Michelle’s 2016 Errandonnee wrap-up

Mark likes to say that the Errandonnee is a chance to do things on foot or bike that you wouldn’t usually do, and maybe even make those errands part of your regular life. For me, it’s more a celebration of what we already do.

Personal care: riding my horse (#1), riding my horse (#5)

Personal business: double appointments (#6)

You carried what?: four kids, lunch, library books, and the rest of the gear for a day out (#7)

Arts & entertainment: none

Non-store errand: church (#4), church (#11)

Social call: greenway ride & coffee (#2), dinner & book talk (#12)

Work/volunteering: catechism class (#8), catechism dropoff (#9)

Store: thrift store (#3)

Wild card: a walk in the park (#10)

Part 1, errands 1-7

Part 2, errands 8-12

Total mileage: 45


The bikes

The little bike: a Trek mountain bike, circa 1996. This was my sister’s first (and only) grown-up bike that I claimed when I graduated from college and moved back to our hometown, and she left for college. I outfitted it for city riding a few years ago (fenders, slicker tires, kickstand), and used it to tow the child trailer. Now it mostly stays on top of our hill – if I’m going down the hill, I take the electric cargo bike to get back up it.

The big bike: an Xtracycle Edgerunner with Stokemonkey electric assist. It also has a custom frame-mounted front rack, and a custom, integrated trailer hitch. The headlight and taillights on both bike and trailer are powered by a dynamo hub, and it has chain guards on both chains. Yepp seats on front and back when needed, and we tow an older Burley d’Lite double child trailer. Custom painted a deep sparkly purple. AKA the awesomest bike in town. More here.


And that’s it! Thanks so much to Mary for organizing! We love living our life on foot and bike, and it’s so fun to really celebrate it.

Michelle’s 2016 Errandonnee part 2

The first errands are described here.


Errand #8: catechism class

I teach a small catechism class at church on Wednesday mornings. Four of the students are my own kids!


Possible category: work or volunteering
Distance: 2 miles
Cumulative distance: 35
Kids toted: 2 on board, plus two bikelings
Cargo: diaper bag, catechist album (for me) and school books (for the 7yo), huge bag of raingear (that we didn’t need!)


Errand #9: taking 7yo to her catechism class

Our 7yo has her own catechism class in the afternoon that’s geared to her age group rather than her younger brothers. It was pouring, but Mark was working from home, so I didn’t have to take the boys out in the rain. I managed to bump into a couple of people that I needed to talk to, so maybe this one will count as social?

Possible category: work or volunteering, social
Distance: 2 miles
Cumulative distance: 37 miles
Kids toted: zero, one bikeling
Cargo: nothing extra


Errand #10: walk/hike in Bridle Trails

We live a half mile from Bridle Trails State Park, with its lovely forested trails. I’m out there three times a week on my horse, but the kids don’t go there because it’s just a little too far for them to walk here and do any walking while we’re there. I’m determined to change this now, and we can do it because we have bikes! We invited some friends to join us in the mud.

Possible categories: arts/entertainment, social, wild card
Distance: 1 mile
Cumulative distance: 38 miles
Kids toted: 2, plus two bikelings
Cargo: diaper bag, camera, towels, baby carrier (in which I carried my friend’s toddler, because I don’t have enough babies of my own)


Errand #11: church

It was raining, really raining when we got ready for Mass this week. Usually we drive in the rain because I don’t want to arrive at church bedraggled, but the 7yo had choir practice right afterward, and the logistics for driving looked more complicated than rain gear for six. So we biked, and I realized that 10 minutes of biking in rain gear is an improvement over 5 minutes of walking from the parking lot without rain gear. Biking wins again.


Possible category: non-store errand
Distance: 2 miles
Cumulative distance: 40 miles
Kids toted: 2, plus two bikelings
Cargo: diaper bag. All the rain gear was worn this time.


Errand #12: dinner and book talk

The plan was for Mark to take the bus and meet us in Kirkland before Madi’s Urban Cycling talk at the Kirkland Library, and then he would take the 7yo and her bike home on the bus. But kids love the bus, so they all wanted to take the bus home, and the timing worked out that taking the bus would get them home faster, so Mark got to take the bus with all four, and I rode home towing the extra bike.

Blurry picture in the dark of the bike ready to ride home.


Possible category: social, you carried what
Distance: 5 miles
Cumulative distance: 45 miles
Kids toted: 3 on board and one bikeling, then zero
Cargo: diaper bag, bag of toys and books for the restaurant, baby carrier (both ways), four extra bike helmets, bag of rain gear, bike (coming home)


And that’s it! Perhaps I will describe the walking errands of the past twelve days also.

Control card


Mark’s 2016 Errundonnee #1 – Running with a chair?!?

After my inaugural Errundonnee last year and the realization that I could do more by running that I originally thought, I’ve further embraced transportation running and sought out new, err, opportunities.  It has fit in quite well with training because, outside of a few key workouts per week, there’s a lot of benefit to simply putting in the miles.  Another thing that I’ve learned in the last year is that a second run in a day can be less stressful than the same mileage crammed into one run.  So all of a sudden the oft-dreaded two-a-day became the opportunistic double commute (with possible stops, of course).  I’ve double-commuted a bit in the past, but I’ve tried to do more of it recently.

A year has rolled around, and this year’s rules unsurprisingly still have the ever-fun “You carried WHAT on your bike (or back)?!” category/control.  I’ve been thinking about this one and looking forward to it.  After my initial Errundonnee, I’ve felt a little pressure to, no, wait, that might disqualify me via rule 12.  I’ve felt encouraged (yes, that’s it!) to come up with something good for this year.

Enter the failing upholstery on our gliding chair.

I might have sat on this one for a bit waiting for this day.  I’d say no pun intended, but I’m already talking about running errands here so no one will believe me anyway.

The first lesson was kind of an obvious one except that it’s not the sort of thing anyone would ever think about.  Upholstery shops, being light industrial, don’t tend to be in walkable (or runnable) locations.  I’m going to do this with a stroller, so I won’t exactly be nimble.  A trip to Redmond would be ok; I could use a few neighborhood streets, get past a rough stretch, and then have the 520 Trail, Sammamish River Trail, and Redmond Connector at my disposal.  Alas, my first target turned out to “only” do woodwork.  (Hmm… the possibilities…)  Then I found three in Bellevue in the Northup/Bel-Red area.  They wouldn’t work because, well, Bellevue.  (See here or here though much is afoot (sorry!) so maybe someday.)  Then I found addresses for three more in Redmond, but none existed.  Finally, I found one:


The Cross Kirkland Corridor’s main problem is that, being an old rail line, it avoids most places (like downtown Kirkland), which turns out to be perfect for this kind of destination.  I can get to the CKC via neighborhood streets and a ped/bike bridge over I-405.  So now to figure out how to actually bring the chair.  It turns out that it fit really well in both the single and double Bob strollers.  The double seemed more stable, so I went with that:WP_20160304_15_20_13_Pro.jpg

Of course it was raining, so it also needed a cover:


The obvious question in all of this is why I would even do this.  And I could blah blah like running more than biking blah blah don’t know how I’d attach it to any of our bikes blah blah could drive blah blah Errandonnee, but really here’s the answer.  Who’s having the most fun here?


The run itself turned out to be surprisingly easy.  I bungeed it to the stroller, but it settled into the seats so nicely that even that might not have been needed.  The weight balance was really good; it took very little pressure to lift the front wheel for turning (the front wheel on jogging strollers generally locks straight forward for stability).  In fact, it was easier than pushing the twins around both because of that and because it weighed less than them.  The weight might have tipped backwards on an uphill, a problem we’ve cleverly solved by living on the top of a hill.

Four miles later, I was there (the chair is already inside).  The return trip was lighter.


Possible categories: You carried WHAT, non-store errand (pretty clearly going to be the former)

Side note: The category is officially “You carried WHAT on your bike (or back)?!”, which I’m going to claim is an oversight of the tools available to transportation runners 🙂

Miles: 8

Off-season training for the Errundonnee

Yesterday we decided the car’s battery needed a drive that was longer than a mile so I took it to work.  Things were busy, and it does end up being the fastest mode (rush hour sometimes proving this wrong).  The original plan was to get the car back home for today, but things worked out so that it wouldn’t be needed.  On top of that, yesterday’s wind storm opened the possibility of a disastrous commute, and I would sure feel stupid to be driving on a day when it wasn’t the fastest mode.  So I decided to leave the car and run home.

The problem was that I needed to get our daughter’s booster seat home.  And keep it dry.  And I had no running gear except that I had fortuitously left lights in my office.  I did have a duffel bag, which I’ve run with as a backpack before, but the seat didn’t fit in it.  In retrospect I wish I had tried to use the shoulder strap to attach the seat to my back.  Instead I simply carried it under an arm, alternating every half mile or so.  The seat pad is removable, and I put it in a plastic bag.  I keep emergency shorts and t-shirts in my office, and normal shorts have huge pockets.  The seat pad went in one, and my phone, keys, and other stuff went in the other.  My everyday shoes are actually ultra-minimal Soft Star running shoes, so I can handle some running in them.

It went surprisingly well.  I used to be picky about running with stuff.  I couldn’t imagine how anyone used those handheld water bottles.  Packs annoyed me.  I run with various packs a lot now in order to bring supplies to the office, and sometime I’ll stuff things in pockets or my hands to avoid the pack (especially if it’s a drop-off or pick-up where I’ll only have the cargo for part of the run).  Now I’ve gotten used to it to the point where running home one-armed didn’t bother me.

Obligatory horrible picture:



The Errandonnee is never over

While the actual event might be done, the errands definitely are not.  One of the things that I really liked about the Errandonnee was that the categories forced most people into doing something new.  Or the Errundonnee is my case.  Sure, I ran to work and for the odd errand, but it’s pretty easy to settle into a routine, for better or worse.  The Errandonnee forces you to seek out new destinations.

So on Saturday I found myself with two tasks: drop off four baby carriers in the Crossroads area of Bellevue and pick up a book at the Bellevue library.  So, in the backpack went the carriers and I was off.  The first route was known, and it was pleasant.  I was actually going a bit further than the Mall, and I hadn’t realized that NE 8th St drops to three lanes over to the east.  It’s just amazing how much more pleasant it is there.  With the drop-off done, I then needed to go to the library, which is on the north end of downtown.  I could have gotten partway there reasonably by staying south of 8th, but the overall trip would have been a bit too much anyway, so I decided to grab a bus to downtown.  This worked, though I fell victim to the car-centric design as is too often the case.  I was at 8th and 156th looking for the RapidRide B.  One Bus Away (a local bus app) reported that the next bus was three minutes away from 10th and 156th.  That seemed tight, especially with the crossing of 8th.  Instead I headed towards 8th and 148th, a half mile to the west.  It was downhill, so I figured I could get there in 3-4 minutes.  The bus would have to navigate the turn and that distance as well.  Unfortunately, I didn’t fully think through getting to the actual stop:

I made it to the SE corner with some time, but I missed the pedestrian crossing to the north, and by time the next one rolled around, the bus was gone.  It turned out if I had made this first crossing, then the ensuing left turn cycles (both for N/S and then E/W) would have provided cover for the two half crossings to the west.  A mid-block crossing of 8th would have been enough, but it’s 5 lanes.  Alas, such is the life of a pedestrian.

Then I started thinking about the bus, which was also stopped at the intersection for a while.  How much time does this one intersection contribute to the schedule?  And while on one hand they are both large streets (just look at that intersection!), it’s just a random intersection of roads without a whole lot nearby.  If the B could make its trip unencumbered, would it halve the time between buses?  Or reduce the number the buses needed?  I wonder if some fancy signal prioritization and dedicated space could make buses much more practical even in a suburb.

The Bellevue library is nice – big and new and shiny.  It’s about twice as far as Kirkland for us, and definitely further than Redmond as well.  While it has almost the same elevation change, it’s spread out much more nicely.  In fact, I could see choosing to go there for this reason.  Unfortunately, it isn’t going to happen anytime soon by bike for us.  There is a brief stretch of downtown that would be uncomfortable.  I suppose the sidewalks would work for that distance but only if they were pretty much empty.  The 12th St bridge has a wide pathway on the north.  Going home, we could use the crosswalk and turn left onto 116th.  Going to the library, supposedly they are going to improve the turn onto the path.  116th itself is currently scary (no bike facilities at all), but there is a project to change that.  Unfortunately, the idea of affecting the level of service (LOS – a vehicle-only measure) is a blocker to doing anything in Bellevue, so there will be mid-block bike lanes with scary intersections at both ends.  Then there’s a short stretch of Northup, which is also scary but has a project.  This is a major project, not just a restriping, and unfortunately it will only be (unprotected) bike lanes on a busy road.  And since it is major, it won’t be further improved for a long time.  Opportunity lost!  116th Ave on our side of Northup is mixed.  Southbound (downhill), there are no bike facilities, which works for racers, but not a family ride.  Northbound (uphill) has a bike lane.  The Bellevue portion has a gravel path which is nice for running; the Kirkland half is sketchy for pedestrians.  After that we can get home on residential streets.

It was a pleasant enough run back home.  With some material for a future post…

Michelle’s errandonnee wrap-up

My errandonnee is a snapshot of how we use our bike for our daily life. I’d hoped to do something epic, but it turned out there was nothing epic that needed to be done this week – aside from the usual carting-four-kids-on-a-bike epic. I didn’t plan anything special just for the errandonnee, because we had enough to do already.

Here are the posts:





And here are the categories:

Personal care: #1 horse, #12 horse

Personal business: #4 passport failure, #10 passport success

You carried what?: #13 bike and kid, #8 three kids

Arts and entertainment: #6 park, #11 construction site

Non-store: none

Social call: #2 park, #3 twin club meeting

Work: #7 babywearing meeting, #9 taking a kid to class

Store: #5 bike shop

Wild card: none

Total mileage: I lost track, but it was something over 50 miles. At first I was a little worried, because most of our distances are pretty short, so 3 miles to Redmond and 3 miles home with three errands is behind the pace needed. Or the 2 mile round trip to church. But I ended up with several rides to single errands, and all that added up to a lot of miles. I was tired this week. That’s more miles than we typically do.

Interesting things about this week: there was very little shopping! That’s how I like it. The groceries were all bought on foot, and there was nothing much else that needed to be bought (just a bike). Also, most weeks we have a library stop, but Mark took care of that.

The car hardly moved this week. I used it on Tuesday to return the tandem rack we used to bring our big bike home from the shop, and it took our daughter to church for choir practice on Sunday in the pouring rain. She was sad not to get to ride her new bike.

The bikes:

The little bike: a trek mountain bike, circa 1996. This was my sister’s first (and only) grown-up bike that I claimed when I graduated from college and moved back to our hometown, and she left for college. I outfitted it for city riding a few years ago (fenders, slicker tires, kickstand), and used it to tow the child trailer. Now it mostly stays on top of our hill – if I’m going down the hill, I take the electric cargo bike to get back up it.

The big bike: an Xtracycle Edgerunner with Stokemonkey electric assist. It also has a custom frame-mounted front rack, and a custom, integrated trailer hitch. The headlight and taillights on both bike and trailer are powered by a dynamo hub, and it has chain guards on both chains. Yepp seats on front and back. Custom painted a deep sparkly purple. AKA the awesomest bike in town.

Next week we will continue to do what we do. Thanks, Mary, for the excuse to document it!

Mark’s #errundonnee submission

It’s been a fun 12 days.  The “run” version of the Errandonnee was challenging for me for three reasons: (1) Sweat.  Many trips require one to be presentable on the other end.  We have showers at work, so commuting is ok.  (I know that some make it work with some combination of a sink and wet wipes, and I’m impressed.)  Things like the canonical “meet for a coffee or beer” require a little more planning of the venue (and friend).  This also adds a barrier to a quick errand isolated from others (another shower).  (2) Cargo.  Running is far rougher on cargo than cycling.  I have turned many lunches into casseroles on my way to work.  It’s also more difficult to handle the extra weight.  (3) Miles.  While 30 miles over 12 days was not a barrier for me, I devote a number of my weekly miles to training (speedwork being the biggest conflict) and keep one off day per week.  I didn’t utilize any multiple-run days.  From a running perspective, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to do so in the 30-45 mile/week range.

All of that said, it was still a reasonable task.

Continue reading

Michelle’s errandonnee #12-13

My last errand was the most exciting, but first, another trip to the barn.

Errand #12: going for a ride (on my horse)

Possible category: personal care

Distance: 2 miles (cumulative: enough)

Kids toted: 0

Observations: I don’t usually ride on Saturday morning, but when I do, I find it interesting that I see some of my same regulars as during the week. Also, I forgot to take a picture, but it would have looked just like the first errand.

Errand #13: New bike day!

Possible categories: store, “you carried what?”

Distance: 7.5 miles (cumulative: enough)

Kids toted: 1, and zero for part of it

Observations: I took our 6yo down to the bike shop to pick up her new bike, complete with hand brakes and gears! We are hoping the gears will expand her range, and so far so good. She rode it on the flat trails around Redmond, then I towed her bike up the steepest and most car-heavy parts of the trip. When we got closer to home where the rest of the trip was on neighborhood streets, she got back on her bike and rode it the rest of the way home, including up a pretty steep hill by the middle school. I am so proud 🙂

We got these last two errands in just in time, as the stomach flu ended our errandonnee, yuck.

Mark’s #errundonnee Day 12

[Day 10 errand-less run, Day 11 off]

For the final day of the 2015 Errandonnee, I decided that one trip to the library wasn’t enough so I did it again.  There were fewer books to return this time:

The return load, which is more important since it goes up the hill, was about the same.  This was a much easier run, however, and taking the pile of books home with relatively fresh legs was much better:

In between, however, I went across the street to The French Bakery for a chocolate croissant then I ran down to Marina Park (with pictures of some bike racks for the twitter feed).  It was a beautiful day:

and the croissant handled the jog down the street just fine:

And that closes my Erunndonnee.  Now I just need to put a control card together.

Mark’s #errundonnee Day 9

[Day 7 errand-less workout, Day 8 off]

After a few days away from running errands, I’m back.  I started with yet another pass by the 520 trail crossing of NE 40th St.  Yesterday (March 12th), I arrived by bike to find the crossing just flat-out closed.  The only options were to hop the plants and curb around the construction and kind of near the crosswalk or to head down the sidewalk.  At the next intersection, there isn’t even a crosswalk to support getting back to the 520 trail, so it’s either 3 crosswalks or some kind of crosswalk to vehicle transition.  Or keep going and take roads.  None of these are real alternatives.  If people are to depend on protected infrastructure, then it’s got to be something like this: convert the southern-most lane of 51st into a protected route to 150th and convert a lane down it as well.  Or find a way to support the trail crossing at all stages of construction.

Today I was pleasantly surprised to see the trail back open.  However, curb openings were in the wrong places for crossing, so part of the road was closed to support walking/biking back to the crosswalk.  On the south side, this meant the right turn lane was closed and the 3 lane wide on-ramp was reduced to 2 lanes, which provided enough space for the 2 lanes of traffic that use it.  (Shortly after the entrance it widens to 3 and 4 lanes for the HOV lane and bus stop, but none of the directions feed the on-ramp with 3 lanes.)  While crossing 6 lanes of 40th is still a lot, the sharper turns due to the closures made for a remarkable difference from 8 higher-speed lanes, both on foot and then on my return commute by bike.

Next I ran to the Uwajimaya in Bellevue.  Yes, unfortunately it’s in Bellevue and designed for cars, so driving would be miserable and biking dangerous.  In fact, not only is it near NE 8th St., but 120th Ave. NE is much worse than it used to be due to widening which probably now qualifies it as a stroad:

They did provide a bike lane, but as it approaches 8th, poof:

which is the same mistake that is being made in the 116th rechannelization.  Of course, this area would need significant changes to the intersection at 8th (and 8th itself), and without those, there probably aren’t any options.

Back to the errands: I had crossed 8th a bit to the east where it’s a little calmer and looped around to approach from the south.  This wasn’t too bad (on foot).  Crossing the parking lot was ok.  And then I had my soy sauce.  Coming back out of the parking lot, I noticed the Big Apple Bagels and picked up a chocolate muffin.  As with a previous trip, I probably wouldn’t have made this stop by car since I wouldn’t have noticed it until I had given up my parking spot.  Sadly, the run with all of these goods was only a block as I picked up a bus ride to complete the trip.  But, the obligatory “after-transport” photo:

The intersection with 8th was also under construction, and it was done well:

In the end, running to the store and busing away worked quite well for this one.