I’m not generally one for bike related challenges – well any challenges, really, if I’m honest, as I’m far too lazy. I like to feel that my bike is just a practical means of transport rather than something for proving how fit/virtuous/deep in the midst of a midlife crisis* I am, and if I believe that I probably am deep in the midst of a midlife crisis, just not one that’s raising any money for worthy causes.
That said, I was momentarily beguiled by the idea of the Errandonneering challenge, which does sound like a bit of a fun way to spice up your various bike-based errands. The idea is to run 12 errands in 12 days (between the 9th and 20th Feb) adding up to a minimum of 30 miles. There’s a card you can get stamped and everything, and errands must be spread across a range of categories, no more than twice for each category, such as going to the bike shop, breakfast or lunch, coffee, dinner, work, grocery store (it’s American, obviously), other shopping, community meetings, health appointments, the library, and a wild card for any other type of errand not covered.
Unfortunately I only heard about it half way through – and although I do plenty of miles on my bike, it’s mostly down to the papershop and back, which wasn’t going to really cut it so I forgot all about it and headed out this morning for the paper as usual, although I did pack the pannier with my library books in the hope of catching the mobile library on its brief passage through Nearest Village (it has two regulars, apparently, and once they’ve been off it goes so you have to be quick). I missed the library (I was out by a week, and ten minutes), got the paper, and then bumped into a fellow-gardener in the village who swapped me some seed potatoes and jerusalem artichokes from his vegetable plot for some seed potatoes I’m going to pick up for him at the next Potato day. After lunch I headed off into Bigtown to catch the non-mobile library and, as I was going in anyway, I decided to pick up a new inner tube for the other half’s bike, get some luggage straps for my latest project and pick up some milk as we were running out. It was then that I realised I was about to run a total of seven qualifying errands in five categories in one day, not to mention clock up 27 miles:
- bike shop x1
- library x2
- grocery store x1
- other shop x2
- plus wild card (vegetable swapping and garden visit) x1
Throw in, over the last couple of days, another wild card (looking for squashed wildlife), another grocery store (does the Papershop count?) and I’d only have to go and meet someone for coffee or a meal and I’d be there. Hmmm….
Unfortunately, on closer examination of the rules, I realised I didn’t take any pictures of any of these things so I have failed on the proof category. And I’d also struggle to mention one thing I’d learnt on most of these errands, apart from the date when the mobile library visits and the unfortunate side effects of jerusalem artichokes and strictly speaking I knew that last one already.
Still, it’s a pretty impressive effort for someone who didn’t even think about taking part until two days before the deadline – and there’s still part of me that thinks it might well be possible. I suspect, though, that if I were to complete the challenge, it would only prove to be the gateway drug to other, harder, challenges. You start off Errandonneering and maybe a bit of 30 days of biking, thinking you’ve got it under control – and the next thing you know it’s a Lands’ End to John O’Groats on a unicycle dressed as a camel for Comic Relief.
Stop me, somebody, before it goes that far.
*delete as applicable