The Errandonnee and Simple Pleasures

When I was little, my sisters and I used to play a game we invented called “Sister.” Our variation of playing house, it entailed us making formal visits to each other’s bedrooms, speaking in what we imagined were elegant tones, and frequently employing the term “sister” as we conversed about the goings-on of our lives.

This game amused and perplexed my mother. “Why do you play the game Sister when you are sisters?” she asked us.

“Yes, we are sisters,” we said. “But Sister is when we are nice to each other.”


I thought about our childhood game this week as I followed the Errandonnee through tweets and blogs and read some of the comments about it.

How does the Errandonnee differ from everyday life? Why do errands have to become a contest?

The Errandonnee is not that different from everyday life. Groceries, doctor’s appointments, work. Most of us have to deal with these types of errands. Many of us may already do these things by bike. However, the Errandonnee is an opportunity to see these activities not just as stuff we have to do, but to appreciate all that we can do via bicycle.

Perhaps one could consider the Errandonnee a contest. I see it more like a game as opposed to a contest. Because of this game I’ve had the great pleasure to connect with other people who move around the city or wherever they live by bike, making this frequently faceless world a slightly smaller, friendlier place. We’ve even shared some internet laughs.

Through the Errandonnee I’ve also peeked into places I’ve never visited–  Montana, Alberta, Australia, Spain, Fort Worth, just to name a few. These places gain new meaning to me as I glimpse them through a cyclist’s perspective.

The Errandonnee is not competitive, except perhaps for the competition with one’s self to meet all the pre-established (yet flexible) Errandonnee criteria.

This post is a long way of saying, it’s not that deep. It’s simple, like a game of Sister– a way to celebrate and take pleasure in the everyday things we do that we sometimes take for granted.

Thank you, errandeurs, for bringing this challenge to life and for making it so much fun. I eagerly await your weekend posts and tweets.


  1. What I think is the best thing about the Errandonnee and other similar types of pursuits is the glimpse into other people’s worlds– I love seeing photos from places I haven’t been to, or even places that I’ve been to but never seen from a cyclist’s point of view. It isn’t about athleticism or death-defying competition, but sharing our love for doing what we do on bicycle. All the rest (counting miles and number of errands) is extra.
    Thanks again, MG, for a fun way to express this. I’ll be turning in my control card very soon!


  2. Obviously written from a girl’s perspective. My brothers and I wrestled each other into submission on a regular basis, with ever shifting alliances between the three of us. Wouldn’t have made for a very good analogy to the Errandonnee.


  3. I absolutely agree with Lisa. MG, thanks to you we can have a little look into others people lives, which have in common with us the same passion. Simple lives, but also meaningful to our eyes. And we are having a lot of fun!

    Maybe you are aware, but you are the catalyst of this worldwide connection. So, don’t feel pressed but…. never give up 🙂 . Thanks!


  4. I feel incredibly blessed to have stumbled across this adventure via FABB — and having stumbled in, encountered a cycling community in which it’s okay to just “bike” I don’t see the Errandonnee as competitive but as encouraging, and have discovered some wonderful new bike blogs. One more night errand and I’m done, but it’s not for the prize, it’s for the journey.

    That said, if someone likes to see cycling events in which competition with one’s self is often dramatic, I invite you to attend/volunteer for the Reston Youth Triathlon in May. We’re putting young cyclists (after a swim and before a run) through their paces, always stressing safety and fitness. The students who started it 3 years ago did so in memory of their friend from 6th grade who died from a brain tumor. She was a fierce athlete, so they do this as a fundraiser to honor her life and celebrate her spirit. It’s student run and very cool. if anyone’s interested.


  5. Your original post mentioned celebrating the utility cycling we do, and that’s how I feel about it. If it were a contest, somebody would have to win. It has certainly made my daily errands more fun. So, thanks!


  6. Definitely not a game of “Sister” for me. Not only am I having fun doing this and following what others are doing, but it’s pushed me out of my comfort zone. I mostly ride for recreation, with the occasional commute to work and errands to my local supermarket, produce market, post office, and recycling center (great use of my re-purposed bike trailer). Commuting and errands were all short, safe rides, and if at night, through well-lit, wide neighborhood streets. But I rarely went beyond the “island” of my suburban neighborhood, mainly because we’re isolated from the main city area, and getting to most places requires rides on narrow, poorly maintained and poorly lighted country roads. Great for weekend recreation, not fun at night or during AM/PM rush hour. I’m definitely inspired by this to do more bike errands and to facilitate this by investing in a better lighting system. I need the lights to do more on these roads than just help me be seen by traffic. In fact, if anyone has recommendations for a good dynamo system for my Surly LHT, I’d love to hear about it. Thanks for putting this together–look forward to future “games.”


    • Oh and regarding lighting, my husband and I do not use generator lights, but have been pleased with the brightness and run time of our rechargeable Light n Motion lights.


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