Third Annual Chasing Mailboxes Coffeeneuring Challenge


Coffeeneuring is based on an idea from Joe Platzner, member of the Seattle Randonneurs. As he discussed life after the 2011 edition of 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.

Coffeeneuring, I thought. It’s perfect! I created the Coffeeneuring Challenge that year, and here we are again for the third time.

The Chasing Mailboxes 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 those who have successfully completed the challenge in previous years will attest, they are all manageable.

Friday Coffee Club

Rules are slightly updated from last year, based on participant suggestions. The two biggest changes to the 2013 challenge are as follows:

  • You now have seven weekends to ride to seven coffee or other hot beverage shops; and
  • A new category of coffeeneuring has been added– the “Coffee Shop Without Walls.”

Here’s what you have to do to officially coffeeneur:

  1. Ride your bike to 7 different local coffee shops from Saturday October 5 through Sunday, November 17. Any place that sells coffee qualifies as a coffee shop.
  2. You may also coffeeneur to a Coffee Shop Without Walls. What is a Coffee Shop Without Walls? It’s a place you ride your bike to proceed to make and/or drink coffee. The Coffee Shop Without Walls is geared toward the bike overnight or bike camping participant. It also captures the farmers’ markets. To qualify, you must specify how you brewed your coffee (if it was a bike overnight or camping trip) and the type of coffee you drank. All other rules apply.
  3. 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. No other exceptions, unless you can make a convincing case for one.
  4. 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.
  5. Jot down a summary 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. Also, if you find any “you must visit” coffee shops or tea places please share that as well.
  6. Take a photo during your outing, caption it, and submit it as verification that you actually went to the coffee shop and drank a beverage there.
  7. Hot chocolate qualifies, as do tea beverages. Apple cider is also a coffeeneuring-approved beverage.
  8. 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, an informal ride with your friends, 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 pre- or post-event ride to get a latte either before or after your organized ride.)
  9. 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.
  10. There are no geographic limitations to the Coffeeneuring Challenge, except that your coffeeneuring must occur on planet Earth.
  11. You have to go to different coffee shops, although you may ride to multiple locations of a chain, if necessary. For the Coffee Shop Without Walls, you must prepare and/or drink your coffee in different locales. That means seven different campsites/locales.
  12. Deadline for submission for the Coffeeneuring Challenge is whenever the clock strikes midnight in your area on November 25, 2013.
  13. Send submissions to me at gersemalina “at” Submissions may be in the form of links to blog writeups, screenshots of or links to your coffeeneuring Tweets, on-line photo galleries with accompanying narrative, Word documents with attached or embedded photos, or e-mail writeups and submissions with photos attached.
  14. Submit all qualifying rides at the same time. That is, send me all 7 together, NOT ride 1, ride 2, etc.
  15. 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.
  16. Tara Rule: During Columbus Day weekend (October 12-14), you have three days to accomplish two qualifying coffeeneuring rides. (This is the Tara Rule.)
  17. Vacation Rule: You may substitute a weekend of coffeeneuring for ONE coffeeneuring outing on vacation for every week you are on vacation.
  18. Veterans Day Rule: You may coffeeneur on November 11, Veteran’s, INSTEAD of the previous Saturday or Sunday (November 9 and 10). Veterans are permitted to coffeeneur on November 11 in ADDITION to Nov. 9 and 10, in recognition of their service.
  19. Buying Beans Rule: You may use ONE of your seven coffeeneuring trips to purchase beans (or tea) from your local roaster or tea emporium for future consumption. If you do, you must describe your purchase.

Coffeeneuring at Baked and Wired. Always delicious

Twitter: The Twitter hashtag for the Coffeeneuring Challenge is #coffeeneuring. Only tweet if you like. This is a no-pressure situation.

Flickr: You may also share your photos in the Coffeeneuring group on flickr.

Blog it: Let me know if you blog your coffeeneuring, as I will do periodic roundups along the way.

I think that covers it. 19 rules for the 7-ride Coffeeneuring Challenge.

Seven shops in seven weekends. You can do it!

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to put them in the comments section.


  1. On behalf of everyone who lives in more rural areas, a huge THANK YOU for the “Coffee without Walls” addition. This challenge is looking significantly more tasty without being bound to getting gas station coffee (better material for pictures too).


  2. I just recently got my wife reading your blog, probably the only cycling blog she reads. Imagine my surprise today when she proposed that we do the coffeeneuring challenge. So, I guess you now have participants from Lynchburg, VA if you never have before. We’ll be doing the challenge on our Santana tandem and will definitely tweet etc., to follow all the rules.


    1. Welcome to the challenge! You will be the first Lynchburg, VA coffeeneurs. AND I don’t know if any others have completed the Coffeeneuring Challenge on tandem, either.


  3. I’m so excited to participate this year and I’ll kick off by asking for an additional rule for federal workers around the country… Government shutdown days can replace weekend days in the preceding, or following weekend, but not exceed them… So it’s not to ridiculous in the event this nonsense goes on for a while but recognizes the non-work status of some of us. What do you think?


  4. I’m considering having a bash at this year’s Coffeeneuring challenge. Indeed I’m thinking of using it as a reason to “encourage” Lady W onto the much underused Wobbly tandem. That’s assuming I can find it. I think it’s in the garage. Maybe.

    However I have to say I’m disappointed about the number of rules. There are far too few. Could there be a supplementary challenge for riders to suggest more rules? Possibly an award for the best, most inventive, least practical, or baffling rule…


    1. Yes, that’s just what I need, a meta-challenge of what additional rules coffeeneuring should require! I hope you find that tandem and that you coffeeneur, Sir Wobbly!


  5. I’d like to state my case for my weekday Coffeeneuring: I only cycle in metro Pittsburgh from work where riding is reasonably safe. Cycling around my home on the weekends is suicidal with 45MPH speed limit roads (where everyone goes 60MPH) and miles and miles of nothing but housing developments. Either way, I’ll still enjoy trying new coffee places around the Golden Triangle!


  6. I’m to have eye surgery in the middle of the challenge and the doc has already told me no riding for week to 10 days after…so not this year. HOWEVER, I feel like I should be a CHEERLEADER for those who quest in search of good coffee, so let me HIGHLY RECOMMEND that one of the DC area coffee destinations be the Green Lizard Bike Shop – just off the W&OD trail in lovely Herndon, VA — they serve Kaladi Bros coffee from Alaska and it is worth the stop. Plus the folks running the shop are really great people. So — I salute you all this year, and raise my coffee mug (which incidentally has a bicycle on it), and plan to join you next year with good eyes!


    1. Holy cow! That’s a serious doctor’s excuse for not doing coffeeneuring. I hope all goes well and look forward to you being back on the bike soon! I was curious about people’s take on Green Lizard so thanks for the recommendation. I’ll stop in one day soon!


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  8. Successfully completed our first coffeeneuring challenge, I think. But should have printed out and taken with us a copy of the rules. We rode an extra mile to make sure that we had ridden a total of 2 miles each way, but apparently the rules only require 2 miles total!

    If the main event in randonneuring is a Brevet, is the main event in coffeeneuring a Cafet? Are you (Mary) the RCA (Regional Cafet Administrator)? Are you also heading up CUSA (Coffeeneuring USA)?

    Just checking since these administrative details can be oh, so important 🙂


    1. Way to go! I’m so glad you and Jan are doing it!

      I like the use of the word “cafet.” Mike Binnix called it Coffeeneuring USA, and by his calculations, I was CUSA #1, and Felkerino CUSA #2.

      Mike also liked to refer to me as the chief Coffeeneuse, and another randonneur I know liked to use the title Coffeeneuse Prime, which I loved (randonneuring, coffee, and Transformers, oh yeah).


  9. bah. looks like i fail this year—I get to spend all weekend driving to Boston, so I’m effectively already out of days, and I was already one short before I realized one of them was a duplicate. (I’m not good at this whole planning-and-keeping-track-of-things thing, so was reconstructing from FourSquare and Endomondo…that’s a good way to spend a day at work, right?)


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  13. What would y’all think about a springtime challenge? February, March, April are plenty good times for coffeeneuring. Why not?


  14. You should have seen my face when I came across your Coffeeneuring concept on “The Bicycle Story” Mary, absolutely intriguing indeed! I’m a keen cyclist who worships coffee along with a certain fondness for the number “7″ as well, I kid you not! 🙂
    Do you know if the caffeinated challenge on wheels made it to the UK already!?? I think it is quite a cycling nation as well and I’m sure the concept would have potential here as well…
    Best wishes and keep riding! 😉


      1. And the coffee stops must be on Earth as well I guess, right!? 😉 Thanks Mary, I will keep my eyes peeled for the 2014 run of Coffeeneuring…
        Take care, Oliver


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