Winter Challenge: The 2015 Errandonnee

An excellent challenge!

Hey winter, you’re not the boss of me. It’s time for a March challenge designed for the utility cyclist with errands to do, even during cold winter days– the Errandonnee!

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The tweet version of the Errandonnee is:

Errandonnee: Complete 12 errands in 12 days and ride a total of 30 miles by bike between March 5-16, 2015.

Since we must run errands, anyway, let’s take the opportunity to recognize the utility cycling we often do, but seldom celebrate.

The term “errandonnee” was developed in my friend Eric P.’s language laboratory and is a hybrid of “errands” and the French word “randonnee.”

Conceptually, these two words may not initially fit well together, but string 12 errands together for one long ride interrupted by sleep and other diversions, and you have… an errandonnee.

Errandonnee is almost as much fun to spell as Mississippi so how can you not want…

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Ride report – Great Cransley – Sunday 16th February

Phil J went on this ride, led by Milton, and writes (with pictures by Dave):

A misty but fairly warm morning greeted the group of five riders on this rerouted ride.

Taking in a number of familiar roads and one or two less known to us, we headed off through plenty of villages including the picturesque Ecton and Orlingbury further along.

Rowan had an early mechanical but nothing to hold up the steady pace we were making. The route undulated as expected but the group coped admirably.

Traffic levels seemed high in parts but so was the level of cyclists that we regularly passed en route – a positive sign indeed.

The cafe stop at Great Cransley was a welcome sign where Nick joined us from his start in Welford. The small but friendly café at Bugtopia provided enough fuel for us to continue our journey where we were now a group of six.

Entrance to Bugtopia Café

Entrance to Bugtopia Café

Our welcoming host at Bugtopia

Our welcoming host at Bugtopia

The sun finally broke through the clouds and raised the temperature a degree or two as we left the café making the return journey a much better prospect than on the way out. At least for a while. The hills at Loddington that were approaching were mentioned several times by our leader during the morning and they didn’t disappoint as hills go. Coming in quick succession as well.

Iain departed soon after the climbs having put the miles in already with his ride in but not before a superb display of short sharp climbing from the back of the pack right to the front.

Nick took his preferred route back shortly after and the remaining four pressed on towards Old. The anticipated climb at Brixworth didn’t materialise as Milton found a more pleasing route through Scaldwell to soften the blow which was most welcome to all. Another of the group – Rowan – said her goodbyes leaving a trio to carry on with the ride.

We cruised over some of the flatter parts of the route thereafter which was useful in keeping us warm as the sun had disappeared again, dropping the temperatures.

We returned through Ecton and eventually along the familiar cycle paths parallel to the A45. Again the group split with Milton and Dave heading home and just myself returning to the Canoe Centre.

Thanks for the ride Milton! Good riding all!

Errandonnee 2015 Preview

From the excellent MG at Chasing Mailboxes

Errandonnee fans and scenesters! Cold and snow are here, and soon the Errandonnee will also join us.

Save the Dates: March 5 – March 16, 2015
12 days.
12 errands.
30 total miles.

Complete rules to follow in a couple weeks. The rulemaking panel is currently in negotiations to reduce them from 50 to a more manageable number.

In the meantime, here is a preview of the UPDATED Errandonnee categories to help put you in the Errandonnee mood. They have been revised based on previous participants’ feedback.

The intention behind these changes is to broaden the categories as well as update them to suit the diverse errand-drive life of errandeurs everywhere.

1. Personal Care
2. Personal Business
3. You carried WHAT on your bike?! (Thanks to Rachel C. for this suggestion!)
4. Arts and Entertainment
5. Non-Store Errand
6. Social Call (includes restaurants, coffee, and other social activities)
7. Work
8. Store…

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Go-Round: how to organise your own Hour attempt

Brilliant!

accidento bizarro

Everyone’s talking about the Hour record. Why not do more than just spectate? My handy guide shows you how to organise your own attempt at the Hour, using facilities that are readily available in your local area. Grab a bike and a ruler and Go-Round!

Venue. Velodromes are pricey, but there are plenty of alternatives.

Sports halls provide hot snacks and seating for spectators; a range of helpful lines are painted on the floor for guidance and with all those aerobics classes, someone’s bound to have Eye Of The Tiger in a drawer somewhere. If you want to take advantage of altitude, look for one at the top of a hill.

If you can’t persuade the dodgeballers to vacate the premises, use the swimming pool. Once you’ve sent someone with a Bronze Survival award down to pull the plug out, the tiles provide a nice smooth…

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Ride Report – Sunday 1st February

Brian, our Secretary, led this ride and writes:

The weather forecast on Saturday looked distinctly wintry for the Sunday morning with the prospect of ice and very cold temperatures.  Following a few phone calls to the regulars everybody seemed keen to get some fresh air and by Saturday evening five riders had signed up subject to no icy roads. Saturday had been sunny and fortunately the overnight temperature was only down to 2 degC so no ice.

The five riders met at East Hunsbury on a cool overcast morning.  We set off with a following wind and made good time to Silverstone where the sun emerged.  We had the cycle track to ourselves as we headed south to Stowe, with the sound of sports cars on the Silverstone circuit alongside.

The National Trust Café at Stowe was quite busy.  Our conversation about the delights of hot sausage rolls was overheard and a plate of steaming rolls appeared just as we got to the till.  Suitably refreshed and warmed up we headed north on very quiet roads to Syresham and Wapenham straight into a strong wind.  Milton waxed lyrical about the buzzards and kestrels along the hedgerows and this and the open countryside made up for the extra effort against the wind.  It wasn’t long before we turned east slightly out of the wind and on to Slapton and Greens Norton before heading home.

We were back in Northampton at about 2 p.m. but the sun had dropped, as had the temperature. Given it was February we were lucky to get in a ride on a day that turned out to be good cycling conditions, not to mention of course the good company!