Trip One – October 4, 2014 – approximate trip distance = 8.2 miles
October 4th was a day made for the start of Coffeeneuring — 46 degrees, grey skies, a light rain, blustery winds. Lots of leaves blowing around. We had just recently gotten back from three weeks in Spain where it had been in the 70’s and 80’s the whole time. Pittsburgh was pretty nice upon our return, but this weekend was our first taste of the weather to come. Emma and I rode out to the East End Food Coop which is about a four-mile trip each way. Got some baked goods and hot drinks. I opted to try a cinnamon baked apple tea. I was skeptical but it seemed like it might be nice. I decided to add some soy creamer. Overall the tea was a disappointment but the pumpkin bread was good. After getting our drinks, we loaded up on groceries and made our way back home through the grey streets.
Trip Two – October 11, 2014 – approximate trip distance = 11 miles
Total flip-flop for this weekend. Beautiful sunny fall day. Crisp but warm. Rolled down to the REI in the Southside to look for a new under helmet cap for the winter months. I lost my nice Pearl Izumi one at the end of last winter and had replaced it with a Smartwool one that didn’t quite get the job done for me. Got down to REI and realized I missed a phonecall from my mom on the way down, so sat outside in the sun and gave her a call. After doing a little shopping (and successfully replacing my cap), I made my way the couple blocks over to Big Dog Coffee. I got some Blue Lady Tea and re-read John Porcellino’s “Diary of a Mosquito Abatement Man”. After leaving there, rode down the Southside trail, through Downtown and the Strip District to back home.
Trip Three – October 19, 2014 – approximate trip distance = 9 miles
Having just overcome a bit of a cold, I was a little run down. I had lost a couple days of riding due to being sick so was anxious to get in some fun riding today. After a slow start to our day, we rode out to Frick Park for the Salsa demo days that Thick Bikes was helping sponsor. We got the chance to try out a Salsa Bucksaw full-suspension bike. We did a quick run through the park, riding down the Iron Grate Trail. Emma took a little tumble (this was after all only her 2nd time mountain-biking) but we had a pretty good time trying out these ridiculous bikes. Got back to the tents and chatted with the Thick Bikes crew about our Spain trip (they had boxed up our bikes for the flight over and knew all about our plans, so it was nice to fill them in on how things went). After the demo time, we rode back up the hill to Regent Square and visited the 61B Cafe where I got a pot of Kensington Blend Breakfast tea.
Trip Four – October 25, 2014 – approximate trip distance = 26.2 miles
Our friends Kelli and Shane were planning for their first bike camping trip. We were going to let them borrow some equipment and they wanted to do a test-run riding with loaded bikes. We agreed to meet up with them to join them in their test ride. Emma and I loaded up our panniers and some other stuff, rode over to the Northside trail and rode all the way up to the penitentiary to meet up with Kelli and Shane there. After helping them get their bikes set up and loaded down with some gear, the four of us headed back down the trail from where we came and rode it all the way to the other end in Millvale through throngs of Pitt fans prepping for the game. In Millvale we stopped at a gazebo and ate the PB&J sandwiches that I packed, then turned around and rode back through the crowds again to the penitentiary end of the trail where we bid Kelli and Shane farewell.
Having left our friends, we rode back towards home, stopping in the Strip District to get our Coffeeneuring trip in. We got to access the new Penn Avenue bike lanes and headed to 21st Street Coffee. Got some soy chai.
Trip Five – November 2, 2014 – approximate trip distance = 5.3 miles
Emma and I had an invite to go over to our friend Leah’s house for dinner. We had a lovely hangout and dinner with Leah and a few other friends. Afterwards we rode over to the Shadyside Coffee Tree Roasters. This is a cafe that I often feel conflicted about – its pretty cozy (they have some comfy couches and a fireplace) and there’s some good people watching, but they almost always give you a paper cup instead of an actual mug. Tonight we successfully got the baristas to give us some actual mugs. The place was unusually quiet, perhaps because of a nighttime Steelers game. I just got a simple Darjeeling tea. The barista warned us that the tea was “extremely hot” and even offered to put ice in our tea to cool it down. We skipped the ice but she was speaking the truth, the tea was quite hot.
Trip Six – November 8, 2014 – approximate trip distance = 3.9 miles
Emma was out of town for the weekend on a roadtrip with her dad to a family wedding. I got up early, ate breakfast, did some dishes and rode over to Polish Hill. Got there just as Lili Coffee was opening. I ran into my friend Madeline who works at a recording studio. We chatted for a bit about recording, playing in bands, etc. I got some Russian Caravan tea. They asked if I wanted a mug or a pot; I got the pot. They gave me a HUGE pot. I sat and read and drank waaaay more tea than necessary. Afterwards I rolled down the hill into the Strip District and back up Liberty Avenue to home.
Trip Seven – November 15, 2014 – approximate trip distance = 12.8 miles
After a strange morning/afternoon that included us purchasing a new car, we set off for the Southside to hit up Thick Bikes so Emma could talk to them about getting a mountain bike (she ended up putting a deposit down on a Surly Troll) and so we could check out some stuff at REI. Afterwards we thought we could tackle both dinner and our Coffeeneuring trip by going to the OTB Cafe. However, apparently being more of a bar type establishment, they do not offer tea. Regardless, we hung around and got some burgers. Then we crossed the river, rode down the jail trail, through Downtown and the Strip District and stopped at Espresso A Mano in Lawrenceville. A Mountain Oolong tea was my choice of drink this night.
Trip Eight – November 16, 2014 – approximate trip distance = 2.2 miles
Although I had my seven Coffeeneuring trips in, Emma still needed one more. We got up early on sunday morning and headed over to Voluto/Commonplace Coffee which sits comfortably outside the necessary 1 mile radius needed for Coffeeneuring. Got a mug of Early Grey and a vegan/gluten-free pumpkin spice donut as it lightly snowed outside. A nice way to end this year’s Coffeeneuring adventures.