I decided to do the Coffeeneuring Challenge again this year. The basic premise — bike to 7 different coffee shops over the course of 7 weekends in October in November. You need to bike at least 2 miles on each outing. You can only do it on Saturday/Sunday (except for some exceptions like Columbus Day and Veterans Day). There are some other basic guidelines. It’s a fun challenge to make sure you stay on the bike as the weather gets cooler. Emma and I both did it last year and had a lot of fun.
This year I was a bit on my own as Emma took October as an opportunity to give up caffeine – no coffee, no tea, no chocolate. Also my schedule this year just seemed weird, so I ended up on many of these excursions by myself this year. The photos (necessary for verification of each Coffeeneuring journey) are all a bit shitty as the ol’ iphone doesn’t take such great photos anymore, but they get the job done.
Sunday, October 6, 2013
My friend Emily and I had gone on a quick getaway adventure to Cleveland on Saturday and got back into Pittsburgh mid-afternoon on Sunday. Emma was on a similar out-of-town adventure but was not back yet. It was unseasonably warm and was a beautiful day. I took the opportunity to take a solo journey out to the new 61B Cafe in Regent Square for this trip. In the former home of the dismal Katerbean cafe, the 61B is run by the 61C folks. Like the 61C, it is named after the bus route that runs by there. It’s a lovely little spot, but by the time I rode out there I was very warm and the thought of sitting inside did not appeal to me. Luckily they have a window to the sidewalk so you can just order your drink from the outside. I got myself a simple black Iced Tea and sat at one of the outside tables. I brought along our copy of “JUST RIDE” because for some reason I had wanted to reference something from it, but I never figured out what that was. Oh well. Stopped at the Co-op on the way home and picked up the case of cereal I had special-ordered. Strapped that sucker onto the rack and headed home. Total journey was approximately 10.8 miles.
Saturday, October 12, 2013
One of the final weekends to get brunch at the Quiet Storm before they closed the doors on their Penn Avenue location. Emma and I got brunch and beverages – Breakfast Burrito and English Breakfast tea for me. Emma’s brunch was sub-par and a somewhat disappointing way to end her last brunch at QS but these things happen, right? After brunch we rode down to Oakland to check out the Carnegie International at the Carnegie Museum of Art. Spent a couple hours looking at art, needed a break, so we headed over to the library cafe to get some juice and sat outside. Then we went back and looked at some more art for awhile. The photos of utopias and the musical instruments built from guns (both in the Hall of Architecture) were the hits for us. Didn’t make it through all of the show but we shall return (as you will find out). Rode home. Total trip was approximately 3.6 miles.
Sunday, October 20, 2013
Espresso A Mano
Emma went up to visit her dad this day so I was on my own again. The day before we had gone to the Golden Triangle Bike Rental bike sale with some friends and stumbled upon a Bianchi Pista single-speed bike that Emma immediately fell in love with. It was a little big for her and maybe just a little small for me, but we both took it for a test spin and both enjoyed riding it. We hadn’t gone to the sale expecting to purchase (we were just there to assist our friends), so we didn’t bring any money (it was a cash-only sale), so our friends loaned us the $$$ necessary and Emma rode the Pista home and her trusty Long Haul Trucker went into the back of our friends’ car.
Since Emma wasn’t around, I decided to take the Pista for a spin. Rode down from Bloomfield into the Strip District and looped back around to Lawrenceville and stopped at Espresso A Mano. The place was bumping (it was another beautiful day) and all the tables were taken. I got myself a Coconut Chai and shared a table with another young gentleman right by the door. Read some “Lost City Radio” and said ‘hi’ to a couple familiar faces. Then it was time to charge back up Liberty Avenue on the single-speed. I was a bit apprehensive (I like my gears), but felt pretty good about how generally easy it was to get back up into Bloomfield. The Pista is a fun ride – smooth, light, fast. It’ll be a good bike to have in our stable. Total trip was about 2.9 miles.
Sunday, October 27, 2013
Bagel Factory/Coffee Tree Roaster
Another trip to the Carnegie International. Checked out some more art and dropped off some library books. Before heading home we stopped at the Bagel Factory/Coffee Tree Roaster on the corner of Forbes and Craig for some beverages. This spot used to be home to Kiva Han, a place that wasn’t without its issue, but a place that was usually rad to hang out in and had a good vibe. BF/CTR took over the space and totally re-did it and it kinda sucks now. The place really lacks any charm. It was freezing in there. Generally just not a good place to get a drink anymore. Kind of a bummer. Still a good corner to people watch tho’. Had a darjeeling tea, nothing fancy. After tea, we took a loop around Carnegie Mellon and headed home. Total mileage for this day, approximately 3.8 miles.
Saturday, November 2, 2013
Big Dog Coffee
I wanted to get a new front blinky for my bike, something brighter, so Emma and I biked down to the SouthSide and hit up Thick Bikes. Got to see some folks enjoying trying out a Surly Pugsley fatbike and got to check out the new Brooks Cambium saddles. Poked around a bit and bought new lights (Emma got a set to put on the Pista). After that we rode across the SouthSide and stopped at Big Dog. The place was pretty packed. It was a chilly day so sitting out on their patio was out of the question. We were able to get a couple seats together and ordered a some soy Chai’s. We spent some time discussing our potential bike trip in Spain next year and conspiring on some other projects. Then back home. Total ride today was approximately 11.1 miles.
Sunday, November 10, 2013
East End Food Co-op
Decided to do a Sunday morning brunch and groceries trip to the co-op. It was a chilly morning. Got bundled up and rode out. Was pretty starving by the time we got there, so ate all my food before remembering that I needed to take my Coffeeneuring photo. Not pictured: pancakes, soysage, potatoes, kale. Pictured: Irish breakfast tea. Over brunch we figured out our meals for the week and made a shopping list. Emma wrote everything on a napkin. Then we got up to go shopping and Emma tossed said napkin into the compost bin. Once she realized this, she turned around to try to save it only to see a woman scraping various foodstuffs into the compost bin. Oops. Bravely we tackled our shopping without a list and rode right back home. Total trip, approximately 7.8 miles.
Saturday, November 16, 2013
After a morning trip to the music shop to get a new snare drum head and stand and then spending a bunch of time silkscreening, cleaning up the garden and other chores around the house, I decided to go on a solo bike ride. Rode up to Squirrel Hill to try out the relatively new Dobra Tea house that I hadn’t had a chance to check out yet. I had been to one of these places many years ago in Burlington, VT, so I had a sense of what to expect. This place has LOTS of different teas and they give you a book with a listing of all of them with in-depth descriptions and give you a bell to ring when you’ve had enough time to go through it and actually make a decision. There was a lot of stuff that looked great but I was feeling like an oolong today, so I opted for the Black Dragon oolong. With a name like Black Dragon and based on the description, I was expecting maybe a bit more kick to it, but it was a really pleasant mellow oolong. Chilled out there awhile and read a bit of ‘The Spanish Civil War’, a book I picked up based on our possible trip to Spain in the year 2014. After leaving Dobra, I had planned to zip down through Chatham College (it’s a fun hill to ride down), but forgot to make the necessary turn, so went down Wilkins instead. Still a pretty fun hill. It was a beautiful day and little traffic, so I charged down that hill and felt great. Total mileage for the day, approximately 6.5 miles.
I had a great time tackling this challenge again this year. It was a good mix of beautiful unseasonably warm days that I would’t have missed getting on the bike anyway, and some chillier fall days that was probably good that I had some impetus to ride on. Also it always gives a little impetus to try some new cafes.
1. I definitely did hit up the 61C once for a Coffeeneuring journey but totally forgot to take a pic. Ooops. A soy chai was consumed on that trip. Fall is definitely hightime for chai.
2. On October 26th, in conjunction with the Mr. Roboto Project Zine Library, we held a Coffeeneuring-themed zine reading that was somewhat hastily thrown together. Due to the hastiness that it was thrown together and it being a chilly day, only Emma and I showed up for the pre-reading bike ride. We chose to hang out with the zine crew instead and ate their homemade bagels. Of those who were going to read, only I ended up reading anything about bikes or coffee. I read a pro-bike piece that I had written for a zine back in early 1994 (somewhat embarrassing) and the ‘Biking’ section of Drinking Sweat in the Ash Age zine. If nothing else, coffee and tea were consumed. Perhaps we’ll have better luck next year.