October 18, 2021, the Chasing Mailboxes Coffeeneuring Challenge returns, now in its eleventh year. Yes, 11! My friends, if you ride a bike and drink coffee or tea (or even hot chocolate, coffee stouts, or cider) please consider this fall challenge.
The Coffeeneuring Challenge is a time to lightly turn the pedals, make the most of fall’s waning days, and linger over a steamy cup of coffee. This challenge offers an opportunity to connect virtually or in-person with others, as well as carve out time for contemplation over a beverage as we ride our way through the changing seasons.
What is the optimal number of coffeeneuring rides you can complete during the Coffeeneuring Challenge? The rules say seven, but I venture to say it’s really c+1 — always one more than what you’ve done so far.
The Coffeeneuring Challenge is not a race. Rides can be as short as two miles and there is no time limit.
The basics of the challenge are this:
- over the course of 6’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
- collect some proof of your coffeeneuring (either photos, Strava tracks, journal entries, etc.).
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. You may even be left with extra days for c+1 bonus rounds.
Like last year, the rules continue to be adapted to account for a variety of comfort levels.
How to Complete the Coffeeneuring Challenge
Here is the full suite of rules for the 2021 c+1 edition:
- Ride your bike to 7 different locations from Monday October 18 through Tuesday, November 30, 2021, and drink a coffeeneuring-approved beverage. 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 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 is a tonic for body and mind. A coffee shop without walls is a place like a park, campsite, gazebo, picnic table, field, a bridge (either under or over it), or even a parking lot like those people in Des Moines like to use. 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 Monday October 18 and ends on a Tuesday, 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. If you reach your 7 ride total, go for some c+1 rides, you’ll thank yourself!
- 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. That hideous Pabst Blue Ribbon coffee beer counts. 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. You do you! Go short or long, whatever you want to ride that day, as long as it’s at least two miles.
- Documentation. Updated for 2021, please read!!! Keep track of your rides with some type of evidence that shows you rode your bike for coffee. Some take photos, some post on Instagram of in the Coffeeneurs Facebook Group, others illustrate their rides, some provide links to Strava, and still others have done handwritten journals. Umbrella Works – the brains behind the coffeeneuring graphics work – designs control cards that coffeeneurs can complete as the challenge progresses. We will post these. Guess what?! We’ve built up a lot of trust over the last decade and I can count on one hand the number of people who falsely claimed to have completed the challenge. Therefore, I will not be requesting proof of all rides. Rather, you will complete this form once you have completed the challenge. You will share the dates of your rides, provide the total mileage completed for the challenge, attest to your honesty as relates to following the rules and spirit of coffeeneuring, and submit it to me. It’s that easy! Just keep your documentation on hand in case you 1. Want to send it to me just for fun; or 2. In the event the Coffeeneuring Challenge Committee reaches out to you for a spot check.
- We’re All in This Together and Comfort Zone Rule. Still in effect for 2021: please respect any social distancing guidelines in 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 c+1 as your theme within a theme (whatever that means to you), or anything else that inspires your completion of the challenge. (For example, Felkerino always wants to do Classic Coffeeneuring, which means only weekend days count toward completion, as that is how the challenge was originally constructed.) The sky is the limit! This is an optional rule, so go with it as you feel.
- Earth Rule. The Earth rule continues for 2021. There are no geographic limitations to the Coffeeneuring Challenge, except that you must coffeeneur on planet Earth. So even if Jeff Bezos invites you on a space ride with coffee with your bike, you will have to decline. 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, parking lots, overhangs, porches, you get the idea.
Submitting Coffeeneuring Challenge Rides
Submissions. There is one way to submit rides this year, and that is by completing this 2021 Coffeeneuring form. Submit it by
December 7 December 10 or so, please.
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 for this c+1 year. Thank you, Doug! I will have to get back with you on the cost, but anticipate it to be $10 or less.
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 c+1 edition of the Coffeeneuring Challenge plus 2 procedural points, and no 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 hearty 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 18. Seven locations in six’ish weeks. Can’t wait to pedal with all of you this c+1 year.