A whirlwind 2016 Errandonnee

When MG over at the Chasing Mailboxes blog announced the start of this year’s Errandonnee Challenge, I knew I wanted to join in on the biking and errand running fun! I immediately started to make plans and, after not being able to participate last year, I was super excited to finally complete the challenge.

Of course things are rarely as easy as what we plan. On the first day of the challenge, it started raining. Soon, an atmospheric river settled over Northern California, and flash flood warnings were issued. Then actual flooding started, mudslides happened, and trees toppled over into roads and onto houses. Being a Californian, I already don’t like being out in cold or wet weather, and there was just no way I was going to cycle in the crazy storms that we were having. Though we desperately need the rain, I hoped that it would clear out with enough time for me to complete the challenge. After 7 days, I was sure I was going to miss out on being able to participate in the challenge. Finally, though, after 9 days of rain and with 2 days left in the challenge, the weather finally cleared up. “Two days”, I thought, “can I actually complete all 12 errands in such a short amount of time?” I wasn’t sure, but I was sure going to give it a shot!

Well, a whirlwind 48 hours passed and I’m happy to report that I got in all 12 errands!

On to the nitty gritty!

Bike ridden for all errands: My trusty commuter and general stuff-hauler, a flat-black Trek 7.2 FX. For the challenge, I used a Green Guru Carbon Cooler 22L pannier that I picked up at the REI used gear sale last year for $20. It’s the perfect size for hauling around the stuff I need for work and any purchases I make while on the go.

Total mileage for the challenge: 31.1

Day 1: 3/14/2016

Errandonnee #1: Work or Volunteering

Distance: 6.5 miles

Destination: Bus depot

I rode to the downtown depot to catch the bus to work. This multi-modal commute has been the way I’ve been getting to work during the shorter days of fall and winter, when the 16 mile ride to my workplace is just too far to do in the dark mornings.

Observation: The time change has made it so that this shorter commute into downtown is almost entirely in the dark. I’m looking forward to the longer days of spring and summer when the mornings are light earlier in the day.

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No more rain but still cold and windy on this morning’s commute.

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Parked outside of Salazar Hall. The bike racks are pretty much empty due to spring break.

Errandonnee #2-4 (Wildcard, Arts & Entertainment, Social Call)

Distance: 10.3 miles

Destination: Sebastopol, CA

#2 (Wildcard) – After work, I needed to chip away at the planning for my upcoming John Muir Trail thru-hike before meeting the husband for his weekly billiards league night and an ice cream date, in nearby Sebastopol. I decided that I wanted to do my hiking research over a delicious pint of beer and figured it would be best to centralize these errands, so after work I rode out to Sebastopol, via the lovely Joe Rodota Trail. I took the long way through town, riding through Florence St., a residential street famous for having Patrick Amiot sculptures in many of the front yards. Having had my fix of art gawking, and wanting a reasonably quiet spot to research for my hike, I rode over to one of my very favorite beer spots in Sonoma County, The Garden. This little gem is the taproom of a local co-op, Community Market.

Observation: All of the rain we got has made for some of the most luscious and vibrant greens I’ve seen in a long time. Also, I love that each time I visit The Garden, they almost are almost never offer the same beers.

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Views along the Joe Rodota Trail.

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One of the many Patrick Amiot sculptures on Florence St. in Sebastopol.

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Reading and planning over a pint of Berryessa Brewing Company’s Rye Ryerish.

#3 (Arts & Entertainment) – Leaving The Garden, I made the short ride over to the Sebastopol Plaza to meet the husband at the Old Main Street Saloon, a little hole-in-the-wall bar. I always have a blast watching the team shoot pool. Husband did ok, winning 3 out of the 5 matches he played.

Observation: The Old Main is, unfortunately, not as divey as one would expect. Having a thing for dive bars, I was a bit disappointed.

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#4 (Social Call) – After the match, the husband and I had a late-night ice cream date at our favorite place, Screamin’ Mimi’s, which is conveniently located just across the plaza from the Old Main Street Saloon. I enjoyed a small sundae, which I sometimes think I order just to get the amazing house made maraschino cherry that comes on top of it. The husband enjoyed a scoop of his usual, Mimi’s version of mint-chip.

Observation: The first thing you notice when walking into Mimi’s is the amazing and overwhelming scent of freshly made waffle cones, which the shop makes continuously throughout the day. The scent lingered in my hair after leaving the shop!

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Date: 3/15/16

Errandonnee #5-8: Work or Volunteering, Store, and Personal Business

Distance: 6.7 miles

#5 (Work or Volunteering): Another commute to the downtown bus depot. I left extra early today because I had several errands to run before catching the bus.

Observation: Good to see several other bike commuters out on the streets today.

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The Humboldt Bike Blvd. is my preferred route on my morning commute.

#6 (Store): I stopped at the Safeway that is on my commute route to purchase a yogurt for breakfast.

Observation: There were a surprising amount of people in the store even though it was a touch before 7 a.m.

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Good bike parking at Safeway! 

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#7 & 8 (Personal Business): I continued along my usual route but made two quick stops before arriving at the bus depot. First, I headed to the Post Office. My FasTrak transponder had recently stopped working so FasTrak sent me a new one. I had to mail the old one back to them so that I would not incur a fee for not returning it. After the post-office, I headed over to the the downtown branch of my bank to make a deposit through the ATM.

Observations: I don’t usually have time to make it to the post office during their retail hours, so I was happy that the downtown branch has a self-service kiosk. My bank is next-door to a frequently visited local brewery, Third St. Aleworks. When I passed by, I noticed that they are celebrating their 20th anniversary with the release of their 20th anniversary ale. I made a mental note to stop in soon to sample their special release.

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Post office. No bike parking nearby but also no people nearby. Felt safe enough to leave the Trek by the door while I mailed my stuff.

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Errandonnee #9-10: Non-store errand

Distance: 1.2 miles

#9 (Non-store errand) – Today, I didn’t have enough time in the morning to throw a lunch together so, when twelve o’clock rolled around, I needed to actually leave my office (a rare occurrence) to obtain food. Since it’s spring break at the University where I work, almost all of the dining venues on campus are closed. The one venue that was open didn’t sound appealing so I headed off campus, just across the street, to a local Korean/sushi joint.

Observation: I got there a bit after noon, expecting the restaurant to be super busy, but was surprised to find that I was the only person there. Must be because the students are gone for the week.

#10 (Non-store errand) – After packing my to-go order in my pannier, I headed across the plaza for a quick stop at a Redbox kiosk to pick up a movie to watch that night. I found several options but settled on Bridge of Spies.

Observation: I don’t usually see many interesting-to-me options in the Redbox, but I was pleasantly surprised to find several movies that I would like to rent. I debated renting more than one movie, but knew that I wouldn’t have time to watch more than the one.

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My to-go lunch order sitting in the top of my pannier, while stopping to rent a movie.

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BBQ chicken and spicy tuna roll combo, enjoyed back in my office.

Errandonnee #11: Personal Care

Distance: 0.5 mile

I had an acupuncture appointment after work and not having enough time to get to my appointment after work via my bike, I rode the bus to downtown Santa Rosa from my office and then biked over to my appointment.

Observation: There is no decent bike parking close to my acupuncturist’s office. I had to walk a block over to lock my bike up.

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Errandonnee #12: You carried WHAT home on a bike?

Distance: 5.9

After my acupuncture appointment, I headed north to pick up some ravioli for that night’s dinner, before heading home. I stopped at Canevari’s Deli, a Sonoma County institution that’s been churning out fresh made ravioli for over 80 years. I picked up an order of cheese ravioli to accompany the chicken I planned to make for dinner.

Observation: Though it was near closing time when I stopped in, there were several customers ahead of me and many things were already sold out. A testament to the deliciousness that Canevari’s serves up.

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Cheese ravioli; ready to cook up at home.

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Spring is made for cycling

As a cyclist, winter is tough for me; the days are ridiculously short and I hate cold weather. It totally zaps any motivation I have to ride a bike. While I made the effort to at least bike commuter a couple of times a week over the winter, it was definitely a struggle. What can I say…I’m a fair weather cyclist at heart.

Thankfully, spring has rolled around and the days are finally longer and warmer. With the change, my desire to go on longer rides has finally returned!  Early last week, I rode out to Black Butte Lake from my parents place in the northern Sacramento Valley. 18 miles of mostly flat country roads took me over the Glenn County line into Tehama County and up to the reservoir. What a picturesque, peaceful route!

wpid-03291507392.jpg.jpeg wpid-03291507532.jpg.jpeg wpid-0329150754a.jpg wpid-03291508042.jpg.jpeg wpid-0329150811a.jpg A few days later, I finally crossed something off of my cycling bucket list…I rode over the Golden Gate Bridge!

Being a Bay Area resident, walking across the GGB is something you do at least once in your life. Being a cyclist here, riding over the bridge is also a must do! Having a mid-week holiday at work provided the perfect excuse to try out the route from Sausalito to San Francisco.

The husband and I parked in Sausalito and rode up to and across the bridge and down into the Marina neighborhood. We rode out to the Wave Organ and then to Fisherman’s Wharf for some clam chowder. Though it was mid-week, the Wharf was full of tourists, so we didn’t stick around there too long. Instead, we headed back through Ghiradelli Square, stopping for a lazy nap in the sun at the Great Meadow. Afterward, we rode out along the Bay Trail through Crissy Field to Fort Point and back over the bridge. It was a fabulously lazy, meandering 22 mile ride. wpid-03311510172.jpg.jpeg wpid-0331151024.jpg

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Un-slothing my week or my weekly workout wrap-up

After all of the holiday mayhem that stretched from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, I’m finally getting back to daily workouts.

I started the 21 Day Fix program again as a way to jump back into a daily workout/healthy eating routine for the new year. I just finished week 1 and feel great! I’m definitely not as sore or tired as the first time I did the program. Here is the list of workouts I did last week:

Monday: Total Body Cardio Fix (30 minutes), 25-minute walk

Tuesday: Upper Fix (30 minutes)

Wednesday: Lower Fix (30 minutes), 50 minute walk

Thursday: Pilates Fix (30 minutes)

Friday: Cardio Fix (30 minutes)

Saturday: Dirty 30 Fix (30 minutes)

Sunday: Yoga Fix (30 minutes), 45 minute hike

In December, I bought myself a Fitbit in the hopes that I will remember to move around more throughout the day. Being a 9-5 desk-worker, I know that I don’t move around as much as I should. So far, I feel like it’s helping me to be more mindful about getting up more often, taking walks during lunch, etc., but there’s definitely room for improvement. I have a 10,000 steps/day goal, and I’m only hitting it a few times a week. I definitely want to get to the point where I’m hitting that goal every.single.day.

This week, I’m continuing with the 21 Day Fix. I am also going to bike commute at least 2x this week. I need to address some minor maintenance issues on my Trek before I ride it again. I keep putting off doing the work so I didn’t bike at all last week. I WILL get this done tonight!

Sucking at Weekly Recaps and Upcoming Adventure

Last week, when I posted my microadventure write-up, I realized it had been FOREVER since I did a weekly recap of my workouts. Geez.

Last week’s workouts weren’t much to write about. I bike commuted to and from work 4 days. On Wednesday, the husband and I headed up to Healdsburg on our bikes to have dinner. We ended up riding about 22 miles round-trip. I also managed to run a couple of days in preparation for running the Independence Day 5k . I’m hoping I can beat my time from last month’s Sacramento Women’s Fitness Festival 5k. This is a fun event that I’ve done in the past. The course is flat and winds through Chico’s Bidwell Park. This is the 2nd run in the 4-part race series that is put on by the Chico Running Club. I’m planning to run all 4 races and get a sweet CRC jacket in the process.

So, yeah. That’s a pretty sucky weekly recap. I promise, I’m going to get back on the recap train next Monday!

My other big news this week is that I am headed up to the mountains after the Independence Day 5k to backpack, fish (for the 1st time!), and explore a new-to-me area of the northern Sierra. I won’t say exactly where I’m going yet, but I’m planning to do about 22 miles over 3 days; not a big mileage trip, so it’ll be nice to take the time to enjoy and explore the area. I’ll definitely have a write-up about the trip next week, sometime.

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Bike to Work Day is coming!

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Source: youcanbikethere.com

May is National Bike Month, and where I live, May 8th is Bike to Work Day. Commuting by bike has become one of my favorite things. It’s a great workout, and riding to work on two-wheels really changes my attitude for the rest of the day. I’ve noticed that I’m much less cranky or sluggish if I ride my bike to work. I’m sure my co-workers are thankful for that!

I know a lot of people think that bike commuting is something they could never do, and many cite reasons ranging from safety (“riding a bike in traffic is really unsafe”) to hygiene (“but, I’ll be all sweaty when I get to work”) to practical considerations (“how do I carry the stuff I need to take with me on a bike?”), as to why they can’t do it. Honestly though, while these are all things that should be considered, they shouldn’t be an excuse to not commute to work by bike. Next week, I’m planning to write a post about my commute and how I deal with all of these issues, so stay tuned!

So, back to Bike to Work Day. I’m super excited to take part in this great event! It’s an awesome opportunity for people to try commuting by bike for the first time, and it makes the commute extra special for those that do it frequently. Many cities put on special events for Bike to Work Day, and in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I live, Energizer Stations will be set-up along popular cycling routes all of the Bay Area. The stations will feature free coffee/breakfast treats and SWAG bags. And, well, like most everyone, I do love me some free SWAG!

Look for my write-up on Bike to Work Day on Friday, as well as my very late write-up of the Chico Wildflower Century Ride I did back in April.

Until then…have you ever tried commuting by bike? Are you planning to join in on the Bike to Work Day fun this year?