A New Challenge–Errandonnee

20 March 2017
Reston, VA    USA
Posted by:  Dan

I recently discovered another challenge posted at chasingmailboxes.com dubbed the Errandonnee.  As summarized on the website, it basically this:  Complete 12 errands in 12 days, and ride or run a total of 30 miles between March 20-31, 2017.  Like the Coffeeneuring Challenge posted in the fall, if you complete the challenge, document it and send chasingmailboxes.com five bucks, they will send you a patch.   You can read more about it here–>  errandonnee.   I’m in.   🙂


Crazy Guy Getting Coffee on a Bike… with My Girls

7 October 2016
Reston, VA    USA
Posted by:  Dan


If I tweeted, my twitter bio would be something like this…  

Son. Husband. Father. Friend. Christ Follower. EE. Cyclist.
LSU Football and Washington Nats Fanatic.  : )

I live in Reston, VA with my wife, Jennifer, and three daughters:  Anna (17), Sarah (15) and Becca (8).  I am 44.  I graduated from LSU in Baton Rouge with a BS in Electrical Engineering.  My parents still live in Mansfield, Louisiana, near where I grew up.

About five years ago, I discovered that I could commute to work, run errands and go places on a bike. I like the idea of saving money, getting exercise and doing something productive all at the same time.  : )  Since I bought a blue Surly Long Haul Trucker from REI in the fall of 2012, I have ridden over 9000 miles.  Most of the miles are from riding back and forth to work, but I have also ridden 25 miles into DC to watch a Nats game or two and done a few week-long bike  tours.

In September when I heard about the Coffeeneuring Challenge posted at chasingmailboxes.com, I was immediately all in.  My second daughter, Sarah (15), was in as well as she has recently discovered coffee and also likes biking.  My other daughters are also in, but they are not really interested in coffee but they would be more than satisfied with “coffee”.  My wife likes coffee and might come along on a ride or two, but only out of guilt as she is not really that into biking and she has other established ways of getting her coffee.  If you have not heard of coffeeneuring, it basically boils down to this:  over the course of 7 weeks (starting 7 Oct 16), ride your bike 7 different places, at least 2 miles round-trip each time, drink 7 cups of coffee (or similar), and take 7 pictures as proof of your coffeeneuring. If you complete the challenge and send chasingmailboxes.com 5 bucks, they will send you a prize.

I hope you will follow along as I complete this challenge.   I am thinking that it will be a blast.   : ) 

Oh.. The Places We Can Go…

7 October 2016
Posted by Dan. 

My research reveals a number of places that we can check out including…

  • The Green Lizard Bike & Coffee Shop in Herndon.  
  • The Duncan Donuts in the Hunters Woods Shopping Center in Reston.
  • Duck Donuts in Herndon.
  • Jammin Java in Vienna.
  • Greenbury’s in McLean.
  • Sweetleaf in Vienna.
  • CAFEINE in Chantilly.
  • Pitango Gelato in Reston Town Center.  
  • Ebenezers Coffeehouse on Capitol Hill.  

*We might not be able to visit all of the places above, but at least we have several great options.   Also, the options are not in priority order.   And not all of the options are listed.    :\    

Ride 1 to Dunkin Donuts @ Hunters Woods in Reston

Date:   Monday 10 October 2016  (Columbus Day) 
Starting Point:
Dunkin Donuts at the Hunters Woods Shopping Center in Reston, VA
Mileage:  5 miles  (8 kilometers)  total round trip
Cost:  ~$15
Posted by:  Dan. 

What did we get?
Anna:  Small Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate.  Lemon Filled  Donut.
Sarah:  Medium Coffee with Cream and Sugar.  Boston Creme Donut.  Loved the pastry but thought the coffee was a little bitter.  4/5 stars.
Rebecca:  Small Mint Hot Chocolate with Reese’s Square Donut.  She loved it.  5/5 stars. Dan: Latte with a Coffee Roll. 4.5/5 stars.   🙂  

Riding Conditions?
We left around 10:30. It was in the 50’s and felt a little cold, but all in all, the sun was out and it was a beautiful day for a ride.    : )

A Funny Comment from Becca as We Were Riding…
As we were riding up Steeplechase Road, Rebecca–who is eight–in a completely serious state says “Dad…  Maybe they call it Coffeeneuring because you don’t have to get coffee… you can get something near coffee..”      : )

I would give it a 4.5 out of 5 stars.   We rode mostly on trails.  Reston has a great trail network.   There was even a tunnel that took us under a busy intersection.  I subtracted half of a star because of the hills going south-to-north in Reston, and the lack of bike racks at the donut shop.

Dan.  1 Ride…    5 total miles.  (8 kilometers)
Anna.  1 Ride…  5 total miles. (8 kilometers)
Sarah.  1 Ride… 5 total miles. (8 kilometers)
Becca.  1 Ride…  5 total miles. (8 kilometers)
Jennifer.  0 Rides…  0 total miles. (8 kilometers)

Ride 2 to Starbucks @ Fox Mill in Herndon

Date:   13 October 2016
Starbucks at Fox Mill Shopping Center in Herndon.
Distance:  About 4 miles (6 km) round trip.
Cost:  About 5 bucks.
Posted by:  Dan. 

What did we get?  
Sarah..  Grande Pikes Peak Roast Coffee with cream and sugar.
Dan…  Tall decaf americano with cream and sugar.  

Riding Conditions…
This was a late evening ride on a school night.   We left around 7:45 pm to try to get a ride in before Sarah has her wisdom teeth removed on Friday, which will mean that she won’t be able to ride for a week or so…  😦   The weather was great.   It was in the 60s with a slight breeze.   You got to love it.  

We rode at night, but that was no big deal because we used our lights.  Several years ago, I bought the Cygolite 720 head light from amazon.com.  I also bought the rear tail light to go along with it.   I have used them for commuting in the winter for several years.  They have been very reliable and have enabled me to ride at night without a problem.  They are also rechargeable so I have not had to buy batteries.  To save a little money, I decided to buy the Cyglolite head light and tail light set for my girls to use when we ride at night together.  Although the 400-Lumen headlight included in the set is not as bright as the 720, it still more than sufficient.   (I don’t usually run my 720-Lumen headlight at full brightness.)

Shout Out…
We arrived at Starbucks a minute after closing time and they were nice enough to serve us.  So, I would like to give a shout out to the guys at Starbucks at Fox Mill who were working the closing shift.  

I would give the route/location 4/5 stars.   There are bike lanes most of the way there, but you have to negotiate a busy intersection (Lawyers and Reston Parkway) to get to the coffee shop.  I did not see a good place to lock the bike up near the coffee shop.  

Dan: 2 Rides…  9 miles (14 kms) total.
Sarah: 2 Rides…  9 miles (14 kms)  total.
Anna:  1 Ride…  5 miles (8 kms) total.
Becca: 1 Ride…  5 miles (8 kms) total.
Jennifer:  0 Rides.  0 miles total.
Total Spent:  $20  (this coffeeneuring season)

Sooo Frustrating…

Friday, 14 October 2016
Posted by Dan

I am kind of bummed that the Nats were knocked out of the playoffs by the Dodgers earlier last night.  It was especially bitter as I stayed up until around 1am only for them to lose.  And, then,  I had to be up at 6am for work.   :\

But, I am hopeful that LSU will turn things around and win a decent bowl game this year…  Also, I need them to win at least 7 games this year as I have a bet going with a friend who is an extremely enthusiastic Bama fan.   Geaux Tigers!

I am also hopeful that the Nats will do better next year!

Ride 3 to the Mc Taco Hut in Reston

Date:  15 October 2016
Starting Point:  Home.
Destination:  McDonalds in the Reston Mc Taco Hut Complex in Reston.
Mileage:  7 miles (11 kms) round trip.
Cost:  6 bucks.
Posted by:  Dan

What did we get?  
Dan– Medium Iced Coffee with a Caramel Sundae
Anna– Caramel Sundae
Becca– Caramel Sundae

Riding Conditions?
It was a beautiful day for a bike ride.  It was sunny, 65 degrees with almost zero humidity and no wind.  I wish every day was this nice.   

What did I learn?
I learned that Becca, who is eight, wants to do a scavenger hunt at her next birthday party in January.   

I would give the route/location 3.75/5 stars.   There are bike lanes or sidewalks most of the way there, but you have to negotiate a couple of busy intersections (Soapstone/Sunrise Valley and Wiehle/Sunset Hills) to get to the coffee shop.  I did not see a good place to lock our bikes to, so we just leaned them up to the side of the building and locked our bikes to each other while we were inside the restaurant.

Dan:  3 Rides.  16 (26 kms) miles total.
Anna:  2 Rides.  12 (19 kms) miles total.
Sarah: 2 Rides.  9 (14 kms) miles total.
Becca: 2 Rides.  12 (19 kms) miles total.
Jennifer:  0 Rides. 0 miles.
Total Spent: $26  (this coffeeneuring season)

From Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee…

Saturday 22 October 2016
Posted by Dan

So, I woke up at around 5:30 am and decided to watch a few episodes of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee as you do at 5:30 in the morning when no one else is up and you wish you were still asleep too…

In Season 2, Episode 2, Jerry Seinfeld and David Letterman had just sat down for coffee and Dave says to Jerry…   “You’re not drinking coffee if you’re NOT drink’n it black…  don’t you think? ”    Without pausing,  Jerry says …  “No I don’t think” as he is putting cream in sugar in his coffee.   And Dave responds “You like to monkey with it?”  and then just changes the subject without a response from Jerry and as if the previous exchange never happened.

I thought that was very funny..  I am not sure why?   He…  Heeeee!