Sunday, November 22, 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.