Errandonnee: Winter Errands by Bike!

Po Campo Loop Pannier in "Free Bird" fabric with a laptop inside.

Po Campo Loop Pannier with my Lenovo ThinkPad inside. Water-resistant/fade-resistant fabrics, practical design, but so pretty no one will guess it’s made to attach to your bike. Makes work errands and meetings easy on the bike.

The DC area blog Chasing Mailboxes has issued a great February biking challenge: The Errandonnee. Complete at least 7 different types of errand by bike and at least 30 miles and you’ve succeeded!

Funny thing is, I’ve become such a totally urban dweller that I will find it hard to achieve this. Examples of my planned transportation efficiency:

  • My hair salon is two doors away from where I live.
  • I needed to pick up some cards and gifts today but I walked instead of biking because I live only a half-mile from work and wanted to stretch my legs with a walk rather than a bike ride.
  • I had a work meeting away from the office today but it too was within a block of where I live. (That one is luck rather than planning.)
  • We live within walking distance of more than one grocery store, drug store, post office, and other essential services.
  • My Sweet Hubs just serviced both my bikes (the road bike and the Mary Poppins) so I don’t have any need to stop by a bike shop. (Although–ha! got it!–the fact that there’s a shop right behind my office lets me get in a stop if I just go visit the guys at Back Alley Bike Repair.)

As an additional challenge for the challenge, I have a family trip this weekend to Spokane (via car) and will be 275 miles away from my bike. If I can borrow one from Betsy I may be able to work in at least one meeting and some kind of shopping to get a couple more categories knocked out before the challenge wraps up Tuesday.

The form you can fill out to track your errandonnee asks for lessons and observations along with mileage, which is a great way of becoming more mindful about your riding. You can only count two instances in each category so if your life is nothing but a work-and-back grind you can’t fulfill the rules.

Here’s the full list with ride reports and observations noted.

  • Bike Shop
  • Breakfast or Lunch: Rode 17 miles Sunday and had breakfast for lunch in West Seattle. Two lessons learned: 1) It can be sunny when you leave downtown Seattle and turn very cold and foggy once you round the point on Alki Beach. 2) When biking to eat you should always plan on having a way to carry leftovers (ended up with a foil-wrapped packet in my jacket pocket).
  • Coffee or Dessert: Rode 13 miles Saturday to meet up with Sweet Hubs for coffee after he finished his team training ride. Two lessons learned: 1) I should plan ahead for tricky, busy intersections instead of relying on my smartphone navigation. Went astray 3 times making fast choice at a Y or otherwise tricky spot. 2) Also, if I go too long without riding my road bike I kind of forget how it feels and works.
  • Community Meeting (e.g., church, parent-teacher conference, board meeting)
  • Dinner
  • Grocery Store
  • Any store that is not the grocery store
  • Personal Care and Health (e.g., doctor, haircut, massage, gym, manicure)
  • Library (also includes book reading)
  • Work: This one is too easy! I only live a half-mile from work. Observations to date: 1) I live so close to work it’s almost not worth riding, except that riding is so fun! 2) Pioneer Square has lots of traffic-calming elements that make it easier to share the street because no one is moving fast.
  • Wild Card

Related Reading

Your Turn

  • Have you organized your life to make it easier or harder to run errands by bike?
  • Any plans to change that?
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5 Comments to "Errandonnee: Winter Errands by Bike!"

  1. [...] but for my bicycling; thank you, @gypsybug/Chasing Mailboxes, for sending me off coffeeneuring and errandonneeing (with a [...]

  2. [...] you might layer on a specialty challenge like doing an errandonnee or coffeeneuring–fun ways to set specific destination goals that can be especially good for [...]

  3. [...] took me to Spokane and away from my bike in the final few days of the challenge. As I mentioned in my first errandonnee post I’m able to do errands walking as well as biking in my new downtown Seattle life so I’d [...]

  4. [...] Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night to the Transportation Choices Coalition Hall of Fame event.* Not much mileage since I live so super-close to work but that’s about to change–we’re moving to north Seattle and my trip to work will [...]

  5. [...] every single day will shake things up. Setting up any kind of challenge, whether it’s an errandonnee (with a twist) or coffeeneuring or the National Bike Challenge, may be just what it takes to get [...]

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