I jumped into the errandonneuring game three and a half days late after seeing Errandeur is a French word for people who do errands on their bikes on the Cascade Bicycle Club blog. It’s a winter biking challenge from Chasing Mailboxes in DC and was oh-so-fun! “Errandonnee: Complete 12 errands in 12 days and ride a total of 30 miles by bike between February 9-20.” The kids were various degrees of ill the first week so that added an extra dimension of challenge to the challenge–imagine how much more we could have done in perfect health!

What did I learn? I am remiss in the personal care department–I hit every category except for “Category 8: Personal Care and Health (doctor, haircut, massage, manicure).” Or perhaps all the biking is keeping my finely tuned machine running so well I don’t routinely need personal care! (OK, OK, and I’m a slob.)

Following is my looong recap of the challenge. Forgive the extra stuff–we often get sidetracked by public art. Here’s my official control card.

February 12

Category 11: Wild Card
Destination: UW Ballot drop box
Miles: 4.5
After the kids went to sleep I rushed out to drop our ballots at the voting van on campus. This was one of my after-dark rides and my lighting was: Knog Beetle on the front, Knog Gekko on the back, Bike Glow for side visibility and Bike Brightz for down-low glow.
Observation: College kids still say “Where you at?”

Bike the vote

February 13

Category 1: Bike Shop
Destination: Back Alley Bike Repair
Miles: 12.0
I picked up a Kyler Martz Adventure Print to give Mr. Family Ride for Valentine’s Day. They’ve been on display since the Bike Love Party and there are still several left, if you’re smitten like me.
Observation: Hey, Nord Alley didn’t smell like pee today!

Back Alley Bike Repair

And here begins the extraneous public art portion of my errandonneuring adventure…

On the way to Back Alley we stopped to admire Hammering Man:

Hammering Man

And on the way home we paused at Pike Place Market for a snack atop Rachel the Pig:

Snacking atop Rachel the Pig

And for dessert, the Belltown popsicle:

Belltown popsicle

February 14

Category 3: Coffee or Dessert
Destination: Mighty-O Donuts
Miles: 1.2
Observation: Mildly sick kids are not too sick for donuts.

Mighty-O Donuts

Category 11: Wild Card
Destination: Preschool with big box
Miles: 6.3
As seen on Seattle Bike Blog, I transported a cardboard box for my friend since it was too big to fit in her car. So fun!
Observation: This box was too big to fit in my friend’s car.

Box on the bike

February 15

Category 2: Breakfast or Lunch
Destination: Solsticio
Miles: 1.5
Today was the first day we’ve seen the sun in five months! Or so it felt.
Observation: For being on the Burke-Gilman Trail, I really wish there was bike parking here.

Smoothies at Solsticio

Parking on the fence outside Solsticio

Extra stuff…stopped to watch the Golden Dolphin pass through the Fremont Bridge:

Fremont draw bridge

And checked out the action at the Ballard skate bowl before heading across the street to the library:

FlightDeck as skate bowl viewing platform

Category 9: Library
Destination: Ballard Library
Miles: 6.8
Observation: 12 books per kid makes for a reasonable load.

Books on the bike

Category 3: Coffee or Dessert or maybe Category 1: Bike Shop
Destination: Dutch Bike Co
Miles: 0.5
Stopped in for a snack and picked up a much-needed Velo Orange Bungee Cord Cargo Net.
Observation: Crane is making hand-painted bells–pretty!

Snack and shop at Dutch Bike Co

Category 5: Dinner or maybe Category 6: Grocery Store
Destination: Metropolitan Market
Miles: 11.0
I’m not sure how to record this errand. I waited patiently (and by that I mean I routinely pestered, whined, and banged around loudly) for Mr. Family Ride to finish work so I could leave the darling sick children in his care and run out to a friend’s going away party at which there would be food (dinner!). But the party ended embarrassingly early and I missed it all. So I hit Met Market on the way back home and dined on cheese samples and “salmon” pate (shouldn’t the “pate” have been in quotes, not the “salmon”? I have no idea what it really was). So it was still a dinner trip, right? I also bought ice cream to bring home so there was a bit of grocery involved.
Observation: I need to open that Amazon box containing my new rechargeable lights already–it’s hella dark on the unlit parts of the Burke-Gilman Trail!

Met Market

February 16

Not an errand, but thanks to the train mural for being the bait to lure the sick children out of the house. I hoped we’d frolic a little and then move up the block to the U-District farmers market because I heard there would be baby goats on hand…but the frolicking lasted long past market time.

Train mural!

Category 6: Grocery Store
Destination: Trader Joes
Miles: 2.0
Mr. Family Ride isn’t a fan of my sideways transport of pizzas–apparently he doesn’t like all the cheese on one half. Thanks to yesterday’s new cargo net, I can pop them on top of my front basket and keep them flat.
Observation: New cargo net FTW.

Grocery stop

And more public art…we passed Hammered Man at the Blue Moon Tavern on our way home. If Hammered Man is drinking, the tavern is open.

Hammered Man

February 17

Category 4: Community Meeting
Destination: A residence in Rainier Beach
Miles: 24.8
Can’t reveal the nature of the meeting, but it’s bikey and awesome and in due time things will be revealed. I left the sick kids home and flew down on my road bike–it’s such a treat to beat the Google maps time estimate by 25 minutes, rather than have to add that much time to it! There are a lot of roadies on the Lake Washington Loop so while I felt one of the crowd in my cycling jersey (won it in a Go Mean’s Go caption contest!) and shoe covers, no one else was cycling in a skirt and messenger bag so I didn’t get any head bobs of recognition. On the way home I saw a family of five spread between a tandem and a triple and got to dreaming of the day we’ll all pedal together. A triple would certainly be nice, but I think a more realistic dream is a tandem with Burley Piccolo trailer bike attached.
Observation: I love the signage along Lake Washington Loop.

View of the I-90 bridge

February 18

Category 1: Bike Shop
Destination: Recycled Cycles
Miles: 1.1
I used the Big Dummy to carry the two kids, my cyclocross bike, and our Burley Piccolo trailer bike and its rack to Recycled Cycles. Handy people attach the rack to their bike themselves, but I’m not handy (especially with two little “helpers”). The shop was very busy due to the holiday so we left the bikes and our number and tried to leave…but got sidetracked by sidewalk chalk. Every bike shop should provide sidewalk chalk! The kids played for so long that by the time we finally got ready to roll to lunch, the phone rang that the bike was ready.
Observation: President’s Day is super busy.

Sidewalk chalk at Recycled Cycles

Category 2: Breakfast or Lunch
Destination: Voula’s Offshore Cafe
Miles: 0.9
We traveled a few blocks for lunch at Voula’s before the uphill climb back home. I doubt this was my heaviest load, but it was such a pain to lug back home. My cross bike was leaning out to the side a bit and the Piccolo’s weight is up fairly high so that may have added to the challenge.
Observation: Go check out the submerged Space Needle painting by a customer.

Voula's Offshore Cafe

On the way to dinner I checked out the soon-to-be Peddler Brewing Co. It’s so cool! I hung my bike from a hook on the wall–can’t do that with the mamabikes!

Vertical bike rack at Peddler Brewing Co

And check out the gorgeous bartop:

The bar at Peddler Brewing Co

Category 5: Dinner
Destination: Hale’s Ales
Miles: 8.7
There was no food at Peddler’s so we headed to Hale’s Ales, conveniently located on the Burke-Gilman Trail. I put my new headlight on so I rolled nice and bright with Cygolite Metro 300 Lumen headlight, Knog Gekko rear light, Bike Glow side lights, and Bike Brightz down-low glow. My usual ride, the Surly Big Dummy cargo bike has a dynamo hub with always-on headlight and tail light as well as Pedalite blinkie pedals for side visibility so I’m still fine tuning the visibility of my other bikes.
Observation: Cygolite Metro 300 Lumen headlight = NICE.

Bikes outside Hale's Ales

February 19

Category 10: Work
Destination: Preschool and kindergarten
Miles: 4.6
I haven’t been gainfully employed in over five years, but I’m counting school dropoffs as my work. Hope that’s cool. Today was an exciting day: we got Engine Engine Engine version 2.0 up and running (I’ll post about it soon) and dropped the pieces off as we went–three-year old and trailer at preschool and then five-year old and Burley Piccolo trailer bike at elementary school. The bike counter didn’t count EEE the first time over, but it did count me + Piccolo on the way back. And then it didn’t count me + trailer after preschool.
Observation: The bike counter doesn’t like Engine Engine Engine.

Engine Engine Engine the second

Category 7: Any store that is not the grocery store
Destination: Archie McPhee
Miles: 0.1
Picked up some little airplanes to put in a shadowbox for a toddler preschool project. My five-year old used to call this dancing bacon “Spongebob”–heh.
Observation: The best place for two-headed evil baby dolls.

Archie McPhee

Category 7: Any store that is not the grocery store
Destination: Walgreens
Miles: 3.8
Printed out some pictures for the preschool shadowbox. And found an awesome sasquatch-in-a-shot-glass to give to my brother when we visit next month.
Observation: Picture pick-up!

Quick stop at Walgreens

Category 9: Library
Destination: Wallingford Library
Miles: 0.7
Paid a quick visit to our local library for some book returning.
Observation: Would be more bike-accessible if Woodlawn was two-way here…or was one-way for cars with a cycletrack!

Wallingford Library book return

Category 4: Community Meeting
Destination: Preschool parent meeting
Miles: 4.9
I forgot to take a photo at preschool, but here’s my bike at the taco truck afterwards, picking up dinner for Mr. Family Ride. Life is rough without cargo capacity! Two blocks with a nylon bag over the handlebars isn’t exactly hard, but it’s not classy.
Observation: Evening bike traffic jam on the Burke-Gilman Trail.

Rancho Bravo taco truck

February 20

Category 10: Work
Destination: Preschool and kindergarten
Miles: 4.6
Same as yesterday. I meant to borrow one of Mr. Family Ride’s panniers, but forgot so after leaving the trailer locked up outside preschool, I had to partially shove my messenger bag in the five-year old’s backpack and wear that for the second leg of our school commute. Still working out the EEE kinks. I wondered yesterday if the bike counter ignored my long confusing bike because I had to wait for a pedestrian to clear the Fremont Bridge and rode over the sensor very slowly. Today I cruised over at normal speed and got counted twice. So I guess we’re square.
Observation: The bike counter did count a faster Engine Engine Engine (twice).

Engine Engine

Category 6: Grocery Store
Destination: PCC
Miles: 6.7
Grabbed a pannier (shh) before fetching the preschooler so I could pick up a few groceries on the way. I think I need my own pannier so I can get used to its carrying capacity–I order did things a bit.
Observation: I saw the two most hipsterest hipster bikes here today.

Bikes at PCC

13 thoughts on “Errandonneuring

    • He’s not always that cold, BUT it keeps his hands covered to discourage him from strangling (i.e. playfully pulling the hood of) his brother. At the end of summer I was eager for colder temperatures to arrive so I could bring back the straitjacket!

  1. Pingback: Errandonnee Bloggin’ from the Errandeurs | chasing mailboxes d.c.

    • Thanks! I’m a sucker for oversized things: big bikes, bike public art, big box. Except for Engine Engine Engine…we’re still not on speaking terms for at least a few more days (I overdid it)

  2. Pingback: My #errandonnee control card « Cascade Bike Blog – Cascade Bicycle Club – Seattle, Washington

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

  4. Pingback: On Writing & Riding: Family Ride | chasing mailboxes d.c.

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