Sunday, November 12, 2017

2017 Coffeeneuring Challenge Report

The 2017 Coffeeneuring Challenge has been completed, is in the books, and I'm ready to report.  Some of the rides were solo.  A couple were with the Cascade Bicycle Club, but those events hardly qualify as 'organized,' in the sense of a race, century, fund-raiser or the TdF.  This year, I tried to avoid large intergalactic retail chains that have metastasized across the commercial landscape, and instead patronize the local shops, preferably those who also baked their own goodies.

Here's the rundown:

1.   Lundeen Coffee Company in Lake Stevens, Washington, after a 41 mile route with the CBC from Lake Stevens to Granite Falls and then returning via Marysville.   The coffee shack was right across the street from where we started and, coincidentally, we finished.  Drank my standard, a double short Americano, here balanced on my saddle.

2. The next day, a 30 miler solo stopping at Zeitgeist Coffee in Pioneer Square, Seattle.   A must for ambiance, flavor, history, java and their molasses cookies.  I've stopped at Zeitgeist every year during the Coffeeneuring Challenge.  It's worth it.

3.  And, the following Sunday, a similar route took me to the SODO neighborhood (South of the Dome, which no longer exists).   This time, 32 miles and a stop at Macrina Bakery, followed by a visit to The House that Griffey Built, and a return on the Ship Canal Trail.  Autumn is a great time for cycling in Seattle.

4.  Again, back with the Cascade Bike Club, and again with the "Steady" pace group, also known as the slow riders.   We started in fog, with the sun breaking through as the group approached Warm Beach.  Coffee this time #4 at First Class Coffee in Arlington, WA., at rest stop on 40 mile ride in Snohomish County. 2X Americano at coffee stand adjacent to a cannabis shop.  We were downwind from a chicken ranch, but the retail staff at the cannabis shop assured us that that the aroma was better inside their establishment.  We chose to ride on with just caffeine in our system.

5.  Once more, rode the next day, and this time a regular route used for training, city exploring, with a stop at the venerable Larsen's Bakery, a Ballard institution.  Kringle and a double-short Americano to boost my tired legs over the 2nd half of the 23 miler.

6.  Raining, windy, chilly and I needed to go to the library, so I put on the rain jacket, rode up to return a book and pick up the next read, and stopped at the Grateful Bread for a coffee and a cookie. 

3 and a half miles, but hey, it got me out of the house.

7.  It's now November, it rains in Seattle, but in between storms and showers, there's still good cycling, and today, 25 miles out to Sunset Hill, the Chittenden Locks, and back via the Ship Canal trail to Byen Bakeri, for a 2X Americano and some amazing goodie with a Scandinavian name that had sugar, butter, almond paste and puff pastry, and the clear winner of treats for this year's challenge.

So, that's it.  7 rides.  All on the Blue Riot.  7 coffees, all at independent stores, some with excellent bakeries.   All rides took place on Planet Earth, and in all instances, I kept to the Spirit of Coffeeneuring, even on those two excursions that were scheduled group rides.  Our gratitude, thanks and admiration for the Goddess of Coffeeneuring, and once again it is an honor participate with the international community of coffeeneurs in harmony, peace, goodwill, and friendship.   

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

No Chilly Hilly for Me!

Woke up, looked outside at the rain, the cold (35 degrees F!), saw the breeze, and decided, no.

I wasn't alone in not going.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Here We Go Again

How many times have I done this ride? I've got a record in Garmin Connect from 2010, a ride report from 2008, but am sure that was not the first time.   What I do know is, I don't need the map.

Chilly Hilly is always an adventure of some sort, and this year the weather is supposed to live up to it name.  I've pedaled about 125 miles this year so far, with 3,400 ft of elevation gain, and will add to that before next Sunday.    Here we go again.

Monday, January 2, 2017

2016 in the Rear View Mirror

52 miles on the last two days of 2016 were my attempts to get the New Year off to a better start than 2016, a difficult year for all on a global level, with too many losses to bear and the national prospects dim and foreboding.

I rode about 300 fewer miles in 2016 than the previous year,  the result of travel, both for work and family.  By far, the best reason to travel was to see our first grandchild, Miles in San Francisco.  And, while traveling, I got to bike in Brooklyn, Denver and Austin, the latter two using their Bike Share programs.   For the first year in the last four, I was not able to complete the Coffeeneuring challenge, but still had fun doing so.

The Blue Riot took me to Portland on the STP, and I rode over the Columbia River in Pasco, Washington.  One of the clear highlights of the year was the Emerald City ride, over the newly constructed 520 bridge on the first day the span was opened, a celebration with 7,000 others.  And, of course, there was the Chilly Hilly on a cold and wet day last February, a ride that normally lives up to the name.

For the year, my mileage totaled 2,568 miles, plus or minus, gained about 113,000 in elevation, and actually rode 85 times. Longest one day ride was Day One of the STP, 116 miles, exceeding the CTS Century and Kent-Enumclaw loop, both part of the Cascade Training Series where I volunteered as a Cascade Ride Leader.

I stayed healthy, stayed upright on the bike, and aside from the Coffeeneuring challenge, had no DNFs.   Those are victories.   The Rivendell Bleriot continues to be my go-to bike, for recreational and sight seeing rides, for the occasion commute, century, mosey or two-wheeled therapy session. Here's to more of the same, only more so, in 2017.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

2016 Coffeeneuring - An Incomplete

The 2016 Coffeeneuring Challenge took me to a number of new cafes, bakeries, and outlets.  While I didn’t complete the requisite 7 trips, due to a number of factors, including travel, weather, other responsibilities and distractions, I had fun, rode with friends, enjoyed coffee and goodies.

Here’s the list:

Preseason Coffeeneuring on the Kitsap Color Classic at Viking Brew in Poulsbo, on September 25.  2X Americano at about halfway on a 57 mile jaunt.   Good pick me up when I could use one.

Coffeeneuring #1 - Zeitgeist Coffee in Pioneer Square in Seattle.  October 8.   2X Americano and a molasses cookie.  A rainy day and they let me bring my bike inside.  Always bike friendly, always great coffee

Coffeeneuring #2 - Iced latte at Mellow Johnny’s in Austin, Texas on October 15.  Yes, this is Lance’s bike shop, which I visited while on business in Austin.   Rented a bike using the Austin Bike Share program, toodled around Lady Bird Lake.   

Coffeeneuring #3 was completed on October 22, as part of the Seattle Pastry Rides series, one of Cascade Bike Club’s free group rides.   We rode from Gas Works Park, down along Lake Washington, and then up to Beacon Hill, before dropping into the SoDo neighborhood to Macrina Bakery.   Here’s a map.  2X Americano and an apple turnover.   Lots of bikes, lots of riders, and the bakery was even more crowded with the Sounders match nearby.   

The next weekend, on October 30, the Pastry Ride Series continued, and this time in the North End.  We stopped at Grand Pere Bakery in Mountlake Terrace.     Best goodie of the series, an almond croissant as big as a baseball glove, and another 2X Americano to keep me going as the rain started. Coffeeneuring #4.  

Coffeeneuring #5, November 6, I got separated from the group on a ride out to Alki Point in West Seattle, but stopped at Top Pot Doughnuts to regroup and refuel, coffee and bacon maple bar.  37 miles, and well worth it.  

Then, life happened.  I didn’t ride for a couple of weeks.   Rainy weekends, no time during the week due to this thing called a job, family obligations, and national events were distracting, to say the least. Finally, back on the bike in the rain on November 20, but the last coffeeneuring, past the deadline, was last weekend, November 27.  A North End loop, and a stop at Larsen’s in Crown Hill, for a pick-me-up before heading back in the drizzle.

Yes, that’s seven rides in total for coffee this fall, but not within the time frame allowed, so no completion of the challenge this year, after having done so in the past four years.  

A bit of a disappointment, but the spirit of coffeeneuring continues into Winter and the New Year. Always be coffeeneuring!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Coffeeneuring Recap - 2015

For the third straight year, I can count the Coffeneuring Challenge as part of my cycling adventures.  One of the many positive aspects about this world-wide event is to be a part of a greater community, to share experiences, to keep riding as the days get shorter, the weather, in our part of the planet, colder and wetter, and the temptation to park the bike and sit on the tukhas greater.  And, with the preponderance of events of tragedy, meanness, pettiness, and violence that have crossed the radar in the past months, Coffeeneuring is a powerful and necessary positive counterbalance to the universe's tendencies toward entropy and madness.

My mileage and intensity drops after the riding season ends, generally with Kitsap Color Classic, but the goal to keep riding during the winter months is helped by participating in this.

So, here's the recap.

Preseason #1 - Ashland to Jacksonville, Oregon.   Grande double iced mocha at Good Bean Coffee.  41 miles round trip and average temperature was 95 degrees, further complicated by smoke and haze from Cascade wildfires.  Blue Riot received compliments from locals and bike-friendliness rating of shop exceeds expectations.

Preseason #2 - Kitsap Color Classic.  Cascade Bike Club's fall end-of-season ride involves a ferry ride from Edmonds to Kingston, and then a jaunt around the Kitsap Peninsula.  I rode the shorter route, 38 miles, and enjoyed a muffin and ferry boat coffee on the voyage over to the start.  Blue Riot met up with the World's Smallest Viking. Washington State Ferries's crew always do a great job with all of us on our bikes and again, and their bike-friendliness exceeds expectations.

OK, down to business.  Coffeeneuring #1 - 2X short Americano at Starbucks with a Rice Krispie Treat.  34.9 miles on Cascade's Free Group Ride series, Saturday mornings in Snohomish County.
Starbucks' bike-friendliness meets expectations, but then again, they handled the caffeinated peloton's rush with good service, smiles, and sustenance for the balance of the ride.

Coffeeneuring #2 - A familiar route to Phinney Ridge Starbucks, 2X Iced Mocha, then out to Golden Gardens, across the Ballard Locks, around Magnolia Bluff and through Seattle Center on a warm October Sunday.   32.5 miles.  This Starbucks has no wi-fi, but does have pleasant tables shared with Red Mill Burgers, a must when we get around to organizing Burgerneuring.

And now for something completely different for #3.....Keeping on track with the challenge involved riding while I was traveling, and in this instance, to the mile-high city, Denver.  I rented a Denver B-share bike, rode the Cherry Creek and Platte River Bike Trails to Confluence Park, stopped at the REI Flagship Store for a tall iced coffee, fine ambiance, and finished by cruising around the downtown area.  About 14 miles, mile high, warm, friendly.

#4 in the series was combined with Cascade's Seattle Pastry series of rides, and this one took the group from the Central District, over the University Bridge to Green Lake, and then out to Ballard, the Locks, and Magnolia, for a stop at Uptown Espresso, the Home of the Velvet Foam.  2x Americano.  Parked outside with all the other bikes, across from the Magnolia Farmers Market.  Simpatico.  27.4 miles.

For the next two, a couple of Coffeeneuring standbys.   #5 centered around a visit to Zoka Coffee, complete with a Zoka Bar and a 2X Americano.  Zoka Coffee always is filled with U of W students taking advantage of wi-fi, studying, reading, surfing the internet, etc., and no exceptions on this rainy Sunday.  Zoka sponsors a cycle team, so they like bikes.  Followed this up with a Lake Union>Locks>BGT loop.  Two weeks later, and on another rainy and windy Seattle day I rode to Zeitgeist in Pioneer Square, a 29 mile loop.  Apple fritter and coffee, for Coffeeneuring #6.  The baristas tolerate bikes inside, as do the other customers, and bike friendliness at both venues meets expectations.

Finally, on the Sunday after the tragic events in Paris, the 2015 Coffeneuring challenge was completed with a visit to the Starbucks at Seattle Center, a 26 mile loop on a sunny Sunday.  The French Tri-color Flag was flying atop the Space Needle, putting all of our coffee bike rides into proper perspective.  As the Coffeeneuring World Map reinforces,  we are part of a large community of cycling coffee friends and neighbors,  and are grateful for being a part of something larger than ourselves, something fun, healthy and contributing to the greater good.

Sunday, October 18, 2015