Where shall we start with 2020? I have an idea. Let’s start with one good thing. On October 10, 2020, the Chasing Mailboxes Coffeeneuring Challenge returns. That’s right my friends, if you ride a bike and drink coffee or tea (or even hot chocolate, coffee stouts, or cider) and are on the hunt for one good thing this fraught year, consider this fall challenge.
The Coffeeneuring Challenge is a time to spin the wheels, experience the chill of fall as it pokes at you through your clothes, and linger over a steamy cup of coffee. The challenge offers an opportunity to virtually connect with others as we ride through shorter days and changing seasons. I don’t think I’m alone when I suggest we might need coffeeneuring now more than ever.
The Coffeeneuring Challenge is not a race. Rides can be as short as two miles and there is no time limit.
Essentially the challenge boils down to this:
- over the course of 7’ish weeks,
- ride your bike to 7 different places,
- at least 2 miles round trip each time,
- drink 7 cups of coffee (or similar), and
- take 7 pictures (or other documentation) as proof of your coffeeneuring.
The 11 official Coffeeneuring Challenge rules are described below. As those who have previously completed the challenge will attest, the rules are totally manageable, maybe even sometimes breakable, and everyone who completes the challenge must follow them within reason. They have even been adapted for 2020 to account for a variety of comfort levels.
How to Complete the Coffeeneuring Challenge
Here is the full suite of rules for the 2020 One Good Thing edition:
- Ride your bike to 7 different locations from Saturday October 10 through Monday, November 23, 2020, and drink a coffeeneuring-approved beverage. New for this year – any place where you can drink a coffeeneuring-approved beverage counts as a location. This could be a coffee shop, café, gas station, or even a coffee shop without walls (see #2!). 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. That may not be as feasible this year, but let’s all do our part where we can.
- Coffee Shop Without Walls. You may coffeeneur to a coffee shop without walls. In fact, you are encouraged to do so. A little fresh air does the mind and body good, especially in times like these. A coffee shop without walls is a place like a park, campsite, gazebo, picnic table, field, or a bridge (people like coffee on bridges for some reason). Essentially, a coffee shop without walls is anywhere you pause during your ride to prepare and/or drink a beverage.
- Two Rides Maximum Per Week. You can coffeeneur any day of the week. A maximum of two rides per week qualify, and only one coffee location per day counts toward completion. As the challenge kicks off Saturday October 10 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 Saturday, Sunday, or Monday. You make the call, and don’t switch it around.
- Eligible beverages. Hot chocolate qualifies, as does tea. Apple cider is also a coffeeneuring-approved beverage. Hard cider counts! Coffee porters or stouts 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!
- Minimum Distance. Your ride must be at least two miles total for each trip you take, but there is no maximum distance so yes, you could ride 100 miles (or more!) for a cup of coffee. Go short or long, whatever you feel like doing that day, as long as it’s at least two miles.
- Documentation. Take a photo or provide some other form of evidence that shows you rode your bike for coffee, and submit it as verification. Umbrella Works – the brains behind the coffeeneuring graphics work – designs control cards that coffeeneurs can complete as the challenge progresses. We will post these. Some people take photos, others illustrate 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 of your trip (or kilometers).
- UPDATE: Tell me how many times you’ve completed the Coffeeneuring Challenge, and include your city, state/province, and country!
- We’re All in This Together and Comfort Zone Rule. Please respect the social distancing guidelines for your area. Also, please choose the format that works best for your comfort zone. If you do not feel comfortable going to a coffee shop, then do not go to one. If you want to make your coffee or brew your tea at home and then stop and drink it somewhere along your route, you can certainly do that instead. The Coffeeneuring Challenge is supposed to be One Good Thing, not a thing that creates anxiety or stresses you out. We’ve got enough of that going on this year.
- Spirit of Coffeeneuring Rule. Regardless of when or how you choose to coffeeneur, you must always abide by the Spirit of Coffeeneuring. What is the Spirit of Coffeeneuring, you wonder? The answer is inside you. Basically, you ask yourself, should this ride qualify. Listen to the Spirit of Coffeeneuring, and let your conscience be your guide. You may not combine your coffeeneuring ride with any other organized ride such as a randonneuring event or paid century event. If you have questions on whether your ride should qualify, let me know. Or call upon the Spirit of Coffeeneuring, it’s always there for you. You may, however, combine your coffeeneuring ride with a casual ride, grocery store trip, an informal ride, or other transportation/utility-oriented ride. If doing a brevet or populaire, 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. You could use One Good Thing as your theme within a theme (whatever that means to you), or anything else that inspires your completion of the challenge. The sky is the limit! This is an optional rule, so go with it as you feel.
- Earth Rule. The Earth rule remains in effect for 2020. 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 Locations (on Earth!) Rule. You have to go to 7 different locations, 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, bridges, gazebos, parks, porches, you get the idea.
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 6 or so. Please put “coffeeneuring” somewhere in the email subject.
- If you complete the challenge with another person, you may provide one combined submission, 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.
- If you used the FB group to post your rides, I can verify you by searching the group. Please let me know via DM or email so that I know to verify your completion. I’ll also send out a note to the Coffeeneurs Facebook group as the challenge nears the end in case anyone forgets.
- You can DM me on Instagram if you used that to post all rides.
- Prizes! You are eligible for a small prize for finishing the challenge. As I mentioned above, Doug of Umbrella Works has partnered with the Coffeeneuring Challenge once again to design something special. Thank you, Doug! UPDATE: Finishers prize is $6 for U.S.-based finishers, and $8 for everyone else.
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, although I usually forget a detail or two. A total of 11 rules for the 7-ride Coffeeneuring Challenge plus 2 procedural points, and a few sub bullets. Getting more streamlined every year!
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 for the first time. 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 10. Seven locations in seven’ish weeks. Let’s pedal together for one good thing this year.