On October 11, 2019, the Chasing Mailboxes Coffeeneuring Challenge returns for another year. That’s right my friends, it’s year eight for this 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 fall challenge.
Eight is great, and I’d say the Coffeeneuring Challenge is now officially a tradition. If the Coffeeneuring Challenge was a person, it would surely be reading, writing, riding bikes, and hanging out with friends.
The Coffeeneuring Challenge began as an antidote to the big randonneuring rides of spring and summer. It’s a time to spin the wheels slower, appreciate the places closer to home, and linger with friends (or solo) over a steamy cup of coffee.
Unlike randonneuring, the rides can be quite short and have no time limit. And like randonneuring, the Coffeeneuring Challenge has several rules. Don’t be intimidated by them! They are simply a framework to give the challenge some semblance of structure. As those who have successfully completed the challenge in years past can attest, the rules are totally manageable, and maybe even sometimes breakable. Essentially the challenge boils down to this:
- over the course of 7’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. Or maybe this year take 8 pictures, since EIGHT IS GREAT.
How to Complete the Coffeeneuring Challenge
Here is the full suite of rules for 2019:
- Ride your bike to 7 different local coffee shops from Friday October 11 through Monday, November 25, 2019. 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! Please, whenever you can, bring your own mug or ask for a real drinking cup that can be washed.
- 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, or a bridge (people like coffee on bridges for some reason). You ride your bike to this place and proceed to make and/or drink coffee.
- Home Coffee Shop! Back once again for the third time, 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 no one can complain about the coffee. You decide.
- Rule Inside a Rule ALL CAPS Rule! ANY DAY OF THE WEEK WHILE ADHERING TO THE SPIRIT OF COFFEENEURING RULE. 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. This is the only ALL CAPS rule.
- Eligible beverages. Hot chocolate qualifies, as does tea. Apple cider is also a coffeeneuring-approved beverage. Hard cider counts! Coffee porters or stouts can qualify as well. Coffee ice cream can count, but don’t go crazy with the ice cream, it’s a beverage-focused challenge after all. Note: Drinks do not have to be hot! They just have to be coffeeneuring-ish type drinks. Again, reusable cups when possible, por favor!
- Two Rides Maximum Per Week. Only one coffee shop per day counts and a maximum of two rides per week qualify. As the challenge kicks off on Friday and ends on a Monday, there is latitude with how one defines their week. As long as you define it as seven consecutive days, you can start your week on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or Monday. You make the call, and don’t switch it around.
- Minimum Distance. Your ride must be at least two miles total, but there is no maximum distance so yes, you could ride 100 miles (or more!) for a cup of coffee.
- Documentation. Take a photo or provide some other form of evidence that shows you rode your bike for coffee, and submit it as verification. Some take photos, others have illustrated their rides, some provide links to Strava (along with a photos) and still others have done handwritten journals. Please note:
- where you went (address or website);
- date you went there;
- what you drank;
- a detail or two about your coffeeneuring ride; and
- total mileage. (If you find any “must visit” coffee shops or tea places please share that as well.)
- Spirit of Coffeeneuring Rule. Regardless of when you choose to coffeeneur, you must always abide the Spirit of Coffeeneuring. What is the Spirit of Coffeeneuring, you ask? The answer is inside you. Basically, you ask yourself, should this ride qualify. Listen to the Spirit of Coffeeneuring whisper on the wind, and 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. Basically you cannot combine it with any pay to play events, and if you have questions on whether your ride should qualify, let me know. Or call upon the Spirit of Coffeeneuring. You may, however, combine your coffeeneuring ride with a casual shop or club 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.
- 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 Erin and her journaling theme, and on anniebikes for her 2018 history theme. This is an optional rule, so go with it as you feel. I’ll try to put together a guest post to highlight some of the themes from last year.
- Earth Rule. The Earth rule remains in effect for 2019. There are no geographic limitations to the Coffeeneuring Challenge, except that you must coffeeneur on planet Earth. If you cannot adhere to this rule, please contact me immediately.
- 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.
Submitting Coffeeneuring Challenge Rides
- Submissions. There are multiple ways to submit rides. Let me know you’ve finished the challenge by emailing me at gersemalina “at” gmail.com by December 7 or so. Please put “coffeeneuring” somewhere in the email subject.
- 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 via links to blog writeups, screenshots or links to your coffeeneuring Tweets, links to Strava, on-line photo galleries with accompanying narrative, Word documents with attached or embedded photos, or e-mail writeups and submissions with photos attached. You can even mail me photographs that you took with a real camera and developed in an actual darkroom, which someone did one time and it was quite impressive.
- You can DM me on Instagram if you used that to post all rides.
- You can DM me on Facebook if you used the Facebook Group to post your rides.
- Prizes! You are eligible for a small prize for finishing the challenge. Our artist-in-residence Doug of Umbrella Works has partnered with the Coffeeneuring Challenge once again to design something special. Thank you, Doug! Price of the swag is $10 USD (both within US and International) and I’ll get back with details soon. We planned special items for this Eight is Great year, so stay tuned!
Fill us in on your coffeeneuring via any of the following methods. Post as you like, but don’t feel obligated. This is a no pressure situation.
Blog it: Let me know if you blog your coffeeneuring, as I’ll do periodic roundups along the way.
Facebook: There is a Coffeeneurs Facebook group where you can post and share about coffeeneuring.
Flickr: Share your photos in the Coffeeneuring group on flickr.
Strava: Track your rides here and/or join the Always Be Coffeeneuring group. Make sure to include a pic!
I think that covers everything. 12 rules for the 7-ride Coffeeneuring Challenge plus 2 procedural points, and a few sub bullets!
Many thanks to all who have participated and brought this challenge to life in the past, and a welcome to those who will take on the challenge for the first time. Eight is great, and this could be your year!
As always, if you have any questions, feel free to put them in the comments section or send me a note.
It all starts October 11. Seven shops in seven weeks. Join us, you won’t regret it! Eight is great and so are we!