In my last post, I summarized my first two Coffeeneuring rides for 2014. My life, since the second ride, has been uncharacteristically busy due to a certain virus that causes hemorrhagic fever. You’ve probably read about it in the paper. I’ve been working long hours helping to train and prepare people in case it ever finds its way out to suburbia. As a result, my cycling time has been very limited; almost no commuting and most weekends have been spent doing chores.
Nevertheless, I completed the Challenge this afternoon with my last ride, son in tow, to a local book shop. It required a lot of effort to get out the door because the weather here is absolutely dreary and cold. In fact, most weekends in the last month have been less than ideal for long rides. What follows is a summary of my final five rides. You’ll notice that I’ve taken to practicing #coffeeoutside and I brought a kid with me on most rides. Having a riding companion is delightful.
Ride 3, on October 18, was my standard Piccolo Route that I take with my kids. We roll out of the house, make a loop up a quiet road and head to their schoolyard* so they can play. If you’re going to cycle with kids, you have to make it fun for them too. While my son was playing, I brewed up some tea.
As luck would have it, the schoolyard has the perfect work surface for a mobile kitchen. If you are going to make coffee or tea outside, you need a smooth surface to cook on. This park has this unique concrete bench and table arrangement that made it very suitable for #coffeeoutside, or tea outside as the case may be. 5.9 miles of riding.
* I’m not including the name of the location here because it is a school and I doubt they want people making it a regular coffeeneuring stop!
Ride 4, on October 25, was a solo ride to one of the local public beaches. Harbor Links / Town of North Hempstead Beach overlooks Roslyn Harbor on the North Shore of Nassau County. You wouldn’t know it’s here unless you live in the area. It’s secluded and, depending on what direction you approach it from, involves one of the steepest climbs in the county. I did the steep climbing part in both directions in an attempt to maintain some semblance of fitness.
The beach was absolutely deserted, which is the way I like it. I’m sure there’s some regulation prohibiting the use of a canister stove, so I didn’t want any witnesses. Tea again, as it is easier to travel with than coffee because I like milk with my coffee but take my tea straight with a spot of honey. So British of me.
I brought a small tripod and camera to take a selfie next to the kitchen but the camera was too heavy for the tiny tripod. Lesson learned: test out your rig before heading out. 2.4 miles total, but remember there was a big hill both ways (insert Bill Cosby joke).
Ride 5, on October 28, was a mountain bike ride in Stillwell Woods. Located in Syosset, Stillwell is a favorite spot for hikers, bikers and equestrians. I go there when I’ve had enough of competing with cars or I realize my Moots isn’t getting enough attention.
The air was very crisp but somehow being in the woods doesn’t seem so bad when it’s cold out. It would’ve been a rough day out on the road bike, that’s for sure. I rode 5.5 miles, stopping often to get fall foliage pictures. It seems wherever I ride my mountain bike, I’m bound to come across an abandoned automobile. This one is nowhere near the trail head, which makes me wonder how it got here.
After the trail ride, I rode another 1.4 miles to the local Starbucks for a latte. Sitting with my drink, I wondered why there aren’t more non-Starbucks coffee shops in my part of Long Island.
Yes, I know October 28 was a Tuesday, not a weekend. I’m going to claim a homeland security/emergency preparedness exemption. I worked over the preceding weekend preparing an emergency response team for the aforementioned virus. Tuesday was my day off that week. It also explains why I went into the woods.
Ride 6 was yesterday, November 15. I barely did any riding since the trip on the Moots because of work. I’ve been heading out the door at 5:30 am and coming home at 7:30pm. Eat dinner. Go to sleep. Repeat the next day.
Yesterday was windy, chilly but sunny. My daughter asked first, so she got the coveted spot on the Piccolo for a short 3 mile spin around town. We rode to the local ball field, fired up the camp stove and had tea and hot cocoa. Although the field has countless “no bicycles” and “no picnicking” signs, the caretaker greeted us with a giant smile on his face; he loves it when I roll through with a kid on the Piccolo.
In completing this year’s Challenge, I’ve found that I much prefer making my own coffee on the little stove pictured above. It’s an MSR Isobutane canister stove. Sitting atop the stove is a small kettle of water. The stove can boil water in about 3 minutes. The entire rig is relatively light, though it does take up space in a pannier, and the whole thing can probably be put together for $50. I’ve had it for several years, so I don’t know current pricing. I can tell you, however, that it’s a lot of fun making your own beverages, using your own beans rather than paying a premium at a shop.
Ride 7 was today and, quite frankly, I was just going through the motions to finish the Challenge. It’s grey and cold and dreary here. No reason to be outside other than to complete something started seven weeks ago.
My son and I took a quick 2.4 mile spin down the main street to the Dolphin Bookstore Cafe overlooking Manhasset Bay. The bookstore is famous in these parts because it caters to children and has been family owned for decades. They added a cafe about a year or so ago, and they serve Stumptown Coffee. It has seating for about 10 people, so I don’t know if it’s a place I’d stop on a club ride but it is certainly suitable if you are by yourself or with one other person.
My son and I shared a hot cocoa watching a half-dozen kids complete arts & crafts projects at the table. Then we hammered home to get out of the wind, Coffeeneuring Challenge 2014 complete.
Here are my general observations from this year’s Challenge:
- It’s nice to be part of something global. I’ve been watching the “coffeeneuring” and “coffeeoutside” hashtags on Instagram and it’s phenomenal how many people are participating. I wish I lived in LA (or at least could visit) because Area45 has quite the gathering every week
- I wish it wasn’t limited to weekends. I’m a Monday through Friday work kinda guy and many times the weekends are occupied by the honey-do list.
- There are no coffee shops in my area! I don’t count SB or DD. I’m talking about nice places like everyone on Instagram is visiting!
- Making your coffee or tea on a small stove RULES!!! It sounds burdensome but it definitely is not. The only logistical challenge is carrying the gear, and that can be overcome with a single pannier, small knapsack or large handlebar/rando bag
- Riding with a partner makes the Challenge more enjoyable, especially when it’s your kid
That’s a wrap for 2014. Thank you, MG, for inspiring and motivating us.