Basil and I were all set to go today, ready to knock off Part 2 of MG’s Winter Erranndonnee Challenge.
Errand 11: A second trip to the library, this time to drop off only one book. (Due tomorrow, but why not get it done early?) Category 9: Library
This was our second trip to the library for this challenge — allowed, happily — but this time Basil was sporting a new bit of luggage, much smaller than his Brompton T bag, and perfect for this cargo-lite day.
Bonus shot: Inside Basil’s new bag, with library book, water bottle, and mysterious metallic packaging material. The latter will become important later.
Bonus snack: Scarfed a piece of chocolate on the way out. Fuel!
Errand 12: On to lunch. Dismal place, actually, and that’s not a very inspiring plate, is it? Was it my fault for telling them to hold the chips? (The server asked if I wanted lettuce instead, for a 25% surcharge. I said no.) It was surprisingly fresh, though. Category 2: Lunch
Bonus shot: There was plenty of room for Basil. (whoops — I must have been famished. Never noticed the blur or the lack of light. Good thing I ate.)
Errand 13: On to the Micro-Brewery/Pub, to buy ice cream. You might think that this is the end of the Errandonnee for my Brompton, Basil, and me. Not so, though, because we still have a second night ride to do. So we’re over-achieving slightly. (Also, just in case buying a yoga book on the previous day’s errands is suspect). Category 10: Wild Card
As it happens, I don’t drink beer. Mr. Diarist, though, is extremely fond of Victory Hop Devil. This vice has led to my own discovery of Hopped Up Devil Ice Cream. (Must have messed up my camera settings; it’s always been exceptionally good in low light in the past. Must investigate.)
Bonus shot: Ice cream.
It’s possibly the best ice cream ever. Truly. Cayenne. Coffee beans. Chocolate. Just a touch of cinnamon — not enough to notice, except . . . it’s perfect!
Second bonus shot: Ice cream in thermal packaging.
I bought no beer. Remember the metallic envelope in Basil’s bag? That was for the ice cream. It was 49 F/9.4 C; couldn’t take any chances.
Third bonus shot (whew): Cycling jerseys.
Mr. Diarist wears the Hop Devil jersey. Good choice, and, though not high-vis, at least highly visible. They are for sale in the brewery’s retail store.
Errand 14: Irish Potatoes. Category 3: Dessert. Also, NIGHT. This was going to involve a cupcake. Some kind of TastyKake “special edition” almost made the cut, but then I spied the “potatoes”, which I, quite wrongly, assumed were dusted with chocolate. The ingredients list looked slightly less poisonous than the one on the TastyKake wrapper.
Yes, I was at the local grocery again, having previously identified it as the only even marginally safe night destination in my area.
I did my best to observe the spirit, as well as the letter, of the rules, and consumed one on the spot. The moment was even a bit social, as one of the clerks had never tried them. Naturally, I offered them around. The general reaction was “meh”, but then aren’t these a March thing?
Bonus photo: Corn syrup disguised as a small, under-nourished potato.
They’re really kind of awful, but they do look like potatoes. This errand did, however, 1) get me out at night; 2) sent me, for a second time, to a local grocery to which I’d never been before; 3) got me to try a food I’d never considered eating before; 4) required me to use Basil’s rear rack for the first time; and, all around, got me to experience new stuff. All of which seems right in with the spirit of something like an Errandonnee, don’t you think?
Second bonus photo: Basil engaging in the frantic search for a non-frozen (cold ride back) dessert.
Lights: Cateye HL-EL135N Bicycle Head Light and Portland Design Works Danger Zone Tail Light in irregular flashing mode.
The night rides were tricky, and this is a bit of a fudge (though the potatoes weren’t). Night riding on our rural roads is suicidal (think roads and streets built where horses used to trod. No shoulders. Curves. Oblivious drivers who are, generally, quite courteous to the rare cyclist in daylight, but would be stunned to come across one on a road at night. Or worse, baffled and uncomprehending.)
Managing these two night rides involved sidewalks, a rather fraught enterprise itself, as the sidewalk in question is broken to pieces, and visibility is not great. We’re happy to have survived.
Third bonus photo: Basil on the way home. He’s leaning into the brush because the Irish Potatoes are bungeed to his rear rack. This is why front luggage is first choice when riding a Brompton: The rear rack is Basil’s kickstand. It doesn’t work very well when there’s a package attached. Fortunately, front-loading a Brompton works beautifully. Just not tonight!
I bought the lights to use if a winter afternoon ran slightly late; they aren’t intended to really let me see the road unless there is some other kind of ambient light. (By “slightly late” I mean “well before twilight, maybe nothing more than overcast”.”) They are meant to make it clear that I’m nearby, and moving; that’s it.
If I were buying for night bicycling, I’d probably get something like the NiteRider Lumina 650, which was recommended (and impressively demonstrated) by a fellow Brompton rider I met on a train.
Stats from previous day’s Errandonneuring: 10 Errands in 8 Categories with 1 night Ride, 16.4 Miles Total
Stats from today’s Erranndonneuring: 4 errands in 4 categories with 1 night ride, 15.83 miles total.
Combined stats: 14 errands in 9 categories with 2 night rides, 32.2 miles total.
Report on its way to MG, with thanks for a really fun winter challenge!