Remembering Michael Prater: Cycling Fed His Soul, Coffee Fueled His Ride

The Coffeeneuring Challenge allows for an appreciation of cycling different from the oftentimes more active spring and summer months. Slow down. Relax. Spend time with a friend and drink a cup of coffee (or similar). Such was the case with Michael and Chauncey – best friends and riding buddies – who took on last year’s challenge together in Cincinatti, Ohio.

As Michael wrote in his submission: “We had a ton of fun not beating each other into the ground while riding, and focusing on some of the other benefits cycling gives us.” That’s what coffeeneuring is all about. I’m honored to feature this Coffeeneuring Rewind.

Chauncey Coffeeneuring

My best friend, Michael Prater, and I started coffeeneuring in 2015. After an intensely competitive season of road and criterium racing, we were looking forward to some nice long, slow, distance fall rides. Coffeeneuring was a perfect fit for us!

We both love coffee, cycling, photography, and time with each other. The coffee portion of our adventure lasted at least an hour. Although an hour seems like a long time, it’s all a part of a memory now.

Michael was hit and killed by an impaired driver in January. I lost more than a riding partner; I lost my best friend. Now, Michael will be coffeeneuring with me in spirit.

So, my new challenge for you: complete coffeeneuring with a friend and don’t rush the chat over coffee.

Michael added a theme within a theme last year, as he stylishly sported unique sock patterns. If you feel up for it, then rock some hot socks!

Michael and Chauncey’s 2015 Coffeeneuring Challenge

Thanks for inspiring my riding partner Chauncey and I. We had a ton of fun not beating each other into the ground while riding, and focusing on some of the other benefits cycling gives us. All rides completed with my A1 riding partner, and generally good wheel, Chauncey Joyce.

Coffeeneuring #1

1michael-prater

Where: Coffee Emporium, Hyde Park, Ohio
Date: Sunday, October 4, 2015
Michael: Black Coffee (Being a Seattleite, is there any other way?)
Chauncey: Small, Hot, Black Coffee
Mileage: 26.4 and 29.8 miles

Michael: The first #coffeeneuring ride! I can’t resist their apple turnovers. This marked the debut of The Athletic PDX sock. Very bike friendly – in fact the manager is a cyclist.

Chauncey Coffeeneuring

Chauncey: This trip was an inaugural coffeeneuring ride for my riding partner, Michael Prater, and myself. We rode to Coffee Emporium as it has a wonderful reputation for high quality service and products. They are very bike friendly, (see the photo of the coffee cup).

Coffeeneuring #2

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Where: Starbucks, Madeira, Ohio
Date: Saturday, October 10th
Michael: Tall drip
Chauncey: Small, Hot, Black Coffee
Mileage: 40.6 and 76.9 miles

Michael: Again, repping The Athletic, this time with the Mt. Fuji Ekiden Sock. Ironically, after taking waaaaay too much time sitting on their lounge chairs, we caught the local group ride “Crazy 8’s” and tagged along for a bit to make the second #coffeeneuring ride a touch longer than anticipated. As bike friendly as a Starbucks can get.

Chauncey Coffeeneuring

Chauncey: My second coffeeneuring ride started in the hills. My riding partner and I rode together early in the morning for coffee. After our coffee and casual chatting, we met up with a group of riders for the next 15 miles. Then, we rode home.

My partner had to get back to his family after 40 miles so that meant my last ~35 miles were by myself. Great fall day for a ride. I hope to get out tomorrow for a short, easy coffeeneuring ride.

Coffeeneuring #3

3michael-prater

Where: Front Street Café, New Richmond, Ohio
Date: Sunday, October 11th
Michael: Black Coffee
Chauncey: Small, Hot, Black Coffee
Mileage: 36.1 and 40.6 miles

Michael: One of my favorite routes, includes a short climb to stretch the legs, and a “no brakes” descent to rail the corners. They were out of fresh coffee when we arrived, so we had hot & fresh brew for us.

As a bonus, the Bengals were playing the Seahawks so the roads were a lot less traffic-y. Still repping The Athletic, this time with LA Galaxie. Bike friendly in the respect we were not stared at slack-jawed by the locals as we sat sipping coffee in lycra!

http://www.theathleticcommunity.com/shop/la-galaxie-gray

Chauncey: The third coffeeneuring adventure was fast! With an average speed of ~20mph, my riding partner and I were on fire! I was still a bit sore from my ~76 miles yesterday but I eventually found my legs and did some serious pulling on the way back.

Coffeeneuring #4

4michael-prater

Where: Coffee Emporium, Downtown Cincinnati, Ohio
Date: Sunday, October 18th
Michael: Black Coffee
Chauncey: Small, Hot, Black Coffee
Mileage: 34.3 and 36.2 miles

Michael: Coldest day of the year (so far) we chose to open up the legs and lungs with an ascent of Mt Adams, a historic old German neighborhood with small streets and stunning views of the city. Needless to day, we had no time for that, as warm coffee beckoned.

Sock game was up a notch with Panache Cyclewear hooking me up with a not released (at the time) Champagne sock. Oh, damn, more calories to burn with that apple turnover! This location is not as friendly for bikes, but they would have let us bring them in if we had chosen to sit inside.

Chauncey Coffeeneuring

Chauncey: The fourth coffeeneuring adventure was cold! We did a steep climb before rewarding ourselves with coffee. I was sleep-deprived since this was my first week as a dad. It was nice to get out of the hospital since we were in there for a week.

Coffeeneuring #5

5michael-prater

Where: Reser’s Bike Shop, Newport, Kentucky
Date: October 24th
Michael: Macchiato
Chauncey: Macchiato
Mileage: 35.4 and 37.1 miles

Michael: Our first trip south of the border to one of the best coffee shops in the region. Oh yeah, they sell bikes too! We had a bit of a detour, as there were thousands of folk out doing a breast cancer awareness walk, taking over the Purple People Eater Bridge (seriously!) and forcing us to dive into Covington for a bit.

So totally worthwhile, I sipped my macchiato before even taking a photo. Super bike friendly, maybe too much as it’s hard to not spend money on toys there.

Chauncey Coffeeneuring

Chauncey: The fifth coffeeneuring adventure was beautiful! The fall colors popped today. Unfortunately, I slipped on some wet leaves and needed to head home for the cross bike.

That didn’t stop the fun! We had a great ride to a bike shop that has an amazing coffee stand. You can sit inside or outside. I bought a few necessities while there (food, air canisters, and a new dropout hanger).

Coffeeneuring #6

6michael-prater

Where: Newberry Brothers Coffee, Newport, Kentucky
Date: Sunday, November 1st
Michael: Cappuccino
Chauncey: Small, Hot, Black Coffee
Mileage: 32.8 and 36.9 miles

Michael: The guy who owns this place is a cyclist too, and runs a bourbon bar by night, coffee by day. How could we go wrong?

Repping some socks I picked up in Chicago from Intelligentsia Coffee. They very much fit the theme! Bike rack, fire pit, Eddy pictures on the inside of the café, how can you go wrong?

Chauncey Coffeeneuring

Chauncey: The sixth coffeeneuring adventure was a great way to welcome November! Stopping at Newberry Brothers Coffee is like a little cycling haven.

Bikes are mounted along the wall (since the owner, Peter, is an avid cyclist). Signed posters line the wall (including the Cannibal, Eddie Merck). Wonderful coffee and treats. We sat around the fire pit outside.

Coffeeneuring #7

7michael-prater

Where: Krispy Kreme Dougnuts, Anderson Township, Ohio
Date: Sunday, November 8th
Michael: (Mediocre) coffee
Chauncey: Small, Hot, Black Coffee
Mileage: 62.3 and 64.2 miles

Michael: This one was funny – a metric century to a location that is roughly a mile from each of our houses! Payoff was worthwhile, as any donut is a worthy donut in my opinion.

As a bonus, one of our early season training routes “The Brothers,” named for a particularly brutal section of rollers, was closed. We detoured north to the next road and found cycling nirvana, a single lane, fresh tarmac slice of rollers and false flats from Belgium. You know the kind – a downhill to uphill section that flows so well that you catch yourself giggling it’s so fun. A fitting way to end the #coffeeneuring challenge.

Still got sock game on stun with Panache Cyclewear’s Stars & Stripes socks. Not very bike friendly, seating was in the shade no space for bikes really. Appropriate for their bread & butter clientele: over-stressed parents in Suburbans.

Chauncey Coffeeneuring

Chauncey: The final coffeeneuring adventure was a metric century! We did a variation on a classic route of ours and found an amazing little street that looks like it was taken right out of Belgium and plopped in Ohio. Wonderful!

Chauncey Coffeeneuring

If you have a chance one day soon, please go for a ride in the spirit of coffeeneuring and friendship, and in memory of Michael Prater. 

4 thoughts on “Remembering Michael Prater: Cycling Fed His Soul, Coffee Fueled His Ride

  1. thank you. we all know too many victims of impaired [sometimes cruelly deliberate] drivers.
    in the past 6 years, i’ve had a friend stabbed multiple times by a road rager [life saved because one of our ride buddies is a surgical nurse] a friend killed by a drink driver, another run over deliberately [dead] one run off the road [month in hospital] my brother in law run over by some kids who held up a 7-11 [a week before their second anniversary] a couple run over [serious injuries but ok] a group ride plowed into by a bastard in an SUV who took off [hooray for phone cameras, i hope you rot in prison] a road-rager threatened to shoot us one morning [he pulled over, blocking the road], a friend hit from behind on a perfect day, and i don’t even want to go.
    sometimes i don’t know why we do it, take our chances out on the road.
    and then, there are the perfect days, sun, wind, hills, rain, sunrise, moonlight, magnolias, fresh cut grass, hot asphalt, whatever it is that makes the ride right just then …
    and i’m so glad i strapped on my helmet and shoes and left life behind.

    i’ll wear socks, with my poetry books, and raise a glass to Michael.

    Like

  2. Wow, what a wonderful post. I am in the Cincinnati/NKY area and heard of Mr. Prater’s death. So very sad. I am not a “roadie” so I don’t ride fast or do all that many miles, but this is a truly inspirational post. I will plan to visit some of the coffee shops mentioned and honor Mr. Prater. Maybe I will even find some funky socks as a tribute :-). Ride safe everyone.

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