Category Archives: Coffeeneuring Rewind

Alaska Randonneur Tom D.’s 2013 Coffeeneuring Challenge

Coffeeneuring, randonneuring, a fatbike, snow, a Salsa Casseroll, a dog, some moose, and a newly completed trail project. That’s just some of what awaits you in this fine post from Tom D., a first-time coffeeneur who has had a big year of riding in 2013, including the 1400K London Edinburgh London (LEL) earlier this year. It’s a perfect pre-holidays story. Thank you, Tom, for guest-posting today!

Tom D.’s Coffeeneuring Challenge

After reading about and seeing pictures of the last two coffeeneuring challenges, I decided that I should take the plunge this year. But I did not just jump in blindly, I sought advice and inspiration from fellow Alaskan Randonneur and coffeeneuring ancien, Ted T.

I have to say that I enjoyed the challenge. It got me out riding a few times when I might otherwise have driven, or even just stayed at home. Thanks, MG, for putting this together.

Before I get to the rides, here is some preliminary information. The first five rides were done on my Salsa Casseroll, a fine and trustworthy, if not particularly glamorous, ride. This bike has seen me through many brevets, and my first grand randonnee this summer—London-Edinburgh-London.

The Salsa Casseroll is outfitted in standard rando style with bigger than average tires, a dynohub and light. I took off the fenders and bags for the trip back from London, and never got around to putting them back on.

Also, my bike computer battery died somewhere around Pocklington on the way back to London, and since then I have enjoyed riding completely undistracted by data. I will probably put in a new battery next summer sometime, but in the meantime all mileage distances are approximate, except for Ride #6, as explained below.

The last two rides were on my Fatback—a mountain bike on steroids with 4-inch wide tires designed for snowy winter riding. Alas, it is a few years old, and the newest generation of monster truck sized tires won’t fit on it.

The Fatback goes places that used to be the sole domain of skiers and snowmobilers. Like this:

Tom's Coffeeneuring

And, before I get to describing the coffee rides, I want say thank you to MG for teaching me everything I know about riding a tandem. After LEL, my wife and I visited France. We were staying in the Loire Valley, and we did not want to rent a car, but we did want to visit some Chateaus that were 20 or so kilometers away.

My wife does not ride much, and was concerned that if we rented bikes I would get frustrated with her pace. But, I convinced her that if we rented a tandem, that would not be a problem. And, solely from reading Chasing Mailboxes, I knew enough to do a persuasive impersonation of someone who actually knew something about riding a tandem. The first kilometer or so was a bit wobbly, but after that it was smooth sailing! We are now shopping for a tandem of our own.

Tom'2 Coffeeneuring

Now for the actual rides.

Coffeeneuring Ride #1. A Meetup with Ted T.

When you posted the challenge this year I sent a message to Ted T., and asked if he was up for coffeeneuring this year, and if he wanted to meet for a cup of coffee. He was and he did. Ted lives in Eagle River, which is about 20 miles by bike trail from my home in Anchorage.

On Saturday, October 5 we agreed on a plan where Ted would head towards Anchorage, I would head towards Eagle River. After meeting on the bike path somewhere in the middle, he would turn around and we would head back up to Eagle River for coffee. The plan worked great.

I enjoyed a fine coffee with Ted at Jitters in Eagle River, and we got to trade stories from our respective big summer rides. Ted had done the Alaskan 1200k, the Big Wild Ride, this summer. I then hit the trail back home for a round trip of about 40 miles. My longest ride since LEL ended in early August.

Tom'3 Coffeeneuring

Things got a little soggy on the way back, but it was good to be out riding. You can see the empty computer bracket on my bike there.

Coffeeneuring Ride #2. Fire Island Bakeshop and a Meeting of the Moose

The following weekend, on October 12, I met Ted for coffee again. We had similar plan, but after meeting in the middle between Eagle River and Anchorage, we headed back towards Anchorage for another excellent cup of coffee at the Fire Island Bakeshop.

Tom'4 Coffeeneuring

The distance for me was about 20 miles on this trip. On the way back into Anchorage along the Ship Creek and Chester Creek trail we encountered six different moose (meese? mice?) Including this pair:

Tom'5 Coffeeneuring

Coffeeneuring Ride #3. Alaska Day.

This one bent the rules a little bit. Friday, October 11 was Alaska Day—- a state holiday and I am a state worker. I know it is not technically a weekend, and not my regular day off either, but putting in a ride still seemed well within the spirit of the endeavor.

Even though it was a day off I had to head into the office to finish up a few things, so I road the Coastal Trail downtown and stopped at Side Street Espresso for a latte before heading into the office.

George, the owner and for reasons too numerous to go into here a generally amazing human being, even put a “T” in the foam for me (Tom). Normally I am only drink black coffee, but I thought I would give the latte a try. I decided I preferred the plain stuff.

T is for Tom

T is for Tom

After a few hours of work I headed home. Total distance was about 6 miles.

Coffeeneuring Ride #4. The Campbell Creek Trail

This was a special ride. Anchorage is not otherwise a model of urban planning and design, but the one thing we do have here is a fantastic network of paved bike trails all through the city. Beautiful, scenic trails along the ocean and creekbeds throughout town.

For years though, one link has been missing. The Campbell Creek Trail which runs diagonally most the way across town from the Northeast corner to the Southwest (or I guess, Southwest to Northeast, depending on which way you are going) was bisected by a major highway, with no practical way to get across. It continued on both sides of the highway, but you could not get across without a major detour on busy and dangerous streets.

Finally, the weekend of October 12, the connection was made underneath the highway and a new way across town by bike opened up. It now makes for a great loop around town connecting the Campbell Creek Trail, various trails, with only a few, not unpleasant on road segments.

I rode the half mile from my house to the Coastal Trail at Lyn Ary Park, took the Chester Creek Trail out to Elmore, got on the Campbell Creek trail to 88th, took some streets to reconnect with the trail along Sand Lake, and from there into Kincaid Park and back on the Coastal Trail to home. About 30 miles total. Here is the new segment under the highway.

Tom'7 Coffeeneuring

The metal things are to protect the trail and people from snow thrown by snowplows over the side of the highway. Oh, and I stopped at one of Anchorage’s ubiquitous roadside coffee shacks for a truly vile and bitter cup of some sort of black sludge.

Tom'8 Coffeeneuring

Still, I was extraordinarily pleased with the whole ride.

Coffeeneuring Ride #5. The Coastal Trail to Kaladi Brothers Coffee

The following weekend, October 20, our beautiful (for us) fall weather had still not morphed into winter yet, and I decided that I should get out for at least one more pavement ride. I took the Coastal Trail (which had been closed for much of the summer for repaving) from my house down to Kincaid Park and out to Kaladi Brothers Coffee on Jewel Lake and Raspberry for a fine espresso, and wound my way home through the streets.

Some pics from the trail:

Tom'9 Coffeeneuring

Tom'10 Coffeeneuring

Kaladi, a local roaster and chain makes excellent coffee. Note the chain ring burn in the table top. Total distance was about 15-20 miles.

Tom'11 Coffeeneuring

Before we get to ride #6, I need to insert a picture of Django, our Small Munsterlander, and the finest four-legged beast there ever was. Just because I feel like it. He turned two on Veteran’s day and this is the birthday portrait I took.

Tom'12 Coffeeneuring

Coffeeneuring Ride #6. Fatbike Modifications

I decided to make some modifications to my fatbike (note: the general type of bike is a fatbike, the particular brand I own is a Fatback) this year. I put on new, wider handlebars–Jones loop bars. Not only are they wider, the loop part gives lots of extra real estate for lights and accessories, which had always been crowded out by pogies before. But, my cables were now just a bit too short, and I could not turn the bars fully.

On Saturday, November 2, I hopped on the bike and rode 1.4 miles to Speedway Cycles, and asked them to replace the cables. I checked the mileage on Google maps to make sure the round trip would be a full two miles.

I had hoped to get a coffee while they worked on my bike and then ride home, but they said I would have to wait until Tuesday to pick it up. So, much to the confusion of the mechanic, I said fine, but I needed to go ride around for a bit first.

I rode around for what I estimated to be at least ¾ a mile, then brought the bike back to the shop. I dropped it off and went across the street to the Kaladi Brothers there (different shop from the last ride), had yet another excellent coffee, and then just walked home.

Unfortunately my phone battery died, so I don’t have a picture from this ride. But, if you look carefully in the picture from ride #7, you can see the little claim tag Speedway put in front wheel. Not much evidence of the ride, but it will have to do.

Coffeeneuring Ride #7. Five Inches of Snow

Winter finally arrived in Anchorage this weekend. On Sunday November 10th we got snow, and to celebrate I took the fatbike down the Coastal Trail, through about five inches of snow, and into downtown.

Tom'13 Coffeeneuring

The only place I could find that was open at 5:00 on a Sunday evening was the Starbucks near town square. I got my coffee, and contemplated the end of my biggest summer of riding. Three 200Ks, a 300K, (I missed the 400K) my first 600K, the 1400K LEL, and lots of other shorter rides.

What a great year you’ve had, Tom, and I’m so glad that you made the Coffeeneuring Challenge part of it. Thanks for sharing your corner of Alaska with us!

Coffeeneuring Rewind with Linda in Albany, New York

Given the little smack of winter we’ve had in the Washington, D.C., area the past two days I thought that a guest post from upstate New York would be a perfect match.

Linda, who resides in Albany, participated in the Errandonnee earlier this year and also completed the Coffeeneuring Challenge for the first time.

While the majority of Linda’s rides occurred around Albany, her coffeeneuring also includes a visit to Massachusetts and the town where she first learned to ride a bike.

Enjoy!

Ride/Cup 1

Destination: Tierra Coffee Roasters, Delaware Ave. Albany, NY
Date:  October 13, 2013
In the Cup: Full City Decaf
Distance: 2.3 miles

Revised McCracken Coffeeneuring Challenge 2013

Full City Decaf at Tierra Coffee Roasters, Delaware Avenue

The Ride: I hopped on my bike after a 2-hour drive home from Vermont. I had hoped to ride across dirt roads for a cup of coffee in Benson, Vermont, but a few miles into that ride, I remembered that all of the farms I had to ride past would have free-roaming dogs. I chickened out and turned back.

The Tierra Coffee Roasters on Delaware Avenue in Albany is just around the corner from my house. I extended the ride by a couple of miles to be sure it would qualify as a coffeeneuring run. It was nice to stretch my legs after the long drive.

Ride/Cup 2

Destination: Dunkin Donuts, Norfolk, MA
Date: October 19, 2013
In the Cup: Decaf Iced Coffee – to go, in the Portland Design Works Bar-ista
Distance: 3 miles

1970 Fleetwing with PDW Barista

1970 Fleetwing with PDW Barista

The Ride: Norfolk is the little town I grew up in back in the 60’s and 70’s. I got this Raleigh-made three-speed almost new when I was ~12 years old. We rode like the wind together for some years.

My father installed a speedometer/odometer for me. Back then, speed was my priority, and if I remember correctly, I could get up to 30 mph going down the long hill near my house.

A few years ago, when I retrieved the Fleetwing from my parents’ basement, I was surprised to see that I had put over 1000 miles on the bicycle during those few years. This may not sound like an impressive distance to a serious cyclist, but I accomplished this without ever leaving the town of Norfolk!

Coffeeneuring Ride/Cup 3 was my first ride to the center of town on this old bicycle in close to 40 years.

Ride/Cup 3

Destination: McDonald’s, Millis, MA
Date: October 20, 2013
In the Cup: Pumpkin Spice Latte
Distance: 5.1 miles

The Surly Disc Trucker parked outside of McDonalds in Millis, MA– drop bars are visible at the bottom of the window on the right.

The Surly Disc Trucker parked outside of McDonalds in Millis, MA– drop bars are visible at the bottom of the window on the right.

The Ride: Rolling hills, windy road. I didn’t encounter any disrespectful drivers. I’ll bring my bike(s) here again when I come to visit.

Ride/Cup 4

Destination: The Daily Grind, Albany, NY
Date: October 26, 2013
In the Cup: House Blend Organic and Fair Traded Coffee
Distance: 2.8 miles

The Surly Disc Trucker parked outside of The Daily Grind. The House Blend is saving the table.

The Surly Disc Trucker parked outside of The Daily Grind. The House Blend is saving the table.

The Ride: This was my first chilly ride of Autumn 2013 and the dropping temperatures and blustery wind brought back fond memories of the Winter Errandonnee earlier this year.

The Schwalbe Big Bens are a new addition to my Surly that I am enjoying very much for city riding.

Ride/Cup 5

Destination: Honest Weight Food Co-op
Date: October 27, 2013
In the Cup: Pumpkin Chai latte
Distance: 6.6 miles

Early 90’s Trek 850 Mountain Track/Commuter parked just to the right of the Honest Weight sign. Pumpkin Spice Latte, trunk bag and treat in foreground.

Early 90’s Trek 850 Mountain Track/Commuter parked just to the right of the Honest Weight sign. Pumpkin Spice Latte, trunk bag and treat in foreground.

The Ride: My destination was the spiffy new facility and location of the Honest Weight Food Co-op; I pedaled here by bicycle many times this past summer.

Riding across the city of Albany is moderately challenging, mostly because we are still working on getting motorists and cyclists to play well together. The city has been working hard with local cycling groups to make the city streets bicycle friendly.

I chose to ride my early 90’s Trek 850 Mountain Track bicycle that had just been returned to me by the 13-year old who borrowed it for the summer. I’ve been spoiled by the Surly.

Ride/Cup 6

Where: Tierra Coffee Roasters, Madison Ave. Albany, NY
Date: November 3, 2011
In the Cup: Café Latte
Distance: 4.7 miles

At the Madison Ave Tierra Coffee Roasters. Bike helmet and gloves are in the missing (and woefully underexposed) foreground; this part of the photo is available on request.

At the Madison Ave Tierra Coffee Roasters. Bike helmet and gloves are in the missing (and woefully underexposed) foreground; this part of the photo is available on request.

The Ride: This was another cross-city ride, this time to the sister store of the Tierra Coffee Roasters on Delaware Ave that I visited for Ride/Cup 1.

When I arrived, I discovered I had left my iPhone at home. I ducked into the CVS on the same block and bought an old-fashioned disposable film-based camera so I could snap a few official photographs.

Note to self: Next time, ride home and get the iPhone!

A photo of the disposable camera that contains the photo associated with this ride!

A photo of the disposable camera that contains the photo associated with this ride!

Ride/Cup 7

Destination: Emack & Bolio’s, Delaware Avenue, Albany, NY
Date: November 10, 2013
In the Cup: Freshly steeped Chai Tea
Distance: 2.6 miles

Freshly steeped Chai tea, ice cream and bicycle gear at Emack and Bolio’s – Delaware Ave. Albany.

Freshly steeped Chai tea, ice cream and bicycle gear at Emack and Bolio’s – Delaware Ave. Albany.

The Ride: Emack & Bolio’s is within easy walking distance of my house, so I took the long way around several neighborhoods to pull off a qualifying ride.

It was chilly enough to don gloves and headband, but not too chilly to forego ice cream!

Thank you, Linda, and congratulations on going two for two with Chasing Mailboxes challenges this year! And P.S., my Surly has spoiled me, too!

The Spirit of Coffeeneuring: JP and Kristin in Virginia

Today I was pondering the spirit of coffeeneuring. Coffeeneuring is about encouraging people to celebrate the simple act of riding a bike and enjoying a beverage either alone or with friends.

It’s about getting out on our bikes at times when we otherwise might not, and being glad we made the extra effort. When you coffeeneur it does not matter how far you went (okay, you should go at least two miles). Really, the important thing is that you rode your bike somewhere.

As we head into the weekend, I’m pleased to feature this guest post from JP and Kristin, a coffeeneuring team from Arlington, Virginia, as I think their photo set  and write-up capture many of these aspects.

Coffeeneuring-JP and Kristin

Ride #1, 10/13/13 

High Bridge State Park, VA
Starbucks VIA made in the Jetboil
18 miles on the High Bridge trail

We had planned to stay the weekend (hotel not camping) but due to weather only rode one day. Upside of the weather meant the trail was mostly deserted. Saw a lot of deer and birds.

Coffeeneuring - JP and Kristin

Ride #2, Columbus Day (Tara Rule)

Starbucks @ Virginia Square, Arlington VA
3.7 miles

Quick run for tea and a soy latte. First attempt at using handlebar box for beverages. The tea was ejected on a bump and run over by a car shortly after this photo was taken.

Coffeeneuring-JP and Kristin

Ride #3, 10/19/13

Lee Highway 7-11, Arlington VA
2.1 miles

Night ride to get snacks and check out Halloween decorations. Uneventful, overall good use of plastic skeletons was observed.

IMG_20131020_124727

Ride #4, 10/20/13

Marvelous Market, The Palisades, Washington D.C.
9.1 miles

Ride across Key Bridge to the Palisades Farmer’s Market. Coffee from Marvelous Market, bread from farmer’s market, guac and hummus from Safeway. Amazing weather.

IMG_20131102_172801

Ride #5, 11/02/13

South Street Under Coffee Shop,* Leesburg VA
21.2 miles

Really windy and cool day on the W&OD Trail. We parked in Leesburg and rode to Purceville and back. The fall colors were awesome and the trail wasn’t crowded at all. Lots of horses and a skittish poodle.

*Editor’s question: How is the coffee at South Street Under? I might have to add it to my Coffeeneuring World Tour Wish List.

Coffeeneuring-JP and Kristin

Ride #6, 11/16/13

Northside Social, Arlington VA
2.6 miles

Late night coffee run. We sat outside and did some people watching since Clarendon was in full weekend effect. Had a good conversation about heavy metal with the guy making coffee.

Coffeeneuring-JP and Kristin

Ride #7, 11/17/13

Java Shack, Arlington VA
8.1 miles

We capped off a neighborhood exploration/errand ride with lattes at Java Shack. Hit up the library, checked out some houses, stopped for beans and rice.

Thank you to JP and Kirstin for your guest post and congratulations on completing the Coffeeneuring Challenge!

Coffeeneuring with Graham in Portland… Featuring Randonneur Cameos!

Today’s coffeeneuring guest post comes from the coffee-loving city of Portland. Graham, randonneur and coffeeneur, put together a succinct summary of his coffeeneuring with a memorable self-portrait at the end to round out his photo set. 

After seeing his as well as other Portland coffeeneurs’ contributions, I have put this city on my coffeeneuring tour wish list.

coffeeneuring2013-1

1.  Saturday 10/12

Oblique Coffee Roasters
3039 SE Stark St, Portland, OR 97214

Mocha.

This ride was a familiar one. I was with my wife, as usual, in July. I was going to Oblique, as usual, in July.

The difference was that it wasn’t July, it wasn’t 6 a.m., and they weren’t going to be showing the Tour on the big screen.

Total 4.0 miles.

coffeeneuring2013-2

2.  Sunday 10/13

The Block House Cafe
302 Ferry St, Dayton, OR 97114

Mocha with whipped cream.

Dayton is a small town and this is the best place for miles around. I was on my way to lunch with my daughter in Salem where she is a college student.

Total 64 miles.

coffeeneuring2013-3

3.  Saturday 10/19

Saint Honore Bakery
2335 NW Thurman St, Portland, OR 97210

Coffee (never disappointing at St Honore)

The only boulangerie in my collection, this was the fueling stop for a solo ramble exploring the “nosebleed” section of Portland (>1000′ above downtown).

Picture is of the wife and son of a co-worker, whom I ran into there.

Total 52 miles.

coffeeneuring2013-4

4.  Sunday 10/20

Ristretto Roasters
555 NE Couch St, Portland, OR 97232

Doppio espresso.

My only intentionally randosocial event of the coffeeneuring season. I met four other randos there.

The photos are on Facebook, for crying out loud.

Total 17 miles.

coffeeneuring2013-5

5.  Saturday 10/26

Bipartisan Cafe
7901 SE Stark St, Portland, OR 97215

Decaf doppio espresso.

Late night coffeeneuring outing with my wife. Trouble finding a table. The place is deservedly popular.

Total 4 miles.

coffeeneuring2013-6

6.  Sunday 10/27

Stumptown Coffee Roasters
128 SW 3rd Ave, Portland, OR 97204

“cold brew” coffee, iced.

This stop was part of a short, solo urban ramble.

Total 15 miles.

coffeeneuring2013-7

7.  Saturday 11/2

Starbucks
102 East Main Street, Hillsboro, OR 97123

Doppio espresso.

This was a fueling stop on the way to the start of the Oregon Randonneurs’ Verboort Populaire. It was not part of the Populaire.

Picture is of Kelly and Chris, a rando couple who had the same idea, and were, like me, headed to the start of the 100k.

Total 12 miles.

Thank you, Graham, for your guest post. I particularly liked the guest appearances of other Portland Randonneurs in your photo set. Nicely done!

Coffeeneuring with Sally: She’s Five. She Rides a Pedal Bike. She Coffeeneurs.

Welcome back from the holiday weekend, coffeeneurs and blog readers. I hope you all had a lovely weekend. I’m homologating coffeeneuring results like a madwoman and will have many exciting updates for you about the Coffeeneuring Challenge results later this week.

To celebrate this final month of the calendar year as well as coffeeneuring accomplishments, I will be dedicating much of this first part of the month (it’s a blog so these timeframes are estimates) to the stories and photos submitted by coffeeneuring participants. To kick off these December posts I am featuring one of the youngest coffeeneurs to complete the challenge.

Sally completed the Coffeeneuring Challenge with her dad Paul, who is the Regional Brevet Administrator for the Central Florida Randonneurs. He is also the ghost writer of her coffeeneuring submission.

Sally and Paul did patronize one coffeeneuring locale more than once, but as it was due to her father’s lack of reading the rules with greater scrutiny the Coffeeneuring Challenge Committee agreed to invoke the “Dad Read the Rules Wrong Exception” and award Sally an official finish.

Congratulations to Sally and without further ado, here is her Coffeeneuring Challenge report.

Introduction

Sally’s only been riding a pedal bike since August, having graduated directly from a Strider balance bike, so the Coffeeneuring Challenge was a late add-on to her 2013 cycling season.

I got the idea that coffeeneuring could be a fun father-daughter adventure when I did my first coffeeneuring ride on October 14. I was in the middle of working the Central Florida Randonneurs 1000K finish control and had about 4 hours’ down-time between the rider who had just come in and the next group of riders.

I wanted to take a little ride in that time and I’d been seeing all the coffeeneuring Tweets from the weekend. “This looks like fun,” I thought. “Maybe I’ll do one of these.”

I researched an eclectic coffee shop/local market in Melbourne Beach, hopped on the bike, and an hour later was enjoying a cup of brew and contemplating how Sally and I might manage something like this.

Sally's first day on the pedal bike

Sally’s first day on a pedal bike, August 4, 2013.

We had a few challenges to overcome, mainly that we don’t live anywhere near a place you can buy coffee. Although we’re in Florida’s 4th largest city and in its most densely populated county, our neighborhood is uniformly residential.

The nearest commercial area is on US 19, which is a major 6-lane highway. Downtown St. Petersburg has many delightful, unique coffee shops and it’s only 5 miles away, but for a five-year-old who has been riding bikes for only two months, it might as well be on the dark side of the Moon. Or so I thought.

Like all things cycling (and in life, in general), combine enough desire, planning, enthusiasm, dedication, patience with incremental progress, and expectation management, and you can accomplish nearly anything.

Prior to the Challenge, we’d ridden to Sally’s preschool and back, a total of five miles, managing a variety of neighborhood challenges successfully.

If we could get her range up to about 8 miles, that would get her over to the businesses on US 19. Leave at day-break so the sidewalks are clear of people and the intersections are empty, chart a round-about course through a quiet golf-course community, and this might just be doable.

Ride No. 1

October 19, 2013
Dunkin Donuts
3850 34th St S, St Petersburg, FL ‎
9.03 miles

Creative routing and the promise of hot chocolate resulted in this initial outing. On the way home, Sally announced she wanted to swing by her school. This was “off route,” but she was insistent nonetheless, so we cautiously began adding bonus miles with bailout options constantly in mind.

A rest at the playground and another snack provided the boost necessary to make it home and enthusiastically declare the ride a success.

Sally's Coffeeneuring Ride Report-2

That yellow water bottle was given to me by a French rider on PBP ’07 as a finish-line souvenir. It’s my favorite one.

Ride No. 2

October 27, 2013
Dunkin Donuts
3850 34th St S, St Petersburg, FL ‎
11.12 miles

The first ride was a smashing success and a repeat performance was requested. I was thinking at this point about how to increase Sally’s range to where we might attempt a ride into downtown St. Petersburg to a “real” coffee shop. Of course, our riding was first and foremost focused on being safe, learning and consistently following the rules of the road, and having a good time.

Sally's Coffeeneuring Ride Report-4

Trip No. 2 to Dunkin Donuts.

Sally knew the Dunkin Donuts, and keeping the destination the same while increasing the mileage seemed to be the way to go. I didn’t think there was any possibility that we’d bag all 7 rides so repeating this trip didn’t register at the time as a bad idea for our Challenge.

After the DD stop we explored the Broadwater neighborhood, including its geodesic dome house, and once again stopped at school for some playground time and additional snacks.

Sally’s coffeeneuring bike.

Sally’s coffeeneuring bike.

After this ride, I removed the handbrake (cheap, tough for small hands to actuate) and added seat post-mounted bottle cages.

Ride No. 3

November 2, 2013
McDonald’s
4595 34th St S, St Petersburg, FL
11.60 miles

According to Sally, “Old McDonald’s” had the best hot chocolate of the places we would coffeeneur to. The whipped cream on top AND chocolate syrup seal the deal.

Yum.

Yum.

After the stop, Sally wanted to keep riding rather than return directly home, so we cautiously tacked on additional miles, exploring a new multi-use path along 37th St S.

She was handling the miles like a champ, and we continued to focus on making good stops and riding defensively all while having a good time. It was looking good, from a safety and mileage perspective, to give downtown St. Pete a shot the next time out.

Ride No. 4

November 10, 2013
Kahwa Coffee
204 2nd Ave S, St Petersburg, FL ‎
16.57 miles

All randonneurs at some point have had a ride that was “accidentally” way longer than intended. This was one of those rides.

We had an auspicious start when Sally garnered a salute from a group of female triathletes who were out training. As they saw us approach from the opposite direction, one of them sat up and shouted for all her companions to hear, “Can I just say that THAT,” pointing toward our little father-daughter sidewalk-riding duo, “is AWESOME!”

Fortified by good cheer, we traveled on until we came to the infamous Thrill Hill, named not for its hors catagorie vertical, but rather because the scarred pavement bore witness to generations of teenagers who have launched street bikes and muscle cars, Dukes of Hazard-style, over its sharp, sudden incline.

It was equally fun to hit at speed on a bicycle, but if you’re five and riding a bike that weighs half what you do, it might as well be some 5000-foot Pyrenean col. Sally managed half of it and then dismounted and walked the rest. The descent met with full approval, but Sally vehemently declared that she didn’t want to ride that hill again.

After a brief stop at the University of South Florida-St. Pete to play around the fountain, we made it to Kahwa coffee, which would rate even in the most coffee-centric environs. Note the hot chocolate complete with barista-added milk-foam heart. My latte was phenomenal, but the hot chocolate – despite the heart — lacked “stuff in it,” and was only tepidly approved-of.

I’m not riding that hill again. Period.

I’m not riding that hill again. Period.

Chief on my mind was that Sally announced that she wanted to ride home “without riding that hill again.” There really was no reasonable alternative. We needed to get south and doing so without adding lots of miles or using a route that would have unpleasant if not unsafe traffic volume meant seeing Thrill Hill again.

I could have taken us back over Thrill Hill, invoking Velominati’s Rule 5, but that violated my own Rule 1: this is all about fun.

I decided to put the choice in her hands. We could repeat Thrill Hill and get home quickly or she could do a really long ride and do an even bigger hill, although it wouldn’t be as steep as Thrill Hill.

I made this latter option sound as distasteful as possible, hoping she’d face her nemesis and elect the shorter option. Nope. Every presentation yielded the same result: Long ride. Big hill.

The “big hill” was a pedestrian bridge over a major road, which probably had 20 feet of elevation gain. The climb wasn’t the concern; it was descending it safely. As we approached the bridge, we discussed how to climb the thing (ride ‘til you can’t go any more; hop off; walk) and how to go down (look straight ahead; use the coaster brake to slow without skidding).

We took a few practice, check-out runs (complete with video to show Mom), proceeded to the top, and uneventfully made it to the other side. We then picked our way down quiet streets, sidewalks and bike paths all the way home with the obligatory playground/snack stop at school for an epic 16.57-mile day. No tears and no whining, which is a lot more than I can say for my own longest-ride ever.

Ride No. 5

November 11, 2013
Bay Vista Park
Pinellas Point Dr. & 4th St. S, St. Petersburg, FL
(Coffee Shop Without Walls)
2.1 miles

We opted for a Veteran’s Day treat: a night ride! And, best of all, 3-year-old brother Joe came along on the balance bike. I boiled water and filled a Thermos and grabbed the instant hot chocolate and we made for the neighborhood park after dinner– all with a full set of lights and reflective gear, of course. At this hour, we had it all to ourselves.

Sally's Coffeeneuring Ride Report-7

Bay Vista Park, with Tampa Bay and the lights of the Port of Manatee in the background.

It was at this point that I reviewed the rules and realized that I’d screwed up right out of the gate with the Dunkin Donuts repeat and that there was no time left in the challenge to make it up.

Ride No. 6

November 16, 2013
Munch’s
3920 6th St S, St Petersburg, FL
8.46 miles

Munch’s is a St. Pete institution and one of our favorite places. We’ve developed enough riding experience to handle a slightly busier road and a parking lot.

Sally insisted on “more hills” so we took a post-Munch’s tour of Coquina Key – an island neighborhood — so she could ride over the canals.

Sally's Coffeeneuring Ride Report-8

The bacon and eggs for “second breakfast” were equally popular.

Ride No. 7

November 17, 2013
Skyway Fishing Pier State Park
(Coffee Shop Without Walls)
8.89 miles

We set out with the Thermos and hot chocolate mix to head to school for a quick post-nap trip but that plan went out the window when we saw our neighbors out riding. They were headed to the Skyway Fishing Pier – the longest fishing pier in the world, or so I’ve heard – and Sally announced that she wanted to “ride where Dr. Bruce and Ms. Valerie were going.”

Where they were going was a multi-use path along a huge causeway across the mouth of Tampa Bay, spanned by one of the largest cable-stay bridge in the world.

We weren’t going to ride the Skyway itself (that’s illegal), but there are two intermediate bridges one passes over, each with a height of about 60 feet. What’s life without a little adventure?

Sally walked about half of the first bridge and descended it flawlessly and then we found a nice spot to have our snack and hot chocolate.

Only thing better than the view was the company. Skyway Bridge in the background.

Only thing better than the view was the company. Skyway Bridge in the background.

We rode on a bit into the Bay to digest and then turned around. Sally proudly announced that she was going to ride the whole bridge without walking. I admired the spirit and spunk, but I’ve seen plenty of adults walk that bridge.

She hit the base of it with a nice, even cadence. I rode behind her offering words of encouragement as she pressed on. As she neared the top she beamed with excitement, “I rode the whole thing without stopping!” Yes, you sure did.

Conclusion

67.77 miles in 7 rides. Not bad for Age 5.

What will we do differently next year? Read the rules more carefully, Dad.

How do you measure success on a cycling event? This weekend Sally asked where we were riding to. Munch’s again, it turned out.

Thanks, MG, for putting together the Coffeeneuring Challenge. May you treasure the Tweets, blogs, photos, and reports for years as a reminder of the joy your event gave to cyclists the world over.

And many thanks to you, Sally and Paul. Great job, both with the riding AND the writing!

Coffeeneuring (or Chai-neuring) with @jerdlngr and #BikeDC

Bikes! Chai! Artsy concept bike racks! BikeDC cameos! Knitting! Today’s Coffeeneuring Challenge guest post from BikeDC’s own @jerdlngr has a little bit of everything for your entertainment.

Enjoy!

Jean Coffeeneuring 1

Ride 1: Sunday, October 6

Chinatown Coffee
475 H Street NW
Drink: Chai

Total mileage: 5.9 miles

This was the day after the Sea Gull Century and Mr. T in DC had to bring one of the bikes in to BicycleSPACE, so our plan was to just go to the closest coffee shop.

Mr. T in DC

Mr. T in DC

The chai was spicy rather than sweet.

They don’t have particularly good bike parking, although it seems like most of the places we visited don’t. Also learned that it’s hard biking while holding a hot beverage in one hand.

Ride 2: Saturday, October 19

Pound the Hill
621 Pennsylvania Ave. SE
Drink: Nutella latte
Total mileage: 15 miles

Jean Coffeeneuring 2

Rode with Mr. T in DC, VelowanderingDC, Ryan S., and Paul from BicycleSPACE (don’t think he works there but goes on a lot of their rides).

This was my one exception to chai-­neuring, because the Nutella latte is apparently what they’re known for. It was good ­ didn’t taste too much like coffee.

Also didn’t have very good bike parking ­ we had to lock all 5 bikes up to one pole. Lots of cute dog watching opportunities.

Ride 3: Sunday, October 20

St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub
2300 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria
Drink: Chai

Total mileage: 47.4 miles

Jean Coffeeneuring 3

We met our Twitter friend Deb, who showed us a different way to get back on the Four Mile Run trail. Brought knitting and made a lot of progress on a sock.

Their chai is pretty sweet ­ kind of tasted like Swing’s except that they use a powdered mix (as opposed to liquid chai concentrate).


Ride 4: Saturday, October 26

Misha’s
102 S. Patrick Street, Alexandria
Drink: Chai

Total mileage: 27 miles

Jean Coffeeneuring 4

No bike parking except for one sign in front, so once again we had to lock several bikes to one pole. We rode with VelowanderingDC again as well as Sol S., who sometimes does the BicycleSPACE cupcake ramble.

Chai was good and on the spicier side. They also use a liquid concentrate, so no little chai bits in the bottom of the cup.

Misha’s has the same scones as Buzz Bakery, so Buzz must supply some of their baked goods.

Ride 5: Sunday, October 27

Filter
1726 20th Street NW
Drink: Chai

Total mileage: 4.7 miles

Jean Coffeeneuring 5

This turned out to be my worst coffeeneuring experience. Wasn’t in the mood to leave the house in the first place, but was lured out by the promise of chai and baked goods.

First problem was when we got there.­ They have bike racks, but they’re shaped like giant coffee cups and had a bit of a struggle locking the bike. Cashier and one of the baristas were kind of looking at me and laughing when I walked in, then I had to ask if I could place an order.

They only had a small chai on the menu (the barista said something about it being too hard to scale up the amount of mix)­ but that turned out to be a good thing, because the chai was terrible. It was kind of sour and almost tasted like the milk had gone bad.

Didn’t want to bring it back and complain because I thought they’d probably tell me “yes, that’s authentic chai, like in India. You’re probably just used to Starbucks.” Drank about three sips, then tossed it and went to Starbucks when I got home. I tried…

Ride 6: Saturday, November 2

Lot 38 Espresso Bar
1001 2nd Street SE
Drink: Chai

Total mileage: 15.6 miles

Jean Coffeeneuring 6

Rode to Lot 38 by myself for some introvert coffeeneuring time. Brought my knitting, got chai and a slice of apple walnut bread.

The chai was tasty, although apparently also from a powdered mix because I had the dreaded little chai bits in the bottom of the cup. Lots of bike parking across the street.

Ride 7: Sunday, November 3

Buzz Bakery
901 Slaters Lane, Alexandria
Drink: Chai

Total mileage: 46.1 miles

Jean Coffeeneuring 7

We stopped here at the beginning of a ride with Ryan S. Had a piece of squash quiche and my usual chai. Both were good.

We could sit outside near the bikes so didn’t have to worry about where to lock up.

Observation about the ride generally rather than Buzz specifically: there was really pretty foliage today.

What a nice mix of coffeeneuring trips with various members of the #BikeDC crew. And even a solo outing. Congratulations, Jean, on your completion of this year’s Coffeeneuring Challenge!

A Coffeeneuring Letter from Patrick. Forest Hills, New York

What a wonderful (and delicious) challenge. I hope I got things down properly.

A few things to help clarify… I used Saturdays and Tuesdays as my “weekends.” I also used two “vacation” instances (#3 and #6) instead of my usual Sat/Tues for those weeks, and I used a Vermont ride (#4) where the coffee shop was right across the river in New Hampshire.

I was originally hoping to get a theme, like maybe only food trucks (surprisingly, not many carry hot beverages!), or stories about the servers/barristas, or maybe places that sold only great coffee here in NYC. But as with everything, life got in the way, and I ended up at places like Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts!

Hope I got all the info here!

:-)

–Patrick

Patrick-Coffeeneuring

Coffeeneuring #1

Where: Bob’s Hot Dog Truck, Melville, NY
Date: Saturday, October 5
What: hot chocolate

Facebook Post: …is in Melville on a cool Saturday afternoon, pulled aside just shy of the enormous U-Pick Pumpkins signs on the service road, chatting away with affable Bob of Bob’s Hot Dog Truck.

Bob’s worldly concerns are twofold: the safety of cyclists on the road with distracted drivers today, and the empty state of his coffee pot.

Thankfully, Bob has other hot beverages that qualify for delicious consumption. #coffeeneuring

Mileage: ~50 miles

Patrick-Coffeeneuring

Coffeeneuring #2

Where: Dunkin’ Donuts, Riis Beach, NY
Date: Tuesday, October 8
What: hot chocolate

Facebook Post: …is at a desolate Riis beach on a quiet autumn afternoon, not a soul around as far as the eye can see, the gentle sounds of the surf in perfect harmony with the far-off city traffic.

A perfect time as any for a hot cup o’joe. #coffeeneuring

Mileage: ~42 miles

Patrick-Coffeeneuring

Coffeeneuring #3

Where: Hampton Coffee Company, Westhampton Beach, NY
Date: Thursday, October 24
What: soy latte

Facebook Post: …is at Westhampton Beach with a curious little pumpkin who simply insisted on trying his cycling glasses. #coffeeneuring

Mileage: ~70 miles

Patrick-Coffeeneuring

Coffeeneuring #4

Where: L.A. Burdick, Walpole, NH
Date: Tuesday, October 29
What: hot chocolate

Facebook Post: …is out for a little spin in Walpole, NH, under brilliant blue skies, brilliant crisp air, and what is apparently a brilliant case of strep throat.

Thankfully, there are brilliant hot beverages and pastries to compensate. #coffeeneuring

Mileage: ~50 miles (start in Putney, VT)

Patrick-Coffeeneuring

Coffeeneuring #5

Where: Starbucks, Commack, NY
Date: Saturday, November 2
What: soy latte

Facebook Post: …is out for a little jaunt out to Commack on his delightful little clown bike, oohing and aahing first at the foliage, and now at his hot latte-mocha-chai-grande-chocolate-croissant-sugar-overload-something-or-the-other. #coffeeneuring

Mileage: ~60 miles

Patrick-Coffeeneuring

Coffeeneuring #6

Where: La Dolce Italia Bakery, Forest Hills, NY
Date: Wednesday, November 6
What: cappuccino

Facebook Post: …is at the neighbourhood bakery, chatting with Maria on a quiet Wednesday morning about this and that and nothing in particular.

From the dozens and dozens of delectable treats in the glass displays and while creating his delicious cappuccino, Maria recommends the apple turnovers. “You can’t go wrong with the apple turnovers.” Indeed. #coffeeneuring

Mileage: ~16 miles

Patrick-Coffeeneuring

Coffeeneuring #7

Where: Gourmet Bakery & Deli, Forest Hills, NY
Date: Saturday, November 16
What: cappuccino

Facebook Post: …took a leisurely spin in the park, the roads still wet from the morning rains and strewn with a hundred thousand leaves, the smells of autumn heavy and delicious in the cool, crisp air.

He is now at the neighbourhood bakery over at Metropolitan, where one of its patrons, an elderly lady with the most fantastic of weekend bonnets is ogling his bicycle and making entertainingly uncomfortable comments about the shapeliness of his legs and spandexed butt.

Thankfully, there are warm beverages and pastries involved. #coffeeneuring

Mileage: ~13 miles

Thank you for the brilliant guest post, Patrick! Have a great weekend, everyone.

Father-Daughter Coffeeneuring in Minnesota

Today’s guest post is from a father-daughter team out of Minnesota. Charlie’s regular beverage was a latte while Emma (who, at 13, is the youngest female Coffeeneuring Challenge finisher so far) went the hot chocolate route.

By the way, what is the difference between hot cocoa, hot chocolate, and hot milk chocolate anyway? If anyone can answer my question, I’d love to know.

In the meantime, here is the coffeeneuring recount from Charlie and Emma.

Charlie1

Ride One: October 4, 2013

Starbucks
County Road 24
Plymouth, Minnesota
Distance 3 miles
Emma: Grande Hot Cocoa
Charlie: Grande Latte

57 degrees and light rain we opted for an easy one to get us started.

Charlie2

Ride Two: October 5, 2013

Dunn Brothers’ Coffee
Plymouth, MN
Distance 6 miles
Emma: Medium Hot Cocoa
Charlie: Medium Latte

50 degrees. A fairly short ride but there were some hills and my “shortcut” ended at a steep muddy hill. It rained hard on the way back and Emma’s bike slipped on the wet planks of a bridge over a creek.

The ride was so bad we laughed about our misfortune the whole way home. I am now forbidden to use the phrase “it builds character.”

Charlie 3

Ride Three: October 19, 2013

Caribou Coffee
Lund’s Market
Plymouth, Minnesota
Distance: 5 Miles
Emma: Medium Hot Milk Chocolate
Charlie: Medium Latte

45 degrees and barely rained at all – best ride so far. Sunny skies on the way home.

Charlie 4

Ride Four: October 26, 2013

Caribou Coffee
County Road 101
Plymouth, Minnesota
Distance: 4 miles
Emma: Medium Hot Chocolate
Charlie: Medium Latte

Low 40’s and windy but a bright fall day. It felt great and Emma tackled the hills like a pro.

Charlie 5

Ride Five: November 2, 2013

Caribou Coffee
Vicksburg Ln 
Plymouth, Minnesota
Note: Not the same Caribou Coffee as #3 but within a half mile!
Distance: 6 miles
Emma: Medium Dark Hot Chocolate
Charlie: Medium Latte

A beautiful fall day, we had a nice ride and sat outside on what will probably be one of our last really pleasant fall days here in Minnesota.

Charlie 6

Ride Six: November 9, 2013

Starbucks
Lake St East
Wayzata, MN 55391
Distance 3 miles
Emma: Grande Hot Cocoa
Charlie: Grande Latte

It was cloudy and cold in the low 40s with a big wind but the snow had mostly melted.

We even got a wave acknowledging our fortitude from a peloton of much more serious cyclists.

Charlie 7

7. Ride Seven: November 10, 2013

Caribou Coffee
609 Lake St E
Wayzata MN 
Distance: 3 miles
Emma: Medium Hot Milk Chocolate
Charlie: Medium Latte

An unexpectedly nice day, we rode down the Dakota Rail Trail and into Wayzata with a view of Lake Minnetonka.

Congratulations to Charlie and Emma for completing the Coffeeneuring Challenge and very well done to Emma for the age group win :).

Ohio #Coffeeneuring on a 1978 Schwinn with @yesreallyJerel

We head to Ohio today with a guest post from the first Ohio coffeeneur in three years of the Coffeeneuring Challenge.

Jerel, who completed all of his rides on a vintage 1978 Schwinn Traveler III, gives us an inside look at his city of Toledo and bookends his coffeeneuring with two very sweet experiences. I’ll let you read about them for yourself, and hope you enjoy this recap as much as I did.

Jerel2a

Ride #1: 10/6/2013
Coffee Shop: Starbucks @ Cricket West Toledo, Oh
Consumed: Double Espresso
Mileage: 4.2

I went into the challenge with high hopes of using it to visit as many locally owned coffee shops a possible, but as I started scoping out routes I realized why I don’t routinely make stops at locally owned coffee shops while riding. There just aren’t many in reasonable proximity to my house. Even those not too far away would involve rides through parts of town where catching a stray bullet is a definite possibility, even in the middle of the day.

Also, “opening day” of the challenge was shaping up to be a rainout. So, when I noticed around 2 p.m. that it had stopped, I checked the forecast and it looked like I had a good hour window for dry coffeeneuring.

Here’s me, ready to head out, hoping I don’t get wet. I’m happier than I look, really.

Jerel1

I hit up the nearest Starbucks for a double espresso. The man’s back you see in the photo is the Mayor of Toledo. He complimented my ’78 Schwinn Traveler III as I was locking up and we chatted a bit about his also owing a vintage Schwinn (I’ve only ever seen him on a bike of the Harley variety).

The sun actually put in an appearance while I enjoyed my drink and jotted some notes, but it clouded back up on the ride home and was raining again shortly after I’d tucked the bike back in the garage.

Ride #2 10/12/2013
Coffee Shop: Chandler Café Sylvania, Oh
Consumed: Triple Latte, Seattle’s Best
Mileage: 18.6

In stark contrast to last week, this day’s weather was as perfect as could be. Unseasonably warm and sunny it was the day for a trek to a local shop in the next town to the west, Sylvania.

To get there I utilized the University-Parks Trail (a 6-mile rail trail), cut through Wildwood Metropark (bad idea, paths way too crowded on such a nice day), Olander Park , through neighborhoods and into Downtown Sylvania.

Jerel2

The Chandler Café is located on Main Street, a picturesque and tree-lined drag of restaurants, specialty shops, and the like. It was a nice spot, though I’m not sure why they’re serving Seattle’s Best instead of one of our local roasters’ coffee.

They also have a food menu and beer, wine and liquor, but I stuck with coffee on this visit, snagged a nice spot on the sidewalk to sip my latte and on the way home looped through one more local park, Harroun Community Park on a MUP.

Ride #3: 10/20/2013
Coffee Shop: Bigby Coffee @ Cricket West, Toledo, Oh
Consumed: Quadruple Espresso (Why did I do that?)
Mileage: 8-ish (GPS fail)

I had a lot of yard work to attend to this crisp but sunny fall day. By coffeeneuring time there wasn’t a lot of day left so I again set my sights on a nearby shop.

Just riding straight there and back would’ve been too boring, though, so I took a little loop through the campus of the University of Toledo, something I often like to do but I guess this was the first time since school started up since I had some trouble navigating through herds of Ugg and riding-boot clad co-eds.

Jerel3

This Bigby location used to be one of my favorite locally owned coffee shops back in my younger days and it still holds some of the residual charm of the location. I thought a triple espresso sounded like a good idea but they gave me the fourth shot free and I couldn’t believe how much of a jolt it gave me. Good times.

Ride #4 : 10/27/2013
Coffee Shop: Barry Bagels, Sylvania, Oh
Consumed: Large black coffee
Mileage: 22.2

This ride was one of the highlights of the challenge for me. It was a brisk, 50-ish degree day, sunny, but still the kind of day that if not for the challenge, I’d probably have left the bike in the garage.

Jerel4

Rode west on the University Parks Trail, stopped at Barry Bagels for a cup of coffee. Barry’s is a great locally based small chain that makes great fresh bagels and sandwiches, etc. From there I knew I wanted to make a stop for some groceries (needed coffee beans) but I hadn’t planned how to get from Barry’s to the store.

This turned out great, I ended up wandering through some parts of town I’d never been through before and the more I rode, the more I realized what a perfect fall day it was and how much better it was to be out riding around than, well, just about anything else I could have been doing.

Ride #5: 11/2/2013
Coffee Shop: Organic Bliss Deli & Bakery Sylvania, Oh
Consumed: Large coffee w/ organic cream. Vegan, organic, Oatmeal-raisin cookie
Mileage: 14.93

This day was forecast to be a rainout but when I saw the sun come out I jumped on the bike and headed for Organic Bliss. Aptly named, I’m not sure why it took me five weeks to think of this place.

Jerel5a

It’s located almost right at the western terminus of the University Parks Trail. Have you noticed how vital a role this trail plays to cycling in Toledo? At least my cycling in Toledo. Busy streets and very few bike lanes make it a go to for any point west of home.

Jerel5

The coffee was a letdown as their website said they had an espresso bar but apparently that had gone by the wayside. The baked goods more than made up for it though. It was hard to choose from the healthy, delicious, delights on display but I’ve always had a soft spot for oatmeal raisin cookies.

Ride #6: 11/10/2013
Coffee Shop: Dunkin’ Donuts, W. Central Ave. Toledo, Oh
Consumed: Large Latte and Apple Fritter
Mileage: 6.3

I had really planned on getting rides in on Saturday and Sunday this weekend to finish up early, but I’d had a nasty cold during the week that was hanging on through Saturday.

Didn’t really wake up feeling great this day either and, to add insult, it was 8-10 degrees cooler than the day before, really the first full-fledged “blustery” day so far. But, I was determined to finish the challenge and, wouldn’t you know it, as usual, just getting out on the bike made me feel better.

Jerel6a

Yeah, it was chilly. Yeah, I’d normally have hung up my helmet for the year about a month ago, but that was a big part of why the challenge appealed to me, to keep on riding when normally I’d let myself make excuses.

Ride #7: 11/16/2013
Coffee Shop: Barry Bagels @ Westgate, Toledo, Oh
Consumed: Large French roast and a Sausage, egg and cheese sandwich on an everything bagel
Mileage: 13.49

Last ride of the challenge and I headed out hungry. I was pretty sure I wanted to hit up this Barry’s location for a sandwich since I hadn’t eaten anything when I went to the other Barry’s a few weeks ago.

This was a beautiful fall day for mid-November, incredible really. I headed out along a usual route but decided on a whim to check out a MUP through a city park that, for some reason, I’d never ridden.

It was nice, a stretch through woods, leaves blanketing the trail, and no traffic to speak of. Ended up near University of Toledo campus where I explored a few new corners and took another Bike+Art shot.

Jerel6b

Took a short jog on the rail-trail then rolled through a quiet neighborhood taking lots of random turns along the way just for fun.

Enjoyed my coffee and sandwich at an outdoor table and got a lot of compliments on the bike, the best being from a boy about ten or so years old, who looked at the bike and, with a big smile, exclaimed “That’s a really cool bike!”

Peter Busby, The Noble Horse 1999 Galvanized Steel RodSchwinn Bicycle Company, Traveler III 1978 Cro-Moly Steel

Peter Busby, The Noble Horse 1999 Galvanized Steel Rod
Schwinn Bicycle Company, Traveler III 1978 Cro-Moly Steel

Rolling the vintage Schwinn is such a conversation starter. It seems to spark nostalgia for everyone and they all either have or had one.

After grabbing an unofficial double shot from the Starbucks next door (which I’d previously visited on ride #1) I wheeled home, already thinking about how I’m going to make next year’s challenge even more fun.

Coffeeneuring in New York City with @nycbluegunnar

Submissions are steadily flowing in to Coffeeneuring World Headquarters, and the New England Regional Office and I are working together to keep updating all the exciting visuals that help illustrate the scope of coffeeneuring. Keep those entries coming!

In the meantime, I have another excellent guest post for you, this time from @nycbluegunnar out of New York City.

While one of the original coffeeneurs hails from the Hudson Valley in New York, this is the first time someone from New York City.

Come take a virtual coffeeneuring trip with @nycbluegunnar. You’ll be glad you did, although it might make you hungry for a treat and thirsty for a latte.

1.  Cafe Grumpy 
October 19, 2013; 14.46 miles; to Greenpoint, Brooklyn and back.

coffeeneuring @nycbluegunnar

This choice was inspired, in part, by the MS Bike Ride in New York City on October 6th. Cafe Grumpy not only fielded an impressive number of riders for a small business, but they wore a very cool team bike jersey and I generally abhor team bike jerseys.

And, contrary to popular prejudice in NYC re Williamsburg/Greenpoint in Brooklyn, not everyone wearing the Cafe Grumpy bike jersey on the MS Bike Ride rode a fixie or looked like they had appeared as an extra in “Girls”.

The good news: in person, at the original location, the Cafe Grumpy vibe was fairly unpretentious and the food/coffee was great. And the location will make it very easy to vary the routes back home; a sure repeater.

2.  9W Market
October 20, 2013; 61.15 miles; to Nyack, NY and back.

coffeeneuring @nycbluegunnar

I could not complete the Coffeeneuring Challenge without including the 9W Market as one of the stops. Route 9W in New Jersey is a popular bike “highway” with various types of cyclists streaming back and forth from the GW Bridge in Fort Lee to either Piermont or Nyack. And if you’re not riding a “racing” bike, the route can include dirt rail trails.

The 9W Market features bike racks for at least 30 bikes and depending on time of day and weather, the racks fill up and bikes start lining up along the curbs. The only problem is that you need to arrive early for the croissants and on this particular ride I had to ‘settle’ for a scone.

3.  Steeplechase Coffee
October 26, 2013; 32.25 miles; to Coney Island and back.

coffeeneuring @nycbluegunnar

My favorite ride in New York is a round trip to Coney Island, a truly scenic ride through various Brooklyn neighborhoods ends with the Atlantic Ocean.

In the summer, the people scene is vivid– though I do miss (weirdly) the ‘Shoot The Freak’ “attraction,” which lost its spot in the needed upgrading of the boardwalk businesses.

In the winter, with no one on the beach but the dog walkers and the occasional metal searcher, the ocean rules. On the way back, right before Prospect Park, I’ve regularly stopped for a sandwich to go at Brancaccio’s and regularly ignored Steeplechase Coffee. That was a mistake that I corrected on this ride.

4.  Utopia Bagels
October 27, 2013; 35.08 miles; to Fresh Meadows/Bayside, Queens and back.

coffeeneuring @nycbluegunnar

My second favorite ride out of Manhattan is a variation on a ride that crosses the Williamsburg Bridge and heads east to Forest Park in Queens, which is an under appreciated greenway in NYC.

From there, depending on how far you want to go, the ride can include: a bike trail that used to be a section of the Vanderbilt Motor Parkway; the Douglaston peninsula, with views of Connecticut, Westchester, Great Neck and the Bronx; and the Unisphere from the 1964 World’s Fair.

Utopia Bagels on Utopia Parkway in Bayside lives up to the name. In the photo accompanying the tweet, I shamelessly hid the sugar-coated jelly donut.

5.  Financier Patisserie.
November 2, 2013; 7.76 miles; the Hudson River Greenway to South Ferry and back.

coffeeneuring @nycbluegunnar

On the day before a 200K randonneur ride, I thought this would be a good, “check the bike” ride. I knew that at this location, I could keep my parked/locked bike in view while enjoying a coffee. I saved the tiny, free financier in the photo for the rando ride the next day.

6.  Baked.
November 9, 2013; 16.32 miles; to Red Hook, Brooklyn and back.

coffeeneuring @nycbluegunnar

For me, the most rewarding aspect of the Challenge has been “discovering” new places to stop on routes that I regularly ride. The places themselves have existed just fine without me. My usual route through Red Hook had me missing Baked by two blocks as I rode to Valentino Pier for a great view of the Harbor and then past the Ikea to the park next to Bay Street, where a number of great Latin food trucks park on the weekends. Especially with the colder weather approaching, I am going to be taking a slow survey of the goods that Baked (as well as Cafe Grumpy and Steeplechase) offer on weekend afternoons.

7.  Goldberg’s Bagels
November 10, 2013; 43.10 miles; to Closter, NJ and back.

coffeeneuring @nycbluegunnar

A shorter version of the ride to Nyack and back. There is a Starbucks in the same mini-strip mall in this suburban town but, feeling the indie spirit, I decided it would be better to end the Challenge at Goldberg’s, which I had not previously patronized.

Goldberg’s turned out to be primarily a take-out place, with only four seats at a counter by the window. The bagel was fine but it was no Utopia (or Murray’s, which didn’t qualify for the Challenge because it’s less than a mile from my apartment).

The preferred stop on the Closter route will remain the Starbucks and I no longer need to wonder whether I should be buying a bagel at Goldberg’s instead.

Sorry your last trip was not all you hoped, but good to take the wonder out of your coffeeneuring equation and your other trips look fantastic! Thank you again for your coffeeneuring guest-post, @nycgunnar. Great job!