  61
Total Errands Completed:  10
Errand breakdown (by Category):
>Personal Care: 0
>Personal Business: 1
>You carried WHAT on your bike (or back)?!: 2
>Arts and Entertainment: 0
>Non-Store Errand: 0
>Social Call: 1
>Work or Volunteering, School: 2
>Store:  2
>Wild Card: 2 (Scavenger Hunt Set Up and Rescue)

 

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Jake Arrieta was hidden underneath the seat of this truck.

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This is the tree that looks like a fish from last night’s scavenger hunt.  It is amazing but they actually found it.

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Two baseball cards were still hidden underneath Glade Stream Bridge 59.  It was Gronkowski and Rizzo.

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Gates was hidden behind a dog poop bag dispenser near the Glade Pool.  The cards are all safely home.

 

Ride 6 – Scavenger Hunt Rescue

Date:   Saturday 25 March 2017 (Still Anna’s Birthday!) 
Starting Point:
  Home in Reston
Destination:  Duncan Donuts at the Hunters Woods Shopping Center in Reston
Mileage:  4 miles total
Posted by:  Dan

Goal?
The goal of this ride was to help five teenagers who kind of got lost on bikes in our neighborhood after dark during the Scavenger Hunt.

Who?
The “lost” teens were Emma, Nick, Dorothy, Abby and Ariel.  It is only fair to point out that they don’t live in our neighborhood and there are really no street lights in our part of South Reston.

Riding Conditions?
It was warm…  but pretty much dark when I left a little before 8 pm.  It was pitch black by the time we all got home around 8:30.   My headlight helped a lot.

How did it turn out?
We all made it back A-OK.   Everyone was laughing about it when we got home.  I think they will have a funny story to tell.  Having said that, this team did NOT win the contest as they checked-off only about a third of the items on the list.

What did I learn?
It is possible for a group of teenagers to still get lost even with GPS on their phone and a map in their hand.

Am I worried about embarrassing the kids?   
Nope.  Why?  Because no one reads this blog.  No.  Seriously.  No one reads this blog.   WordPress has the stats to prove it.   🙂

Scoring?
Total Miles (so far):  58
Total Errands Completed:  9
Errand breakdown (by Category):
>Personal Care: 0
>Personal Business: 0
>You carried WHAT on your bike (or back)?!: 2
>Arts and Entertainment: 0
>Non-Store Errand: 0
>Social Call: 1
>Work or Volunteering, School: 2
>Store:  2
>Wild Card: 2 (Scavenger Hunt Set Up and Rescue)

Ride 5 – Scavenger Hunt Setup

Date:   Saturday 25 March 2017 (Anna’s 18th Birthday!)
Destination:  Just around the neighborhood.
Mileage:  3 miles total
Posted by:  Dan.

Goal?
Hiding baseball cards throughout the neighborhood for Anna’s Scavenger Hunt Birthday party.

Who?
It was me and my youngest daughter Becca.  It is always fun with Becca.

Riding Conditions?
It was nice…   partly sunny and in the seventies.  It was a great day for March in Northern VA.

How did it turn out?
We successfully hid six different baseball cards.  We hid one in the dugout of our neighborhood baseball field, two under a bike path bridge and three within two different playgrounds.  I think this ride goes in the “wildcard” category and brings my total number of errands completed up to 8!

What did I learn?
There are many places to hide things in plain sight within my neighborhood.

Scoring?
Total Miles (so far):  54
Total Errands Completed:  8
Errand breakdown (by Category):
>Personal Care: 0
>Personal Business: 0
>You carried WHAT on your bike (or back)?!: 2
>Arts and Entertainment: 0
>Non-Store Errand: 0
>Social Call: 1
>Work or Volunteering, School: 2
>Store:  2
>Wild Card: 1 (scavenger hunt set up)

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Ride 4 – Grocery/Coffeeneuring Run

Date:   Saturday 25 March 2017 (Anna’s 18th Birthday!) 
Starting Point:
  Reston
Destination:  Chantilly
Mileage:  13 miles total
Posted by:  Dan

Goal?
The goal of this ride was to grab some coffee and to take care of the weekly grocery shopping trip.

Who?
It was me plus two of my three daughters:  Sarah(15) and Becca(9).

Riding Conditions?
It was nice…   When we left around 9 am, it was in the low sixties.  On the way back, it was in the seventies.

Coffeeneuring Again!  
When we got to the shopping center, we stopped at a neat coffee shop called CAFIN before going grocery shopping.  We wanted to go in the fall during the coffeeneuring challenge, but just never made it.  I had a latte and a piece of cake.  Sarah had greek yogurt and an iced coffee, while Becca had a chocolate whoopie pie and orange juice.  It was a good time and I would go back.  I love coffeeneuring.

You carried what?!
Believe it or not, but I carried enough groceries on my bike to feed my family of five for most of a week.  The trick is to use our old toddler bike trailer.  This week, we are planning to make homemade pizza, fajitas with salsa and chips, a pot of gumbo (I am originally from Louisana), fish tacos with baked fries, grilled chicken with green beans and baked potatoes, as well as black-eyed peas, cabbage and cornbread muffins.  We already had celery, flour, cheese, lettuce, potatoes, milk, lunch meat and eggs.  We bought:

  • Produce:  A head of cabbage, 2 1/2 pounds of bananas,  a cantaloupe, an avocado, two bell peppers, mini cucumbers and three pounds of oranges.
  • Dairy:   Two quarts of ice cream (for the birthday party), a quart of yogurt, and a half pint of sour cream.
  • Staples:  Two boxes of cornbread mix, a jar of jalapeno peppers, a can of green beans, two cans of tomatoes, a two-pound bag of crinkle cut frozen french fries and a box of rice squares cereal.
  • Bakery:  A loaf of bread and two packs of flour tortillas.  The bread made it back un-smooshed.
  • Snacks:  Peanut butter crackers, pita crackers, four large bags of chips, fruit cups, animal crackers (for the kids.. not really), a three-pack of mini milk chocolate bars and a bottle of iced coffee (for Sarah).
  • Meat:  A pound of skirt steak, a pound of sausage, a box of fish sticks (for fish tacos) and about three points of chicken.
  • Medicine:  A bottle of Acetaminophen and a bottle of Ibuprofen (as a donation for a mission trip to an orphanage in Haiti coming up in April.)

Pretty awesome, huh?  This is a trick I learned from Mr Money Mustache’s Blog.  It is easier than it sounds.

While Aldi has great prices, they did not have everything on the list.  I think we are going to have to go somewhere else to get black-eyed peas, two ears of corn, cilantro and brown rice, which we still need.

How did it turn out?
We had a good ride.  I think this ride checks off three errands:  “going to the store,” “you carried what?!” and “social call.”

What did I learn?
My 9-year-old daughter can ride over 12 miles.  Well done Becca!

Scoring?
Total Miles (so far):  51
Total Errands Completed:  7
Errand breakdown (by Category):
>Personal Care: 0
>Personal Business: 0
>You carried WHAT on your bike (or back)?!: 2
>Arts and Entertainment: 0
>Non-Store Errand: 0
>Social Call: 1
>Work or Volunteering, School: 2
>Store:  2
>Wild Card: 0

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Ride 3 – Biking to Work… :)

Date:   Friday 24 March 2017 
Starting Point:
  Reston
Destination:  Work
Mileage:  12 miles total
Posted by:  Dan.

Goal?
Getting to and from work safely.

Riding Conditions?
It was not too bad.  It was in the mid-thirties on the way in and then about sixty on the way home.  I’ll take it.

What did I learn?
Spring is getting closer and closer!  It is good to have the winter behind us.

Scoring?
Total Miles (so far):  38
Total Errands Completed:  4
Errand breakdown (by Category):
>Personal Care: 0
>Personal Business: 0
>You carried WHAT on your bike (or back)?!: 1
>Arts and Entertainment: 0
>Non-Store Errand: 0
>Social Call: 0
>Work or Volunteering, School: 2
>Store:  1
>Wild Card: 0

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Ride 2: 7-Eleven

Date:   Tuesday 21 March 2017 
Starting Point:
  Reston
Destination:  The 7-Eleven on Soapstone
Mileage:  3 miles total
Posted by:  Dan.

Goal?
The goal of this ride was to take my 9-year-old daughter Rebecca to the 7-Eleven to buy some Utz Salt and Vinegar Chips as a birthday present for my oldest daughter Anna, who turns 18 on Saturday.

Riding Conditions?
It was still overcast and in the high 50’s.   To get there, we had to go up and over a couple of steep hills.   But it was not too bad as I was able to spend 30 minutes with Rebecca on a bike.

Funny?
As we were heading back and going up a pretty large hill she said “it’s easier going down.”

What did I learn?
The 7-Eleven is only 1.25 miles away from home by bike.

How did it turn out?
We had a good ride.  I think this ride checks off two errands:  “going to the store” and “you carried what?!”.  I put the chips in one of my panniers and they made it back home fine.

Scoring?
Total Miles (so far):  26
Total Errands Completed:  3
Errand breakdown (by Category):
>Personal Care: 0
>Personal Business: 0
>You carried WHAT on your bike (or back)?!: 1
>Arts and Entertainment: 0
>Non-Store Errand: 0
>Social Call: 0
>Work or Volunteering, School: 1
>Store:  1
>Wild Card: 0

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Ride 1: Commuting to Work…

Date:   Tuesday 21 March 2017 
Starting Point:
  Reston
Destination:  Tyson’s Corner for Work
Mileage:  23 miles total
Posted by:  Dan.

The Bike?
My everyday bike is a Surly Long Haul Trucker. It is a touring bike with a steel frame.  It’s blue. It has 27 gears.  It is about 4 years old with about 9000 miles on it.  Even though I have worn out and had to change the back rim, three chains, the front sprocket, three sets of brake pads and three rear cassettes, it’s a beast.

To carry my stuff, I have a Topeak Trunk Bag.  It has a bottle holder, an expandable top and two side panels with expandable panniers for even more storage space.  It has enough space for me to carry my first aid kit as well as my clothes and lunch for the day.

I also have a small cheap handlebar bag to carry my bike lock, bike tools and an extra tube.

For lighting, I have been using a rechargeable 700-lumen headlamp and 50-lumen rear light from Cyglolight.  Both are plenty bright and have been reliable.  I think you could get easily get by with a 400-lumen headlamp.  I have had no issues with them for the past three or four years.

For keeping track of my speed and distance, I have been using the Planet Bike Protege 9.0  Wired Bike Computer.  It is not perfect, but it works pretty well.  I like that it tells me how hot or cold it is when I am riding.  If you get one, my only advice is to record your total mileage somewhere else regularly if you care about it, because I have lost it a few times due to the battery running down and due to the thing randomly locking up and freaking out.

Riding Conditions?
For the ride in, it was overcast and in the mid 40’s.  Going home, it was still overcast in the high 50’s with a bit of a head wind.   That is not too bad for March.

What did I learn?
There is no more snow left on the trail after the snowstorm we had last week.

Scoring…
Total Miles:  23
>>Total Errands Completed:  1
Errand breakdown (by Category):
>Personal Care: 0
>Personal Business: 0
>You carried WHAT on your bike (or back)?!: 0
>Arts and Entertainment: 0
>Non-Store Errand: 0
>Social Call: 0
>Work or Volunteering, School : 1
>Store:  0
>Wild Card: 0

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