I actually did ride a bike some last year but I just haven't been writing... New baby in the house keeps you busy! Well, it's Coffeeneuring Challenge time again so I've got to blog about my adventures. This year I decided my Theme Within A Theme would be Coffeeneuring with Friends- seven coffeeshops, seven weekends, seven friends. Sounds easy, right? Well, technically I succeeded at the Coffeeneuring Challenge, but I failed at my theme since I had to do three solo trips to qualify. Why is it hard to convince folks to come out and meet me for coffee? You might well arsk.
#1- Geof at Lucky Tree, 10/9/16, 24 miles
First Coffeeneuring weekend was right after Hurricane Matthew. I rode from home to meet Geof at Lucky Tree coffee, using a couple of greenways along the way. Trees down everywhere. Most I could climb over or under, but a couple blocked my route entirely. Once at the coffeeshop I had a brownie and a drip coffee. Geof was riding some dirt through Umstead and headed over to meet me. He and I have known each other since I first moved to Raleigh 18 years ago and he worked with my wife at a photo lab. Eventually we started riding bikes together and then working together at Peace Camera. I didn't have to twist his arm at all to get him to meet me for coffee on a bike.
#2- Kristy at Cafe de los Muertos, 10/15/16, 8 miles
My second Coffeenuring with friends was meeting up with Kristy at Cafe de los Muertos in downtown Raleigh on a Saturday morning before work. We met a few years back through her bicycle advocacy with Oaks and Spokes and on Benelux rides. I drank a cafe mocha while we chatted about her recent trip to Alaska, my trip to Paris, the addition to my family, etc. It was really cool to use coffeeneuring as an excuse to just sit and chat with a friend and catch up on life. Just before I had to leave to head to work, Dave Zell from Oak City Cycling rode up and we chatted with him as well. I was late for work.
#3- Solo to Deja Brew, 10/16/16, 30 miles
Unable to find anyone willing to meet me for coffee on a gorgeous Sunday I decided to ride a solo safety coffeeneuring run. Good thing I did, as it would soon prove harder than I thought to convince folks to meet me for coffee. Since Peace Camera is being forced to move to a new location, my work commute is getting longer. I managed to plan a route to the new store, and there's a great little coffeeshop in the same shopping center with us. With no one to join me, I decided I might as well test out the new commute. It turns out to be not a bad route. I had an iced coffee, checked out a park nearby for photo possibilities, and then headed home.
#4- Solo to Aversboro Coffee, 10/29/16, 4 miles
Again I was unable to find anyone to join me. I figured it was probably smart to ride another safety trip just in case, so I headed to my favorite coffeeshop near my house for a frozen mocha.
#5- Ken at Jubala Coffee, 11/5/16, 18 miles
Back on track with friends, I rode from home to meet Ken at Jubala Coffee for a cappuccino. We met a couple of years back at Cranksgiving, schlepping canned goods and turkeys by bike to help feed the homeless. Since then we've ridden together on a few organized rides, a chance meeting on the road, and lately a bit of randonneuring. This was the first time we've had a chance to just hang out & drink coffee. Afterward we rode over to City Market so I could scout locations for my shoot the following day at the Tweed Ride.
#6- Simon at Boulted Bread, 11/13/16, 12 miles
Another great opportunity to use coffeeneuring to catch up with a longtime friend! Simon answered the call and agreed to meet me on a crisp Sunday morning. We talked about his recent trip to Europe and Ireland and my start on the journey of fatherhood. I've known Simon about 15 years, and we've worked together on quite a few photo shoots. It was great to get the chance to catch up, and I had a drip coffee and a coffeecake. I also tucked a ciabatta and a couple of other pastries in my pannier to take home. I can't resist Boulted Bread!
#7- Solo at Starbucks, 11/20/16, 4.5 miles
The realization that I was going to fail at my theme within a theme had already set in, and I had resolved to use my safety rides to complete the challenge. But life kept getting in the way and now I was down to the wire and in danger of missing it by one ride. I was scheduled to work a full day loading and moving the camera store on the last day of the challenge, so my only option was to get up early and ride to the closest Starbucks for a technical finish. It wasn't pretty, but it counts. On an interesting note, in five consecutive years of successful Coffeeneuring Challenges this is my first Starbucks! I had a grande Pike and a bacon gouda sandwich. Pretty sure they sprinkle crack on those things, they're addictive.
Alright, that's it. Another one down. Can't wait for next year- my son will be old enough to ride in the iBert and come along on some of my journeys- at least the ones that Mommy approves the safety of the route!