I had come across the site Chasing Mailboxes when I saw a reference to “Coffeeneuring” at some point last year. I happened upon it again recently, just before the start of this years “Errandonnee” challenge.
The idea is that over 12 days you do 12 errands by bike, traveling at least 30 miles. There are a set of rules however, which require you to spread the errand around through a bunch of categories. Along the way you Instagram your errands and fill out a control card, in hopes of completing the challenge.
So I tried it. I rode every day, for a total of about 75 miles (if you count my non-errand fun ride around the Fells, although I guess I did buy a fender on the way home and stop at the coffee shop for lunch). Where I fell flat was on the types of errands. For the first few days I was working nights, and I just don’t have the energy after being up all night to do anything extra, especially when I have to be back 8 hours later. Really though, I had I hard time getting variety because I just don’t do that many errands. I ended up with only 7 qualifying errands in 4 categories.
It was an opportunity to try new things though. My car had been iced in by the record Boston snowfall, so for the first time I biked down to the South Bay shopping center for a Target trip. This was a mistake – definitely a route designed for cars above all else. I also carried some doughnuts in my pannier, only squishing them a bit. I visited my usual favorites Render Coffee and El Pelon Taqueria, because coffee and burritos are the best reward for cycling.
Even if I didn’t do everything, I think this was a worthwhile challenge. Reminded me just how little I really do need a car and how much more comfortable I’ve become getting around only by bike.