MG posted an Errandonnee challenge a couple weeks ago – basically, run errands on your bike while completing a “control card” like you would on a randonnee.  It tickled my fancy, so I decided to give it a shot!  The challenge ran from February 9-20, and the goal was to complete 12 errands, out of at least 7 of 11 categories, with no more than two errands that count per category.

It was easy to start.  While the northeast was blizzed by a blitzard, I had to scrape my windshield because it was so cold in Alabama!  and I was driving down to Birmingham to the start of the second brevet of the year (my first of the year).  The Horse Pens 40 surprised me in a couple of ways, including how easy it was to bike three U.S. highways (78, 411, and 11) within 30 miles of the biggest city in Alabama.  (Parallel interstates help!)


Errand: Wild card
Destination: Horse Pens 40
What I learned / Observation:  I wondered what this was when I started the ride, turns out it’s a festival ground – go there in the summer, take your camper, lawn chair and beverage of your choice, and listen to a bunch of musicians.
Miles: Included below
Date: 2/9/13


Errand: Coffee or Dessert
Destination: Gas station east of Leeds at I-20
What I learned / Observation:  Hey, mocha is coffee.  And honey bun is a carb-loading dessert.  But chilled Starbucks mocha does not sit well while I’m pedaling.  A sour stomach is not pleasant on a randonnee.  Or Errandonnee.
Miles: Included below
Date: 2/9/13


Errand: Bike Shop
Destination: Birmingham Bike Shop
What I learned / Observation:  Lots of stuff.  But for this I’ll list the bluebirds flocking between Odentown and Leeds early in the morning, before the frost had melted.  Oh, and I look dorky in bike glasses etc.
Miles: 129.  Hey, does anyone ever finish a 200k brevet with 125 miles on the odometer?
Date: 2/9/13

OK, so I started at the bike shop, but I got back there, so I surely get some credit for a ride to the bike shop, right?  It was a lovely ride, too.  Temperatures got up into the mid-50s, sunny all the way.  The cue sheet was superb, I only missed one turn and it really was my fault.

Oh, yes, and how I hate the garden-club inspired street signs in a certain Birmingham suburb!  Why would anyone want to neglect all of the standard colors, fonts, and sign placement, for a cute but unreadable plaque off in the bushes?  May the people responsible for that decision go to an unfamiliar place in the country and have their GPS fail as the sun goes down and find that the county decided to scrimp on road signs!

Now the next Monday I had a work/lunch/bike shop run, but something happened to the camera on my cell phone; all the pictures were 0 kb.  See that file name?  Isn’t that proof??  No???  So it took a while to recover and get on track again.  Grr.  Well, back on track:

Pig Patiently Pauses

Pig Patiently Pauses

Errand: Work
Destination: Work
What I learned / Observation:  Way light traffic the day before President’s Day weekend.
Miles: Included below
Date:  2/15/13


Errand: Breakfast or lunch
Destination: Cafeteria at work
What I learned / Observation: As cold as it was, I was very grateful the café had something besides burgers and fries. And I call it carb-loading!
Miles: Included below
Date: 2/15/13


Errand: Grocery store
Destination: Star Market
What I learned / Observation:  Hey, the girls’ school is having their musical this coming weekend!  How can we work going to that into our schedule?  It’s always been good!
Miles: 21
Date:  2/15/13


Errand: Any store that is not the grocery store
Destination: Target
What I learned / Observation:  Looks like the geese that live around the duck pond all year have found some place else to spend the winter.  But the pond still looks like goose sludge.  Yuck.
Oh, and something’s still wrong with the front derailer.
Miles: 20
Date:  2/17/13


Errand: Coffee or dessert
Destination: Cyn Shea’s
What I learned / Observation:  Oh, man, this was the best orange cranberry anything I’ve tasted!  They must soak the dried cranberries in melted butter overnight to plump them up and disperse the cranberry flavor.  It’s a good thing Cyn Shea’s not terribly convenient for me, or I’d never be able to pedal uphill with all the extra weight.  Yum.
Miles: 1 (walked over after I took the bike down to the shop)
Date:  2/18/13


Errand: Wild card
Destination: ATM
What I learned / Observation:  No protestors around the abortion clinic just down the street.  They’ve had to call in the cops a few times in the last few weeks.  Was it too cold, or just too early, for them?
Miles: Included below
Date: 2/19/13


Errand: Work
Destination: Work
What I learned / Observation:  Two flocks of robins, about a half a block apart, with 15-20 robins each.  On the road.  Why?  It was cold and dry, no worms floating around like after a spring flash flood.
Miles: Included below
Date:  2/19/13


Errand: Dinner
Destination: Panera with my wife.
What I learned / Observation:  American woodcock “peenting” just past the creek, in the field behind the trees.  I’ve never heard one of them in the quarter century I’ve been living here.
Miles: 25
Date: 2/19/13


Errand: Lunch
Destination: Cafeteria at lunch
What I learned / Observation: Interesting coming over the hill.  Traffic behind me was polite and well behaved.  Could it have had something to do with the earth mover coming down the hill?
Miles: 18
Date: 2/20/13

Total number of categories used: 8

Total miles: 214

This was pretty fun.  It’s a bit disturbing to see how focused my rides are around food: two lunches, a dinner, coffee, dessert, grocery store, and of course the stop at the ATM to get – what else? lunch money!

1 thought on “Errandonneuring

  1. Pingback: Errandonnee, the Blog Victory Lap | chasing mailboxes d.c.

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