Winter Challenge: The 2015 Errandonnee

Hey winter, you’re not the boss of me. It’s time for a March challenge designed for the utility cyclist with errands to do, even during cold winter days– the Errandonnee!


The tweet version of the Errandonnee is:

Errandonnee: Complete 12 errands in 12 days and ride a total of 30 miles by bike between March 5-16, 2015.

Since we must run errands, anyway, let’s take the opportunity to recognize the utility cycling we often do, but seldom celebrate.

The term “errandonnee” was developed in my friend Eric P.’s language laboratory and is a hybrid of “errands” and the French word “randonnee.”

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.

Errandonnee is almost as much fun to spell as Mississippi so how can you not want to participate in this challenge?



Below are the 9 Errandonnee categories (or controls) in order for you to plan and map your Errandonnee accordingly:

  • Personal Care
  • Personal Business
  • You carried WHAT on your bike?! (Thanks to Rachel C. for this suggestion!)
  • Arts and Entertainment
  • Non-Store Errand
  • Social Call (includes restaurants, coffee, and other social activities)
  • Work or Volunteering
  • Store (includes bike shop, grocery store, etc. You know, a store.)
  • Wild Card (surprise me!)
Ultrarunnergirl modeling the Errandonnee patch
Ultrarunnergirl modeling the Errandonnee patch

Of course, as this is a Chasing Mailboxes challenge I’ve added some rules. These may initially look like a lot, but I think after you read through them you will find this challenge to be quite manageable.

  1. Complete 12 errands from Thursday, March 5 through Monday, March 16, 2015.
  2. Complete the Errandonnee Control Card as you go (many thanks to @americancyclo for creating this!). You can save a copy of this control card for your use or make your own.
  3. There is no minimum length for each errand, but you must complete at least 30 total miles of bike riding over 12 days to successfully qualify for the Errandonnee. That’s an average of 2.5 miles per errand.
  4. Complete all 12 errands by the end of Monday, March 16. You can ride all 12 errands in one day, do one errand per day, or any other combination that works for you.
  5. You must complete errands from at least 7 of the 9 categories represented on the Errandonnee Control Card.
  6. Each category may be used a maximum of two times. For example, you may count a ride to work a total of two times.
  7. The Wild Card errand is for any trip you make that does not fall into any of the categories listed on the control card.
  8. If you carry a baked good for the “You carried WHAT on your bike?!” please provide a before and after photo.
  9. Please provide a short description of your Errandonnee bike (or bikes!).
  10. To evidence your errand, take one photo during your outing and submit at least one thing you learned or observed during your trip. Photos may be provided in the following ways:
    • If you have a blog, you can post them there and send me the links.
    • You may also use a site like flickr or Picasa and link me to your photos.
    • You can send me the links to your Errandonnee tweets.
    • Finally, I will accept 12 photos via email if that works best for you.
  11. There are no geographic limitations on the Errandonnee. OK, one limitation. Earth. All participants must be from somewhere on Earth.
  12. If the Errandonnee stresses you out or offends you or makes you feel bad or sad or competitive, you should stop. This is supposed to be fun and if you are not having fun then please do not continue because that is not what the Errandonnee is all about . That’s what family is for (KIDDING!).
  13. Deadline for Errandonnee submissions is midnight or so in your area, March 24, 2015.
  14. Submit all Errandonnee paperwork, including your Errandonnee Control Card to me at gersemalina “at” Send all qualifying rides together. That is, send me all 12 in one go, NOT ride 1, ride 2, etc.
  15. Everyone who successfully completes the Errandonnee is eligible for a prize. The premium will cost $4, which covers my costs. To purchase your prize, you may PayPal me at the gmail address above, or send your money by snail mail like grandma used to do (email me for my address). If you are an international entry, your premium will cost you $5 via PayPal. Please include a snail mail address in your submission so that I may send your Errandonnee swag to you. Note: prizes will be the same patch design as last year.

Heart sharrow

Also, please feel free to tweet or Instagram as you go using the hashtag #errandonnee. Remember, errandonnee is a word with triple double letters. Two r’s, two n’s, two e’s.

If you have a blog and errandeur, please let me know in the comments so I can put together an Errandonnee blogroll!

Additional questions?

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.

The Errandonnee: March 5-16, 2015. It’s time to ride and get stuff done.


  1. “Note: prizes will be the same patch design as last year.”
    It will be similar to the green errandonnee patch, correct- not the same one?

    This year will be a challenge- I don’t have anywhere to ride! I think my husband may also be off that entire week to burn vacation time. This will be interesting. I can’t wait!


    1. Glad you are back for another Errandonnee! For this year, it will be the same design as last year. Usually I change it up, but not this time.


  2. So, if I ride to visit my husband at work and we discuss work to be done at home, does that count as a “work or volunteering” ride? :O) I’ll do anything to stretch rules.


  3. Sounds like fun–but it is snowing another 5 inches, then freezing rain, and sleet. No warm weather in sight. Any chance of a say 2 week postponement? If not, will do all 12 errands on the last day.


  4. Great challenge, love this!
    About the pics: I do have Picasa, which I do not use so often, but Instagram I sure ly use, so would it be possible to send links to Instagram pics?


  5. Can one destination/trip serve more than one errand? Say, getting groceries (store) and also having lunch there (personal care or personal business or wild card).


    1. I would say you could do that in a pinch, as long as you aren’t doing that for all of the errands, e.g., I went to the shopping mall, rode 30 miles, and completed all 12 errands.


      1. If you do multiple errands on one trip, the mileage would only count once though, correct? For example I just commuted to work but I also stopped at Walgreen’s and bought some shoelaces. So I’ve got going to store, going to work and personal care. Total round-trip work to home 8 miles, not counting the train. I’m actually only going to input the work trip, because I am pretty car-lite so need for me to combine. (One of my bikes is a Xtracycle so I can’t wait for the “You carried what?” category) But as a rule point, how should that be entered on the control card? I’m thinking enter each trip, but divide the mileage by number of errands in the trip. So if it were three categories completed on one trip, with a total of 8 miles, that would be entered as 2.67 miles per trip, 8/3 = 2.67.

        Does that make sense?



  6. I have been thinking about signing up for this challenge since you first posted it. It sounds fun, but I didn’t know if I could finish all the categories. I guess I am going to give it a shot and see how I do. Thanks for doing this.


  7. I’m so in but one question that has arisen as I’m planning my errands. I live outside Seattle but was planning a sketching get together in Seattle next week. If I bus there, then bike to the location can I still count that? Obviously I would only count the biked miles. Is this still legal?


  8. Just discovered your Errandonnée challenge. Love it! Will have to do this next year, or whenever the next one might be. Doing 30 Days of Biking ( again, which is similar but different.


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