Monday, 15 October 2012

Coffeeneuring Challenge

I saw the link when we got back from holidays and since I always am out & about riding and visiting cafes, I assume I can complete the challenge...

I hope so at least.

1st Coffee at Bean There in San Francisco on Steiner St at The Wiggle.
We had two white coffees, and a slice of Pumpkin pie yum yum. This was my favourite cafe of the holiday - the coffee cake offer was super bargainous, the staff were very friendly and bubbly and swapped out one of the cakes for free because Stephen wasnt a fan of any of the choices from the list.
Bean There, San Francisco. Lots of coffee bean choices, really good value, great staff. Stephen enjoying the cake. Hired bike propped up behind him.
We had ridden to Golden Gate Park for a leisurely ride and we stopped at this cafe on The Wiggle on the way back to our b&b. Verily enjoyed watching all the bikes go by from this corner. The total riding was 14 miles on Oct 2nd.

2nd Coffee at Caffeine Rush in Towneley Park, Saturday October 6th.
After 30 hours on board planes, trains, busses, waiting lounges, in queues to sort out lost luggage after flight delays meant my suitcase was still on holiday when I wasnt... I thought a nice easy going ride would be a good way to stretch out my legs and smell that autumn air that has hit the UK since 3 weeks ago. 
My brain, still jet lagged, forgot that saturday afternoon in the park would be busy with people and my uber responsive 60s mixte is hard to manoeuvre when trying to slowly ease it past small children and pram pushers. Add to that an unexpected running event that was taking place and well, the ride was a bit of a dud. A mere 5 miles, but then I'm in need of some sleep.

The shack at the park usually has soya milk, but they were out today, so just a black coffee and no sweet things - two weeks of exploring every option of what bakers do with pumpkin in the USA mean I'm on a strictly salad, soup, stirfry diet until my birthday meal in three weeks time.

3rd Coffee at Park Tea Rooms & Garden Centre, Bury Old Rd near Ramsbottom, Sun Oct 7th

A ride so beautiful I blogged it just for the ride itself here
oh the mist and autumn colours.

Still suffering from time delay post-holiday, I was up at 5am. The tea rooms dont open til 9, so I waited til 7.30 thinking I would slowly potter over. I arrived at 8.15,  it was cold so I was peddling hard and I was amazed how fast I got there. Happily they let me in and I enjoyed a white coffee and some bilberry pie - the custard wasnt made yet, so I had icecream, then another coffee to warm myself up after the adverse icecream effects on the cold in my toes.

The beautiful peaceful ride had me smiling for all of it's 30.6 miles and 1200 feet of ascent.

I've not ridden by myself for a long time (since I usually cycle as part of a pair) and had forgotten quite how free you feel pushing the miles away with only you, your bike and the earth knowing where you are.

Ride 4 -Brinscall Cottage Tea Room 13.10.12
After a long week in work I was up bright and early totally relishing the thought of a lovely ride to meet my cycle club for their family friendly ride. I'd not seen them for afew weeks since I've been on holidays and I was looking forward to a good catch up.
I cycled 7 miles to the start point at Brinscall tea rooms where I breakfasted on espresso and a scone. Best cycling breakfast I can think of.

The cycling club ride was only a couple of slow miles. One of the younger members is now off his tagalong and on his own bike, but it's only got one gear & small wheels, but he is doing great.

After riding by the river and through the trees we returned to the tea shop and I had a tea and some cake before my solo return journey home through some very muddy fields. It was great fun & boy did my boots get muddy!!!! :-D
A total of 21 miles and the biggest smile when I got home. Love exploring new tracks.
Sunday was a day off the bike chilling out and catching up on eps of Castle (plus my deal for including a ride from my holiday was to take a weekend day off the challenge to balance the days up).

Ride 5 - Birthday Ride to Hebden Bridge, Park Life Cafe 33 miles
To celebrate 30 years on the planet, I lead a ride for The Rough Stuff over the Lancashire / Yorkshire border via some cracking Calderdale hills. (see previous report for stunning scenery).
We luncheoned at Hebden Bridge, a hive for cyclists stopping for food, so many places to eat, today we stopped at a new RSF favourite, Park Life Cafe in the park, funnily enough.

For a veggie, I was spoiled for choice, a rare treat. I feasted on vegi hot dog, fruit cake, soya strawberry shake & an espresso (note to self, always drink espresso before milkshake - the other way round makes the usually bittersweet coffee, just very bitter).
My birthday balloon had popped by this point, so no more random birthday cheers, but the rest of the ride was just as delightful.
Full details of this beautiful ride here

Ride 6 - Morgan's Cafe, Earby 27 miles

A frosty morning greeted me as I sped along the canal to meet up with the saturday family friendly riders. I'd already put 7 miles under my saddle before I'd got to the start of the official ride.
Riding into the wind was bitter. Ski gloves on, my fingers were just about ok, but my feet were very painful and no amount of peddling was pushing the full flow of blood into my toes despite the sun trying to break through.
I warmed myself on a filter coffee and a veggie fry up breakfast. In fact the majority of the group plumped for a full English. Must be good for keeping the cold out.

Warmed through we left Morgan's to be greeted by a blue pigeon on the street before we hit the tailwind. Happily riding westwards, my feet were fine all the way home and now I could enjoy the beautiful autumn scenery and company to the full.

Ride 7 - Pavillion Cafe, Witton Park, Blackburn, 14 miles
I 'toured', panniers loaded 11 miles from home to Stephen's house. After afew days off the bike, this pedestrian road ride to Blackburn was such a joy. Riding into the sunshine, albeit on busy pot-holey A-roads, I smiled all the way, especially kicking the butts of the cars queuing to get into town.
Arriving at Stephen's I swapped bikes. We picked up our third-hand tandem last weekend, but hadnt had chance to get on it all week. This was our first trial ride - three miles to the park and back before sunset. We grabbed a coffee and shared a Twix at the cafe in the park before meandering home.

One older gentleman stopped for a lengthy discussion of all things 'bike' - I could have talked to him all night long, but for the dark closing in.
Getting used to the quirks of the tandem seems like it will be a quick learning process, she's been kept in great condition, either that, or she's hardly been ridden... either way, she will certainly be getting some miles from us.

Bonus Ride - not 100% coffeeneuring, winter picnic at Brockholes with our own blend coffee in our flasks, butties & muffins. Break at Brockholes Nature Reserve Cafe, 24.5 miles

First proper outing on the tandem. We sped to Brockholes, a ride that would usually take us a little over an hour on separate bikes, took about 45 mins on the tandem! Lots of thumbs up from other cyclists we passed and loads of kids going 'woah a double bike'. Kids these days, how do they not know the word 'tandem'...
I also tested out my bike gps system, still lots to practice. I tried loading a route onto it, but it said 'out of memory' - need to reread the instructions.
We had our picnic lunch on the floating cafe area. I was greatly amused that the gps showed our position... right in the centre of the lake.
We took a different route home via some farm tracks and bridleways that were not really suitable for tandeming on. But today was part of the learning process. And now we've found some fuuun mountain biking trails.

For those interested in the coffee blend - 1/2 aribica beans, 1/2 australian skybury beans - very mellow and well rounded.
The 24.5 miles passed like a breeze. Cant wait for better weather and getting round to some touring on her.

Next year I'd urge every bike commuter to try the coffeeneuring challenge. I enjoy cycling to commute & for leisure, but after holidays this year, I wondered about those who cycle purely as a mode of transport could expand on this and see cycling as something else.
A great challenge to keep us cycling at weekends through the colder months. Thanks Gypsybug :-)


  1. Coffeereuring: It's OK but I do have my 2013 Good Beer guide to consider and I'm not that keen on coffee so I just take Mrs Smith to pubs I've cycled past but sometimes they are cycled to and visited or the ride ends there - I blame Phil and Rob!

    1. 2013 good beer guide. A guide from the future...? I think I may try my hand at pubeneuring over winter. Laying the blame on Phil& Rob, I think you have some say in it somehow ;-)