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2nd Annual Coffeeneuring Challenge: 7 Cups, 6 Weekends

That’s right, people. Coffeeneuring Challenge time. Another six weeks of rule-based biking and imbibing is here! Yeah!

Some of you may recall that coffeeneuring is based on an idea developed by Joe Platzner, a member of the Seattle Randonneurs, as he discussed life after last year’s Paris-Brest-Paris. He noted:

A bunch of us have trained pretty hard for PBP. After PBP, I’m probably going to lobby RUSA for an official “Coffee Shop Run” medal. To earn it, you need to ride your bike slowly to a nearby coffee shop and enjoy a fine beverage. I think this would be a big seller in September.

I wholeheartedly agreed and the Coffeeneuring Challenge was born!

The Coffeeneuring Challenge is a relaxed weekend cycling endeavor for cyclists everywhere. If you like riding a bike and enjoy drinking coffee or tea (or even hot chocolate), you should consider giving the challenge a go.

In a loving nod to the French, the Coffeeneuring Challenge has its share of rules. Don’t let them intimidate you, though. As the 12 people who successfully completed the challenge last year will attest, they are all manageable.

Coffeeneuring, in France!

Rules are slightly updated from last year, based on the Coffeenering Challenge After Action Report some consultants put together for me. Here’s what you have to do to play.

  1. Ride your bike to 7 different local coffee shops from now through Sunday, November 11.
  2. Only Saturday and Sunday rides qualify. Weekday rides are ineligible, unless one of the following applies to you:  a. You have a job that does not have a Monday through Friday tour of duty. In that case, your days off are considered your weekend; or b. You are retired, in which case you may choose the two days that you consider to be your weekend days for the sake of the challenge and stick to them for the duration.
  3. Only 1 coffee shop per day counts and a maximum of two rides per weekend. If you visit 7 coffee shops in one day, you may choose only one as a qualifying ride.
  4. You must do a short write-up of your experience that includes: 1. where you went (address and website, if possible), 2. the date you went there, 3. what you drank, 4. a detail or two about your coffeeneuring ride, and 5. total mileage.
  5. You must also take a photo during your ride, caption it, and submit it as verification that you actually went to the coffee shop and drank a beverage there.
  6. Hot chocolate qualifies, as do tea beverages. UPDATE 10/8/12: Apple cider is also a coffeeneuring-approved beverage.
  7. You may not combine your coffeeneuring ride with any other ride such as an organized century, populaire, or brevet. You may, however, combine your coffeeneuring ride with a grocery run, ride to the gym, or other transportation/utility-oriented ride. (If you do an organized ride, you may do another, separate coffeeneuring ride on the same day, e.g., a post-event ride to get a latte after your organized ride.)
  8. Your ride must be at least two miles total, but there is no maximum so yes, you could ride 100 miles for a cup of coffee.
  9. There are no geographic limitations to the Coffeeneuring Challenge.
  10. You have to go to 7 different coffee shops, although you may ride to multiple locations of a chain, if necessary.
  11. Deadline for submission for the Coffeeneuring Challenge is whenever the clock strikes midnight in your area on November 16, 2012.
  12. Send submissions to me at gersemalina “at” Submissions may be in the form of links to blog writeups, on-line photo galleries with accompanying narrative, Word documents with attached or embedded photos, or e-mail writeups and submissions with photos attached.
  13. Submit all qualifying rides at the same time. That is, send me all 7 together, NOT ride 1, ride 2, etc.
  14. There will be a small prize for those who successfully finish the challenge (though don’t quit your day job, as it is not a mountain of money), and you will be featured on this blog.
  15. During Columbus Day weekend (October 6-8), you have three days to accomplish two qualifying coffeeneuring rides. (This is the Tara Rule.)
  16. The Veterans Day Rule: You may coffeeneur on November 12, when Veteran’s Day is observed, INSTEAD of the previous Saturday or Sunday (November 10 and 11). Veterans are permitted to coffeeneur on November 12 in ADDITION to Nov. 10 and 11, in recognition of their service.

That’s all! 15 16 rules for the 7-ride Coffeeneuring Challenge. Seven shops in six weekends. Are you up for it?? I hope so, and if you have any questions, feel free to put them in the comments section.

Have fun, everybody. I look forward to following your progress and maybe I’ll see you coffeeneuring!

UPDATE: Also, when you are out and about, share your coffeeneuring tweets and photos by using the #coffeeneuring hashtag!


  1. you make this seem like so much fun.
    i wish i lived closer to a coffee shop/espresso stand, OR had more time in my days to ride the long distance to purchase a coffee or chai.

    good luck to all!


  2. Hey Mary – I’m going to be visiting DC again for 2 of these weekends and don’t have a bike (except CaBi)…any chance of a semi- organized Coffeeneur with possible loaner ride (let me know if I’m asking too much here…;-)


    • Hey, Jesse! Even w/ the DC trips you should be ok in terms of completing the challenge. If we’re around it would be fun to meet up. (We don’t loan out our bikes, though. Too many previous experiences gone bad. Sorry!)


    • You can rent bikes in DC. There’s a nice place near Union Station. There is also a bike share program, but I’m not sure how you join, but a hotel might know.


  3. I’m more of a pastryneur. I pretend I’m going on an actual training ride, but really I just want an excuse to go to some small-town market and eat pastries and drink chocolate milk. But the great thing about randonneuring is that it’s the only sport where eating large quantities of sugary and fatty foods, and then immediately riding a bike, is actually valuable training!


    • Coffee shop = any place that will sell you a cup of coffee. And yes, the drive-thru kiosks count, as long as you rode your bike there.


  4. by separate ride after an event, does that mean that the event can’t finish exactly at a coffee shop? We would have to ride from the event finish to a coffee shop? Or, if the event ride does finish at a coffee shop, we’d have to do a loop around after finishing to get to the coffee shop again? (not difficult, just wanting clarification)


    • Yes to everything you said! Yes, if the event finishes at a coffeeshop, it would not qualify. However, if you went to another coffeeshop from that one it would qualify, OR if you did a two-mile loop after the ride back to the coffeeshop again that would also technically qualify.


  5. There have already been a slew of questions so I don’t feel bad for asking my own dumb one. What about an “organized” ride with a group of friends, meaning it gets “organized” sometime during the week, usually before Friday midnight, about getting together the next morning for a ride. Its not utility, its “training” and usually involves coffee. There is no shop or other organization involved. Count or no?

    And I am so planning on having the Viglante Roasters table at my local farmer’s market be one of my shops!


  6. We don’t ride a tandem, but if we did, would that count as one entry or two?
    Do we have to sign up in advance, and make our ambitions public?
    Anyway, Chris and I are up for it, if you accept foreigners from Northern England.


    • If two people rode one tandem, that would count as two entries.

      You do not have to sign up in advance or publicize your coffeeneuring ambitions in any way, unless you want to do so. Welcome to the challenge!


  7. Ooh, now I have a question. There is an organized ride, but for poutine, which is food (of a sort) — kind of like the cupcake rides. If I have coffee at one of the poutineries, will that count? Or would I have to ride 2 miles to another coffee shop (or loop around, as you said).


    • Did/do you have to pay an entry fee or sign a waiver to ride it? If so, it does not count. Otherwise, you are good to go and would count toward coffeeneuring.


  8. Brilliant, I’m up for it.
    A couple of questions: I’m just back from my holidays where we hired a bike to get round San Francisco. Would mid-week rides count on a holiday as I have one I could enter that was really good. Back at work on monday tho so back to usual weekends.
    Also am in the UK so small prize is not necessary – just would love to take part.
    Hoping to collect a new to us tandem this weekend, so plenty of fun to be had! It’s our first tandem after we hired one for a 70 mile Randonnee back in May, we had the best time & have been saving for one.


    • Welcome to the challenge, Georgie! I will let you substitute a weekend of coffeeneuring for ONE coffeeneuring outing on vacation.

      Also, how exciting to read about your new tandem. I’ve had some gret adventures via tandem and I hope it is the same for you.


      • Brilliant, thanks. Think I will swap it out for the weekend of my birthday then because one of those days is likely to be a hangover day. Big celebration this year. Tho on my actual bday I’m leading a real toughy of an off road ride, so hangover better only last the saturday 😉

        Sadly tandem collection is postponed – suitcases were still in San Francisco whilst we were back in Manchester – I’m expecting them to make it home today. Wont be able to collect the tandem til November now – debating riding it back, but 250 miles in a weekend on a bike we’re not yet used to might be pushing it… I’ll try my best to talk Stephen round to the idea.


  9. Okay, a question for my ride on Monday. If you bike for lunch and then have coffee at the lunch place, would that count? Or it is necessary to go to another shop for coffee?


  10. I’m in. Question about compressed work schedules however. Is the off-work Friday considered a coffeeneuring eligible day?



  11. My work schedule is not always the same from week to week. Also, I found out about this a week late (Just did my first one 10/14/12). Will it be a problem if my days off are not the same each week of the remaining time for the Challenge, even if I stick to the maximum of two per week?


    • Welcome to the challenge and nope. Not a problem, just clarify which days were your weekend/days off for each week when you send in the documentation.


    • That’s awesome! And not too late, either, b/c as long as people start coffeeneuring this weekend, they can still complete the challenge!


  12. OK MG, I hate to suggest a modification of the rules this late in the game, but do you suppose there may be some coffeeneurs out there who would like to honor the women and men who have served our country with a final Coffeeneur Challenge ride on Veterans Day (observed): Monday, November 12?


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