Ready? Set? Go! I know you can do it.
The Errandonnee. It starts today!
Ready? Set? Go! I know you can do it.
The Errandonnee. It starts today!
Winter got you down? Craving the warmth of spring days? Feel down no more and hop on that bike. It’s time for a March challenge designed for the utility cyclist with lots of errands to do, even in winter– the Errandonnee!
The tweet version of The Errandonnee is:
Errandonnee: Complete 12 errands in 12′ish days and ride a total of 30 miles by bike between March 7-19, 2014.*
*Technically, this is 13 days, but I encountered some issues with math along the way. And with the weather this year, I’m building in a snow day.
Since we must run errands, anyway, let’s take the opportunity to recognize the utility cycling we often do, but seldom celebrate.
Conceptually, these two words may not initially fit well together, but string 12 errands together for one long ride interrupted by sleep and other diversions, and you have… an errandonnee. Technically, I suppose there should be an accent above one of those last e’s, but it’s too much work to find that character on my computer.
Errandonnee is almost as much fun to spell as Mississippi so how can you not want to participate in this challenge?
Below are the 11 Errandonnee categories (or controls) in order for you to plan and map your Errandonnee accordingly:
Of course, a Chasing Mailboxes challenge can’t be too simple so I’ve added in some rules. These may initially look like a lot of rules, but I think after you read through them you will find this challenge to be quite manageable.
Also, please feel free to tweet as you go using the hashtag #errandonnee. Two r’s, two n’s, two e’s.
If you have a blog and errandeur, please send me a link to your write-ups!
I have an additional Q&A post here. If that still doesn’t address your question, ask in the comments of this post or send me an email if you’re shy.
The Errandonnee: March 7-19, 2014. Winter’s last gasp (fingers crossed). Let’s do this.
Greetings readers and errandeurs. This message is to update you on the status of the distribution of the Errandonnee goodies.
While I planned to put these in the mail a couple of weeks ago, due to a variety of
excuses reasons (mostly bike-, work-, and dinner duty-related), I have been delayed.
My goal is to get the Errandonnee treasure out this week so be on the lookout for it over the next week or so. I’ll send a follow-up notice when all prizes have been mailed.
In the meantime, how about this pretty photo of the cherry blossoms with Felkerino’s pretty Rivendell and my trusty Surly LHT? Not long now!
The time has arrived to announce the 2013 successful Errandonnee finishers and Honorable Mentions. Before I do, though, I just want to say what a fabulous time I’ve had getting to know all the errandeurs and getting to know a little bit of how you make a go of doing errands by bike in your town.
This challenge included the broadest geographic range of participants for any of the challenges I’ve hosted. People braved some stiff winter chill, wind, and even snow to complete the Errandonnee. Well done, everyone!
Below are three Magic Errandonnee Maps to illustrate where Errandonnees occurred. (I am remiss in including Australia, but I will update the post soon, too, ok?)
In addition, this was the first challenge where not only adults participated, but kids errandeured as well (in the company of their parents). That was so inspiring, and helped me see how families make people-powered transit work in their everyday lives.
That brings me to the prizes.
All successful Errandonnee finishers earn an embroidered gold star patch. Yes, a gold star! This star can be ironed on to a bag, a t-shirt, or whatever other item you like.
Those who could not quite complete the Errandonnee for whatever reason, but put forth a solid effort earn an embroidered silver star!
Finally, some participants will receive a hearts patch representing Righteousness Points earned during the Errandonnee. The hearts recognize the challenge taking place over Valentine’s Day AND the fact that you deserve Righteousness Points. (Please note that the distribution of righteousness points is subjective, but is generally based on riding in inclement weather or weather that would make me physically uncomfortable to ride in.)
All kids who accompanied their parent during the challenge earn an Honorable Mention, and you will see them noted after the respective Errandonnee Finisher. All families will receive righteousness points because errandeuring as a family is extra awesome!
So as you can see, the prizes are sort of like the Olympics, yet different.
*Indicates completion of all Chasing Mailboxes challenges.
You will know if you received Righteousness Points if they arrive with your star. Once again, I want to let all the participants know what a great February I had. Reading your tweets, blog posts, and control card submissions reminded me how lucky I am to be a bike rider and to be part of the cycling community.
One more thing: If somehow I missed you, PLEASE email me or note it in the comments and I will update the results as soon as I can. Thanks!!
As my blog staff compiles results, I’m taking a few posts to share some Errandonnee participants’ adventures who chose to share their stories, not through Twitter or blogs, but through their control card or narratives.
This week features BikeDC friend and errandeur Eric P., who tells a lively story of how the Errandonnee helped foster his transition to utility cycling and lessons learned along the way. Thank you, Eric, for your fine write-up and for letting me share it!
I am not a blogger and not much of a tweeter, so I did not document my 2013 Errandonnee as I went along beyond completing the control card and compiling photographs. However, as I completed the control card and compiled my photos I realized that the experience was a bit more than the sum of its parts and needed to be documented in a more thematic way.
By way of background, I am primarily a recreational cyclist. Most of my riding, and the focus of my riding, has been on weekend rides with friends and clubs. I backed into bike commuting as a way to keep in shape and squeeze a few more miles in, but I treated the commute like a workout, even using a fixie, and would not describe myself as a utility cyclist.
I tried the do the Utilitaire last year, but just could not force myself to change my head-down commuting routine to work in the errands. This past year, though, my weekend riding tailed off some and my commuting miles increased substantially, and I began to realize I was more of a utility cyclist than I thought. I also began to tire of treating the commute like a workout. I decided to buy a full touring bike to use for commuting so I could take it a bit easier and hopefully do some touring on the weekends.
As it happened, MG announced the Errandonnee just a week or so after I picked up the new bike, so this was the perfect storm to force me to shift my focus on the bike from distance and speed to something more practical and relaxed. Still I was reluctant, and hesitated to even try the Errandonnee because I was just not sure I could cover the categories. My problem is that most of the errands I run are either downtown near my office, or simply too far to ride to or otherwise impractical.
In addition to the rules laid down by MG, I made a few of my own. Primarily, I wanted to force myself to use the bike for errands, not just tack errands on to rides I would otherwise do. I decided I would not count my long weekend recreational rides, even though they almost always involve a stop for coffee or lunch.
I also decided I would not “double count” my commuting rides. For example, I would not count a trip to the dentist if I rode my bike to work as usual and then went to the dentist during the day. And if I stopped at a store on the way home from work, that ride would count only as a trip to the store and not also as a ride to work. Given my normal patterns, this upped the challenge for me.
My first “Aha!” moment that made me realize I could do this was on Feb 11. I needed to go to the D.C. Court of Appeals to get a Certificate of Good standing from the D.C. Bar. My office is directly above a Metro stop and normally I would take the Metro. But I was staring out the window and saw the Capital Bikeshare stand at K and 17th Street and realized I could use a CaBi and not have worry about locking my bike.
It was a hoot. The CaBi bikes are heavy and clunky, and I worked up a bit of sweat on the way back, but it was a lot of fun to ride in street clothes. I felt like I was getting away with something by sneaking out for a bike ride in the middle of the day. In my giddy excitement, however, I forgot to take a picture so all I can offer is a photo of the receipts from CaBi and the Bar.
I did one other Errandonerrand on a CaBi to meet friends at Roti near Metro Center. This time I remembered to take a picture of the Inauguration reviewing stand being dismantled. Now I think of CaBi as an alternative to Metro or walking, so that in itself is worth it.
After that, it got easier. I was able to do another midday Errandonerrand to BicycleSpace on my regular bike to get a bell. As it happened, that day was warm — near 50 — and it was just a hoot to ride my bike in street clothes through downtown. Again, I felt like I was playing hooky or sneaking out for a beer, and came back to office feeling like I had to hide my grin. The weather must have gone to my head because I forgot my camera and again had to resort to an after-action shot or two.
I also shifted my weekend errands to cover a bit more ground on the bike instead of walking or driving. On Saturday, February 16, I did a short loop through Takoma Park to go to the bank, the hardware store, CVS, and the liquor store.
Normally I would walk, and maybe drive to the liquor store, but my rack and panniers let me carry a few groceries, wine, etc., and I felt like these routine errands were a bit of an adventure instead of routine.
I also scared myself as I rolled out from home because the sidewalk was strewn with clear crystals that I thought were broken car glass. After about 50 feet of crazy weaving I realized it was salt strewn in anticipation of the nonexistent snow. I need to stop thinking so much.
That said, I think my really local errands are better off the bike. While the bike is a great way to cover a few miles efficiently, just riding the few blocks to my local shopping area meant I was not stopping to talk to neighbors or seeing birds and plants in the yards.
The logistics-to-distance ratio was also “upside down.” I spent a disproportionate amount of time locking and unlocking the bike, and calibrating purchases based on what I could carry. I think I prefer walking such a short distance to allow for more spontaneity.
On the other hand, my ride to the Safeway on February 19 was perfect. About a three-mile round trip, I ordinarily would have driven, and it was much more fun and healthier (for me and the planet) to ride instead of drive. I am not sure I could do a full week’s worth of shopping on the bike, but for just a few things it was perfect.
That day was a busy Errandonneuring day all around. First I rode into work for a few hours in the morning. It was a pleasant afternoon so I took advantage of being home in the daylight to run two more errands. First a quick ride up the street to the dry cleaners and then a ride to Safeway for a few essentials.
I also counted two trips to work, and converted rides home on other days into errandonerrands with a stop at the hardware store one night and Sticky Fingers bakery for vegan treats for Suzanne on Valentine’s day.
Of course, shifting my focus to utility riding was not without its fits and starts — or, as the French say, Errandonerrors. I came to realize that I am not well equipped to carry delicate things like cupcakes in my panniers.
Luckily, the taste held up better than appearance and Suzanne enjoyed the cupcakes, and laughing at me too. I have a front rack on order and am intently shopping for a good bag so hopefully that won’t happen again.
Also, I am not a compulsive photographer and more than once forgot to take a picture, meaning I could not count the ride at all or would have to improvise by taking a picture of a receipt and/or the purchases or, if I caught myself, circling back to get the picture.
I also realized I had to rethink necessary gear, like locks. I normally don’t carry a lock on weekend rides and I leave my lock at the office for commuting, so I never have think about the lock. When I went to the Safeway I forgot the lock and did not realize it until I was almost there. So back home I went for the lock, and then back to the Safeway for the Errandonerrand. Luckily it was a nice day so I was happy for the bonus miles, but still a bit frustrating.
I also missed a few easy Errandonerrands by not fully changing my thinking. It was only when I got to my destination that I had a “Wow, I coulda had a V-8” moment and realized I could have biked instead of Metroing. Obviously I have more mental work to do to make myself areal utility cyclist.
All in all, the 2013 Errandonnee was a lot of fun and helped my broaden my cycling imagination. That is a per se good thing, so thank you MG for the push!
I received so many great blog entries about people’s Errandonnees that I had to do one more blog roundup. Soon I’ll be back to announce the finishers and honorable mentions, but while I homologate results, check out these fine errandeur write-ups.
Today we’re back with Errandonnee news. Here is the exciting rundown:
To date, I have received submissions from 16 states, including the District of Columbia.
Upon the addition of the Canadian errandeurs, the Magic Errandonnee Map began to struggle. Freehand drawings of parts of both Alberta and Ontario are shown, but they are really not that well-drawn nor to scale with the rest of the map.
As you can also derive from the picture above, the Magic Errandonnee Map needs an upgrade to accommodate international submissions from faraway places like Scotland, Sweden, and Spain. (And just so you all know, I am not the best at geography, but I am aware that Sweden is north of Scotland, which is north of Spain.) I’m working on adding a Magic Errandonnee Map (Europe and Canada editions!) so that I will have a better portrayal of these Errandonnee entries.
I’m so impressed by the number of people who did not let winter’s cold sway them from completing the Errandonnee. “Cold? What cold?” (I imagine they said things like this, in deep and hearty voices.) They still ventured out and got it done.
I’ll be back soon with more errandeur highlights, but in the meantime, send me your entry by March 1!
And remember, even if you did not complete the full 12 errands, you may still be in the running for Honorable Mention!
Because I loved them so. As always, thank you errandeur tweeps.
Coming soon: an updated Magic Errandonnee Map. And remember, the deadline for Errandonnee submissions is February 28.
I have been so inspired by all of the riding, errandeuring, blogging, and tweeting going on this past almost-fortnight (I like to refer to things like a major tennis tournament).
While I have not been writing as much these days, I have been immersed in perusing as much Errandonnee activity as I can. Today’s post features another blog roundup from the great errandeurs I’ve come to know through this challenge.
It’s a little bit of everything on the blogs, and a whole lot of errandeur goodness.
Thank you, bloggers and errandeurs!
Errandonnee Business Note: If you completed the Errandonnee, be sure to send me your completed control card (electronic submission, and no signature required) via email at gersemalina “at” gmail.com.
Please email me your final submission even if I have retweeted or blogged about you, as it is the only way for me to truly track who has completed the Errandonnee.
I will confirm receipt of your submission via email. If you do not receive a response from me then I did not receive your original email.
Entries accepted until February 28. Thanks, everybody!
Alright then. All photos are courtesy of the errandeur who originally tweeted it. Thanks, tweeps!
Six official submissions received so far. Keep up the good work and the excellent tweets, errandeurs!