My 2017 Errandonnee, or How I Turned My Bike Commute Into Every Category of Errand

This year I attempted both an Errandonnee by bike and one on two feet. I was successful in both, although it involved flexibility in interpretation of the already-broad categories, and almost all trips were linked to a commute.

Having started a new job that isn’t as near to downtown and retail, I’m not passing the areas where I regularly run my errands, and I’m still adjusting to the new route and daily pattern. Next year I hope to diversify my trips more, but this is my wrap-up for 2017.

Errandonnee 1, March 20: Work, 17 miles roundtrip

My commute is generally 17 miles round trip, and takes me along Ohio Drive. During this year’s Errandonnee, the blossoms were fighting for their little lives, as cold weather had caused some of them to suffer. Others that were not as far along in the budding process ended up faring just fine, fortunately. This is a shot from an afternoon ride home.

Errandonnee 2, March 21: Wild Card-Searching for BikeInBloom, 2.9 miles

During cherry blossom season, Capital Bikeshare releases a solitary pink bike into the wild, called the BikeInBloom. I figured if I started early, I would be sure to find it at least once. I rode a common red Bikeshare home from some downtown meetings, choosing a route that passed several Bikeshare stations. No luck seeing pink this day.

Errandonnee 3, March 22: Grocery Store, 9.5 miles

I had to stop by the neighborhood Safeway on my way home and get my regular muzak dose of Billy Ocean and Debbie Gibson. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo of that, but I did stop to check on the cherry blossoms’ progress before going to the store.

Errandonnee 4, March 23: Arts and Entertainment, Hains Point Loop Before the Commute, 10.7 miles

With the trees filling in, Felkerino and I rolled out early for a lap around Hains Point before work. Mornings are best for blossom spins. The tour buses are not yet out and the traffic on the Point is minimal – just the runners and cyclists.

Errandonnee 5, March 24: Work, 8 miles

Pretty gray out there – makes for less blossom tourist traffic. Selfishly, that makes me happy.

Errandonnee 6, March 24: Social Call with Ian, World’s Nicest Bike Commuter, 10.3 miles

With my new commute route comes a new group of commuters with whom I intersect. This day, I ended up seeing Ian, and we stopped for a nice visit. Made my day! I then set off and diverted along the Mall to see if I could find the BikeInBloom. No luck. I heard rumors it was being held hostage in Arlington.

Errandonnee 7, March 25: Personal Care, Tandem Century with Felkerino, 103.7 miles

One of the first days to feel warm, we even wore short sleeves for much of the day. Our route was a constantly rolling jaunt through Virginia horse country around Warrenton and Little Washington, Virginia. We even indulged in a sit-down lunch. Beats convenience store dining, for sure.

Errandonnee 8, March 24: Non-Store, Dropping Off a Letter (no miles, see explanation below)

I forgot that I had run this errand on the same day that Ian and I ran into each other (not literally). I like to send real mail every once in a while. I keep a decent supply of stationary and greeting cards on hand, and letter writing is a good penmanship exercise.

It’s always nice to find a friendly letter in your mailbox, don’t you think?

Errandonnee 9, March 28: Personal Care, 6.7 miles

I had a meeting in Rosslyn, and took my folding bike – a Bike Friday Ticket – for the ride home. It was a sunny day full of spring warmth, so I ate my lunch outside at the Netherlands Carillon.

Errandonnee 10, March 28: Personal Business, (see above for miles)

Before having lunch, I stopped at the bank for some money. I had to climb a hill to get there, but it was worth it for cash in hand. And there was no line, an added bonus for finding an ATM a little off the beaten path.

Errandonnee 11, March 29: Wild Card, Extra Trip to Work to Bring the Bike Home for the Evening, 9.2 miles

I somehow ended up having meetings downtown, finishing up the day at home, and then decided that I NEEDED my bike for the next day’s commute. I took Bikeshare to Georgetown (still no BikeInBloom), ran the next segment to work, and retrieved my steed. It was so excited to see me!

We rode gleefully home together in the light of the golden hour and I treated it to an Ohio Drive River and Blossom vista. You’re a great bike, bike! Then I rode off to the grocery store for dinner fixings and more Debbie Gibson on the loudspeakers.

Errandonnee 12, March 30: Non-Store, Boot camp! 3.2 miles

Bikeshare has become my favorite mode of transport to boot camp – an outdoor workout class I take one or two times per week. What with cherry blossom season in full swing, I also gave myself another chance to find the BikeInBloom. Nowhere. Somebody said it was vacationing in Maryland and seemed to like it there. I parked my common red bike right by the church stairs where we often meet.

Overall

The hardest part of the Errandonnee might be the paperwork. Strava helped me a lot in this regard. I used it to record all my trips, and I’ve synchronized my Instagram feed to it so Strava can do much of my documentation for me.

I shuffled categories throughout the Errandonnee, (e.e., Personal Care, NO, Personal Business, NO, Wild Card!) and planned a few extra errands just to be sure I would complete 12 errands in at least 7 categories. This is definitely a challenge I have to stay on top of each day.

But I liked how the Errandonnee added a layer of mindfulness into my daily routine. It also helped me explore my surroundings a little more, too. Over the course of the challenge, I rode 181 miles and used 8 categories.

And guess what else?

After all that hunting, I finally found the BikeInBloom.

2 thoughts on “My 2017 Errandonnee, or How I Turned My Bike Commute Into Every Category of Errand

  1. Wonderful recap of your errandonnee experience this year. Love how you put the titles on the photos and mixed up the format. Thanks for raising the bar once again…really, though, thanks for inspiring us all to do a little errandonneering!

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