Coffeeneuring Rewind Part 1: Ted in Alaska

Once again we’re reliving the journey of some of our exceptional coffeeneurs. This week, I’m featuring Ted T., an Alaska randonneur and coffeeneur. Not content to abide by the mere 15 rules of the contest, Ted added an additional criteria for himself: complete each coffeeneuring ride on a different bike. Nice one!

I’ve spent a little time in Alaska, but never studied the number of coffee shops in the area. They have more coffeeneuring destinations than I thought. Read on and take note as Ted shares the first half of his Coffeeneuring Challenge.

I live in Eagle River, Alaska, which is basically a small bedroom community 15 miles from Anchorage. Loving coffee, I couldn’t resist attempting the Coffeeneuring Challenge. I could only come up with four different coffee shops in Eagle River, with another couple of Starbucks located in grocery stores. I figured I could do a couple of trips into Anchorage, but about 10 miles each way is sort of a slog on a bike path along a busy six-lane highway. I ride this frequently when I commute home from work, and really don’t relish doing it again on the weekends.

I ended up with one coffee shop from Anchorage, and then the four in Eagle River along with the two Grocery Store Starbucks. As one of the four in Eagle River is a standalone Starbucks, I realized I was pushing the intent of rule 7, where this is allowed but not preferred. Also, I am a bit of a “friends don’t let friends drink Starbuck’s” type of person. But it was either the Starbucks or 30+ miles treks into Anchorage over that same 20 miles of highway trails.

To make it a bit more interesting for myself and maybe a bit more of a challenge to offset the lack of diversity of coffee shops, I vowed to do each ride on a different bike.

  • Ride One

Where:  Kaladi Brothers Coffee Company, 6901 E Tudor, Anchorage, AK
Total Miles: 24.6
Bike: 2004 Gunnar Sport, my rando bike with custom low trail fork

I started this ride in downtown Anchorage where my family was having breakfast with the in- laws. After breakfast, I rode alone across town mostly on quiet bike paths to the Kaladi Bros on the east side of town. I don’t usually ride around this area so it was fun to be on unfamiliar, if urban streets. I had my usual Americano and sat outside in the warm sunshine which felt great despite the 50F temps. I left Kaladi Bros and headed north on through town on residential streets eventually picking up the Glen Highway Bike path at Muldoon, which is the familiar slog back to Eagle River. It was a beautiful day and a great, relaxing ride.

  • Ride Two: DQ’d, as explained in Coffeeneuring Part 2 (Yes, you’ll have to read part two to see why. !!)

Where:  Jitters, 11401 Old Glen Highway, Eagle River, AK
Total Miles: 11.4
Bike: Surly Long Haul Trucker

I strapped a bucket on the LHT rack so I could haul our hot tub filter down to the carwash to rinse it off. I have recently put 26X1.75 tires on the LHT and love the plush ride it gives. My son Will went along for the ride to the carwash on his LHT.

After the work was done, Will headed off for a longer training ride and I headed to Jitters, my favorite local coffee house. I had my usual Americano, and again sat out in the sun, where another cyclist was sitting. It turns out he was riding a Gunnar Sport and we had a great time talking about cycling. I rode on familiar streets but not my usual route for the short one and half miles home.

  • Ride Three

Where:  Starbucks -Safeway, 16707 Coronado Road, Eagle River, AK
Total Miles: 12
Bike: Giant Kronos

I started this ride with a solo climb up Skyline Drive. A friend gave me the Giant Kronos and I haven’t ridden it a lot. But I love the low gears it has with a Shimano RSX crank (26-36-46) and an 11-28 7 speed cassette. A fast ride down deposited me (with one photo break) at the local Starbucks.

I decided to branch out and got a coffee Frapuccino. It was quite good. I left Starbucks and again took less familiar streets home.

  • Ride Four

Where:  Starbucks, 11409 Business Blvd, Eagle River, AK
Total Miles: 6.6
Bike: Surly Long Haul Trucker

There was a cold steady drizzle when it came time for the coffeeneuring outing. I debated not going, but I only have one extra day in the challenge, and I thought I better get out and do it. I did opt to ride the LHT again as it is fully fendered, and I specifically wanted to try the new mudflap I had made for the front fender.

Testing out the Mudflap

My son berated me mercilessly for abandoning my self-imposed rule of a different bike for each ride. But the lure of testing the mudflap won out so off I went by myself on the LHT. The mudflap worked well, and I added a few extra miles to my route but still kept it pretty short.

The sitting area at the Starbucks in the Carrs (Safeway) grocery store was essentially abandoned on this Sunday afternoon, but I enjoyed my Americano nonetheless. It was still a steady drizzle as I headed home, but I enjoyed every mile on the LHT.

Next: The second half of this coffeeneur’s challenge. A different bike for each ride… can he do it?! Don’t miss it!

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