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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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?

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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.

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