Monday, November 23, 2015

2015 Coffeeneuring Rides 2-7: Lots of Coffee

Well, it's finally happened:  I've jumped into the modern age and downloaded Twitter.  As a result, I posted the rest of my coffee rides on Twitter.  In an effort to make it easier for the founder of Coffeeneuring to look at and judge my rides, I have posted links to the twitter posts below.  (This way she only has to come HERE to read about how lazy I was this year.

Compared to last year in the city, I really slacked off on the rides this year.  Not nearly as many pictures, not nearly as many interesting stories.  Lots of weekends where the coffee shop I wanted didn't exist anymore, or the bike lanes that are there on the map don't exist at all.  No one tried to kill me with a car, this year, so that's nice.

Anyhow, thanks to Mary at ChasingMailboxes (see link to the right) for the Coffeeneuring Challenge.

Without further nonsense, here are the rides, with ever so brief comments.  Go get your Twitter on and follow me @wardropjr

Ride2: Boxcar Coffee

Just so we are clear, this ride involved me riding on a road called "Brighton Boulevard" to get to the coffee shop.  Denver has a pretty good bike infrastructure, and then it just disappears and dumps you onto a road with a 40mph speed limit and terrible shoulders.  It's a shame, too, because the place this coffee shop is located in is called "The Source."  It's got a butcher, a brewery (maybe 2), fancy dining, and coffee.  Great place, but terrible to ride to.  Though, other bike riders were there, so maybe I am just getting old.

Ride3: Denver Biscuit Company

Is it cheating to just get coffee while you are out to brunch watching the Broncos with a morning beer beverage in the other hand?  Probably.  Is it really?  No, I followed all the rules.

It was standard coffee.  It went well with the sausage egg cheese biscuit syrup monstrosity I ate.

This was also my "epic ride" of the series.  I know the twitter post says 16mi, but I rode my bike to ANOTHER brewery on the way home (shoutout to Station 26) and so it was probably more like 22 miles or so.

The only bad part about Denver bike infrastructure?  Making it across I-25, the South Platte River, and the major rail lines in Denver (not to mention all of downtown Denver is at a 45 degree angle) makes it really hard to get from the West side to the East side of downtown.

This seemed like such a long long ride, but compared to my NYC jaunts, it wasn't that bad at all.

Who knew?

Ride4: Habit Donut Dispensary

This was the first ride where I was disappointed because the place I wanted to go was closed.  How do I make myself feel better?  Yeah, I find a donut shop, and order a coffee.  This is also the first coffee ride I have ever done on my "grocery getter," a 1981 Peugeot Orient Express that is decked out with fenders and panniers.  She's a tank.

I also scored tickets to a CU Buffs game halfway through coffee, so I rode home in a hurry.

Note to the readers:  By this time in the year, I had torn my calf muscle playing kickball.  That's right, kickball.  Yup.  Old.  Anyhow, from here on out the rides are short and barely meet the requirements, but my Dr. (read: sister) said that I shouldn't be riding at all if I wanted to be ready for ski season, and I do love ski season.

Ride5: The Laughing Latte

This coffee shop is in a part of town I am probably not cool enough to visit, but they served me anyway.  Great coffee.  Nice little ride.  A little too big a hill for my tastes right at the end.

Ride6: Huckleberry Coffee

This coffee shop was great.  Very cozy atmosphere and EXCELLENT tasting coffee.  Also, real close to home so I could really lay off the leg.  I will return.

Ride7: Crema

Part 2 in our series of "The shop I want is closed."  Fortunately, there are lots of coffee shops in Denver, especially in RiNo, and so I just pulled a U-turn from bike lane to bike lane and landed at Crema.  This place was busy, very busy.  Great little porch out back for sitting in the sun, but then there were wasps.

And with that, Coffeeneuring 2015 is done.  That's 2 years in a row for me, and I'll wager a bet that I'm one of the only people that have coffeeneured in two different states:  New York and Colorado.

I now realize I should have taken a picture of the huge bruise on my calf to really perk this post up.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

2015 Coffeeneuring Ride 1: I moved to Colorado. No more Manhattan, no more bridges.

Ride 1: October 3 / Hot Chick a Latte / 7.8 miles / Morning Wood "Stiff" (Essentially a White Mocha with an extra shot of Dark Espresso)

All two of my readers have been waiting for this moment for ten months: Coffeeneuring 2015 has begun, and so has my blogging.  It's been a big year.  Since Coffeeneuring 2014 ended and I got my Coffeeneuring patch, I moved from New York City to Colorado.

For those of you from New York, Colorado is the one flyover state that some of you would consider visiting.  It is also currently undergoing some kind of crazy transformation and population explosion right now that is driving up real estate and rent prices very similar to what happened in Brooklyn.

No kidding, it looks like this here.
Skyrocketing rent prices aside, Colorado (Denver, specifically) is a much different place to "compete" in Coffeeneuring.  Riding a bike is always fun, but in New York, it was also a fight for survival.'s

Anyhow, I have also roped several friends into doing the challenge with me, but they all had better things to do for the opening of Coffeeneuring season.  Bummer for them.  I hopped on my trusty steed (remember my Cross Check?) and set off to get a cup of coffee that was sure to be interesting.

Surly Cross-Check.  Same configuration as I had it in NYC.
No bridges here to get non-drive side shots, though.

Off to Hot Chick a Latte.

Route Map.  2.5 miles to Hot Chick A Latte.

I have to tell you, I chose this ride by putting "Coffee" into GoogleMaps, and I knew that I wanted to go to the Bike Depot.  There are a shocking lack of coffee-houses East of City Park; most of them seem to be North of downtown or over in the Highlands.  

Like any good bike-blogger, I also did some research before I went.  Here is where the warning happens:  This is a coffee shop that apparently served coffee while the baristas wear bikinis.  

I know that there are going to be some admonishments about my choices, but I was curious.  So, I went.

Denver has a pretty good bike infrastructure, so I was able to ride on a road that either had a dedicated bike lane or was "bike friendly" pretty much the whole time.  There was one major artery to cross, I almost got hit by a speeding car, and then was the target of some adult language.  

The ride only took about ten minutes, and I was there.  There was no missing it, since the coffee shop is painted bright pink.

You can't miss this place.  It's BRIGHT PINK!

The Baristas were not wearing bikinis, but that's ok.  (I'm not going make any more comments about the sartorial choices of this coffee shop, since I could lose one of my readers with one wrong comment.)  The menu is completely loaded with innuendo, even going down to the detail of coffee sizes being listed as B, C, D, or DD.  I decided to have a "Morning Wood" which was kind of like a White Mocha.  I also had it made "Stiff" with an extra shot of espresso.

Coffee with a view...kind of.

It was good, but even with the espresso, was too sugary for my tastes.  I think I'm going to stick to a "Coffee Black" rule for the remainder of Coffeeneuring.  It's also on a busy street, so it wasn't really the type of place where you could really kick back and relax while taking in the beauty of things... unless you find traffic beautiful.

Sugar on board, I raced north to the Bike Depot.  It's a great non-profit shop that has a workshop, classes, and a huge used parts selection.  I grabbed the last parts I needed to convert the trusty Cross-Check to gears.  Singlespeeding in Manhattan was great.  Out here, I'd like a bit more range.

After the bike depot, it's only a 15-20 minute ride home through City Park, again, all on bike routes.

Once I got home, I cracked a beer, and got to work on that Cross Check.  I'm happy to report it now has a 48/36 Biopace compact double with an 8-speed cassette.  Future coffeeneuring rides will be done in style.

Thanks again to Mary for Coffeeneuring 2015!