Saturday, November 15, 2014

Coffeeneuring 2014

This was my third consecutive year doing the Coffeeneuring Challenge. I've had a blast each year, enjoying the casual rides with no particular route or time schedule, and of course finding great new coffee shops! Once again this year I used Sundays and Tuesdays, my guaranteed days off from work. I also get every other Saturday off, but the coffee shop rides I did on those days just didn't count!

Coffeeneuring #1: Benelux Coffee -Tuesday, Oct. 7th 2014 - 17.8miles
In both previous years I have visited Benelux Coffee at City Market in downtown Raleigh, but shortly before this year's challenge they moved to new digs at Cameron Village. I decided to use the first ride to go check out the new location. It's a bit further for me to get to the new shop from home, and Cameron Village is not one of my favorite places to ride. It was hot out, so I had a mocha frap and waited to see if anyone would show up for the usual Tuesday night ride, but no one did. The shop had only just opened the day before, so folks probably didn't know. Got back on the bike and rode home, suitably caffeinated.

Coffeeneuring #2- Lorraine's Coffee House and Music - Sunday Oct. 12th, 2014 - 4.7miles
Lorraine's is a new coffee shop on Timber drive in Garner, quite close to my house. I've been meaning to check it out, and since I had a speed light class to teach in the afternoon I needed a quick ride in the morning. I went to Lorraine's first and fueled up with a cafe mocha and a blueberry scone. It's a huge shop, and includes a stage for live bands. I'll have to see what kind of music they book, perhaps Garner nightlife is looking up? Once I finished my coffee and breakfast I rode a quick loop around Garner and went home to clean up and make myself presentable for class.

My Garmin wasn't charged up, so I logged my ride with the MapMyRide app on the phone.

Coffeeneuring #3- Aversboro Coffee - Tuesday Oct. 14th 2014 - 7.3miles
Another shop I've visited during both the previous years is Aversboro Coffee, my favorite local shop here in Garner, NC. I had a full day planned for my day off, so I went out for a quick morning lap around town with a stop near the end for a medium coffee and a pumpkin spice muffin. Mmmm…

I still hadn't charged up the Garmin… Here is the MapMyRide link.

Coffeeneuring #4- Harris Lake County Park (coffeeshop without walls) - Sunday, Oct.19th - 18.6miles
I decided to ride the 72 mile route at the NC Bicycle Club's Fall Rally, but I really wanted to get a coffeeneuring run in. I did this last year and rode over to a shop in Holly Springs, but discovered that the powers that be had turned Hwy 55 into a "super street," effectively splitting Holly Springs in two for bicycle and pedestrian traffic. If you're not familiar with these asphalt abominations then click the link, and imagine trying to navigate them. Then if your local transportation folks propose one you'll know to fight it tooth and nail! Anyway, I didn't want to fight that again, so I brought my stove and pour over kit so I could ride to Harris Lake- I'd been wanting to do a "coffeeshop without walls." 

(charged up the Garmin!)

Coffeeneuring #5 - Café de los Muertos - Sunday Oct. 26th 2014 - 15.88miles
This is a popular new coffee shop in downtown Raleigh that I've been wanting to try, so I rode to Raleigh from Garner and had a cold brew and a muffin. While I was there I ran into 5 different friends- like I said, this place has become popular! When I left to head home I was joined by a couple of friends from the Benelux/Hepcat Race/Oaks And Spokes crowd. We rode casually through downtown and talked about the coffeeneuring challenge… Perhaps a couple of new riders next year! We parted ways on the east side of downtown and I turned south to head back to Garner.

I really suck at charging the Garmin. Here is the route.

Coffeeneuring #6 - The Coffee Mill - Tuesday Oct 28th 2014 - 25.4miles
There's a great little shop in Clayton, NC that I've visited both of the previous years as well. I had to meet a contractor at the house in the morning, so once that was done I grabbed my charged-up Garmin, jumped on the carbon bike and headed to The Coffee Mill for a pre-lunch snack- a cheese danish and a cafe mocha. It's a straight shot, out-and-back on a road that's lightly traveled this time of day. A nice relaxing ride!

Coffeeneuring #7 - Lake Benson Park (coffeeshop without walls) - Sunday Nov.2nd - 8.1miles
I enjoyed the coffeeshop without walls experience so much I wanted to do another for my final ride. I gathered my stove and pour over kit, jumped on the bike and headed for Lake Benson. It was a chilly, windy morning and there was no real shelter from the wind on the lakeshore. I stopped at a picnic shelter and did my best to block the wind from my little stove. It did a great job, and soon I was sipping some nice hot coffee… but I forgot to pack any snacks! Downing the rest of my pour over brew I got back on the bike and rode a big loop around Garner back home to grab some food.

Bonus Coffeeneuring (#8) - 5th Avenue Coffee - Tuesday Nov. 4th 2014 - 10miles
I hadn't planned to get coffee. It was my day off, and I threw the 'cross wheels on the Soma to go play around on some of the local trails. I was a bit lazy though, and I didn't take off the fenders! I got lots of twigs and leaves up in there, and had to stop to clear some major blockages a few times. Still, I was out on the bike and having fun when a strange thing happened… I started craving coffee! I decide to get back to the asphalt and head to 5th Avenue Coffee in Garner- I hadn't been back there since a bad experience with the former management. Well, I gave them another shot but this was a sad excuse for a cafe mocha. I drank about half of it, dumped the rest and headed home to make a real cup.

Well, that's it. 2014 Coffeeneuring Challenge in the books! As I rode home from work today I found myself inexplicably drawn to stop for a cup at Morning Times… As if I wasn't enough of a caffeine addict, now I must drink coffee every time I ride. Oh who am I kidding, I was doing that anyway.

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