Monday, November 24, 2014

Coffeeneuring 2014

Chief coffeeneur and blogger extraordinaire Mary G started a movement four years ago:  Coffeeneuring.  It all began with a simple blog post. She challenged her readers to ride an average of one bike ride per weekend for seven weeks and visit seven different coffee shops.  To ensure everyone understood the idea and to poke a little fun at the sport of Randonneuring at the same time, she established clear and simple rules. A lot of clear and simple rules!  Each autumn the rules have been slightly refined, and the idea continued to grow.  I completed the first Coffeeneuring Challenge in 2011 and set out again in 2012 and 2013 with good intentions, but I let other commitments and life get in the way and didn't see it through. I'm happy to report I've successfully completed the 2014 Coffeeneuring Challenge.  Well I'm close. As I type this I have exactly three hours left to comply with rules 5, 12 and 14 regarding how a participant must document his/her adventures.  So without further adieu, here's my 2014 Coffeeneuring Control card.

October 4, 2014 - Carl's Corned Beef and Deli

1 of 7
Market House
25 Market St
Annapolis, MD 21401
45.9 miles

I set out from home with several missions in mind on that first Saturday morning:  complete Coffeeneuring ride number 1, see my son's football game in Davidsonville, and to ride at least 40 miles.  All three missions accomplished.  It was beautiful sunny day.  City dock was busy with tourists enjoying the nice weather, there was a running event underway to benefit Special Olympics.

Carl's is located in the Market House in Annapolis and is right next to the brick court yard that includes several historic plaques about Annapolis' history. I enjoyed a hot cuppa joe, black, and pumpkin muffin while I watched the runners come in to the finish of their mile run around the city center.   The day was off to a good start.

From downtown Annapolis I headed for my son's football game at Davidsonville Park.  Erik and the Green Hornets 11 and Under team came up a few touchdowns short that day, but it was a valiant effort and a great day to watch a ball game.  From Davidsonville it was home for a shower before heading back out for another ball game.  Zach's 13 and under team had a better day.  A wonderful day of riding and sports with my boys.

October 18, 2014 - The Iron Rooster

2 of 7
12 Market Space
Annapolis, MD 21401
16.6 miles

If you're paying attention, you'll notice ride number 2 was two weeks later and not far from ride 1.  The Iron Rooster is a brand new establishment in downtown Annapolis, just across the street from the Market House. I was looking forward to scouting it as a prospective stop for group rides by the Severna Park Peloton.  They advertise breakfast all day and many dishes are served in the same iron skillet they are prepared in. I had an omelette and coffee, black.  The meal was fantastic.  But I find Iron Rooster better suited to brunch with the family than a quick stop on a bike ride.  It was a large meal and the price reflects a full service restaurant with your meal cooked to order.  I give it 4.5 stars out of 5 as a restaurant, but only 2.5 bikes out of 5 as a cycling stop.

October 26, 2014 - The Big Bean
3 of 7
558 B & A  Blvd.
Severna Park, MD 21146
17.8 Miles

The Big Bean is the unofficial headquarters of the Severna Park Peloton.  They sponsor our jerseys, host our regular Tuesday morning ride for coffee and open early whenever we want to launch a big ride like Fleche or a Brevet.  In keeping with Rule 8 however I visited Big Bean not with one of these weekly or annual events, but rather to invoke rule 19 and pick up my supply of pumpkin spice beans.  This fall favorite relies NOT on syrup for flavor (yuck) but somehow roasts the pumpkin in to the beans.  My wife and I love it.  Read on to see how I learned to prepare this magic elixir in a french press.

November 2, 2014 - Sandy Point State Park

4 of 7
First visit to the Coffee Shop Without Walls
1100 East College Parkway
Annapolis MD 21409
18.5 Miles

It was a busy weekend and the Coffeeneuring Challenge looked like it might be again in jeopardy.  My riding miles were a bit behind too, when I had an inspiration.  That new camp stove I'd bought for some upcoming Boy Scout adventures needed a test and rule 2 defines a Coffee Shop Without Walls where a rider can make his own brew.  Problem solved.  I pedaled out to Sandy Point State Park Sunday evening and made myself some Hot Cocoa under a beautiful moon overlooking The Bay.  Sadly my camera phone, or my skill with the camera phone, did not capture the moonlit water very well.  You'll have to take my word for it that it was a wonderful way to spend a few minutes by myself after a weekend devoted to so many other things.

November 9, 2014 - B&A Trail Ranger Station

5 of 7
51 West Earleigh Heights Road
Severna Park, MD 21146
9 miles

The most satisfy ride of the series.  I'd spent the weekend camping with the Boy Scouts but a quirk of scheduling meant I didn't get to camp with my sons.  Instead they were with our scout troop and the other boys while I was completing required training for scout masters at a different venue.  I enjoyed the trip and learned a lot, but would rather have been with scouts and my own sons.  We all got home by mid afternoon Sunday.  So Erik and I paid a visit once again to the Coffee Shop Without Walls.  Erik had hot cocoa.  Having mastered the camp stove the week before, I now experimented with the french press.  Combined with the pumpkin spice beans from The Big Bean, it was fantastic.  Erik and I got to compare notes about our respective camping adventures, and we made it back home just before dark.  A great outing.

November 11, 2014 - Starbucks

6 of 7
1700 W Nursery Rd
Linthicum Heights, MD 21090
16.1 Miles (or 32.2 if you count the round trip to the office)

I invoked rule 18 and my status as a veteran of the US Navy to Coffeeneur on a Veteran's Day. When I got to the Starbucks I learned they celebrate Veteran's Day with free coffee for veterans, FTW!!  Sadly my employer, or really our customers, do not all show their admiration and appreciation for veterans with a day off.  So I was hitting the coffee shop on my way home from work.  But I got to ride my bike and enjoy a free cuppa.  I'll take it.

November 15, 2014 - Hard Bean Coffee & Booksellers

7 of 7
36 Market Space
Annapolis, MD 21401
16.8 Miles

Back to Annapolis for the 7th and final adventure of Coffeneuring 2014.  The Hard Bean is another club sponsor and wonderful stop.  Books, beer, wine and coffee all in one place.  I enjoyed a chocolate chip scone and hot, black cup of coffee.  It just doesn't get much better than that.

Many thanks to MG for starting this in motion and cheering it on. I enjoy reading about others' adventures around the country and around the world. I hope someone feels compelled to try a few of our Annapolis area coffee shops. I can't recommend The Big Bean in Severna Park and Hard Bean in Annapolis strongly enough. Their support for our local cycling adventures is always top notch.