MrTinDC and me, getting the shot. Jean, Ryan, and Aaron are also here somewhere. Photo by Felkerino

Coffeeneuring Challenge News: Weekend Plans?

The Coffeeneuring Challenge reaches the end of Week 2 and, like that, Week 3 begins tomorrow. What are your plans?

The Facebook Coffeeneurs group is going gangbusters, and Twitter and Instagram light up on the weekends.

Coffeeneurs on flickr

The “Coffeeneuring” group on flickr welcomes your photos, too. Images in this group range from:

Some people have said coffeeneuring is now a movement, but it’s really always been there. I just gave it paperwork, a name, and a prize. Thanks to everybody who’s helped make the Coffeeneuring Challenge the robust event it has become.

MrTinDC and me, getting the shot. Jean, Ryan, and Aaron are also here somewhere. Photo by Felkerino
MrTinDC and me get the coffeeneuring shot. Jean, Ryan, and Aaron are also here somewhere. Photo by Felkerino

I created a Coffeeneuring 2014 Blogroll page that I hope to roll it into something that includes blog write-ups from the coffeeneurs of yesteryear. Check it out, and if you are blogging, please make sure I’ve included you on this list.

Thanks to those who are including information about the bike-friendliness of locations visited. This is excellent field research for the coffeeneuring community.

As I wrote yesterday, functional fitness embodies the type of activity I favor, and coffeeneuring is one piece of that. I favor the pastries, too, though they probably do not fit under this fitness (or any fitness) label. Oh well.

Have a great weekend everybody, and please feel free to share any Coffeeneuring Challenge news you have via a comment here or through your preferred social media outlet (or even an email or letter, if you like)!

¡Que viva coffeeneuring!

Fall leaves

Functional Fitness, Everyday Joy

Today I ran into work, my eyes soaking in the fall colors as I breathed the aroma of wet ground from yesterday’s rain and the dying leaves on the pavement. Despite overcast skies, the 60-degree temperatures and quiet air made for delicious running conditions.

I recalled my life in the city last year at this time, when the federal government shut down for two weeks and I was furloughed. I remembered how much I wanted to be at work (who knew?!), and all the time I spent outside pondering things like government budgets.

As the shutdown ended and we returned to business as usual, I wrote about observing the Washington area’s transition to fall, the familiarity of the trees, and how the brilliance of the leaves’ emerging colors prompted my own daily stresses and fears to fade. Watching the trees reminded me to pay more attention to what really matters in this life.

I stopped taking my surroundings for granted. The trees, ground, and sky change frequently. All I have to do is step outside and look around to see it.

Fall leaves

I also found new appreciation for my work and the daily trip to the office. Morning commutes are still the best. Car traffic might be heavy and the downtown sidewalks hectic, but side streets and areas along the National Mall are still waking up to the day. I try to route myself through these quieter places when I can.

I am fortunate to live in a city where my feet can easily carry me to my job, as well as other essential destinations in the life of a grown-up. I’m lucky to have a level of health and fitness such that my two feet and my bicycle can be my primary means of transportation.

I’m not an athlete, but to me, accomplishing daily activities under my own power is the heart of functional fitness. Daily outings and errands may not be as exciting to experience as things like an extended bike tour, a long brevet, or even my recent eventure.

But they can still be significant and beautiful in their own way. All I have to do is open myself to the city around me and embrace my body’s movements to experience this everyday joy.

Coffeeneuring-Sipping Chocolate

Coffeeneuring Quiz

Welcome to another week of coffeeneuring as we know it. Time to test your Coffeeneuring Challenge knowledge.

No cheating. You’re only cheating yourself, as one of my old workout instructors used to say.

Coffeeneuring Quiz!

1. What is a word that has two Fs, three Es, one N, and one R?


2. When I go coffeeneuring, should I drive my car?


3. When I go coffeeneuring, should I drive a school bus?


4. When I coffeeneur, should I ride my bicycle?


5. When I go coffeeneuring, can I go to seven shops in one day and submit my entry saying that I completed the Coffeeneuring Challenge?


And I hope you were mixing it up with decaf, if you attempted this. Only two trips max per week.

6. If I coffeeneur with the same person for all trips, can we send in one Coffeeneuring Challenge entry for both of us?


7. Should I take a picture of my coffeeneuring?


If you forgot, get creative about providing something that evidences your outing.

8. What is the hashtag for the Coffeeneuring Challenge on Twitter and Instagram?


9. If I drink a pop while I’m out, can I call it coffeeneuring?


10. Isn’t coffeeneuring just riding your bike to get coffee with a whole bunch of rules?


Coffeeneuring-Sipping Chocolate

One point per answer. Add up your score. How did you do?

9-10 points. Good job. Keep doing what you’re doing. Unless you you think you are coffeeneuring when driving. Don’t do that.
6-8 points. Better brush up on your coffeeneuring skills.
5-0 points. Close to hopeless. Coffeeneur at your own risk.

Any questions I missed? Maybe they’ll make a future quiz

PA Endless Mountains 1000K

The Randonneur Q&A Interview Series

Just before PBP 2011, I interviewed a group of 12 randonneurs to get their perspectives on various aspects of long-distance cycling. I talked with both men and women who were members of clubs throughout the United States. I called it the Randonneur Q&A.

The Randonneur Q&A covered big-picture randonneuring themes, including insights over the various brevet distances, and what it is about randonneuring that keeps drawing people back to it. With PBP 2015 less than a year around the bend, I thought it might be informative and inspiring to revisit these interviews.

Andrea on the 2012 D.C. Randonneurs 600K

Randonneur Q&A Interviews

  1. Katie S.R., New Jersey Randonneurs
  2. George Swain, Hudson Valley Randonneurs
  3. Joe Platzner, Seattle Randonneurs
  4. Chris Newman, New Jersey and Pennsylvania Randonneurs
  5. Rob Hawks, San Francisco Randonneurs
  6. Joe Brown, D.C. and Pennsylvania Randonneurs
  7. Vélocia, San Francisco Randonneurs
  8. Bill Beck, D.C. Randonneurs
  9. Lynne F., Oregon Randonneurs
  10. Barry Benson, D.C. Randonneurs
  11. Andrea M., D.C. Randonneurs
  12. Dan D., Great Lakes Randonneurs and Minnesota Randonneurs

Thanks again to everyone who was part of the Randonneur Q&A.

coffeeneuring Chinatown Coffee

Coffeeneuring Week 1: It’s On!

We’re almost one week into the Coffeeneuring Challenge, and already I’m amazed by all the people riding their bikes to tasty beverages all over the land.

Some ride to four-walled establishments, and others enjoy beverages in the open air.

Much of the coffeeneuring activity is taking place on Twitter (search the #coffeeneuring hashtag), the Coffeeneurs Facebook group, and it’s also going strong on Instagram (also on the #coffeeneuring hashtag). If you’re on flickr, the Coffeeneuring group is here. Please join in as you like.

In this week’s update, I would like to draw your attention to the Coffeeneur Challenge bloggers. Here’s what I know:

  • The Daily Randonneur rode from D.C. into West Virginia, over the weekend and stopped at one of our favorite coffee places in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, Lost Dog Cafe.
  • A meander through Seattle ends at a Starbucks for Andy’s Bike Blog.
  • Vélovoice enjoys a cappuccino and a visit to St. Andrew’s Church for her first coffeeneuring trip. Also, roosters!
  • Rootchopper goes “Coffeeneuring in Car Hell,” but discovers Grounded Coffee in the process.
  • Captain Overpacker adds a coffeeneuring trip onto a day of riding for a cause and throws in a reference to one of my favorite movies when I was a teen, Pretty in Pink (I wanted to make my own prom dress, too).
  • Red Riding goes team coffeeneuring with some of the Pittsburgh crew.
  • Joe Flood checks out the Old Caribou that is now a Peets on his first coffeeneuring ride in Washington, D.C. Maybe I’ll check it out myself.
  • It’s an almond milk Cafe au Lait for West Coast coffeeneur Rosie on the Move. Atlas Coffee sounds delicious!
  • The Bagel Cafe is stop one for All Kinds of Bikes. Welcome back to coffeeneuring!
  • Cruisin’ Downhill heads to the Farmer’s Market for a latte. Looks like a pretty ride. Also, I like the name tag on the back of the helmet.
  • Coffeeneuring doesn’t mean you have to drink coffee. Nancy’s going the tea route, and blogging about it on Adventures With Nancy.
  • Original coffeeneur Type 2 Clydesdale Cyclist of the fine coffeeneuring town of Pittsburgh is back for his fourth consecutive year.
  • One Speed: Go! is family coffeeneuring in Arizona.
  • Coffeeneuring in South Dakota? It’s true! Read all about it on The MinusCar Project.
  • Urban Adventure League went preseason coffeeneuring in Oregon to make sure the coffee shop without walls was in order.
  • Two trips down in the first weekend, and one of them is another coffee shop sans walls– Life in the Cycle Lane.
  • A little bit of everything in marathonsam‘s post: running, yoga, trail shoes, and most important, coffeeneuring!

Did I miss you? It’s quite possible! Please let me know in the comments, and I’ll add you to the roundup.

Mile 19 Freedom's Run

Freedom’s Run Marathon: The Eventure Continues

Run Summary

I first participated in Freedom’s Run Marathon in 2009, its inaugural year. I remembered loving the course — the way it rambled around Harpers Ferry, traveled along the C&O, and eventually crawled away from the Shenandoah River into the beautiful, hallowed, and hilly place that is Antietam Battlefield.

I even liked the mileage loop out and back to Murphy Farm Overlook, although it can be a little crowded on the relatively narrow footpath. It’s a good spot to watch the sun come up.

Me, Freedom's Run

I returned to Freedom’s Run this past Saturday for the second time. It fit well into my eventure scheme and I wanted to know how, if at all, the run had changed.

The course is as spectacular and scenic as ever. The rolling hills in the battlefield have not become any less rolling, and the vistas the course offers throughout are remarkable.

It’s the only marathon I’ve ever run that requires me to descend a staircase (the Spiral Staircase, as many of us know from our rides out that way), and one of few where the course spreads out quickly and such that you have plenty of time for contemplation. Freedom’s Run is a rare treat, and if you ever have a chance to do it, you should.


Participation appears to have grown some, although a look through the results showed that fewer than 500 people completed the marathon this year. I think Freedom’s Run draws people like me, who are looking for a scenic event with a small-town feel, and it also appeals to out-of-towners who want to run a marathon in all 50 states.

There is not a lot of fan support, but there are enough people out and about cheering and volunteering that I never lost the feel of being in an organized event.

Water stops were located every three or so miles, negating my need to carry water, although I generally like to bring my own bottle so that I am not wasting plastic cups. All in all, Freedom’s Run is a well-organized event that travels an interesting route and maintains low-key informality.

The runners life: volunteers, drinks, and a port o' potty
The runner’s life: volunteers, drinks, and a port o’ potty

Play by Play 

At 6 a.m. I departed my hotel for the marathon and proceeded to lose myself in the campground down from the hotel en route to the start. I thought about returning to the hotel and bagging the run, figuring if I was stupid enough to lose myself in a KOA that maybe that meant I didn’t deserve to run this day.

I sought help from my friend and fellow runner Kirstin who was waiting at the run’s packet pickup. She remote controlled my sad self to where I needed to go. Thank you, friend!

The run began and after running with Kirstin for a bit I was on my own. The small field quickly spread out and this gave me plenty of time with my thoughts. Just me and my thoughts, thinking together.

C&O Freedom's Run me

“What shall we think about, thoughts?”

“Let’s think about whether this bike-run-bike combo is a very good idea!”

I pitter pattered along the C&O, contemplating my life choices.

My thoughts and I bantered and concluded this was not a good idea. Note: this conclusion was reached around mile 15, when nothing seems like a good idea. Most everyone has their marathon low points and recently mine have come around then.

At the time, I thought my low point was at mile 13, but it turns out that I had lost count of the miles I’d run. Mile 15 showed up and I realized I had experienced a marathon miracle!

Felkerino Freedom's Run

Around this time Felkerino rode past me on his Atlantis, and he then kept me company for the next three miles or so. That was fun and his presence, encouragement, and picture-taking lifted my spirits.

And then… Antietam. Felkerino had taken off to coffeeneur in Shepherdstown so I was running solo. I did not mind that at all, though, because running through Antietam is amazing.



The terrain constitutes big scenic rollers and as I said, there is something holy about that place. I took a few photos with my cell phone, and ran/walked along while savoring my time there.


Felkerino met me again at mile 23, and we talked for a couple of minutes before I set my mind to finishing. I dutifully plowed my way to mile 26.2, and finished in what I believe is my second slowest marathon time ever.

Freedom's Run medal
Obligatory marathon bib and medal photo

Oh well, I still earned a t-shirt, a medal, and a commemorative pint glass for my effort. My body had the normal aches and pains after a long run, but overall I felt good.

The mental game had proven the most difficult, as I was unsure how a 67-mile bike ride the day before would affect my running in addition to thinking that I had to save enough energy for the ride back to D.C. on Sunday.

Kirstin and me at the finish
Kirstin and me at the finish

Many thanks to Kirstin and Tom C., Felkerino, the weather, and the volunteers for making Freedom’s Run a great way to spend 26.2 miles in West Virginia.

And thank you again, Kirstin, for getting me to the start line after I lost my bearings in the campground. Next time I’ll know better! Maybe!

And now, we return to our regularly scheduled Coffeeneuring Challenge programming…

C&O and Surly LHT

Choose Your Own Eventure: C&O Bike Tour to a Marathon

Hello friends. I’ve just returned from a weekend concept ride I’ve been plotting for the past year. It involved a 134-mile mini bike tour from Washington, D.C., out the C&O to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, and the Freedom’s Run marathon.

Leaves  on the C&O

I don’t know what I was expecting, but what I ended up with was a satisfying fall weekend full of movement that was also 100 percent car-free. The perfect eventure.

Given that Freedom’s Run begins very near the C&O, this marathon sets up well as a weekend bike tour-marathon combination. After years of randonneuring, bike touring, and running, I wanted to see what would happen when I combined aspects of all three in some way.

Multi-day event? Randonneuring. Out and back on the C&O? Bike touring. Marathon in the middle? Running. One part organized event, one part my own informal thing. And so my eventure took shape.

C&O Mary's Wall Surly LHT

Friday, I took off solo into partly sunny skies that turned cloudy and then released a steady drizzle from around 15 miles on. This worked in my favor, as the temperatures remained warm and the dreary day cleared the towpath of most people. Pretty much me and the squirrels out there.

Leaves fell gently in front of my path and drizzle moistened my arms and glasses, but it wasn’t so bad. Falling leaves actually create a romantic atmosphere until a few smack you in the face. Ouch.

I plodded steadily to Harper’s Ferry, knowing I had a full day to complete just under 70 miles.

I did not want to wear out my legs, as I had 26.2 miles to run the following day. I stopped several times along the way to take photos. The bright hues of freshly fallen leaves were too enticing to not photograph, despite the dreary lighting.

Fall leaves and Surly LHT on C&O

Felkerino met me that evening, doing his own concept ride. He left after 6:30 p.m. from D.C. and arrived in Harpers Ferry at 1:15 a.m. after enduring a lot of steady rain, indeed, what some might call downpours. Darn randonneurs, they’ll ride anytime, any weather (eye roll)!

Saturday’s marathon came and went, and my body felt pretty good throughout (a separate post about that later). My time was slower than my normally slow pace, but knowing that I needed to ride 67 miles the day after completing the marathon I never pushed my effort.

Felkerino, Bridge leaving Harpers Ferry

Our Sunday return was much less painful than I imagined it would be, and it was a glorious day. The clouds cleared on Saturday afternoon and sunny blue skies remained for Sunday.

Temperatures had dropped into the 30s overnight, our first cold overnight of the season.

I was so glad to be riding the C&O towpath. I did not have to worry about paying constant attention to car traffic, and the lack of stopping and starting at intersections was a benefit to my tired legs.

Felkerino on the C&O

The C&O is a special place to ride, especially in the fall. The canal’s locks and neighboring lockhouses remind me of all the comings and goings the C&O has seen since it was first built in 1828. Tree colors begin to turn, and the crunching of leaves under bike tires tell you that time is passing.

C&O Canal

I don’t aspire to duathlons or tris, but I loved combining transportation cycling and bike touring with my running. I am so glad to have made this eventure happen, grateful for Felkerino’s support and encouragement, and proud of my body for its durability all along the way.


Mr. and Mrs. Bike Snick Go Coffeeneuring

We can’t go into the weekend (THE FIRST WEEKEND OF OFFICIAL COFFEENEURING SEASON) without another example of how coffeeneuring happens.

And, of course, it’s always nice to give the locals of #BikeDC and #BikeArlington a shout-out, especially ones who’ve taken such care with capturing their coffeeneuring images. With that, I present you with the coffeeneuring rides of Mr. and Mrs. Bike Snick from this past year.


#1, 10/5/2013
Where: Greenberry’s McLean, VA ()
What: tall iced coffee with 2 pumps of sweetener
Which bike: Fixed gear bicycle.

I finally got warmed up on the way home. Although the outside temperature is in the mid 70s (F), our house is cold, 68 degrees.

Mrs. Bike Snick is making 3 cakes (!) for a wedding today and the Italian buttercream frosting needs to be cool.

How far: 3 miles


#2, 10/6/2013
Where: Starbucks, McLean, VA
What: venti carmel soy frappucino with 5 shots (rewards drink)
Which bike: Fixed gear bicycle.

Mrs. Bike Snick joined me on her road bike. We sat outside enjoying the newspaper and beautiful day.

How far: 3 miles


#3, 10/13/2013
Where: Star*Nut Gourmet, McLean, VA ()
What: tall dark coffee and half a slice of apple pie
Which bike: Fixed gear bicycle.

Mrs. Bike Snick joined me on her road bike. It was nice when the rain stopped.

We enjoyed reading, splitting a piece of apple pie and sitting outside.

How far: 3.6 miles


#4, 10/14/2013
Where: Peregrine Espresso, Eastern Market ()
What: soy latte
Which bike: CaBi.

Rode with Mrs. Bike Snick. This was our first time using CaBi. We had two free 24 hour passes from Bike To Work Day. The passes worked great and the bikes were easy to use.

It was fun planning multiple hops that were less than 30 minutes. We saw Georgetown, L Street cycle track, the White House, Pennsylvania Ave cycle track, the Capitol, 11St Local Bridge overlook, Anacostia Riverwalk Trail, Nationals Park, and more.

How far: 13.3 miles


#5, 10/19/2013
Where: Chesapeake Bagel Bakery
What: small bold coffee, half of a cinnamon roll
Which bike: Fixed gear bicycle.

Rode with Mrs. Bike Snick on her road bike. She has completed 4 coffeeneuring rides now and is enjoying it.

It was cloudy and we felt a few sprinkles. On the way to coffee we stopped at CVS to get a picture printed. This was the topsy-turvy cake my wife made for a friend’s wedding. After coffee we picked up the prints.

How far: 3.2 miles


#6, 10/20/2013
Where: Caribou Coffee, Falls Church 
What: small bold coffee, half of a cranberry scone
Which bike: road bicycle.

My wife joined me on her road bike. It was sunny and a great day for riding. We enjoyed sitting outside and reading some of the newspaper.

How far: 5.3 miles


#7, 11/10/2013
Where: Starbucks, Idylwood Plaza Falls Church 
What: tall bold coffee, half of a chocolate brownie
Which bike: fixed gear bicycle.

Mrs. Bike Snick joined me on her road bike.

It was mostly sunny, but very windy. The temperature was fine, but it was too windy to sit outside.

How far: 5.3 miles


#8 (Mrs. Bike Snick’s #7), 11/11/2013
Where: Greenberry’s McLean, VA )
What: tall dark coffee, half of a chocolate chip scone
Which bike: fixed gear bicycle.

Mrs. Bike Snick joined me on her road bike; this ride completes her 7th coffeeneuring ride.

It was cloudy and windy, but we sat outside reading under Greenberry’s heat lamps – nice!

The manager came outside to tell us two new bicycle racks have been installed across the street. These are among several recently added in downtown McLean. The racks will be dedicated later this week by Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust.

How far: 3.7 miles

Congratulations on completing the challenge, Team Bike Snick! I hope you are up for another round of coffeeneuring. It all starts again October 4!


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