Category Archives: Friday Coffee Club

The National Bike Challenge and Teams Friday Coffee Club

You may or may not know this, but the National Bike Challenge happened. The goal of the challenge was to get more people out riding their bikes and logging their miles. The League of American Bicyclists, Bikes Belong, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, and Endomondo sponsored the three-month event, which took place from June 1-August 31.

Specifically, the challenge sought to engage more than 50,000 riders, and hoped to accumulate a grand total of 10 million miles through everyone’s participation.

People from all parts of the United States signed up for the program via Endomondo, a rather glitchy, but mostly functional, little online social media platform designed to connect people through their physical fitness activities. Some participants also grouped up as teams.

Several of the gang from Friday Coffee Club (FCC) formed two teams: Friday Coffee Club (Team 1); and Friday Coffee Club Team 2. Team 1 was composed of 10 members, and Team 2 had 7. Other FCC members participated in the challenge, too, but not on the FCC teams. By the way, you are a member of Friday Coffee Club simply by showing up Friday morning at Swing’s for coffee.

I admit I did not pay much attention to this challenge during the time it was happening, but I did make the effort to log my miles at the end of each month. After the challenge ended, I went back to see:

  1. If the overall National Bike Challenge met its goals; and
  2. How our FCC teams fared.

Overall Challenge Results

By September 1, the number of riders who participated in the National Bike Challenge had reached 30,397, which is over 19,000 riders shy of the overall rider goal of 50,000.

However, the riders who signed up rode their bikes more than 12 million miles, far greater than the 10 million miles laid out by the challenge.

The challenge awarded points based not only on the number of miles a person rode per day, but also the number of days ridden. Riders earned one point for each mile ridden and 20 points for each day they rode.

Of all the states participating, D.C. came in 4th out of 51 in the challenge. Pretty good considering we are not even a state (though I’m ecstatic the challenge included us separately. I can’t stand it when we’re omitted from these things.).

State plus D.C.’s Rankings in the Challenge

Overall, the Friday Coffee Club teams logged 21,898 miles across its 17 participants over three months. Yeah!

I then looked to see how Teams FCC had done compared to others in our “community.” The challenge defined our community as Washington, Arlington, and Alexandria.

We had 719 participants in our community, and our area’s overall population was estimated at 4,276,661. That means that .017 percent of the population in our “community” participated in the National Bike Challenge. That’s TINY!

Nevertheless, 719 is still something, ok? And when I looked further to see how Teams Friday Coffee Club performed compared to other teams, I was pleasantly surprised. We came in ranked at number 7 and 12, out of a total of 90 area teams.

FCC Team 1 ranking in DC Metro Region

FCC Team 2 Ranking in the DC Metro Region

The other part about this challenge that made me smile is that our FCC teams were composed predominantly of commuting cyclists. We’re not club riders or amateur racers, though a few of us do enjoy a long ride or two on the weekends. We’re just people who like to drink coffee (or tea) and ride our bikes for transportation and recreation.

Way to go, Friday Coffee Club! Thanks to those who participated on our teams, including Tweeps: @dailyrandonneur, @zoeplaugher, @rootchopper, @bilsko, @ramblingrider, @lkono, @grafxnerd, @sharrowsDC, @darsal, @JDAntos, @bicyclebug, Keith R (don’t have the twitter handle), @MidAtlanticBike, @ebooksyearn, @crossvino, and @girlonabikedc. If I did not include something about the National Bike Challenge experience that you’d like to add, please do so below!

I wish we’d come up with a logo, but maybe next time. Or maybe having a logo is counter to the essence of Friday Coffee Club. I’m not sure.

So what about you, readers? Anybody else out there participate in the National Bike Challenge? If so, did you fly solo or with a team? I’d like to hear how the challenge went for you…

See you at Friday Coffee Club! 7:30-9:00 a.m., Swing’s Coffee. 1702 G Street NW, just west of Ye Olde Executive Office Building. Be there!

Bike to Work Day and #FridayCoffeeClub

This past Friday, the D.C. area celebrated Bike to Work Day. We had perfect sunny weather and only a hint of cool air in the morning so lots and lots of people (over 12,000, according to some reports) took advantage of the bike holiday. I don’t know how those numbers compare to the regular commute crowd, but it seems reasonable to say that a sponsored Bike to Work Day draws a lot more people than a regular bike to work day.

Bike to Work – Pete, me, and Felkerino in Rosslyn. I have no idea what we’re looking at.

Felkerino and I signed up for the Rosslyn stop and had a great time. I even passed Congressman Jim Moran who was riding to Rosslyn via the Mount Vernon Trail.

We saw some familiar faces, met some new people, including Mary Lauran, and connected with people we’d previously only interacted with through Twitter.

@MaryLauran and me. I won a t-shirt!

Rootchopper, blogger and member of the #bikeDC crew, wrote up a nice post of the Rosslyn stop in which both Felkerino and I are prominently featured. Thanks, Rootchopper!

Rootchopper and Felkerino

Pete B., #bikeDC flickrazzi member and regular #FridayCoffeeClub attendee, also made the Bike to Work Day rounds and his photos are here.

One of my highlights from Bike to Work Day was passing this gentleman, who was wearing Spam shorts and riding a high wheeler.

High Wheeler alert!

I wasn’t the only one who thought the high wheeler was cool. Felkerino fell in love. Sorry, Felkerino, the Dining Room Bike Shop isn’t big enough for that. The high wheeler’s owner, whose name I did not catch, said he’d ridden the bike as far as 100 kilometers in one go.

Felkerino, enchanted by the high wheeler.

After spending some time in Rosslyn eating bananas and picking up a couple of blinkie lights, we jetted off to Swings to see who had shown up for #FridayCoffeeClub. The Bike to Work Day edition of #FridayCoffeeClub was definitely a more fluid affair than normal, as many coffee clubbers wove both Bike to Work Day and #FridayCoffeeClub into their morning.

Some people grabbed coffee and headed off to a pit stop. Others, like me, hit the pit stop first and then happened by Swings for a cup. Still others fit #FridayCoffeeClub in between their Bike to Work Day world tours.

Lauren stops by #FridayCoffeeClub

Girl on a Bike made it to #FridayCoffeeClub. It was great to see her after her recent completion of the Policy Unity Tour. She’s got the tan lines to prove it. Well done, Kate!

Bike to Work Day #FridayCoffeeClub

John R. of the porta-john blog, also managed to find time for a cup of java at #FridayCoffeeClub amid final day prep for his wedding. Big congratulations, John!

As I made my way over to the office, I ran into met the well-known Joel Gwadz of the Gwadzilla blog. Fortunately for me, he had his DSLR and was able to get a couple of shots of Felkerino and me as we crossed through the White House Plaza. Thanks, Joel!

Joel Gwadz in the White House Plaza

It was a festive and fun day full of sun, bikes, coffee, swag, and #bikeDC buddies. To see even more of the morning, my full set of pics is here.

Bike to Work Day + #bikeDC + #FridayCoffeeClub = True Love Always!

Building Community, Bicycle Style: #fridaycoffeeclub

Whenever I ride around town, I usually see a number of other cyclists out and about, but I seldom have the opportunty to interact with them, except for a wave or maybe a passing smile. We’re all managing the complexities that come with urban riding and trying to get somewhere.

On the Morning Commute

Thanks to Twitter, flickr, and the local bike-centric blogs, however, I’ve come to know several cyclists who are part of the #bikeDC scene. I read about where they’ve ridden or what their recent commutes were like. I see photos of their bikes. I know what kind of gear they’re using, or what cycling-related issues are on their mind.

Being in touch with people this way gives me a feeling of community, even though our primary space of interaction is virtual.

While I know that the people with whom I share my ride stories, tweets, and flickr photos are out in the city somewhere, and I could run into see them during one of my rides around town, so far that has only happened to me once (I crossed paths with @sharrowsDC).

Recently, a small group of us decided, via Twitter, that it would be fun to meet up in person at Swing’s Coffee around 8 a.m. on Fridays for pre-work coffee and conversation. Swing’s is located on the corner of 17th & G Streets. It’s one block from the White House Plaza, which is one of the primary commute thoroughfares for downtown cyclists.

Morning cup at Swings

We call our Friday meetup the #fridaycoffeeclub, or as Tales from the Sharrows so charmingly wrote:

#bikeDCcommutercofeemeetupfuntimebreakfastifyouwantbecausetheyalsoservesomepastriesbutivenevergottenoneohyeahforgottomentionthatthisisatswingscoffeeandyoushouldcomenextweektoo.

At first, I felt a little odd talking to people who I’d previously conversed with only through the internet. On the one hand, I felt like I knew them through their writing. On the other, I had never laid eyes on them. Ever!

Having a virtual person become a real person and then carry on a conversation with me that isn’t in the form of typing initially felt somewhat surreal. And I felt a little self-conscious, too. I hoped I measured up to all my panda photos!

#fridaycoffeeclub

Those feelings have dissipated, and I must tell you that I LOVE #fridaycoffeeclub. Felkerino describes it as a happy hour for grownups. We order our drinks, chat bikes, share recent blog posts, discuss the state of bike lanes, or whatever else comes to mind, and then we all scoot off in our own directions.

When I was in high school I worked in my little town’s coffee shop/restaurant. I never understood why people showed up to just hang out and drink coffee. Two decades later, I’ve figured it out. Getting together with others to share warm greetings, hot beverages, and light conversation is a civilized reprieve from the hustle of the city and pressures of the work day.

#fridaycoffeeclub also makes the city feel smaller, more cozy.  Gradually, I’m putting faces to the names of people in my virtual cycling community, and meeting some really interesting people in the process. If you ever find yourself near Swing’s Coffee on Friday around 8 a.m., I hope you will join us. And if you want to make sure that we will be there, you can always check in via Twitter. Search for #fridaycoffeeclub and look for tweets from @dailyrandonneur or @gypsybug!