2015 Coffeeneuring Challenge Recap

When I started this year’s coffeeneuring challenge, I really intended to post about each individual ride, but, I just haven’t been feeling much like blogging these days and it sort of fell to the wayside. Good thing I had to do some kind of recap of my coffeeneuring rides to satisfy the challenge requirements, otherwise I don’t think the blog would’ve been updated quite so soon!

Well, it was a great season of coffeneuring. I got to visit some new places and some old favorites. I ended up riding a total of 67.5 miles.

On to the rides–

No. 1: 10/4/15

Blue Beagle Coffee

Santa Rosa, CA

Miles ridden: 8.5

Strava Route

I took the long way to my neighborhood coffee joint, cruising along rolling Faught Rd and looping back via Old Redwood Highway. Blue Beagle is located in a strip mall, and unfortunately, the entire complex does not provide any bike parking. The café does have a couple of outdoor tables, so I just tucked my bike behind one, against the front window, while I ordered. Safe enough. Blue Beagle is a really cute cafe with plenty of comfortable seating. They are well known for their pie, but I arrived about a half hour before closing and was disappointed to find that they had sold out for the day. It was a surprisingly hot October afternoon so instead, I ordered an iced green peach tea and relaxed outside for a while before lazily riding home.

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No. 2: 10/8/15

Brew Coffee & Beer

Santa Rosa, CA

Miles ridden: 6

Strava Route

Since I was heading out on vacation in two days, I employed the Vacation Rule for this ride. I stopped at this newish spot close to downtown, on my way to catch the bus for work. I rolled up to find that bike parking was available, but it was a rack that wasn’t actually bolted to anything – not very secure. I was able to lock up to a sign post in front of the café, though. I arrived just after opening and was the first customer of the day. The cafe is staffed by friendly folks and has plenty of seating, both indoors and out. I chose a seat in the front window and enjoyed a really solid latte and a good breakfast burrito. +1 for providing packets of Tapatio with the burrito!

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No. 3: 10/7/15

Tavern on the Green

New York, NY

Miles ridden: 6

Strava: not recorded, as my phone’s battery was dying

Employing the Tara Rule, I took the opportunity to coffeeneur on Labor Day while on vacation in New York City.  The husband and I had planned to visit Central Park that day so I figured, why not rent bikes in the park and find a place to grab a cup of coffee or tea in the process? Perfect idea!  We cruised around the perimeter of the park, stopping to take in the sights and sounds. It was a HOT day in the city, and after two hours, the crazy amount of hills (not really, I had just expected it to be totally flat) on our route dictated that we find a cold beverage to help us cool off. We happened to cruise by Tavern on the Green and decided to stop in for an icy beverage. There was little to no bike parking near the restaurant but found that most people were leaving their bikes unlocked along the restaurant’s fence, so we did the same. The restaurant was full of people, and not being particularly hungry, we opted not to wait for a table. Instead we headed for the bar and easily found seats. The bartender was genial and recommended several local beers to the husband. Sticking to the coffeeneuring rules, I enjoyed an iced tea. We sat at the bar chatting and enjoying the relaxed atmosphere for a good hour before heading out to our next destination of the day.

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No. 4: 10/24/15

Café Noto

Windsor, CA

Miles ridden: 11

Strava Route

First ride of the challenge that actually felt like fall! A few days earlier, I saw that Buff was having a sample sale at their factory near my home. A perfect excuse for a leisurely ride and coffee stop! I rode over to the next town north, Windsor, CA, and stopped at the warm and friendly Café Noto on the Windsor Town Green. The Green features plentiful bike parking near the Café and I was able to secure a spot to lock up, just across from the Café. Noto provided a lovely warm pit-stop on a very brisk (for CA) morning. I warmed up with a Café au Lait and a bacon breakfast sandwich. Delicious! Having satisfied my need for caffeine and food in my belly, off I rode to the Buff warehouse, where I picked up several steeply discounted items for next year’s backpacking and Tenkara fishing adventures. All in all, a wonderful way to start my day!

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No. 5: 11/7/15

Downtown Bakery & Creamery

Healdsburg, CA

Miles ridden: 22

Strava Route

On a crisp fall morning, I rode north to Healdsburg, CA to visit my very favorite bakery, Downtown Bakery & Creamery. I have been patronizing this delicious spot on the Healdsburg Plaza for over 15 years! Taking the meandering backroads that the Sonoma Wine Country is so well known for, it was apparent that fall was here. Having been born and raised in Sonoma County, the vineyard-strewn landscapes that this area is known for don’t often catch my attention anymore, however, this time of the year, bathed in the warm colors of fall, the beauty of the vines is impossible to ignore. Needless to say, I cruised north at a leisurely pace, taking in the beauty of my surroundings. I arrived at the Plaza only to find that there wasn’t any decent bike parking nearby. I had to make due with a sign post, just outside the café’s entrance. The morning was COLD so I was eager for a hot drink to warm up. Thankfully, I got there just a bit after opening, and there were few patrons inside and no line. Good thing, because I’ve stopped here before when the line was 10-15 people deep. I love this particular bakery not only because everything they make is delicious, but because it’s not one of those pretentious wine-country cafes; just a nice warm atmosphere, friendly folks, and delicious eats. Normally, I would order one of the delicious baked goods behind the case but today I was feeling a bit hungrier than that so I ordered poached eggs over polenta with ricotta and lemony spinach and a double cappuccino. Delicious! I slowly enjoyed my breakfast while looking out onto the Plaza and watching the town slowly wake up.

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No. 6: 11/14/15

Gaga Café at The Santa Rosa Farmers Market

Santa Rosa, CA

Miles ridden: 3

Strava Route

My local farmer’s market is a short 3ish miles from my home. A need to stock up on veggies for the week presented the perfect opportunity to coffeeneur. The husband and I cruised over to the market and found very little bike parking available but made do with a sign post to lock up to. We took our time perusing the offerings from the various vendors and loaded up with groceries for the week. With the chore of shopping done, the husband and I grabbed some some pour-over from Gaga Café and almond croissant from Costeaux Bakery, to share. We found a couple of empty seats at a communal table and settled in to enjoy our delicious coffee and just OK pastry to the soundtrack of some really great live gypsy jazz guitar. We lingered in the sunshine, enjoying the music, long after our coffees were consumed, but knowing that we had a day long hike ahead of us, we had to grudgingly pull away from the great music and cruise back home.

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No. 7: 11/15/15

Village Bakery

Sebastopol, CA

Miles ridden: 11

Strava Route

After a failed attempt a week ago, I was determined to ride on the Joe Rodota trail for my final cup. This is one of my favorite routes in Sonoma County. The trail is an old rail line that stretches from Santa Rosa to Sebastopol along the Laguna de Santa Rosa (the largest freshwater wetland complex on the Northern CA coast). This trail connects to the West County Trail, making it possible to cycle 14 car-free miles from Santa Rosa to Forestville! After a lazy morning and catching up on some household chores, I headed out to the trail in the afternoon. Rain had been predicted but was lucky that it didn’t materialize until I was almost all the way back to my car. The trail was pretty quiet, I only passed a handful of people on my way into Sebastopol. I cruised slowly, taking in the colorful vineyards, the oaks of the Laguna, and relishing the crunch of the leaves underneath my tires. I rolled into Sebastopol and made my way to The Barlow, and my intended destination – Village Bakery. Bike parking was plentiful in The Barlow and I found a place to lock up just outside the bakery. Inside, the tables were well packed with folks enjoying the bakery’s offerings. I ordered a coffee and an excellent pear tart to enjoy inside the warm and cozy space. After lingering over my tart and coffee for about a half hour, I headed out to explore a part of the West County Trail that I had never ridden. From The Barlow, I rode north and connected to the trail. I rode it out to the eastern edge of town. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time that day to ride all the way out to Forestville, and turned around at the trail’s intersection with Hwy 116. All in all, it was a great ride and a wonderful way to finish out this year’s Coffeeneuring Challenge.

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The first week of #30daysofbiking

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The second week of #30daysofbiking is well underway, and I’m so excited to have made the pledge to ride every day this month.

During the first week, I mostly did a couple of short rides around my neighborhood, and a couple of commutes. On Sunday, I had planned an epic day of errand running by bike, but alas, the skies threatened to open up at any moment, and I didn’t want to be caught in a downpour too far from home. I’m not a fan of cycling in the rain! Instead, I had to settle for another quick neighborhood ride. Later on, when rain never did materialize, I cursed the weather forecast for always being off base. Grrr.

I kind of suck at taking pictures when I do short or commuter rides, so my goal this week is to document my rides. We’ll see how that goes!

If you’re participating in #30daysofbiking, how’d your first week go?