Coffeeneuring with Nolan, ## 2 and 3

Catching up on my coffeeneuring reportage.

Coffeeneur # 2 (Oct. 17) was the usual ride to Clemyjontri Playground, where we spent hours, mostly on the swing and the carousel. On our way home, we stopped at Star Nut in McLean.  Nolan had a strawberry smoothie. starwberry smoothie

I had a Mexican Mayan Mocha.  We each had croissants.

coffee and croisants at Star Nut

The coffee was great.  And you can’t get this anywhere else.  Mexican Mayan Mocha is to a mocha as Mexican Hot Chocolate is to hot chocolate–it has cinnamon and other spices in it.

Bike-friendliness: okay.  There’s a bike rack in back though we parked along the building.  It’s in McLean, where there are no bike lanes, but we have no problem negotiating there on a tandem.

Distance: 14 miles round-trip.

Coffeeneur # 3 was on Sunday Oct. 25.  (We did the usual ride to Clemyjontri on Saturday, and stopped at McLean family Restaurant, but couldn’t count that under coffeeneuring rules because we’d already been there.)  Something new today: an out and back ride on the W&OD with no playground stop.

We went to Green Lizard Cycling in Herndon, right by the W&OD. Nolan had a mango smoothie.  I had a mocha. We also had croissants.  Everything was great, including the very friendly service.  I also bought some handlebar tape on the table of deeply discounted stuff.  A friendly employee took this picture of Nolan and me by our bike outside:

Nolan and I at Green Lizard

Note Nolan’s great new wool jersey.

Bike-friendliness: 5 stars.  It’s a bike shop, with bike rack in front (not adequate for our tandem), and just across the street from the W&OD.  You can’t get bike-friendlier.

The ride was 22 miles roundtrip.  Nolan held up well.  I’d never taken him past Hunter Mill Road before, and I haven’t done that recently even.


Cannonball Century with Mary

My sister Mary bought a used LeMond (853 tubing and full Ultegra – a great find) this summer and started riding more. So in August I proposed to her that she ride a century with me, though she’d never ridden that distance. I normally do about three every fall. Mary agreed, and she started on a training program to work up to 100 miles. We signed up for the Cannonball Century, run by the Fredericksburg Cyclists Club, which I’d done before. This is a well-supported century run on rural roads. It is mostly flat, but has some hills in the last 10-15 miles. (I told Mary it was flat with one hill at the end, which was honestly the way I remembered it. It’s flatter than any of the other centuries I have done.)

We did the ride on my 1994 trek T200 tandem. It’s a great bike that hasn’t been used in years. I regularly ride my Green Gear Family tandem with my son Nolan who is disabled (and I’ve ridden on it with other children and adults at times), but the Trek hadn’t been ridden in years and was sitting in the shed. To get it ready for the ride I had Bikenetic install new direct pull brakes and levers, as the cantilevers (old XTRs) weren’t up to par. They also replaced the front wheel (couldn’t find needle bearings to replace broken ones in old hub) and installed a new stoker seatpost clamp, and new bar tape. I adjusted the timing chain, and installed a second odometer for the stoker and pedals for the stoker.

Mary flew down from Rhode Island on Friday (in time to see my son’s band, Kendall Street Company, play a great show at the Bayou on Penn on Friday night-but that’s another story). The ride was yesterday. It was in the low 40s at the ride start so we were bundled up. But we started shedding layers at the first rest stop at mile 13. We left that stop with another tandem team that outdistanced us after a bit. We never saw another tandem after that.

We stopped at every rest stop (there were 5, so the ride was essentially broken into sixths), and after a bit in between stops as both of our butts hurt. I think my problem rested not with my beloved Arione saddle, but with the fact that we were always seated, as I don’t have the experience to stand and ride with a stoker.

At mile 30, we had to stop to adjust Mary’s saddle. We also discovered we’d broken a spoke on the rear wheel. (We’d heard a noise a few miles back but the wheel seemed okay as we were riding and we continued on.) I removed it and adjusted brakes and wheel to nearly but not quite eliminate brake rub. We hoped there’d be a mechanic at the next rest stop and there was but he didn’t have spokes. Time to get a Kevlar emergency spoke for the future. Fortunately, the wheel held up for the remaining 72 miles.

I have to say that with my limited experience piloting a 700C tandem with an adult (the Family Tandem has a lower center of gravity and of course my 13 year old is smaller than an adult) I wasn’t sure what to expect as far as piloting the tandem, but I had no problems. We never rode in a group. On steep twisting descents I used the brakes to control speed, adopting a more conservative approach than I would riding my single bike.

We finished in 6 hours and 20 minutes—20 minutes slower than my first guesstimate as to our time, which was based on wishful thinking, but 5 minutes faster than my more realistic estimate for the 102 mile ride. This is an average of 16.1 mph.

Except for the spoke problem, the ride went great. Mary rode strongly. My ancient Trek odometer stopped working, so it was good that I’d installed one for the stoker. Mary kept track of where we were and when a turn was coming up, which was very relaxing compared to trying to read a cue sheet while paying attending to the road. Another great thing about having a stoker: when I wanted to remove a layer while riding such as my long-fingered gloves, for example, Mary would do it and stick the removed item in my rear pockets. No need for me to fiddle with it. The food at the rest stops was great, and included homemade breads and cakes, and great sandwiches that were not just PB&J, such as ham, turkey and cheese with apple butter (great!), and hummus with tomatoes and cucumbers (yummy).

We took so long to do the ride with all the rest stops and extra stops that we skipped the party at the end in order to have dinner with the family.   So I missed the after-ride hamburgers that I have always loved. But truth be told I really ate a lot during the ride.

Thanks Mary for riding with me. And thanks Fredericksburg Cyclists Club for another great century.

Here we are at ride end:

Mary and mee Cannonball Century

First coffeeneur with Nolan 2015

We are back coffeeneuring. Last year Nolan, now aged 13, really got into riding on the Bike Friday Family Tandem, and we completed seven coffeeneuring rides as a team. I hope to do the same this year.

So on Sunday, with no rain, we set out as we usually do. As usual, Nolan was excited about all of the preparations. Putting on “bike clothes.” On Sunday, Nolan was wearing long cycling tights, his Curious George cycling jersey, and his new to him wool trainer that I recently purchased off of eBay. It says “V.C. Tillfois” on the back—for Velo-Club Tilffois, a club in Belgium. Then we pumped up the tires and set off. We rode to McLean Family Restaurant (MFR) on Chain Bridge Road in McLean, . Before going in to eat, we visited “Rambo,” the cat that guards the pet supply store next to MFR. At MFR, Nolan had waffles, turkey sausages, and chocolate milk; I had a veggie omelet with coffee. Here’s is a picture of Nolan eating:

Nolan at MFR

Doesn’t he look good in that trainer!  I wore my green wool trainer as well so we’d look like a team.

I love MFR! Great breakfast place. The coffee is not specialty coffee-just drip coffee-but it is fine. The staff all know Nolan and greet him by name, which he and I really like. We usually get the same table even, like we are regulars (which we are).

Then we road to Clemyjontri playground in Langley, the world’s greatest playground. After spending hours there (on the swing, the carousel, and this summer, the train ride), we returned to MFR for lunch! (Note: bike rides with Nolan are expensive!) After lunch, we got into a discussion about our tandem with a family outside. They were very interested in the pedals, which I had bought from a maker of expensive bikes for disabled kids. They have two Velcro straps and keep Nolan’s feet straight. The family’s ten-year old daughter has cerebral palsy and weakness in one leg that has prevented her from riding a bike on her own and they were very interested in my solution to the problem of riding with a disabled kid.

Then we road home. Total mileage: 14 miles.

All the way home, Nolan said “wash the bike.” So when we got home we did that.  After washing the tandem, we washed my road bike-filthy from ride in rain day before.  And then the cross bike.  Then he “helped” me work on bikes.

Coffeeneuring rules in a nutshell

Some folks can’t believe the number of rules that coffeeneuring has.  I myself was surprised by the intricacies of coffeeneuring when I first saw the rules last year. But it was clear that the rules could be broken down, so I did that for my own use.  Clearly, it isn’t very complicated once you break it down and decide that some of the rules just don’t apply to you (like Canadian Thanksgiving, or the “Tara Rule”).

This year, I have done that again.  Below I present my results. I have broken the rules down into shorter parts, using most of coffeeneur’s original language, but deleting some words and rearranging a bit.  For example, the rules on when you can count a week-day I place as exceptions to Rule 1’s requirement that all rides be on a weekend. I have cut the rules in half, without losing any content! (I don’t consider deletion of “no geographical limitations” rule a substantive deletion as none of the remaining rules pose such a limitation.)  Of course, @coffeeneur’s original rules remain the “official” ones.  For the most part, I have retained coffeeneur’s original wording, sometimes indicating words left out by an elipsis and at other times putting new language in brackets, though at times I reworded a bit without use of such editing devices.  I have added a couple of my own notes, in brackets with the word “Note.”

So, with thanks and apologies to Mary “@coffeeneur”, here are the rules in a nutshell:

1.  Ride your bike to 7 different local coffee shops [or to a Coffee Shop Without Walls] from Saturday Oct. 3 through Sunday, Nov. 15.  …
a)  A Coffee Shop Without Walls is a park, campsite, etc., where you make/drink coffee.
b)  [Note: I do coffeeneuring with my 13-year old, and I count family restaurants as “coffee shops” since I drink coffee or tea there]

2.  Only Saturday and Sunday rides qualify. Exceptions:

a) You have a job that does not have a Monday through Friday tour of duty. In that case, your days off are considered your weekend.

b) You are retired, in which case you may choose any two days to complete your coffeeneuring outings.
c)  Columbus Day weekend (Oct. 10-12), you have three days to accomplish two qualifying coffeeneuring rides. …
d)  Canadian Thanksgiving: Residents of Canada may use Canadian Thanksgiving in place of Columbus Day.
e)  Vacation Rule: You may coffeeneur any two days of the week while on vacation.
f)  Veterans Day Rule: You may coffeeneur on Nov. 11, Veteran’s Day, INSTEAD of the previous Saturday or Sunday. Veterans are permitted to coffeeneur on November 11 in ADDITION to the weekend days, in recognition of their service.

3.  Only 1 coffee shop per day counts ….

4.  Jot down a summary of your experience that includes:
a)  where you went (address and website, if possible)
b)  date
c)  what you drank
d)  a detail or two about your coffeeneuring ride, including your assessment of the “bike friendliness” of the location; and
e)  total mileage. …

5.  Submit a photo or some other form of evidence that you rode your bike for coffee ….

6.  Hot chocolate qualifies, as does tea. Apple cider is also a coffeeneuring-approved beverage. Note: Drinks do not have to be hot! They just have to be coffeeneuring-ish type drinks.
a)  [Note: Rules do not exclude hard cider! But not sure you’d find that in a “coffee shop.”  I’m gonna have to work on this though.]
b)  [Note: I count milk, smoothies, etc. for my 13-year old.]
c)  Buying Beans Rule: You may use ONE of your seven coffeeneuring trips to purchase beans (or tea) from your local roaster or tea emporium for future consumption.

7.  You may not combine your coffeeneuring ride with any other ride such as an organized century, populaire, or brevet. You may, however, combine your coffeeneuring ride with a casual shop ride, grocery run, [etc.] (If you do an organized ride, you may do another, separate coffeeneuring ride on the same day, e.g., a pre- or post-event ride to get
a latte either before or after your organized ride.)

8.  … must be at least two miles total ….

9.  Submission requirements:
a)  Deadline for submitting Coffeeneuring Challenge entries is … midnight in your area on Nov. 25, 2015.
b)  Send submissions to [Mary] at gersemalina “at” They may be in the form of links to blog writeups, screenshots of or links to your coffeeneuring Tweets, [etc.]. UPDATE! If you complete the challenge as a group, you may
provide one submission for all of you, provided you completed all rides together.
c)  Provide all qualifying rides at the same time. That is, send [Mary] all 7 together.

10.  Prizes! You are eligible for a small prize for finishing the challenge. Because of the increased interest in coffeeneuring, the premium will cost $___([Mary]’ll let you know!) which covers [her] costs. To purchase your prize, you may PayPal [Mary] at the gmail address above, or send your money by snail mail like grandma used to do. Email [Mary] for [her] address. If you are an international entry the prize will cost you an extra US $1.

Coffeeneuring has begun

Although I plan to complete coffeeneuring with my son and stoker Nolan, age 13, just as I did last year, I started by doing my own coffeeneuring ride on Saturday October 3. I was going to ride the Culpeper Century, but it was cancelled due to weather. They may have had flooding in Culpeper and might have expected more, but in Northern Virginia we had only a light drizzle, so I set off to ride the W&OD.

From my house in Dunn Loring to the end of the W&OD in Purcelville is 72 miles roundtrip. I wanted to get in a decent length ride because next weekend I plan to ride the Cannonball Century on a tandem with my sister Mary, and I hadn’t had a longish weekend ride in a couple of weeks. I was thinking of actually adding some miles on the road past Purcelville, but by the time I got there I was cold and wet. So I stopped for coffee at veloville USA,, a combination bike shop and coffee shop, where the mechanic/barista commented on my Serotta when I went in.

I had a mocha, which was excellent. Veloville

I apologize for the bad photo, which was due to the camera lens being wet from the rain.

Veloville gets its beans from Hopscotch Coffee, in Winchester Virginia. My daughter is in her last semester at Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester and works part-time at Hopscotch. King Street Coffee in Leesburg–also just of the W&OD–also gets its beans from Hopscotch.

Is this coffee-shop bike-friendly? Hell, it’s a bike shop! You can’t get more bike-friendly than that. It has a small bike rack out front, and the coffee shop is right inside where you can watch your bike through the glass window so no lock needed.

Ride length: 72 miles because I didn’t add on any miles cause I wimped out.