Seven is a Lucky Number: The 7th Annual Coffeeneuring Challenge

My favorite birthday card ever was from my seventh birthday. The card read:

“Seven is a lucky number
That’s what people say
And so your seventh birthday
Ought to be your lucky day.”

The Coffeeneuring Challenge turns seven this year, surely a lucky year. Ironically, we kick it all off on Friday the 13th of October. Many thanks to all who have participated and brought this challenge to life in the past, and a warm welcome to those who will take on the challenge this year! It’s your year!


The Chasing Mailboxes Coffeeneuring Challenge is a relaxed cycling endeavor for people everywhere. If you like riding a bike and enjoy drinking coffee or tea (or even hot chocolate or cider), consider this challenge.

In a nod to the French as well as randonneuring, the Coffeeneuring Challenge has its share of rules. Don’t be intimidated by these rules, though. As those who have completed the challenge will attest, they are all manageable. Essentially the challenge boils down to this:

  • over the course of 6’ish weeks,
  • ride your bike 7 different places,
  • at least 2 miles round-trip each time,
  • drink 7 cups of coffee (or similar), and
  • take 7 pictures as proof of your coffeeneuring.

With the exception of a slightly condensed timeframe, rules are not really changed from last year because I think we’ve dialed it all in pretty well.

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

  1. Ride your bike to 7 different local coffee shops from Friday October 13 through Sunday, November 19.  Any place that sells or serves coffee – or “coffee,” as the case may be – qualifies as a coffee shop. Reusable cups or mugs are highly encouraged!
  2. Coffee Shop Without Walls. You may also coffeeneur to a Coffee Shop Without Walls. A Coffee Shop Without Walls is a place like a park or campsite. You ride your bike to this place and proceed to make and/or drink coffee.
  3. Home Coffee Shop! Back for 2017! A coffeeneur may declare their home a coffee shop for other coffeeneurs (not for oneself) and declare times when the home coffee shop is open. People ride over and drink the coffee or hot beverage you prepare. You cannot charge people money for drinks provided at your home coffee shop, but maybe people can wash their own dishes when they are done? And I suppose you cannot complain too much about the coffee. You decide. This rule is a result of a comment period suggestion from an Oregon coffeeneur.
  4. ANY DAY OF THE WEEK WHILE ADHERING TO THE SPIRIT OF COFFEENEURING RULE. This one is back, too! You can coffeeneur ANY DAY OF THE WEEK. This rule must be followed in conjunction with Rule 9 regarding adherence to the Spirit of Coffeeneuring.
  5. Eligible beverages. Hot chocolate qualifies, as does tea. Apple cider is also a coffeeneuring-approved beverage. Note: Drinks do not have to be hot! They just have to be coffeeneuring-ish type drinks. Look, I even gave coffee ice cream a pass last year. Again, reusable cups a plus!
  6. Two Rides Maximum Per Week. Only 1 coffee shop per day counts and a maximum of two rides per week qualify. As the challenge kicks off on Friday, the week is considered Friday through Friday.
  7. Minimum Distance. Your ride must be at least two miles total, but there is no maximum so yes, you could ride 100 miles (or more!) for a cup of coffee.
  8. Documentation. Take a photo during your outing or provide some other form of evidence that you rode your bike for coffee, and submit it as verification. Please note:
    1. where you went (address and website, if possible);
    2. date you went there;
    3. what you drank;
    4. a detail or two about your coffeeneuring ride; and
    5. total mileage. (If you find any “must visit” coffee shops or tea places please share that as well.)
  9. Spirit of Coffeeneuring Rule. Regardless of when you choose to coffeeneur, you must always adhere to the Spirit of Coffeeneuring. What is the Spirit of Coffeeneuring, you ask? You know. The answer is inside of you. Perhaps it is a meetup over a hot beverage with friends, a solo outing in a park to brew coffee, or a mid-ride stop to savor a cup of java. Let your conscience be your guide. 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 casual shop ride, grocery run, ride to the gym, an informal ride with friends, or other transportation/utility-oriented ride. (If doing 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.)
  10. Theme Within a Theme Option! A theme within a theme is any additional theme you use to go coffeeneuring (see an example in this guest post with Jay and his #coffeeoutside theme). This is an option, although not a fast rule, so have fun with it as you see fit.
  11. Earth Rule. There are no geographic limitations to the Coffeeneuring Challenge, except that you must coffeeneur on planet Earth.
  12. 7 Different Places (on Earth!) Rule. You have to go to 7 different places, although you may ride to multiple locations of a chain, if necessary. For the Coffee Shop Without Walls, prepare and/or drink your coffee in different places. That means seven different campsites/locales.
  13. Submissions. Send all qualifying rides when you’ve finished the Coffeeneuring Challenge to me at gersemalina “at” by November 30. If you complete the challenge as a group, you may provide one submission for all of you, provided you completed all rides together. Submissions may be in the form of links to blog writeups, Instagram account, screenshots of or links to your coffeeneuring Tweets, Strava, on-line photo galleries with accompanying narrative, Word documents with attached or embedded photos, or e-mail writeups and submissions with photos attached.
  14. Prizes! You are eligible for a small prize for finishing the challenge. Our artist-in-residence Doug of umbrella works has once again designed something special for this year’s challenge. Thank you, Doug! Like last year, the premium will cost $5 which covers my costs. To purchase your prize, you may PayPal me at the gmail address above, or send your money by snail mail like grandma used to do. Email me for my address. If you are an international entry the prize will cost you an extra US $1.

Twitter and Instagram: The hashtag for the Coffeeneuring Challenge is #coffeeneuring. Tweet and/or post on Instagram if you like, but don’t feel obligated. This is a no-pressure situation.

Flickr: Share your photos in the Coffeeneuring group on flickr.

Facebook: There’s even a Coffeeneurs Facebook group where you can post and share your coffeeneuring.

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

I think that covers it. 14 rules for the 7-ride Coffeeneuring Challenge. That’s one fewer than last year, my friends!

It all starts October 13. Seven shops in six-ish weeks. You can do it!

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


  1. Is there no way to send you a submission via postal mail? After all it’s so nice getting something in the mail! What if I use an old fashion, or now in fashion, Polaroid camera? How do I get those photos to you? I’m also thinking that my theme within a theme this year might include more tangible items as proof of my rides. Of course, I would have to send those to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been training hard all summer long to be in top fitness for my favorite time of year. Final preparations are in progress. To anyone out there who is undecided, do not miss this. It’s the seventh year, and the good luck could transform your life!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I am in again this year Mary. You have my blog address ( where I will be posting my 7 stops — for tea ;’-). My theme is going to be “Tea shops without walls with a water view”. I am looking forward to meeting the challenge.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Love it! Will try to pull my LBS (Proteus – College Park, MD) in. As we already have weekly coffee rides on the schedule. And for me a great stretch goal for my recovery (from car hitting me) year.


  5. Despite missing last year due to family emergencies and other presses for our time, we are committed to completing our 6th (!?) coffeeneuring challenge this fall. Thanks, M, as always, for your thoroughness and organization in rounding up the caffeine-challenged.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Posted this to I’ll have a go at it. There are only 3 coffee shops with walls where I live so this will take some creativity to complete. Will take a shot (espresso of course) at it.


  7. Question…does the type of bike matter, if I combine road and mTn…there are a couple of coffee stands near some trail heads. I stumbled across this blog just today and want to join in the FUN, but as I approach the end of road season where I live, I will be out on the mTn bike for the trail conditions are primo right now! 😀


  8. There is no “official” registration at the outset, correct? Just do it and submit if you complete the challenge?



  9. Are smoothies coffeeneuring-ish beverages or no? They are often sold at a coffee shop but I don’t know if they count?


  10. […] Coffeeneuring is simply riding your bike to get some coffee. I found out about it earlier this year when I needed to replace a broken fender on my bike and the new fenders arrived with a copy of Bicycle Times magazine which had an article about coffeeneuring.  I usually don’t need a reason to go ride but I have been doing more in town rides lately, trying to explore some places I’ve never been or even thought about riding before. Plus our town has become more interesting with several breweries and lots of coffee shops. We have also been doing some slow rides where several hundred people show up to ride at a painfully slow pace for an hour checking out the city. It’s an unruly mob and it’s almost become a victim of its own success but I have seen a lot more people out riding in the last few years so it must be having a positive effect. Enough to now be sporting several new bike shops in town. […]


  11. This year’s coffeeneuring contest has been a blast! So far I’ve visited two parks (to go along with my theme-within-a-theme) that I’ve always ridden by but never had reason to stop at.
    Q: are we supposed to submit our entries weekly or just at the end of the Challenge?


    • I’m so glad, and I like your theme! You can submit all rides to me at the end, although feel free to share your coffeeneuring progress on your social media outlet of choice!


  12. Two rides in and I’m enjoying the challenge. My wife is deployed this fall, so it is keeping me busy while she is away.


  13. Here is what I wrote about ride 5 today ….Today as I was noodling along in the middle ring smiling to myself under a vivid blue sky with my tires crunching over fall leaves I thought there is about zero chance I would be doing this if it wasn’t for the Coffeeneuring Challenge. Thank you Mary.


Leave a Reply to E386 – Giving Cranks with Tom McTighe | The Sprocket Podcast Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s