Errandonnee 2018


This blogging thing didn’t really launch like a rocket, did it? I went into in with the best of intentions, but then life happened–you know how it goes. However, having just wrapped up the class I was taking, I now have a little more free time, and I really do intend to put at least some of it into writing. I also promise that each post that appears on this blog won’t begin with an apology for lack of timeliness. This one is all you get!

Errandonnee Results!

There’s a lot on my mind these days, but I want my first real post to be a happy one, so let’s talk about Errandonnee! Errandonnee is a challenge to complete twelve errands in twelve days while biking or running a total of thirty miles. Participants must complete errands from at least seven of ten categories and reflect on what they learned from each errand. Chasing Mailboxes organizes the event and provides a prize for people who complete it.

Errandonnee was a good mindfulness exercise for me this year: I try to run my errands by bike or foot whenever possible, but participating in Errandonnee while navigating a couple extremely busy weeks forced me to pay attention to my choices and helped me resist hopping in the car. It also helped me remember that completing most errands by bike really doesn’t take longer–in fact, it’s often faster than using a car. Without further elaboration, here are the results of my Errandonnee.

Equipment and Stats:

  • Main Errandonnee Bike: My trusty commuter/gravel-build Soma Double Cross Disc
  • Errandonnee Running Shoes: Brooks Beast
  • Total Miles: 57


Errand 1: Multimodal Commute


Category: Work, Volunteering
Reflection: This was my first multimodal commute since the Blue Line extension opened, so the entire outing was a learning experience regarding timing, getting my bike on and off the train, station layouts, etc. Previously, riding my bike to work and back was a 26-mile round trip, so I didn’t do it every day. Incorporating the train reduces that to six miles! I want my normal commute going forward to be riding the entire way to the office and catching the train home, since traffic is much worse in the evening, and there’s a truly nasty climb on the way home that is difficult when weighed down by a change of clothes and my ancient brick of a computer.

Errand 2: A Visit to the Library


Category: Non-store Errands
Reflection: I forgot my lock and had to wheel my bike inside the library. Thankfully, they didn’t mind, but I definitely learned to make sure I have my lock before I leave the house. We are fortunate to have a great library system in Charlotte. If you haven’t been in a while, fix that!

Errand 3: Neighborhood Association Social


Category: Peaceful Actions
Reflection: In 2018, it’s easy to interact with one’s neighbors solely through Nextdoor and Facebook, which breeds distrust and isolation. I counted this as a peaceful action because seeing neighbors face-to-face builds connections and friendships instead.

Errand 4: Multimodal Commute, Starring My Helmet Hair


Category: Work, Volunteering
Reflection: I started this day with a meeting in South End about the in-development Unified Development Ordinance, clear across town from where I work in University City. Before the Blue Line extension opened, I would have had no choice but to drive in order for this day to work. The extension enabled me to ride to the meeting, then hop on the train to work. While on the train, I spent a lot of time thinking about how great that was and how the UDO could make experiences like that more common if we craft it to support more sustainable development patterns.

I also reflected on the fact that I need to keep a comb in my pannier.

Errand 5: Friday Post-Work Beers

No picture for this one, unfortunately!

Category: Social Calls
Reflection: After work on the same day as Errand 4, I stayed on the train for a couple stops longer than usual and met Peter and a couple of friends to hear another friend sing at Birdsong Brewery, a great bike-friendly and otherwise sustainable local business. It was almost thrilling to be able to go straight there after work using transit and my bike.

Errand 6: Dinner with Friends

No picture here, either, because apparently I am bad at that.

Category: Social Calls
Reflection: We rode to meet our Monday-night dinner group after work. We don’t go every week, but we do when we can. I think it’s important to see friends in person and have a routine to keep you grounded.

ErRUNd 7: 30 Days of Biking Prep


Category: Personal Business
Reflection: The past couple years, I’ve made it my mission to get people in Charlotte to participate in 30 Days of Biking. I think it’s a great cause because it’s approachable and encourages people to think about ways to incorporate riding into their daily routine. I needed to get a run in, so I ran to drop some 30 Days of Biking spoke cards off at a friend’s house so she could distribute them on the rides she leads. I reflected on the importance of forming good habits and how much easier things like biking and running are once they become just normal parts of your day.

Errand 8: Bicycle Advisory Committee Meeting

Category: Wild Card
Reflection: Members of neighborhoods in the path of a bikeway project turned out in force for this meeting, but not to oppose it–they actually wanted it to be more robust and to be a real signature undertaking for our city. I was excited to see them there and reflected on how a community coming together in a positive, collaborative way can influence cautious-by-nature-and-necessity government organizations to think creatively and perhaps accept a little risk.

Errand 9: Haircut

No picture, because augh.

Category: Personal Care
Reflection: I was going to take a picture of my bike in front of my barber shop after my haircut, but I forgot to do so because it was threatening to rain, and I wanted to get home. The rain never came, and I learned that you shouldn’t forget your priorities because you’re afraid of a scenario that might not even happen.

Errand 10: The Easter Bunny Rides a Bike


Category: You Carried What? (Easter eggs!)
Reflection: This was an absolutely gorgeous day after what has been a relatively dreary early spring. My job requires me to be mostly inside, but I was able to take a short ride to deliver Easter eggs to a neighbor collecting them for our community egg hunt, and I enjoyed the heck out of it. It’s important to cherish small moments of joy.

Errand 11: Coffee


Category: Personal Care (Coffee is definitely personal care)
Reflection: I love arriving somewhere, like the local coffee shop, and discovering a full bike rack. The owner of the second-from-the-left bike apparently didn’t have a lock, so they took their front wheel inside to prevent theft. I reflected upon how creativity is a must-have for the intrepid urban bicyclist.

Errand 12: Beer! Dogs!

Picture is of Peter pulling the dog trailer, since that’s more interesting than me struggling to pedal for ten minutes after running.

Category: Peaceful Actions
Reflection: The last day of Errandonnee was a beautiful Saturday. I got up and ran my long run first thing, and when we later decided to venture out with the dog, I hesitated. My legs were tired and my instinct was to drive, but it was the last day of Errandonnee! We had to finish strong. We hooked up the dog trailer and made our way out to a new spot to enjoy a beer on the patio. It ended up being a lovely afternoon, and I was glad we used our bikes to get there. I learned that there’s always a little bit left in the tank, even when it doesn’t feel that way.

That’s it! I’m already looking forward to next year’s Errandonnee.


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