Monthly Archives: October 2012

Happy Halloween from @ZombiesDC

Those who don’t follow me on Twitter may not know about some new companions who came into my life earlier this year.

ZombiesDC

One day, without warning, four green creatures showed up at my doorstep.

Their intentions were clear. They wanted my BRAINS and they wanted to live in Washington, D.C. I said no to the former and yes to the latter. Most days, I think they’re ok with the compromise.

I’m climbing the U.S. Capitol, King Kong style!

Usually, the zombies wile away the days inside my cubicle.

Even though the food of their nightmares is BRAINS, they’re resigned to drink tea while trying to make sense of the teabag messages.

“If you want to make peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.” Heck, I don’t know what it means. Why should I know what it means?

The zombies also eat the snacks my coworkers bring for them to munch on.

OK, zombies. Someone needs to start talking.

Every once in a while, they escape with me to explore the city.

SURPRISE! Let’s go find that @SharrowsDC guy!

Oh happy day! The Exorcist Steps. YAHOO

Where is the BRAINS cupcake?!

For the most part, the zombies are too small to cause trouble, but they do get into some embarrassing mischief.

I don’t know why we’re doing it. @girlonabikedc told us to.

I still don’t get it. Why are we photocopying our butts again?

I like this picture MUCH better than the photocopy of our butts.

At first, I tried to get the zombies to pack their bags. I worried about the D.C. residents’ safety.

Ha ha! I’m pushing all the buttons in the elevator!

It’s all fun and games until some zombie’s head comes off.

Fortunately for D.C., though, the living move faster than the undead and the zombies haven’t caused the city much of a problem. There’s enough going on here that they blend into the wordwork.

Washington City Paper, tourist edition (AND zombie!)

The zombies demanded a special blog post in recognition of their favorite holiday so, in a moment of weakness, I acquiesced. It’s in my best interests to stay on their good side.

Live for each other… or something like that.

Happy Halloween, everybody, from ZombiesDC (and me too)!

My Washington D.C. Neighborhood, Post-Sandy

It’s been a dramatic couple of days here. High winds, rain, and perpetual monitoring of the Weather Channel with one eye while looking apprehensively out the window with the other as tropical storm Sandy pelted our region.

Umbrellas were no match for this storm

Fortunately, the area where I reside did not lose power and damage to our immediate area does not appear to be too bad.

Looking toward Hains Point with Jefferson Memorial in the distance. High water in the Washington Channel.

The District did a good job preparing for the storm by basically shutting the city down and advising residents not to venture out until it passed.

Fallen leaves fill the sidewalk.

That said, the storm definitely left its mark. I went out today for a short stroll through the neighborhood. Here is some of what I observed during my outing.

Fallen tree on a parked car.

Stoplight. Crooked, but still functioning.

Two big trees in front of this church uprooted during the storm. Fortunately, the church is ok.

I also made a quick stop by the grocery store.

Minimal bread supply at the Safeway.

The grocery store completely sold out of bottled water. Fortunately, the beer and wine supply was holding strong.

In case you wondered, I did not buy any water or bread.

Bike lane, leaf parking

I hope you made it through the storm unscathed.

Running Away from Sandy: 2012 Marine Corps Marathon

Yesterday I lined up with more than 23,500 people to participate in my last big event for 2012: the Marine Corps Marathon.

When I was deciding on the things I wanted to accomplish this year (in terms of sporty type stuff), I narrowed it down to the following:

  1. Rock ‘n Roll Marathon (March);
  2. Super Randonneur Series (March-June)
  3. Colorado High Country 1200K (July)
  4. Eight-day bike tour of Southern Virginia (August)
  5. Marine Corps Marathon (October)

Given the other events leading up to Marine Corps, my motivation ebbed when the time to train for it arrived. This, combined with a couple of other life events, made gearing up for the marathon a little more difficult.

My training for brevets and marathons generally centers around two main goals: finish comfortably and within the time limits. That is, I don’t want to finish injured and I also want to make sure that no one is tearing down the course just behind me.

With that in mind, while I wasn’t feeling the fever to train, I did prepare for the marathon distance. I wasn’t certain how comfortably I would finish this time, given that I had not cross-trained to my satisfaction nor done the number of mid-week runs that I hoped, but I was mostly physically ready for the event when it arrived.

Just me and a few of my friends

I approached the starting line yesterday morning a little freaked out. The day was cloudy, the wind breezy compared to the calm days before, and the sky was spitting. The first signs of tropical storm Sandy. While the forecast noted that Sandy was not to arrive until later in the evening, the storm was on a lot of people’s minds.

The sheer numbers of people running also intimidated. Marine Corps is the kind of run where, if you are a middle-of-the-pack runner like me, you constantly have to navigate around people. Despite the marathon distance, so many people participate that the course does not spread out much and it’s wall-to-wall people from start to finish. While that is one of the aspects that makes the Marine Corps Marathon so much fun, as a person accustomed to participating in smaller events it takes some mental adaptation.

After the starting gun went off, I waited over eight minutes to cross the official start line. Thank goodness for chip times! I wasn’t really running for a specific time, but I still want all the credit I can get. As expected, the run was crowded and crazy. I tried to dodge through runners, thinking that it would help me somehow, but all it really did (at least at the beginning) was make me spend unnecessary energy. In a crowd that big there’s only so much you can do to get into your own rhythm. The start was about having patience and waiting until things spread out just enough to allow me to find my own space in the field.

The Marine Corps and other volunteers do a fantastic job supporting the marathon. With water and Gatorade stops every two miles, I did not worry about carrying my own water and stayed well-hydrated throughout. They also offered two fruit stops along the way, AND a Clif shot stop, in addition to a Jelly Belly Sport Beans stop. The Clif shots and Jelly Bellys tend not to agree with my stomach so I stayed away from them and brought my own Accelerade gel instead, but the fruit was a welcome treat.

Hey, this is pretty fun!

The level of support from the crowd is pretty incredible. Except for a few places on the run (e.g., the segments along the GW Parkway, Canal Road, and Hains Point), people are lining the course and cheering the entire time. I love it. For some reason, the marathon really resonates with people.

Lots of spectators also carried homemade signs. Some were more standard, like the “Who needs toenails?,” “Pain is temporary, pride is forever.” Others were definitely very point-in-time, 2012. A few of the favorites I recall are:

  • “Run! Sandy is following you!”
  • A sign at mile three that read: “If you were Paul Ryan, you’d be done by now.”
  • “Beat Frankenstorm!”
  • “Stop feeling awful and start feeling awesome!”
  • Swim Bike Run Only!”

When I stopped fretting about my place in the masses and started looking around, I started to relax. It was emotionally moving to see all the people running their marathon in memory of someone. A series of photos of fallen Marines from the past few years lined part of Hains Point. People ran with photos of loved ones affixed to their shirts, honoring those they had lost.

In addition, all the parts of the course are familiar to me, but the marathon sews them together in a unique way. It’s a rare treat to run places that you would and could not otherwise, like Canal Road, the George Washington Parkway, and the 14th Street Bridge.

Time out for a photo opp!

It’s also a thrill be part of such a huge local event. I fed off the energy of the spectators and enjoyed each step as much as possible. Felkerino, Lane, and Dagny came out to cheer for me at a couple of different places. I ran into #fridaycoffeeclub friend, Chris, as I passed through the Palisades. At mile 22 or so, Ray, who is known as “Flag Man” and is one of the Marine Corps Marathon stalwarts, asked me to carry his flag for a couple tenths of a mile. On my way home, a few people shouted out “Congratulations!” as they passed. I was proud to live in Washington, D.C., and so happy to be taking part in the day.

For most of the marathon, I felt good physically and none of the owies that pestered me off and on throughout training became an issue. At around mile 22, something painful happened to the top of my left foot, an area that had not bothered me at all until the marathon. Isn’t that how it goes? All the things you think could start hurting are fine, and it’s something completely unexpected. It didn’t hamper me too much, but it definitely was what I call “bad” pain, as opposed to fatigue pain.

Overall, though, it was a fine day on my two feet (especially my right one, ha ha!). Sandy, while making her presence known via the cloudy and breezy day, was not a factor; people treated us like rock stars; and my base training allowed me to fully enjoy the experience. My time ended up at 4:42:50. Not fast, but I met my goal of finishing comfortably (except for the foot thing) and before they reopened to course to vehicular traffic.

Receiving our medals for finishing

My Marine Corps Marathon finish also marked the successful completion of my major 2012 goals. I am pleased that I finished two marathons in the same year as a 1200K (a first for me), and I am so thankful the year worked out so that I could do all the bike and running events I hoped. I’m going to celebrate with a couple of victory laps around the block, as soon as Sandy goes away.

Bikes + Coffee = True Love = Coffeeneuring: Blog Roundup

As I’ve been reading through the tweets and blogs, I see that even though everybody has to follow the same 15 rules to be an official finisher, people have still customized the challenge and their coffeeneuring rides.

  • Some Oregon coffeeneurs (who also randonneur, incidentally) have approached the challenge as a group event.
  • Last year, Alaska coffeeneur Ted T. set out to complete each ride on a different bike. While I’ve not seen that this year, I see that the duo of What’s Up Wheaton (two of the original coffeeneuring challenge participants) intends to explore eight different coffee shops than those they visited last year. Incidentally, this is Felkerino’s plan, too.
  • Iron Rider and his partner are going on coffeeneuring bike dates. ♥
  • Ultrarunnergirl used coffeeneuring to plan a rendezvous with friends (i.e., Felkerino and me!) and also visited a new spot.
  • Pittsburgh has its own social network of coffeeneurs, and many of them are sharing their rides on the Bike Pittsburgh Message Board. I like how they’re sharing their photos and stories, and creating a directory of bikeable coffeeneuring destinations.
  • Some use coffeeneuring as the destination. Others use it as a sub-destination. Aerochick mixed coffeeneuring into the middle of a bike shop visit. Rootchopper coffeeneured during his D.C.-area fall leaf tour. Singularity went coffeeneuring (nice latte art), and then hit the dirt roads. bikelovejones coffeeneured and rode her bike to buy a bike and haul it home. Sounds like the coffee was a bust, but that’s still righteous coffeeneuring, bikelovejones!
  • The Crazy Randonneur said he’s coffeeneuring because he wants to do short trips that get him back into riding after an unfortunate bike accident.
  • While people aren’t always able to officially complete the whole challenge, they’re not letting it keep them from being part of the fun. Rambling Rider and Mr. T in DC are two of those.
  • Pennine Pedaling celebrated her birthday and gave herself a coffeeneuring trip and a group ride as presents.
  • Katy Chancey works an irregular schedule (at least to me, who works a Monday through Friday gig), but notes that she is sticking to using Wednesday and Sunday as her coffeeneuring weekends.
  • A Girl and her Bike perfects the “bike lock + cup of coffee” in her photos and says that, while she could not complete the challenge last year, she plans to do it this year. Awesome!
  • The last couple of weekends have been a celebration of fall. Suze, Cycling‘s post and accompanying photos show that fall is truly here.
  • Pastryneurs. Blog reader Dave C. said to me that he considers himself more of a pastryneur than a coffeeneur. I’ve seen a lot of delicious treats on the coffeeneur tweets and blogs, like this sticky roll from Cruisin’ Downhill. He says the picture is foggy; I say it’s a soft focus.
  • Hudson Valley Randonneur said coffeeneuring inspired him to get out early and sneak in some miles in the outdoors during a busy time.

That’s the blog roundup for this week.

I also have a RULES UPDATE, which I will also add to the Coffeeneuring Challenge rules post.

Rule 16. The Veterans Day Rule: You may coffeeneur on November 12, when Veteran’s Day is observed, INSTEAD of the previous Saturday or Sunday (November 10 and 11). Veterans are permitted to coffeeneur on November 12 in ADDITION to Nov. 10 and 11, in recognition of their service.

Bikes + Coffee = True Love = Coffeeneuring

Commute Trade-Offs: Safety

Seldom does a commute not involve some kind of trade-off. Bike commuters are often dealing with compromises, and my sense of safety is often one of those.

Take yesterday, for example. I had to run an errand out in Bethesda. The first half of it had to be via car (Booooo. That’s a compromise already!). However, the second half of the errand I was able to use my bike. So bike I did.

I had two route options for my return trip back into the District of Columbia from Bethesda, Maryland.

1. Take Capital Crescent Trail to the trail by the Kennedy Center (almost ten miles car-free!) and home; or
2. Ride Massachusetts Avenue (a main road in D.C.) back to Adams Morgan and home.

At first, it seems like a no-brainer. Take the Capital Crescent Trail!

Not so fast. I began my return trip at 8:30 at night. That changes things.

While Route 1 would offer a peaceful car-free ride into the city along a beautiful trail that borders the Potomac River, the trails at that hour are dark. In addition, the trail becomes isolated as the evening wears on.

This morning, I read that a female jogger had been attacked along the Capital Crescent Trail over the weekend. That crime happened at around 7 p.m., not late by my standards, but late enough to be dark outside and to have cleared the trails of most recreational traffic. Now I know that being a cyclist is distinct to being a runner on a trail, but even so, the news was enough to give me pause about my own safety.

In contrast, the city streets option, Route 2, has a fairly constant stream of car traffic. There are people out and about until later hours in the evening. The streets are well lit.

I would have loved to choose Route 1, but as it was after rush hour (where you would find more bike commuters out on the trails) and in the interest of my own safety I chose the more car-trafficked Route 2.

While I had to watch steadily for potholes and vehicles as I zipped down Massachusetts Avenue and back through the well-traveled roads of the city, I still felt safer than the quiet dark trail.

More often than not, probably nothing would happen if I chose to take the trail home. But I did not feel like risking it. How ironic that the same aspects that make a route peaceful and appealing at one point in the day can also make it feel unsafe and isolated at another.

It sucks that people, women in particular, have to consider these kinds of trade-offs when commuting. In fact, it makes me really angry. Regardless of how I feel, though, the reality is we do have to watch out for ourselves and make compromises.

Like I said, nine times out of ten we’re probably fine. But I don’t want to risk that tenth time. So yesterday I didn’t and my trafficky commute home accompanied by the occasional pothole dodging, while not the most peaceful, worked out ok and got me home safe and sound.

Mandatory Fall Foliage Dirt Road Ride

With the shades of fall intensely pulsing through our area, Felkerino and I decided we better get out for a good autumn ride before showers or windy days wrested the brilliant leaves from the trees.

(c) Felkerino

We looked at the Saturday forecast, which indicated overnight temperatures would not be bitingly cold. Sun was also predicted, with the day warming from mid-40s up to the mid-60s.

That’s my kind of fall riding! Felkerino convinced a couple of friends to join us and we spent the day riding the dirt roads around the Middleburg, Virginia, area. It was a great reprieve from the pavement and a rare treat to ride enveloped in the peak of autumn’s colors.

Bull Run Mountain Road

Overall the roads were in great shape, interspersed with the occasional washboard and rough spots, and dry. The first 40 or so miles felt pretty hilly and included roads that doubled as terrain cues such as “Bull Run Mountain, “Mt. Gilead,” “Gap Road,” and “Hogback Mountain.”

The second half of the day felt more moderate, but that could have been because my legs had been beaten into submission and I was distracted by the wonderfully vivid views all around us.

Sometimes we rode under a canopy of color. At others, we paralleled a ridge line, fluffy fall trees rising high off in the distance. They made me think of scoops of ice cream.  Pistachio, pumpkin, lemon, strawberry… I never tired of looking at them.

Bust Head Road – Yes, it’s really called that

Our group savored the day, stopping several times to admire the scenery, chat, make a coffeeneuring stop, and to just exist in autumn’s perfection.

Barry gives the “this does not suck” sign

As regular readers might suspect, Felkerino and I rode our Rawland dSogns. They adeptly carried us over the day’s route. While somewhat sluggish on pavement, as soon as we hit dirt the Rawlands responded eagerly. We rode Fatty Rumpkin tires, which dug confidently into the ground, and handled the bumps and uneven sections of road well.

Felkerino and the Rawland

Our Rawlands have disc brakes and are also set up with Interrupter brake levers on the tops of the handlebars. I keep referring to them as my “911 brakes.”

Interrupters are great for maintaining control on steep gravelly descents and allow you to keep the brakes easily within reach as you push your body back on the bike, away from the saddle. Maybe they gave me too much confidence because there were a few times I picked up quite a bit of speed thinking the 911 brakes would come to my rescue if I needed to moderate somehow.

I can slow down anytime I want with these 911 brakes

Our friend Barry rode his Trek 520 and Mike was out on his new touring bike, a Soma San Marcos. These bikes also seemed well-suited to off-road adventures.

Mike’s Soma San Marcos

All totaled, we ended up with 83 miles, about 6500 feet of climbing, and a perfectly blissful day in the country.

The beauty of fall comes and goes so quickly. Leaves that maintained a steady green hue throughout the summer make their conversions to reds, oranges, and golds. Soon after, they drift steadily to the ground and the trees expose their stark angular forms until spring arrives to dress them up once again.

(c) Felkerino

Winter has its own beauty, and I’ll appreciate that in its own time. For now, though, I’m savoring the waning fall days as much as I can.

Want to see more photos from our ride? My photoset is here, and click here to see Felkerino’s. Many thanks to George M. for the route!

Get On the Sidewalk!

Most days, riding my bike is one of the most pleasurable activities of my day. Fresh air, exercise, breeze on my face, and pride in my mode of transport abound.

Every once in a while, though, something happens to disrupt these moments of reverie. Like yesterday, for example, when I was riding to dinner with a couple of friends. We approached a stoplight and a driver rolled down the window of his car to yell out, “Get on the sidewalk!”

Upon hearing these words, righteous indignation coursed through my body. It enraged me to hear a driver advise me to “Get on the sidewalk!” when we have just as much right to be on the road as he does.

This comment was completely unprovoked. We were not in his lane, stopped at a stoplight (as the light was red), minding our own business, and doing nothing to impede his progress.

Rather, our mere existence and presence on the same street was enough to compel this man to roll down the window of his vehicle and bully us. The nerve of those cyclists. Riding on the street. In the District of Columbia. In Dupont Circle. The NERVE!

Shocked and initially speechless, I looked over at the man. I then responded, “Hey! Be nice to me!” I wanted to have a longer conversation with him about cyclists’ rights to the road, the illegalities of riding on sidewalks in downtown, the problems sidewalk cycling presents to pedestrians, as well an exploration of where the anger comes from. Alas, stoplights only stay red for so long.

I read a post once that said that drivers’ saying these kinds of things is an issue of a lack of education. If drivers were more educated about cyclists’ rights to the road, we would all coexist much better. I’m not so sure. I believe many drivers feel the roads are for only for cars or other motorized vehicles, and sharing roads with other groups such as bicycles is absolutely unacceptable. Even if you showed them a physical copy of the law and recited it to them, they would still resist the fact that bicyclists have a right to the road, too.

This man was a bully behind the wheel, a bully who was vocally averse to sharing the road with bicycles. Fortunately he did no more than mouth off to us and did not threaten us with his car.

While they rattle me, encounters like this do have an up-side. Drivers like this make me appreciate every single one of the considerate drivers out on the road so a shout-out to them. Thank you, nice drivers!

Perhaps I should have kept my head down and my mouth shut when I heard “Get on the sidewalk!” Don’t engage, pedal on, and forget about it. In the interest of safety, that’s probably a best practice. But that is hard to do all the time, especially when the comment is wrong, unwarranted, and idiotic. And I hate to be bulled by someone who thinks their superior just because they happen to be in a car.

I had temporarily fooled myself into thinking that D.C.-area residents were embracing multiple moods of transportation. To some extent we are. More people in the area are choosing bicycling as a mode of transportation, we have a robust Bikeshare program, and gradually our city is seeing more dedicated bike lanes.

However, my encounter with this motorist reminded me that we still have work to do. I don’t know how long it takes for a city to be fully inclusive of cyclists. Maybe there will always be some people yelling disparaging things out their car windows at us. However, I dream of a day when these kinds of interactions cease and we are a fully accepted presence on our streets.

Bike Commute Guide Part 1: The Essentials

Today I’m talking commute basics, as somebody recently asked me what to keep in mind when making the transition to bike commuting. It took me back to when I dusted off my old Ross mountain bike and said to myself, “Metro no more. I’m going to make this bike commute thing happen.” Happily, it wasn’t a tough transition to make, but it was a change to my personal transportation system that took time to refine and become routine.

Now that I’ve adjusted, it’s hard to imagine a time when I relied on metro or car more than my bicycle as my primary form of transportation.

For those considering bike commuting, this post discusses the the basic gear I purchased and the adaptations I made to bike commute. Everyone develops their own systems over time, and this is my basic rundown.

1. Obtain a bike or (in cities like Washington, D.C.) purchase a Bikeshare membership. This post is more for the person with his or her own bike, but some of it applies to anyone riding to work. Wonder what type of bike is good for commuting? This post I wrote about my Surly Long Haul Trucker, which is my primary commuter, gives you some factors to consider including price point, utility, carrying capacity, and comfort.

2. Make sure your bike is in good working condition. Tires, wheels, shifting, chain, brakes… perhaps consider a trip to the local bike shop for a pre-commute tuneup.

3. Purchase a pump, spare tube, multitool, bike levers, and patch kit and stow them on your bike. Nobody wants a flat tire, but it’s important to have the right stuff to fix one if it happens. You might also consider carrying a small packet of wet wipes so that you can clean up any dirt and grease that may have rubbed off on you.

4. Map out a route with quiet streets, even if you have to ride a little further. Figure out your route before you hop on the bike. Ask around to other cyclists about good commute routes. There are lots of forums out there with commuters who are happy to offer route suggestions. One resource in the D.C. area is the Washington Area Bike Forum.

Surly LHT with Carradice, Ortlieb, and Rickshaw

5. Figure out the best place to park your bike. Can you park in your office? Is there a nearby parking garage with an attendant on duty? Scope it out. If you know or see another commuter in your building, ask him or her.

6. Commute on a bike that can take panniers (I prefer Ortliebs) or at least allows you to ride without anything on your back. Some people may not mind riding with a backpack or messenger bag, but it bothers my back and I don’t like to be encumbered by the extra weight.

If you ride to work in your work clothes, the following three points may not apply to you. I’m all for it if someone wants to ride in work clothes, and I do so often enough. That said, I’ve found it puts additional extra wear and tear on my work attire, which means I have to go out and replace it more frequently. It’s also better for rainy days, as I avoid a day spent in wet work clothes. Hence, the following three points for those who, like me, change from their riding clothes into business attire after arriving at the office.

Loving the Post-Work Commute

7. Don’t carry your work clothes in every day, if you can help it. Figure out a place to stash them in your office. I have a file drawer that conceals a couple of sweaters, a wrinkle-free skirt, and a couple of other regularly used pieces.

8. Find a dry cleaner close to your job. That way, you avoid having to haul clothes back home, dry cleaning them, and then figuring out how to fold them back into your panniers or packs to bring them back in to work.

9. Rotate clothes in and out of you office as the seasons change. Oh, and as they get dirty :).

10. Keep a brush, towel and some deodorant at the office. Also, on hot days, save the makeup application for post-work arrival. Otherwise it just melts off.

11. Don’t let the rain scare you off. Get some fenders. Invest in a rain jacket. They’re worth it.

12. Purchase a good front and rear light. I’m currently using a Light & Motion Urban 180 front light (which has been replaced with the Urban 200) and another Light & Motion Vis 180 Micro taillight. Both recharge via USB charger, which makes it easy to juice them up at the office. These are reasonably priced, durable lights with good illumination. Lights are important not only to see, but also to be seen. When I made the switch to bike commuting, I was shocked by how invisible those who ride or run at night become without lights or reflective gear.

The Cannondale’s rear Nitto rack, Spanninga light (oo la la), and Velo Orange Croissant saddle bag, Kryptonite U-lock

13. Wear reflective gear, especially if you ride at night or commute before dawn. It may not be stylish, but reflective stuff makes your more visible to drivers and other cyclists. Ankle bands and reflective vests are cheap. Don’t give anybody the excuse to say that they did not see you.

14. Helmet. I am not going to tell you what to do, but it’s part of my checklist.

15. Invest in and carry a good bike lock. This is especially important if you have to park your bike outside or plan to go on any pre- or post-work outings in the city. Even though a U-lock can be broken by a determined thief, they are less likely to be messed with than cable locks. U-locks do add a little bit of weight to your bike, but I’d rather deal with that and have the additional security than fret all day about my bike and put it at greater risk for being stolen.

That concludes my list of commute basics, though I probably forgot something. Hope you find it helpful and as always, please feel free to add to this post with your own checklist items in the comments section. Thanks!

What Makes Coffeeneuring Special, via the Coffeeneur Blogosphere

Ride your bike to coffee. The premise of the Coffeeneuring Challenge is a pretty simple one. 

Yet, the writing from the coffeeneuring blogs suggests there’s something about the two-wheeled journey to a coffee shop and the subsequent consumption of a hot beverage. Something worth writing about and sharing.

As I read through the posts, that vague something evolved into various themes, and I aggregated them into this list.

What Makes Coffeeneuring Special, via the Coffeeneur Blogosphere

  • The drinks you’ll drink, like this chocolate and honey latte that Iron Rider wrote about.
  • A quick stop at a fall farmers market, as told by the Hudson Valley Randonneur.
  • Fine fall views from the saddle. Keith’s Bike Blog has some nice pics from his first coffeeneuring ride.
  • Coffeeneuring outings shared with others, this one with a side of mistaken identity. Rootchopper shares his weekend tale.
  • Places that roast their own beans. bikelovejones’s first coffeeneuring trip.
  • Rides in the rain. It makes the coffee and hot chocolate taste all the sweeter. Right, Singularitas?
  • Chilly outings. Cruisin’ Downhill and Aerochick have the first stories of coffeeneuring at sub-freezing temps.
  • Clever coffee shop names and concepts, as recounted by Canadian coffeeneur, PhysicsGirl on the Loose.
  • Flèche-style meetups. Lynne’s Mostly Cycling Blog tells of friends riding from different places to converge at one.
  • Bicycle window shopping. Small Engine, Big Tank and Lynne are on the same coffeeneuring team. Big bikes, little bikes, Rivendell Atlantis and Bleriot. A Sweetpea. Ah, Oregon!
  • Exploring unfamiliar terrain with a friend and not getting lost.  LONGER BACA shares her coffeeneuring ride.
  • Public art encounters. Something most often found in the urban landscape, Type 2 Clydesdale Cyclist passed by quite a bit of it on his latest outing.
  • Tasty treats. In my opinion, a good scone is hard to find, but Choose to chance the rapids and dare to dance the tide found one.
  • Sitting out in the fresh air with a warm beverage. Suze, Cycling chose an outdoor table for one of her coffeeneuring visits.
  • Family coffeeneuring! fivetoedsloth makes it a family affair.
  • Finding ways to fit in a coffeeneuring outing amid life’s competing priorities. Three coffeeneuring trips so far for PORTAJOHN.

Perhaps not an exhaustive list of coffeeneuring’s pleasures, but it made me want to hop on my bike and head to the nearest coffee shop. Thanks, bloggers, for sharing your coffeeneuring reports with us.

Baseball Will Break Your Heart, but Coffeeneuring Won’t

What a weekend! The Nationals came so close, but could not eek out a place in the next round of post-season play. What’s a coffeeneur to do but shed a few tears, get on the bike, and go for a latte?

Next year, Nats

That’s what I did. Felkerino, Ultrarunnergirl, and Mr. Ultrarunnergirl coaxed me out the door. The sunny weather didn’t hurt, either.

We were not alone in our coffeeneuring pursuits. The Twitterverse was alive with dozens of people coffeeneuring here and there. After a while I lost count, so if you want to get a glimpse into what you missed, click on the Twitter image below.

Some rode 40 miles for their desired beverage, others closer to four. In the end, as long as the ride is over two miles round trip with a beverage along the way, it’s coffeeneuring. 

One of the aspects of coffeeneuring that I’m most enjoying is the photos. Coffeeneurs choose to capture their coffeeneuring experiences in many different ways. Here’s a good shot from grafxnerd:

@grafxnerd’s coffeeneuring photo

I hope to interview some coffeeneurs regarding their  photo taking strategies. If you are interested in being part of that post, please send me an email or get in touch with me via the “Contact” tab, and I’ll shoot you a few questions.

In other news, a flickr Coffeeneuring group now exists. If you are active on flickr, please feel welcome to add your coffeeneuring photos to the group.

I also took time this weekend to update the coffeeneur tweep list, based on people’s feedback. Currently, there are about 45 on the list.  If you are a coffeeneuring tweep and want to be added, please let me know.

In the off chance that this is the first time you’re reading about the Coffeeneuring Challenge and you wish you could participate, guess what? You are reading this in the nick of time. You can still successfully complete the Coffeeneuring Challenge if you begin this week! Details here.

Don’t worry, bloggers. I haven’t forgotten about you. I’m doing a separate blog update post in the next day or two. If you want to make sure I include your post, please contact me and send a link to your writeup.

I hope everybody is enjoying the challenge even a fraction as much as I am. Baseball might break your heart, but coffeeneuring is good at mending it.