Monthly Archives: November 2012

Seattle Coffeeneuring with Coffeeneur Conceptualizer and Randonneur Joe Platzner

While the beginning of this guest post may sound more like a medical diary than a coffeeneur tale, I assure you it is not.

Joe Platzer, the Seattle randonneur behind the concept of coffeeneuring, provided me a convincing doctor’s note about why he was starting the challenge late, and I gave him a small extension to complete the challenge.

The stories of his trips follow, and include photos of  a few Pacific Northwest randonneur all-stars as well as pictures of Joe’s beautiful self-built (is that a word?) Platzner bicycle. He even coffeeneured once via tandem (see trip 6)! Thank you for being part of the challenge this year, Joe, and for your guest post.

At first I didn’t think I’d make this. In March, I was in New Jersey for high school reunions, and I went for a little ride with Ron Anderson (a New Jersey and PA Randonneur).  At some point I felt like my Sidi was rubbing on my ankle.  It got really sore, and I thought perhaps I had banged my leg into something. The problem was, however, I didn’t recall banging my leg. After the ride, I took off my sock and discovered a big marble-sized lump that was kind of like a blood clot.

It turns out that the varicose veins I’ve had my whole life were finally causing problems. It wasn’t anything urgent, but I needed to get them worked on. So in early October I had the surgery.

I was moping around complaining to Mark Thomas about how long recovery was taking when rando legend Vinnie — a surgeon when he’s not riding — said something to Mark along the lines of, “Of course he’s complaining. Have you seen that surgery? It’s disgusting!”

Anyway, a whole lots of whining and pain meds later, Mark and I headed out for coffeeneuring

1. We rode to Starbucks in Issaquah (9.6 Miles RT) on October 18.

I had a grande nonfat latte. Mark probably had a straight up four-shot espresso. He doesn’t mess around. We ran into distance cycling and blogosphering legend Kent “Mountain Turtle” Peterson. Good times were had by all.

2. “Hipster Coffee”

The next day, October 19th, I drove to Seattle to visit Andy “the Frenemy” Spier because he has Italian cutting tools and offered to give an “Italian Face Job” to the bottom bracket of a Merckx I had repaired. Yeah, he’s strange that way.

Andy is a pain in the ass to ride with, and then he gives you a sandwich. I brought my Brompton and when we were done with the Merckx, we rode about 4 miles round trip to a fancy pants hipster coffee shop in Freemont (the center of the universe). I don’t know the name of the place, but let’s call it Hipster Coffee.

The barista was not unattractive and had a tattoo of a bike across her chest. I tried not to stare. Andy, always the gentleman, asked if he could see the rest of it. Amazingly, she said “no.” I had a tall nonfat latte, and Andy had hot chocolate.

3. Starbucks on Lakemont Boulevard

For coffeeneuring number three, I stayed close to home. My closest Starbuck’s is on Lakemont Boulevard.  Only 4.4 miles round trip on Oct 25. I would not have gone for a ride if not for the desire to complete the challenge. I had a tall Americano with room.

4. Trip number four, on November 2, was to the Tully’s in Factoria for a total of 3.5 miles.

You know, the Tully’s near the Toyota dealer over the pedestrian bridge. Yeah, that one.

Funny, but for a minute I thought I copied the same picture twice. I’m pretty sure that’s a medium nonfat latte. The pumpkin bread was flowing too.

5. Peet’s Coffee, Redmond, Washington

Finally able to go more than a few miles, I ventured up the gravel trail to Peet’s in Redmond for trip 5.  20.8 miles on Nov 8. 2012 Anno Domini. This large nonfat latte in a real mug was clearly the winner of my set.

Believe it or not, I like Starbuck’s, but Peet’s is just, well, a whole other level. Peet had a hand in the original Starbuck’s and I think they own the small chain now. Plus, this particular Peet’s puts up with us at crazy hours and can be seen in the famous Winter Solstice Ride video. Oh, and the gravel felt really bad on my post operative legs. A bit too far.

6. Coffeeneuring with Munchkinhead and Bun Bun at the Starbucks in Factoria near the Toyota dealer

For the penultimate coffeeneuring run of the series, on November 9, I wanted to stay close to home. Even though I’m in the ‘burbs, there is an endless supply of coffee stops in the 5-mile window.

This is yet another Starbucks in Factoria near the Toyota dealer. 3.8 miles total with Munchkinhead on the tandem. I had a short americano, and munchkin had a vanilla creme even though she is a short americano. That was our first try with a “vanilla cream” instead of a “kid’s vanilla cream.” You get 2 more ounces, and the price goes from $1.00 to $3.05.

We decided to go back to “kid’s vanilla creams” from now on seeing as Munchkinhead is a kid. Oh, and her bunny, creatively named “Bun Bun,” came along in the bar bag for fresh air. A good time was had by all.

7. Starbucks in Factoria, Washington, near QFC

Lastly, today, November 15, was a quick run to yet another Starbucks in Factoria. I know! This is the one near QFC that we often use for the start of permanents. I’m surprised they didn’t ask if I wanted a receipt, as they are wise in the way of the rando. Just a total of 6 miles, but the hill home makes it count.

I had a tall Americano with room. It was a cold but sunny day in the Pacific Northwest, and it is going to rain for as long as the forecast shows, so I’m glad I got out.

Well done, Joe. Congratulations again on completing this year’s Coffeeneuring Challenge (especially after ending up on the Honorable Mention list last year) and thank you for coming up with the idea in the first place!

A Weekend Adventure for a Commuting Cyclist in Vienna, VA: Coffeeneuring Rewind with Liz

As I continue to homologate results, I learn more about the appeal of the Coffeeneuring Challenge. Liz, today’s guest contributor, is a #BikeDC commuter who rides extensively during the week– 28 miles every day. She used the Coffeeneuring Challenge as an opportunity to work in more casual weekend riding. 

As a bicycle commuter with a 28-mile round trip commute, I have no lack of time in the saddle. However, with a husband and busy son, I rarely take time for pleasure rides on the weekend. If I’m on the bike, it is usually a quick trip to the grocery store. So thank you for the Coffeeneuring Challenge, because it added some variety to my cycling!

#1: Pastry Xpo in Merrifield, VA (October 13, 2012, 14.8 miles)

A group of us had just attended a ribbon cutting for a new bike lane in our county. Being cyclists, they had no objection to my suggestion that we stop for coffee. I had decaffeinated coffee and a cranberry scone. Highly recommended!

# 2. Caribou Coffee in Crystal City, VA (October 14, 2012, 29.7 miles)

I had to teach a class in Crystal City, so I came early and had a Pumpkin Spice Decaf Latte while frantically reviewing my notes for class.

3. Caffe Amouri in Vienna, VA (October 20, 21012, 2.7 miles)

I went to the Vienna Farmer’s Market with the intention of buying coffee there, but the coffee purveyor did not have any decaf. I bought an Apricot Jalousie from a vendor and went across the street to Caffe Amouri for a cup of decaf. I enjoyed my treats while watching people playing at the caboose, riding by on the W&OD Trail and making their way to and from the Farmer’s Market.

4. Whole Foods in Vienna, VA (October 28, 2012, 2.0 miles)

Hurricane Sandy was blowing in and we needed provisions! I rode my bike to the grocery store to stock up. While there, I enjoyed a spiced pumpkin decaf latte. I did not discern any major flavor difference between pumpkin spice (Caribou) vs. spiced pumpkin (Whole Foods).

5. Silva’s Patisserie in Vienna, VA (November 3, 2012, 2.2 miles)

This pastry shop is a little gem, located just a couple of blocks from the W&OD Trail. They have the most wonderful baked goods! I had a cup of decaf and an almond croissant. I am not usually a croissant lover, but it was heavenly. Stop here if you find yourself in need of sustenance on the W&OD in Vienna.

6. Community Canteen in Reston, VA (November 10, 2012, 34.3 miles)

Emboldened by my coffeeneuring success, I expanded my weekend riding and went on my first shop ride ever. Afterwards, I went for coffee (decaf, as usual) and an omelette with the other cyclists at this wonderful restaurant. And while I acknowledge that coffeeneuring cannot be part of an organized ride, please note I rode my bike (7+ miles each way) to actually get to the shop ride.

Also, this was the first cup of coffee consumed for the challenge served in actual china. Classy!

7. 7-Eleven in Washington, DC (November 11, 2012, 44.5 miles)

My husband and son were out of town, so I took a long ride to enjoy the fall color along Sligo Creek in Maryland. Afterwards, I stopped at . . . 7-Eleven?!

In all seriousness, we used to live in the neighborhood and know the family that operates this store. I stop by to say hello whenever I get to those parts. I bought a Peppermint Mocha Latte (you were expecting decaf?), muffin and banana. The parking lot ambience left something to be desired, but what can I say, I have low brow tastes.

Conclusion: What did I learn from the Coffeeneuring Challenge? It is possible to ride my bike on the weekend. For fun even! Also, while I hope to continue the occasional coffeeneuring ride beyond the challenge, I think I need to lay off the pastries. The “winter base layer” seems to be building up a bit too quickly.

I had that pastry problem, too, Liz. They’re just so difficult to resist! Thank you again, for sharing your Coffeeneuring Challenge.

NOTE: I plan to announce the Coffeeneuring Challenge Champions and Honorable Mentions sometime next week. In the meantime, still some great stories to come from the coffeeneur community.

Coffeeneuring Rewind in Maine: Gary and Sara’s Excellent, if Limited, Coffeeneuring Adventures

Today features a guest post from the I Was Going to Complete the Coffeeneuring Challenge, but… category.

Sara and her husband, Gary, are North Carolina randonneurs turned Maine residents (and coffeeneurs). Without further ado, here is their story, along with an extensive excuse well worthy of a Coffeeneuring Challenge Honorable Mention. Something about this thing called “running.” Thank you, Sara, for guest-posting!

Trip 1: Frosty’s Donuts, 54 Maine (that is not a typo) St., Brunswick, ME.
Saturday, October 14. 14.5 miles.

Our first coffeeneuring ride had two purposes:

  1. to eat donuts and drink coffee at the famous Frosty’s in Brunswick; and
  2. to finally bicycle to the farmer’s market at Crystal Springs Farm.

I rode my mountain bike, Gary his cyclo-cross/heavy touring bike with the trailer hitched up to it. It was a gorgeous blue sky day and we got a late start, but they still had donuts when we arrived at Frosty’s, although a limited selection.

Frosty’s opens at 4:00 am 7 days a week and closes when they run out of donuts! They serve great Green Mountain coffee as well. We sat outside in the sun at a sidewalk table and enjoyed our huge donuts and strong hot coffee. We were not the first cyclists at Frosty’s that morning; another was enjoying his coffee and donuts inside, but all three of us got back on the road about the same time and rode up Maine St. together, chit-chatting about the new Frosty’s that had just opened in Freeport, making a two-Frosty’s ride a possibility!

We hadn’t gotten but a half-mile up the road when I noticed Gary slowing down behind me – yep, flat tire. So we pulled over for the repair and I did the math as to whether we could still get to the farmers market before it closed – Gary got it fixed in short order and we decided we had plenty of time and pressed on. We passed part of the sheep flock on the way, then uphill to the farm, which was not as busy as normal – starting to wind down. We were too late for bread from the bread guy, but piled up on vegetables! The trailer easily handled our groceries.

The ride back though Brunswick, over the Androscoggin River, and home through Topsham was gorgeous and uneventful.

Trip 2: Bowdoinham Town Landing Place, 12 Main St., Bowdoinham, ME.
November 4.  19.4 miles.

This ride also had two purposes:

  1. to ride out one of our favorite roads, Browns Point Rd, to see the Abbagadassett River and Merrymeeting Bay, perhaps for the last ride out there of the year; and
  2. to stop for coffee at the Bowdoinham Town Landing Place on the Cathance River, which has the best molasses cookies around and great Green Mountain coffee.

One of the great things about Maine is that pretty much any country store, convenience store, or gas station has great coffee, enabled in large part by the Green Mountain coffee folks. We rode out the flatter way to Bowdoinham, with a few views of the Bay, then over the Cathance River, through quaint Bowdoinham, and onto Brown’s Point Rd.  This is a lovely rural road that starts out rolling, then heads down to the Abbagadassett crossing at a one-lane bridge where the river flows into the Bay, then runs flat along the Bay.

It was a beautiful clear day, but with a stiff biting wind straight off the Arctic, and the flat portion here did not offer much protection from the cold wind.  It was freezing, colder than we had dressed for, and we turned around a bit sooner than usual to head back to the Town Landing Place.

Normally we see lots of ducks and even a heron on this route, but no one was out today, too cold!  They had already headed out farther into the Bay, where many overwinter.  We were happy to reach our coffeeneuring spot and warm up with some hot coffee.  I enjoyed one of their molasses cookies (the cakey kind I love) and Gary some salty chips. Normally we eat down by the River, but too cold today and we found a sheltered spot in the sun near the building (they do have sit-down inside).

Then we headed back home the hilly way, and I was looking forward to that to keep me warm!  Up the big hill in Bowdoinham, then left onto our road, Fisher Rd in Bowdoinham, Cathance Rd in Topsham, which is the most awesome biking road around.  It twists and turns through woods and farmland, up and down many hills, over the Cathance River twice, for about 6 miles from Bowdoinham to our place in Topsham.  We had no clue when we moved here how great a cycling road this is, it was just sheer luck, but our road is on everyone’s cycling routes. A fun day out, and perhaps one of our last real rides of the year up north. We warmed up with more coffee at home.

I Was Going to Complete the Coffeeneuring Challenge, but…

So, why did we only manage to do two coffeeneuring rides? Well I think two main reasons. One or both of us was out of town sans bikes for two of the eligible weekends, including the three day Columbus weekend. So that cut down on our eligible days.

The other reason is that we’ve been trying this brand new sport – it’s called “running” and it’s quite interesting. It has some similarities to randonneuring, as some people are able to travel amazing distances in all kinds of weather and terrain by this mode of transport. But there are no pedals or wheels or gears involved. You actually propel yourself forward by hitting the ground with your feet, if you can believe it. There’s no saddle either, so you actually have to stand up the entire time! In fact there’s no equipment of any kind, except for yourself and protection from the elements – it’s very strange.

Anyhow, we have started this strange new sport just for something new and interesting to do, particularly during the winter up north here, and we have been preparing for a “5k run” November 18. Now here you are saying, 5k what’s the big deal, that is barely a prologue, that’ll only take like 5-15 minutes at most to complete! But here’s the beauty of “running” – you get far more entertainment time out of every kilometer running than you do bicycling! So even a decently fast runnier can get 15-20 minutes of entertainment out of a 5k run, while most get even more entertainment time. The slowest, like me, get 40ish minutes out of it.

So we spent most of the coffeeneuring weekends working hard on both Saturday and Sunday to prepare for our running 5K, and the Coffeeneuring Challenge suffered as a result. Maybe next year we can have a Coffeeneurrunning Challenge that would allow transport by bicycle or running? From what I have seen, these very odd running folks are even more serious about their coffee than randonneurs. It could open up a whole new participant group. ;)

Hmmm… I will give it some consideration, Sara. In the meantime, congratulations on Gary’s and your recent involvement in this activity called “running,” and A+ on your Coffeeneuring Challenge excuse.

Giving Thanks for Good Stories

I hope you have been enjoying the Coffeeneuring Rewind posts as much as I have. I’m learning so much about the places people visited, coffeeneurs’ beverage preferences, and assessments of the beverages served. I also have a growing database of coffeeneuring destinations in various parts of the country.

This week, I took a small break from perusing coffeeneuring stories while making my bi-annual appearance at jury duty. Yep. In D.C. you will be called in for jury duty every two years. As I awaited jury selection, I read Mark Twain’s highly entertaining essay, “Taming the Bicycle.”

I burst out in unexpected laughter as I read Twain’s tale of learning to ride, trying not to draw attention to myself as I read along. It transported me outside the halls of the courthouse and back to the days when I first took the daring step to have the training wheels taken off my own bike. I resorted to a combination of weaving and paddling circles on a little red bike in my parents garage, hidden from any potential onlookers (or, in my case, siblings) until I finally figured out the basics of two-wheeled transport.

I have so much to be thankful for. This year, I give special thanks for the stories people have shared. Thanks to everyone for your ride reports, coffeeneuring stories, BikeDC reflections, and utilitaire tales over the past year.

And now, I must depart. Time to ride and deliver this pecan pie. Hope it remains intact and edible! Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

Patti’s Coffeeneuring Rewind: Delaware Coffeeneuring with a Side of Trail Running

It’s a thrill to announce that we had our first Coffeeneuring Challenge participants from Delaware this year. 

Patti, a runner as well as cyclist, embarked on at least two of her coffeeneuring outings on the heels (ha ha!) of a trail run. Does that count as a brick workout? She also completed over half of her coffeeneuring with her husband, George, which means that he has earned an honorable mention. Well done to you both!

Ride 1: Saturday, October 20, 2012 – Central Perk, Main Street, Newark, DE (12 miles)

After running 21 miles on trails with my dog, giving him a bath, walking my rescue foster dog 2 miles, I showered and hopped on my bike to begin my Coffeeneuring Challenge. As tired as I was, it actually felt pretty good to stretch my legs on the bike.

I rode 6 miles to Newark’s Central Perk, and enjoyed a nice blended coffee drink: Chocolate-Peanut Butter-Coffee. Did that ever hit the spot! Saturday was homecoming for the University of Delaware and Main Street was packed to the gills with intoxicated college students. It was perhaps not the best day to cycle into downtown Newark, but I needed to get a coffee ride in for the day and didn’t want to venture too far on legs that were less than fresh.

Ride 2: Sunday, October 21, 2012 – Starbucks, Main Street, Newark, DE (58 miles)

My husband George and I headed out to Port Deposit, MD from our home in Newark, DE. We weren’t lucky enough to find a coffee shop in Port Deposit, so we stopped 6 miles from home at the Starbucks Coffee Shop on Main Street. Downtown was much quieter today, and the coffee shops were busier than the pubs! It was a little chilly, but thanks to some hill climbing, we managed to keep warm – so warm, that we treated ourselves to frozen mocha lattes!

Ride 3: Saturday, October 27, 2012 – Brew HaHa!, Limestone Road, Wilmington, DE (22 miles)

It was a great day to be outside!! I ran 21 miles of beautiful trail at White Clay before getting on my bike. I wanted to stop at a coffee shop in Hockessin, but after the hilly ride into Hockessin and not finding a coffee shop where I thought there would be one, I rode back to a Brew HaHa! location on Limestone Road. I made it just minutes before they closed. I had a nice ride, but it was starting to get chilly, so I ordered a hot cup of coffee to keep me warm on my ride back home.

Ride 4: Sunday, October 28, 2012 – Brew HaHa!, Ogletown-Stanton Road, Newark, DE (5 miles)

With Hurricane Sandy heading our way, I wondered if I’d be able to get a ride in at all. We spent the morning cleaning leaves out of already overflowing gutters and pulling in lawn furniture and other things that could go crashing around outside our house in the expected high winds.

Once that was done, we donned our rain gear for our coffee run. I’m not a fan of riding in the rain, so we opted for the closest coffee shop – a Brew HaHa! at Christiana Hospital. We rode 2.5 miles in the rain, stopped and had our coffees, then rode another 2.5 miles in the pouring rain back home. Hurricane Sandy would keep us stranded inside for 2 days. We were fortunate to get out for our short bike ride.

Ride 5: Saturday, November 3, 2012 – Brew HaHa!, Main Street, Newark, DE (12 miles)

Trail running and then bike riding has become my Saturday activity! It was cold for my 20-mile run. Still any day on trails is a great day.

Once I got home and showered, I drove up to Mt Laurel, NJ, to deliver my rescue foster (pictured on the sofa above) to his permanent home. What a great feeling!! On the 1.5 hour drive back, the weather got much colder and I wondered if I would be able to force myself back out on the bike.

As soon as I got home, I changed into my cycling gear and put on a couple of layers. It was cold and windy on my ride to downtown Newark. Living near a college town has its advantages with many coffee options. I elected to try the Brew HaHa! Coffee shop on Main Street. It was too cold to get a frozen blended drink, so I went with a nice, warm mocha latte instead.

Ride 6: Sunday, November 4, 2012 – The Perfect Cup, Lancaster Pike, Hockessin, DE (32 miles)

I am not much of a cold-weather cyclist, but in trying to stick with the coffee challenge, I’ve ridden when I normally wouldn’t. Fortunately, my husband can be talked into just about anything – even a ride in the cold for coffee.

We delayed getting started by 2 hours, hoping it would warm up, but eventually just headed out the door. We rode up some hills to keep ourselves warm and tried out The Perfect Cup Café. The special was a pumpkin spice latte and that’s what I got. It was really tasty!! George, not being much of a coffee drinker, went with his usual – a frozen mocha latte. How he could drink that as cold as it was is beyond me!

Ride 7: Sunday, November 11, 2012 – Java House, Main Street, Middletown, DE (58 miles)

We lucked out with a beautiful day for my final coffee ride! George and I began our ride by heading down to Chesapeake City, Maryland. We rode around downtown looking for a coffee shop, but didn’t locate one. We decided to ride to Middletown, Delaware to a little coffee shop on Main Street – Java House. There we enjoyed frozen mocha lattes and a pleasant conversation with the shop owner. It was a great place to end our coffee challenge.

Since the weather is definitely getting colder, we’re thinking about starting an Irish Coffeeneuring Challenge!

I’m with you. An Irish Coffeeneuring Challenge does sound appealing this time of year! Thank you for your coffeeneuring guest post, Patti, and congratulations on completing the challenge. 

Back to Pittsburgh: Coffeeneuring in Plonk Season with Hyla

We’re kicking off the week with a Coffeeneuring Rewind from another Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, participant. Hyla’s succinct write-ups and accompanying photo-diary make for an amusing read and had me reliving the days when there were more leaves on the trees. (Yes, that was just last week for  those of us in the D.C.-area!)

  • Coffeeneur #1: Hot Chocolate at the Coffee Tree Roasters in Shadyside. 5524 Walnut Street, Pittsburgh! 10/7/12. 6 miles Round Trip.

I snuck out of the house while my non-bike-riding houseguest was enjoying a nap (Hi Mom!). It was a cold wet day and the Steelers were playing the Eagles, so the streets were pretty quiet.

I saw some girls playing field hockey: one of the few sports I actually enjoyed in Junior High. I enjoyed hearing the sticks hitting the ball.

  • Coffeeneur #2: Big Dog Coffee 10/13/12. Approx 14 miles Round Trip.

Passed a bunch of people listening to a 1960s World Series radio broadcast outside of the old Forbes Field. Then I stopped by Iron City to have some more tweaks done to my new old bike (note dangling cable in bike photo). Really old friction shifters swapped out for kinda old friction shifters and new cable. Yay!

Stopped at Big Dog Coffee at 2717 Sarah Street, but was in the mood for Early Grey Tea with a spot of milk. Delicious buttery toast with cranberries and walnuts. Not too sweet or greasy (not counting the butter).

Then off to find a parking chair to photograph for the Wheelset of Fortune game played each week on the Bike Pittsburgh online message board. Not as easy as I thought…lots of zig zagging through South Side alleys and crowded streets. Great day to ride!

  • Coffeeneur #3, Highland Park’s Taza D’Oro (1125 North Highland Avenue, Pittsburgh). 10/14/12. Round Trip ~6.5 mi.

A popular spot for cyclists to convene, this is where the seasonal Team Decaf rides depart from. Not only does this place have good coffee, tea, pastries and lunch/Sunday savory items, they also have a lovely set of baskets filled with inner tubes, water bottles, and a few other items for sale. The normally springy sfogliatelle was a bit soggy today, but I enjoyed it with a macchiatto.

It was nice to cross paths with a few familiar faces and indulge in some cautious filtering along the seriously-jammed Southbound S. Braddock Avenue. These Squirrel Hill Tunnel Diversions are no fun. Also: IT’S PLONK SEASON! Watch out for walnuts, acorns and beech nuts.

  • Coffeeneur #4:  Café at the Frick. A “running some errands” 4.5 mile loop. 10/20/12.

Rode the nutty, twiggy, leafy Forbes Ave bike lanes to the Squirrel Hill Post Office. Mailed a package to Connecticut for $6.30. Stopped by Probikes and bought a helmet on clearance for $20.

Had the house blend tea at the Café at the Frick (7227 Reynolds Ave, Pittsburgh) with a side of scones (plain, sour cherry & pumpkin sage) + clotted cream for $10.12 + gratuity.

Visited the carriage & car museum for the first time: highly recommended and FREE.

Stopped by FIKS for a lightning-quick retroreflective transaction, and back home. Found a crisp $20 bill on my front lawn!

Lots of stuff to do around the ol’ homestead today so got another short loop in: ~4.5 miles. Mediocre Darjeeling tea and an orange-walnut dipped biscotti at Coffee Tree — Bakery Square (6425 Penn Ave Pittsburgh).

Bike racks and plastic outdoor furniture abound. Oogled Pittsburgh’s nascent bike-sharing system.

The East End Brewing charity reverse keg ride was a lot of fun! Afterwards, I stopped in at Biddle’s Escape (401 Biddle Avenue, Wilkinsburg) for a cappuccino and chocolate croissant. It is so great to have an alternative to the terrible Katerbean in the Regent Square neighborhood.

Biddle’s Escape now has a wellness center upstairs with yoga, pilates and sundry corporeal offerings. The back of the coffee shop has beautiful beads and spools of hemp twine with which you can do crafty things to your bike.

  • Coffeeneur #7: Eat N Park, 10/28/12. Round Trip 3.4 miles

At Marko’s suggestion: Eat N Park! New-ishly remodeled Squirrel Hill location (1816 Murray Avenue Pittsburgh). I eat plenty of junk food, just not usually at chain restaurants.

I’m confused by the gimmicky menus: I like to know what the ingredients are. What is a Breakfast Smile? Promise Spread? Scrambled better-n-eggs?. The waitress was awesome & the place seemed filled with regulars. Overheard: “Parking is gonna be a b*tch dahn ‘ere. You’ll hafta pay like 30 or 40 bucks.” [not if you ride your bike to the stadium!!!]

I do have to hand it Eat N Park for sourcing a portion of their ingredients regionally, and for doing a lot of outreach about nutrition and offering non-heart-attack-inducing square breakfasts that looked appealing on the menu. I ate there by myself but they gave me a huge comfortable booth and didn’t make me feel rushed.

Thank you for guest-posting your coffeeneuring rides, Hyla, and congratulations on completing the Coffeeneuring Challenge!

I was Going to Complete the Coffeeneuring Challenge, but… Honorable Mention Category!

This post is for those who entered the Coffeeneuring Challenge with great ambitions, but for some reason or another, fell short in their quests to complete the Coffeeneuring Challenge.

Oh Brad! I SO wanted to finish the Coffeeneuring Challenge, but…

Don’t fret. You may still submit the coffeeneuring rides you accomplished and perhaps be eligible for the “I was Going to Complete the Coffeeneuring Challenge, but… Honorable Mention” category.

Simply email me the rides you completed, in accordance with the rules explained here, and include a short explanation of what kept you from completing the full set of rides. Yes, it’s that easy!

“I was Going to Complete the Coffeeneuring Challenge, but…” submissions due by Thursday, November 22.

Coming Soon: A magic coffeeneuring map update. New states! More international submissions!

The Magic Coffeeneuring Map and Submission Housekeeping

After six weeks rich in riding and imbibing, the time for Coffeeneuring Challenge submissions has arrived. Thus, I’m taking the opportunity to clarify a few items.

  1. All submissions must be made via email to gersemalina at gmail dot com. Yup. Even if you know that I read your blog, or I have tweeted or blogged updates of your coffeeneuring outings, you must send your final submission to me via email. Your submission may be in the form of links to blog write-ups or photo sets, but I need you to send me an email so that I can make sure I track everyone.
  2. If you did not receive a confirmation from me noting receipt of your submission, then I did not receive it. Please make sure that you receive an email confirmation from me so that you know I have your submission in hand.
  3. If you are part of a team, you may submit one write-up among all of you, provided each and every single coffeeneuring trip was made together. As an example, What’s Up Wheaton was a coffeeneuring duo last year and they submitted one submission for the two of them. Writeups and photos just have to evidence your team-ship, or whatever the word is. I should have clarified this point earlier, but only realized it after receiving two team submissions this year.
  4. SUBMISSION DEADLINE EXTENDED TO SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 18. In the interest of giving those who may have finished the Coffeeneuring Challenge Sunday only to be overtaken by work and other responsibilities of the week, I’m extending the deadline to give people additional time to submit their write-ups. Many thanks to the early birds who have already sent me their coffeeneuring information!

This year I’m also featuring the “magic coffeeneuring map.” OK, it isn’t quite on the level of CNN’s magic wall, but this map shows all of the states that have made Coffeeneuring Challenge submissions as of RIGHT NOW. The states that have been shaded in are coffeeneuring states.

The colors used for each state have no significance other than they are colors that I like. I will update the map as submissions continue to arrive. As international coffeeneurs provide their information, I’ll figure out how to display that information, too, and undergo a self-imposed geography test in the process.

Magic Coffeeneuring Map

As you can see by the magic coffeeneuring map, successful coffeeneur challengers for 2012 can be found in the following states, including the District of Columbia:

  • Arizona
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

What areas will be next to make it onto the coffeeneuring map? Tune in over the next few days and find out!

D.C. Randonneurs Flatbread 200K Brevet Roundup

This past weekend, Felkerino and I broke the tandem in two and took off for the Eastern Shore to ride the D.C. Randonneurs 200K Flatbread brevet. While I’ve ridden this brevet once or twice before, this time was unique because instead of the usual tandem routine, I rode it on my Rivendell Romulus.


Riding the Rivendell Romulus on the D.C. Randonneurs Flatbread 200K

Felkerino and I made the decision to ride singles after riding last weekend’s dirt road ride on our “back-up” Cannondale tandem. (Our regular tandem, a beautiful Co-Motion Speedster, has gone to tandem heaven, or wherever it is that tandems that are no longer rideable go.) While a fine bike that performs well on dirt roads, the Cannondale is NOT comfortable for me when riding distances of over 100 miles because the handlebar reach is too short.

The Flatbread 200K was the first time I’ve ridden my single bike on a brevet since 2008. Seriously! Even though I ride my trusty Surly LHT every day to commute, and do several weekend nondonneuring rides throughout the year on my single, I felt nervous about attempting the brevet on a single.

I was not confident about how I would do riding on my own. What if I went too slow? What if I missed a cue and got lost? How does this steering thing work again?

On the other hand, I was excited about getting out on my Rivendell. The bike fits me well, it’s fun to be the sole entity propelling the bike along, and it was a nice change to get to see my bike’s front wheel on a brevet.

Basically, I over-thought the whole thing. While my pace was slightly slower than Felkerino’s and my tandem pace, the conditions were perfect for cycling (sun and low winds). I rode well within  the required time limits and, with the exception of a couple of bar end air shifts (my Romulus has Ergo shifters), I rode rather smoothly. The terrain of the Flatbread is (guess?) flat, which also helps the miles go by.

Obligatory ocean shot at Slaughter Beach. Photo by Steve

The combination of a mellow route and traditionally big turnout makes for a social ride. Felkerino and I had a great time riding together throughout out the warm and mostly-sunny day, taking pictures, and criss-crossing with various other randonneurs.

A few randonneurs, including Felkerino, put together ride summaries that do an excellent job of capturing the day so I won’t include a full writeup. Rather, I’m providing links to their posts and I’ll conclude by saying that I loved changing it up with a long flat ride on my single bike, especially after last weekend’s hillacious adventure. I got to stand whenever I wanted, stop when I felt like it, coast without consequence, and enjoy complete control over the bike.

  • Daily Randonneur penned a few notes and posted a GPS track and photos (including links to our photo sets) about our single bike experience.
  • Rambling Rider rode the Flatbread with our friend Mike. This was her first tandem ride. What a way to start!
  • Iron Rider came down from Pennsylvania and was one of a few people who rode the brevet on a fixed gear.
  • Crystal, of the Aesthetics of Everywhere, completed her longest ride to-date and first brevet this weekend. Well done!

Coffeeneuring: The Final Countdown!

Hard to believe, but we’ve reached the last full weekend of the 2nd Annual Coffeeneuring Challenge. Submissions have started coming into Chasing Mailboxes headquarters, and I see through the tweets and blog posts that people are in the final throes of their coffeeneuring quests.

I’ve included some photos from the Tweets as well as a rundown from the blogosphere.

Crysb goes to Qualia (c) Crystal B

  • ultrarunnergirl and her hubz went on back-to-back coffee outings, one in the dark of Saturday night and the other in the early hours of Sunday morning.
  • Accupuncture and a latte: Singularity writes about trip number 6.
  • Animal footprints in the snow. Winter has arrived in Edmonton, Alberta. See Cruisin’ Downhill’s report of his coffeeneuring.
  • A cloudy day in the Pacific Northwest? Believe it! Keithmo visited the Snohomish Bakery, and I’m jealous.

lanternerouge with a cup of joe and a molasses cookie (c) Sara Houston

  • Maggie’s Buns is a real establishment (tee hee!) and Lynne went there. Another mouth-watering trip.
  • Is it possible to suck at coffeeneuring? Cycleboredom thinks it is. His funny account here.
  • Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo blogged his recent coffeeneuring trip, featuring lots of Tweets tweets Tweets tweets.
  • The coffeeneuring dates continue on Iron Rider’s blog, this time with poetry.

raouldejongh, I want that cookie. (c) Raoul de Jongh

debiguity gets a good helmet, coffee, AND bike shot. (c) Deb Durant

  • The photos of baked goods are killing me, and Suze Cycling’s pictures are no exception. Two more trips to go!
  • Incognito coffeeneuring! Port-a-john and Crysb both coffeeneured to the same place at the same time, but didn’t see each other.

A few coffeeneurs are ready for their victory laps, as they’ve already finished the challenge. So far, I know of seven finishers and I look forward to several more. The coffeeneurs who’ve completed their outings will be featured in a future post.

Until then, keep on coffeeneuring. AND have a great weekend!