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The Errandonnee: Winter Bicycling Challenge

My friend Mary, of Chasing Mailboxes blog fame, issued another bicycling challenge recently. 

These challenges get me excited about getting out and about when cold, dark Winter might otherwise have me cowering inside.

I couldn't resist the call of the Errandonnee, which sounded simple: Complete 12 errands in 12 days and ride a total of 30 miles by bike.

I got off to a slow start. I spent the first two days of the challenge snowshoeing (no regrets there). Tuesday morning I hopped on my elegant white steed and began. 

Daffodils along Rock Creek Parkway, errandonnee #1
It was one of those glorious mild and sunny days. I took Rock Creek bike path, fording several puddles in the path, and was rewarded by the sight of daffodils (a few in bloom already!) on the embankment south of the P St exit.

I made a quick stop for coffee at M.E. Swings and seriously considered blowing off work to continue my ride. I bounced into the office, beaming (and well-caffeinated).

I had big plans to swing by the dry cleaners after work mere seconds before they closed. However, I found my bike with a flat front tire (and myself without the tools to fix it. I know, lame).

After fixing my flat a day later, I managed to eke out Errandonnee #2 and #3 over my lunch break. I lucked into another sunny, mild day and made the most of it, pedaling the roundabout way to Bicycle Space to peruse some lighting options and then to Whole Foods for lunch and greeting cards. This challenge was going to be a piece of cake!

Trucks don't want to be shoaled either, errandonnee #2

Lunch at Whole Foods
So many lunch options! Whole Foods, errandonnee #3

Then I was off to meet my new baby niece over the three day weekend. When I returned, I had just two days to complete 9 errands.

I hit the bank, the grocery store for non-green bananas, Teaism for a gift of oolong, and finally my Tuesday night group run, all good for another 4.26 miles.

15th street bike lane
Based on the number of cyclists in chilly February, I predict actual bike traffic jams in May.

Movie errand, E St CinemaOn the last day of the challenge, I still needed at least 5 errands and 17-plus miles. I dithered over my glove choice - wool gloves or Lobster gloves? The temperature was already in the mid 30s, and the high was predicted to be in the 40s. Wool gloves would be fine! 

Off I rolled to the dry cleaner and to Open City for breakfast. Boy was it blustery. And much colder than the temperature indicated. No matter, it would surely warm up. Instead of padding my commute with a loop of Hains Point my frozen fingers steered me directly to work.

I still needed 12 miles and three errands, but I had plans to see a movie. So I did what any normal person would do: I donned storm socks, a buff, my wool cycling cap with ear flaps, fleece-lined bike pants, wool gloves, three base layers plus a down jacket and hopped on my bike. I rode toward the Capital Crescent Trail with the plan to ride 9 miles to Bethesda to see a movie.

I made it about two miles before my fingers cried uncle. Luckily, Cycle Life bike shop was right along my chosen route. I snagged the very last pair of lobster gloves, which happened to fit perfectly. I was on my way again.

The wind was cold and blowing steadily in my face. I rode a couple more miles and decided I'd prefer a tailwind. I flew past commuters fighting the headwind.

My next destination: D
inner at Qdoba. Sadly, I found it to be a far inferior to Chipotle, but when you're as hungry as I was (and 13 of your 20 digits are numb) you'll eat anything.

My final stop was E Street Cinema for a movie. Did you know they sell Dogfish Head 60 minute IPA (and wine and bourbon)? Also, "small" is objective when it comes to popcorn. I enjoyed the Animated Shorts. As a bonus, an hour into the movie my toes regained feeling.

I hightailed it home afterward to complete the Errandonnee Challenge with a couple of bonus miles, feeling very accomplished. Below is my control card, click here for all my photos.

errandonee control card page 1
errandonee control card 2


  1. Most excellent! Buying lobster gloves on the fly too.
    As for me, I did not use animated shorts in my 12 trips. My shorts are lifeless. Maybe I should be new ones.
    Good luck running in the rain tomorrow.

  2. Seriously, that is awesome! I love that kind of stuff! I wish I wasn't such a dang chicken. I live in an urban area, and could definitely ride my bike, but I'm so afraid of getting plowed down. Hmmmm....I will have to think about this. I want to do this challenge :)


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