“Coffeeneuring” is that even a real word? I guess to understand what this post is all about I should begin by discussing the century old sport of Randonneuring, or long distance cycling. A typical randonee or brevet would be a 200 to 1400 km ride. Often times an out and back route, and it would be absolultely dripping in tradition, protocol, and etiquette.
In a past life jumping on my bicycle and taking off for a hundred or more miles was a common occurrence. But these days jumping on my bike and heading for a coffee shop is way more likely to happen. So when I read about the “Fourth Annual Chasing Mailboxes Coffeeneuring Challenge” I thought it was the perfect fit for a retired guy that likes to go out noodleing around on his mountain bike.
So, just for the record, here are the details for Ride No. 1 of the 7 required coffee shop stops:
Date: Oct 7th, 2014 -Time 1400 hours. As a retired guy I get to designate my weekends to be any day I choose (how cool is that?) so I picked a Tuesday.
Place: The Rotary Park bike trail along the Snohomish River. I stopped at a cool little bridge over a marsh so I could do some birding with my coffee. I made my own coffee with my JetBoil stove and Nescafe’ 3-in-1 packs, taking advantage of the “Coffee Shop Without Walls” rule. Round trip milage was about 6 miles…
Bike: Specialized Rockhopper 29er’ hardtail.
Ride No. 2 – I thought I would go for a real coffee shop (sort of). I chose Thursday as an official weekend and waited till about 1100 hours for the morning fog to burn off a little.
Yep, they have a little mocha stand inside. I grabbed a mocha and rolled over to the Fisherman’s Memorial to share a cup with this hardy man of the sea.
I was referring to the bronzed statue guy, not that other dude in the photo.
I pedaled around the marina for a bit, visited with some of my police pals, and then, just as the sun was clawing its way through the grey skies, I took off for home. Round trip about 8-9 miles.
Man you got to love these beautiful fall colors.
Ride No. 3 How about a nice cup of tea, freshly brewed on a cedar fire, while sitting next to a quiet mountain pond.
Everything Tea in Snohomish WA is my favorite tea store, and Irish Breakfast Tea is my go to loose leaf tea of choice.
Conveniently, it is right along the route from my house to Lord Hill Regional Park. Mitchell Lord homesteaded his dairy farm here, in the forest high above the Snohomish River, back in 1878. These days the park is managed by Snohomish County Parks and maintained mostly by volunteers. It is a favorite place for equestrians, mountain bike riders, and hikers.
Stats for the ride: Oct 13, 2014 – 1100 hours, Mileage about 10, its hard to say, but everything was either going up or going down. Bike – the Rockhopper. The beverage: Freshly brewed Irish Breakfast tea (with a dash of honey).
Here is a little video from the ride:
Thanks to Jimi Hendrix for letting me do a ukulele cover of his song Little Wing.
On top of all that fun, I also met this cool duo along the trail.
Mountain bike riders remember – its best to get off your bike, on the lower side of the trail, and talk as horses approach. That minimizes the chances a horse will spook…
Of course this steady mount was not the least bit concerned about me or my “ride”. He even stopped to pose for this picture.
Ride No. 4 – This was an actual coffee shop ride to one of my favorite places: Under The Red Umbrella, 1520 Rucker Ave. in Everett, WA.
I rolled out on Monday Oct 20th at about 1100 hours. The ride was about 10 or 11 miles round trip. Of course I was mounted on the Rockhopper, the true Urban Assault Vehicle.
This fun little cafe also has music on most Friday nights, so if your ever in the neighborhood give em a try.
Ride No. 5 – Bam, The next day. Tuesday Oct 21 found me pedaling up to Karl’s Bakery to link up with my pal Thomas.
I waited out a rain shower and was treated with a faint rainbow off in the distance. The end of this trail dumped me off at the railroad crossing at the foot of Pacific Ave.
When I arrived this train was parked and gave no indication that it was ever gonna move. I debated turning around and retracing my route… But just about then I heard some rumblings and the monster woke up.
Karl’s Bakery at 2814 Wetmore Ave. has been a favorite destination for my cycling trips you many years, so when Thomas said “pick a place”… I didn’t have to think too hard about it.
Here are the stats:
Round trip about 5 miles
No real bike rack, so the Rockhopper just got locked to a light post in front of the bakery.
Coffee – old school, fresh, delicious, cheap
Maple bar ! The best!
Ride #6 Wow, this thing is speeding by…
On Oct 28th I took advantage of a slight break in the weather and hatched a quick plan for the next ride. I brewed up a thermos of Licorice Spice tea at home and then headed for the bay. I was delighted to find out that my old beat up thermos (ok, not actually a Thermos brand, as it came from REI) fit perfectly into my Kleen Kanteen water bottle cage on the Rockhopper.
I made my way through the numerous construction zones in the city to the Pigeon Creek Trail, and followed that down to the shore of Port Gardner Bay.
Here are the stats:
Bike friendly – Yes! I had the beach to myself, the weather was fine and the view was wonderful.
Round trip on the Rockhopper – about 7 miles.
Drink – Stash brand Licorice Spice tea…. delicious!
From my waterfront table I pondered the question… What to do for ride number seven? Or should I just knock out a couple of additional Coffeeneuring Challenge rides just to make sure I had the basics covered. With all this rules listed in the challenge I must have missed something. What if the “judges” disallow one of my rides for some type of technical violation or a wardrobe malfunction? Um’
Ride No. 7 Nov 1, 2014 Ok, here we go BIG finish. For this ride I enlisted the help of some of my favorite ridding partners, my son Travis and his two boys Booker and Remington (Remy). Once again we opted for a coffee shop without walls, and our brew of choice this time – hot cocoa – with marshmallows – of course. Our route was a 5 ‘ish mile loop around Smith Island at the mouth of the Snohomish River.
For bike friendliness I would rate this ride as top notch. No cars, just a couple people walking dogs, and lots of birds, boats, “sea monsters”, and rocks that demand to be thrown. Travis was rolling on his Novara Safari bicycle, pulling the double Burley trailer. It’s called a Burley because you got be be pretty “burley” to muscle that big Buick up a hill. I was following and filming from my trusty steed – the Rockhopper.
We decided to make a little movie of Ride No. 7 to cap off the Coffeeneuring Challenge in a big way. That’s Travis and me strumming the 1957 Bo Diddley blues classic, Before You Accuse Me in the background.
We had a marvelous cocoa break, made even yummier with the addition of Suzie’s home made banana bread.
Well, there you go. I hope you enjoys this story as much as I enjoyed the rides. Special thanks to MG for ramrodding this wonderful adventure.
I’ll certainly be looking forward to next year. Kat