Monthly Archives: October 2011

Some Coffeeneuring and a Populaire

A big CONGRATULATIONS to all the people who completed the Coffeeneuring Challenge this weekend. Remember, you must e-mail me your submissions to gersemalina “at” Yes, even if I have been twitterspying on your adventures, you need to e-mail me your final submissions.

Due date to send in your coffeeneuring trips is November 2. I look forward to reading about your rides and the places you patronized.

NOTE: After you send me your coffeeneuring paperwork, I will send you a response. If you do not get a response from me, then I did not receive your submission.

Winter made a brief appearance this Saturday. I wasn’t expecting snow to be part of coffeeneuring, but it was for those who had to work in two rides this weekend. Eek! Not sure if I should say “I’m sorry about that,” or “Don’t procrastinate your coffeeneuring.” In any event, the coffeeneurs who braved inclement weather get a round of applause from me!

Felkerino and I did no riding on Saturday, but ventured out to Harwood, Maryland to ride a century with a few of our randonneur friends. Our route took us from Harwood down to Solomon’s Island and back.

Despite starting in the 30s, the day warmed up nicely, the sun kept us company, and the trees still radiated fall color. I have usually ridden in this area during the winter so seeing the trees in such a vibrant state was a nice change. It won’t be long until the leaves drop and we enter the more stark season of winter; I was glad we were able to work in a good fall ride.

Tree-canopied riding on Solomon's Shortie

Traversing the quiet Maryland roads

Our route took us by a McDonald’s, where we found this festive sign.

No Face Coverings!

Good thing it wasn’t a cold day or we would have risked not getting our McLattes! A few more pics of the ride can be found here.

Speaking of procrastinating, my partner in bicycling decided he would take up the coffeeneuring challenge, too. Felkerino decided to make his challenge extra exciting and waited until the last day of the challenge to do his final ride to coffee.

Because we rode a populaire that same day (which may not be combined with coffeeneuring), we had to do a separate coffeeneuring ride after we returned home. Who came up with these rules, anyway? Felkerino roped me into the coffeeneuring action with the promise of dinner after completing the coffeeneuring.

And so it was. With four hours to go, Felkerino completed his final ride with a double decaf espresso from Tryst. Well done, Felkerino.

Happy Halloween!

On a final note, Happy Halloween!!

Go Coffeeneurs, Go!

Two more days to finish. I’m rooting for you!

This final weekend might be even more exciting than anyone anticipated, given the snow (seriously?) in the forecast for the D.C. area.

A cold weekend in D.C. Time for a wool cycling cap and coffeeneuring.

Stay warm and have fun. I look forward to your stories.

My PBP 2011 Story: You Have to Go to Know

Hey, readers. The Daily Randonneur, a mighty fine randonneuring blog written by this guy I know, is featuring my Paris-Brest-Paris 2011 story. Yeah, you know PBP, that 1230K ride that so many randonneurs rave about? That one.

It took four days to ride PBP, and another two months to write the story. I’m not sure which was harder. Wait, yes I do.

Day 3 on PBP, with Felkerino and Jon.

Felkerino has been rolling out the story in daily increments this week, with the grand finale going up this Friday.

Have a cup and read my story.

So grab your favorite beverage, click on over to The Daily Randonneur, and take a vicarious trip to PBP. Hope you enjoy it!

Why Men Ride Bikes: Razors and Bags

Have you ever wondered why men take up cycling? I used to think it was because they wanted to stay fit, be sporty, or maybe use a mode of transportation that was better for the environment. But recently I’ve concluded that it’s really about leg shaving and the pursuit of the perfect bag.

When brevet season started this summer, Felkerino got really excited. I thought it was because he was looking forward to the group events and putting in some longer miles on the bike. When he gleefully informed me that he was going to shave his legs before the first brevet, I realized that the main reason for all his pre-ride energy was that he got to shave his legs. He defended his leg shaving by saying it was to keep his legs from getting gritty and full of bugs, but I think he just likes feeling those silky smooth cycling legs.

Felkerino and me, Harpers Ferry. Shaved legs, all.

Recently, Felkerino built up the latest addition to the Dining Room Bike Shop, a Rivendell SimpleOne. The build turned out beautifully, and I could tell after his first test ride that he was in love with the fit and look of this bike. But something was amiss. Felkerino originally affixed an Ostrich bag on the front rack, but after a couple of test rides he decided that the size of the bag did not suit him and he “needed” something else.

Felkerino and the Ostrich front bag

The next thing I knew, Felkerino was lost to the internet, obsessively questing for the perfect front bag for his SimpleOne. “This bag is too big. That one is too little. The one at this store is too black. This one doesn’t have enough pockets. This bag has too many pockets. Mary, what do you think about this bag? I’m in bag hell.”

After Felkerino resolved the quandry of the front bag, he turned his attention to the rear. Suddenly the Berthoud bag was too small. He tried a Carradice, but that was a little too big, not quite right for the SimpleOne. Another Ostrich bag later… now the bags are just right. For now, anyway.

Felkerino and the SimpleOne. Something is amiss in the bag universe.

All the sturm und drang Felkerino put himself through over a front bag perplexed me, but eventually I concluded that one of the reasons men take up cycling is to buy bags. It allows them to indulge the secret jealousy they harbour regarding all the great purses that surround them.

At first the bag-obsessing distressed me, until I realized that I could stroll into the Dining Room Bike Shop and use at least one of them for my own bag needs. I love this marriage!

Rear Ostrich bag for the SimpleOne

Felkerino isn’t the only leg-shaving, bag-obsessed male cyclist I know. Take a look around. You’ll see.

Some men who ride bikes love to shave their legs and obsess about bags. If you call them out about it they are sure to provide another reason for their cycling obsession (getting in shape, going car-free, etc.), but those are just by-products of the source of their real cycling enjoyment. It’s about the bags and the shaving.

Pay extra attention on your commute or, even better, a brevet start. And, if you are a male cyclist who is reading this blog in between your frenetic Carradice, Sackville, and Acorn bag internet searches, ruing the fact that you won’t need a razor for the winter months, give it some thought.

#Coffeeneuring: One weekend remains!

Riding the Mt. Vernon Trail. Could they be coffeeneurs?

I can’t believe the Coffeeneuring Challenge has gone by so quickly! Only one weekend remains to bag those final two coffeeneuring rides to complete your seven trips to coffee. So who’s been out coffeeneuring? Glad you asked!

  • @tangobiker, who creatively named all of his coffeeneuring destinations “controles,” completed ride number seven. Where did he make the final controle? Stumptown Coffee. I’m green with envy, though I did pick up some of their beans this weekend from Boccato Gelato and Espresso. @tangobiker is not the only one I know of to complete all seven rides.
  • @whatsupwheaton, a coffeeneuring couple, finished off their coffeeneuring series this weekend, and even sent me their paperwork. Yowza!
  • Pedal ‘n Purl, wrote about her fifth coffee shop venture here. She also did a fine write-up of a New York “coffeeneuring interlude,” which I believe she defines as a coffeeneuring trip that is not by bicycle. Sounds delightful, except for the not biking there part. Find it here.
  • The Hudson Valley Randonneur closes in on his Coffeeneuring Challenge completion, by working in ride six over the weekend. I like the way George has set up each photo with a cup of coffee and a little bit of bike paraphernalia in each of his coffeeneuring pics.
  • @chespeaksailor now has five rides toward his seven. I know what he’ll be doing next weekend. Go Mike!
  • Iron Rider, out of Pennsylvania, has taken on the challenge and is down to the wire. As of his most recent blog post, he had three rides to go over the final two weekends of the challenge. I know you can do it, Iron Rider. And by the way, nice coffeeneuring photos you’ve got there!
  • @dirteng of the Porta-John blog tweeted about working in coffeeneuring trips five and six. Just one more to go!

Fall in D.C.

Unfortunately, there was no coffeeneuring for me this weekend, though my French press got in a nice workout. If you did not go coffeeneuring, I hope you were able to get outside at least a little. What a gorgeous weekend.

Don’t forget. Tomorrow is #CyclingCapTuesday. What does that mean? Ride your bike, wear a cycling cap, and tweet about it. It’s that easy so do it!


Five Things Friday: Do Not Walk in Bike Lane Edition

Sometimes I do a little Five Things Friday over on my flickr page. There have been a lot of pedestrians walking in the 15th Street Bike Lane lately.

  1. Lately, I’ve been thinking about ownership; for example, we are proprietary about our roads here in the U.S.
  2. Sidewalks are for pedestrians (rightfully so), and cars are the king of the road; cyclists get a few bike lanes and intermittent scoldings by drivers to get on the sidewalk.
  3. When I was in France this summer, it felt like motorists viewed the road more communally; l felt I had just as much right to be on the road as anybody else and nobody yelled at me to get on the sidewalk.
  4. We’re not that successful at sharing space here.
  5. Until we get to that place where we can view space more communally, I would really like it if people would not walk in the bike lane; it’s all we have.

#Coffeeneuring: You’re either in, or you’re out

Two full weekends remain in the Coffeeneuring Challenge, leaving participants with four possible days to complete their remaining seven coffeeneuring rides. If you haven’t completed at least three rides by now, then you will have to wait until next time to make it to the Coffeeneuring Challenge podium.

I heart Coffeeneuring

Coffeeneurs, how have you been doing? I’ve been keeping my eye on you. Some of you, anyway. And here’s what I know.

  • I know that Joe Platzner will not be completing the Coffeeneuring Challenge this round. Joe is the Seattle Randonneur who inspired the Coffeeneuring Challenge by saying that, after Paris Brest Paris, randonneurs should work on earning a “Coffee Shop Run” medal. Coffee Shop Run became Coffeeneuring and the rest is history (being written as I type). Joe, it’s ok that you did not complete the challenge. You are still the founder of coffeeneuring!
  • I know that Girl on a Bike has been out and about coffeeneuring in the D.C. area. She’s a girl, she rides a bike, and she coffeeneurs.
  • I know that Justin Antos has been working in his rides, amid other important activities like wineries and farmers’ markets, in Virginia and D.C.
  • I know that Oregon’s Tango Cyclist is completing a beautiful flickr photo set of his coffeeneuring adventures. Well done, and the locales look lovely!
  • I know that Hudson Valley Randonneur George Swain continues the challenge in New York state, though he claims to be making it just by the skin of his teeth. I just don’t believe it, George. I think you’re making it look easy.
  • I know that Porta-John is steadily working his way through the seven-cup challenge with the D.C. coffee shops, in between longer rides such as the Seagull Century and Tour du Port (both Maryland events).
  • I know that everyone who completes the challenge will get a prize. (But it’s not a big prize so don’t quite your day jobs.)
  • I know that I probably overlooked a few other coffeeneurs, but this is what the Twitterverse told me. Did I miss you? Let me know.

Chicago Fire get coffee at Illy. And then they went out and beat D.C. United.

Thanks to everybody who has been coffeeneuring. It’s been so much fun to follow you all and to see the places you visit. You have given us some great suggestions for future coffeeneuring destinations, as Felkerino is always on the lookout for a good espresso, and I’m always looking for a rich cup of coffee. OK, Oregon is a little far, but some day?

Coffeeneur on, my friends.

Randonneuring, Twitter, and #PBP2011

When people first started talking about this new thing called “Twitter,” (which I know is not new anymore) I didn’t get it. I understood Twitter was supposed to work as a social networking tool, but social networking about what? What you ate for breakfast? Who cares about that? Twitter struck me as a self-indulgent waste of time.

Despite my initial skepticism, I kept an eye on Twitter to explore what the hype was about.

Over the past year, Felkerino and I started using Twitter more and more, primarily for randonneuring. We “followed” randonneurs from our own club and other people we met on rides. I searched the Twitterverse and started following other randonneurs and commuters.

Our friend Alec rode the Shenandoah 1200K this summer, and tweeted his progress throughout. From his tweets, Felkerino and I could see how much he was riding each day, tell what the weather was like, get a sense of the terrain, “see” who else was on the ride, and who went to the finish. He even tweeted a few photos as he went along. Here is a snippet of his feed near the end of his #bigbicycling journey. (For all of the tweet feeds below, read bottom up.)

Alec's Tweets at the end of the 2011 Shenandoah 1200K

Since Felkerino and I could not make it out to the event and cheer for him in person, we tweeted. Go Alec!

Alec’s fine Shenandoah 1200K tweeting inspired Felkerino and me to tweet throughout PBP. I never thought I’d use my cell phone as more than a phone, and look at me now. For an activity like randonneuring, it is an excellent way to communicate and connect.

  • Twitter is easy to use on rides. Just punch in your 140-character or fewer tweet and off you go. Messages have to be short so being pithy is key, both for the sake of Twitter as well as your own progress on the ride.
  • You can tweet a photo along with your tweet. People can actually see something from your ride. I love that, though half the time I forget to attach the photo.
  • You can tag or name other tweeps in your tweet. If I want to reference Felkerino, for example, I add “@dailyrandonneur” to my message. As we are often riding together, lots of my tweets include him. During PBP, if we rode around others, we shared that on Twitter. It allowed our friends to see what other D.C. Randonneurs or RUSA members were in our midst.

Tweeps and Peeps on #PBP2011

  • People can track tweets by an event. If you include hashtags, like #PBP2011, or name an event in your tweet, people can search Twitter for it and your tweet will be included. This was how I learned that we were riding close to Paul Rozelle (@octopuscycling). I was searching quickly through the #PBP2011 tweets during one of our overnights and he was also using the #PBP2011 hashtag. I also saw that he was tweeting the same controls and stops that we were, at approximately the same times.

Paul (@octopuscycling) tweets PBP2011

  • Twitter connects you. It was fun to be able to search the tweets and see fellow randonneurs/tweeps riding PBP and giving updates of how their ride was progressing. Some of them I knew from home, others I did not. I connected to people from the UK, the Netherlands, South Africa, Australia, and the United States, and some I still keep in touch with via Twitter.
  • Fantasy PBP! Peopled connected to my Twitter feed because it allowed them to “virtually” go to PBP and follow the event from the comfort of their home computer– fantasy PBP, as our friend Lynn H. calls it.
  • Friends can tweet you on! Felkerino and I received so many encouraging tweets during our ride from randonneurs, friends, and our #bikeDC commuter buddies/tweeps. It meant so much that people took the time to virtually cheer us on and send their well wishes during PBP. Rides as long as PBP have both highs and lows, and the motivating tweets from our friends and followers helped especially during the tougher moments of the ride. Thanks, guys!

My PBP2011 finish on Twitter

I hope that more and more randonneurs start using Twitter to share their rides. Riders note what they experience as it happens, observers can connect to the event and the riders even if they cannot be there, people can get a unique glimpse into randonneuring even if they don’t randonneur themselves, and a global virtual randonneuring community grows. #iheartrandonneuringandtwitter!

Happy Friday! Time to get your #coffeeneuring on. Oh yeah.

Rando Q&A with Rob Hawks on The Daily Randonneur

Hi, all. I’ve been doing a little work on that “other” blog, The Daily Randonneur. It’s Rando Q&A time again. About time, right?

This week we feature Rob Hawks, the RBA of the San Francisco Randonneurs. Read all about it here and enjoy!

Rob Hawks on PBP


I know that few hours remain in our Tuesday, but I want to apprise you of something that is currently under way in the Twittosphere.

It’s #CyclingCapTuesday, the brainchild of Twitter users @travcaldwell and @SognRider. As the name suggests, #CyclingCapTuesday is the practice of wearing a cycling cap on Tuesday and then tweeting about it, using the hashtag #CyclingCapTuesday. I hope that wasn’t too complicated for you.

Cycling Caps: Decisions Decisions

I am slightly cap-obsessed so #CyclingCapTuesday suits me perfectly. Also, I usually ride my bike every day and often wear a cap, regardless of the day of the week. Still, #CyclingCapTuesday gives me a momentary escape from the daily grind and gives my commute a more festive feel. The past two Tuesdays, I’ve taken extra care in choosing my cap, knowing that I will share my selection with other tweeps.

Today, I selected my trustee purple and gray wool Octopus Cap. Octopus is based in Columbus, Ohio, and they make great caps. Just make sure to pay attention to the washing instructions, especially if your cap is wool!

Octopus Cycling Cap Panda

It’s cheap thrills to participate and to see what other cyclists wore for #CyclingCapTuesday. If you ride a bike on Tuesdays, why not wear a cycling cap, too, and be part of the fun?

#CyclingCapTuesday Tweets

Thanks for thinking up #CyclingCapTuesday, @travcaldwell and @SognRider. I’ve got a sizeable cap collection so I hope this creative Twitter trend takes hold!