Saturday, October 22, 2011

Coffee fix

Riding a fixed gear bike is to cycling as 
taking black and white pictures is to photography.
(click pictures for full size)

On September 19, 2011, MG, a D.C. based Randonneuse and prolific blogger, proposed the idea of combining bike rides and fresh brewed coffee in a laid back biking challenge she called coffeeneuring. Participants are to visit seven coffee shops in six weekends. There are rules, and they are here: Coffeeneuring Challenge. That weekend also happened to be the same weekend I became a fixed gear owner and the challenge seemed like a good excuse as any to get my fix on, so I decided I would ride a single speed or my fixie for each of the challenge rides.
With two weekends to go, I am four rides in. Time for a mid challenge report -

Java Ink, East Falls, Philadelphia, PA

October 1, 2011 - First real ride on the fix. After a few test rides and a suggestion from my rando friend Joe (Mellow Yellow). I came to the conclusion that I had underestimated my gearing and needed a smaller rear sprocket. I took a solo ride to a West Philly bike shop to buy and install one. On the way home, I stopped at Java Ink. Java Ink is at the bottom of Midvale Avenue in East Falls, Philadelphia. Midvale is a steepish, longish hill that starts one block away from the Schuylkill River and Kelly Drive and ascends into Germantown. It's 7.2 miles from my house and on my commute route. With the climb ahead and a new single speed gear to try out, Java Ink seemed a good place to stop for a cup of coffee and to prepare myself. Not being a coffee shop kinda guy (I drink home brew), I ordered a steamer expecting a cafe au lait. Once I figured out that a steamer is just hot milk (yuck), the barrista added two shots of espresso. Much better. Finished the ride with about 20 miles completed.

Napoleon House and Cafe, French Quarter - New Orleans, LA
                                                    Wedding on Bourbon Street - New Orleans
October 8, 2011 -'Laissez les bon temps rouler'

My wife and I took a weekend getaway trip to New Orleans. On a lark, we rented a monster of a tandem cruiser to tour the city. As we ambled through the French Quarter,the Garden District, Treme and other beautiful neighborhoods,we eventually starting calling the fat tired, fat seated, cruiser bicycle "The Big Easy" because the name described the riding style of the bike to a T. On the day long ride, we stopped at the famous Napoleon House, among other places, and had a Pimms Cup, their specialty. While I don't know the specific mileage we rode that day, but we saw a big chunk of the city in what may be the best way to see it. I highly recommend renting a bike in New Orleans, it is an awesome way to experience the city.
The Big Easy at the Napoleon House
Pimms Cup

Bruno's, Lafayette Hill, Philadelphia, PA 

October 16, 2011 - One of the gems of Philadelphia is Forbidden Trail, a 5 mile gravel road that runs through the woods along the picturesque Wissahickon Creek. The road is "forbidden" to motor vehicles but open for runners, walkers and cyclists. An oasis of woodland in the midst of the city, its one of my favorite places to frequent. My coffee destination - Bruno's - sits at the western end of the trail and is a good place to have coffee with the delicious deserts.

Starting from home, I rode the trail to Bruno's and met the family. Hot chocolate and cake for the kids and a few cups of coffee and a delicious carrot cake for me. I rode through historic Flourtown for the return trip. About 25 miles total.
Center City, Philadelphia, PA 
A seat on JFK Parkway

Scene from Occupied Philadelphia

October 22, 2011 - Center City, Philadelphia. Scheduling conflicts kept me from riding with the PA Randonneurs today, but I was able to get a 200k permanent scheduled for tomorrow - if I could get to Center City to pick up the card. No problem - it was a great reason to ride on the fixie . After picking up the brevet card, I cruised around Occupy Philadelphia then searched for for a cup of joe. I decided on the Capriccio Cafe and Espresso Bar at Cafe Cret, a plaza coffee shop on JFK Parkway on Logan Square. Its a place that was more outdoors than in with its outdoor seating and open doors. After enjoying a cafe au lait, I returned home with about 30 miles completed.

Three rides and two weekends left - - -

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