Cycling and Caffeine – It’s Coffeeneuring Time Again!
Nothing I love better than stopping for a snack while riding my bike and thanks to Chasing Mailboxes I have a justification for my cafe expeditions.
Coffeeneuring is an annual event that challenges bike riders to make 7 stops for coffee (or coffee equivalent) at 7 different locations over a 7 week period. This hits my Dora the Explorer button and I managed to expand my routes on this year’s two-wheeled expedition.
The rules on this challenge are relatively simple compared to the springtime Errandonee challenge which I’ve written about here. For new readers, we live a nomadic existence and recently left Minneapolis to winter in the San Francisco Bay Area. Last year I managed to take my Coffeeneuring international while traveling in Belize which you can check out here. I stayed within the US this year but did manage to cross state lines with stops in Minnesota, Colorado and California.
My theme within a theme of choosing seasonal drinks was layered upon new-to-me shops. Cardamon and ginger were the ‘it’ flavors this fall – and they were all deemed delicious. I do realize I’ve got more than seven stops but I got a bit overzealous in my pursuit of caffeine… So without further ado here are my 2016 Coffeeneuring Stops.
Rustica Bakery – Minneapolis
Coffeeneuring 2016 opened on Joel’s birthday so I picked up a fancy pumpkin tart to celebrate and a latte knocked out my first stop. We lived very close to this bakery and it was normally a nice walk to enjoy their really yummy breads and pastries. The 2 mile trip minimum required that I combine trips so I detoured slightly on the way home from a yoga class. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a photo before they taped up the box of deliciousness so you’ll just have to take my word for it. It survived the trip in my backpack unscathed and was delicious. Bike friendly is thumbs up with a location right off the Midtown Greenway and bike racks out front. Ride distance: 2.4 miles
One On One Bicycle Studio – Minneapolis
This stop was actually on the last day the coffee shop was open before a remodeling project promised to upgrade the cafe experience. One On One is part bike shop, part cafe, and part art gallery. The first Art Crank poster show was crammed into this small space owned by a former pro mountain biker known as Gene O (cuz his last name is even harder to spell than mine!)
Back in the day One On One could be found by navigating to the big, neon SexWorld sign on the corner. The neighborhood around the shop has been gentrifying with upscale renovated warehouse apartments and the requisite Whole Foods going in down the street. SexWorld is still there but the upper levels of the building are now condos and the less sordid “The Washington” sign has pushed the neon to the side street entrance.
Bike-friendly gets the thumbs up since, of course, this is a bike shop. Bike racks are available on the street out front or in the back by the service entrance. We left Minneapolis before the renovation was complete so I’ll have to make my report next spring. Ride distance: 27.8 mi
Bachelor Farmer Cafe – Minneapolis
Named as a reference to the Prairie Home Companion characters, the Bachelor Farmer restaurant is in a fairly low-key, renovated warehouse in the hipster North Loop district. So low-key that I’ve ridden past it many times without realizing that it was there. The cafe out front serves coffees, pastries and lunch items. I tried the seasonal latte with cardamom that was accompanied by small ginger snaps. I couldn’t resist trying the gluten-free cookies too – they had a lovely, chewy texture.
Lack of bike racks put a damper on my visit since I was not prepared to lock up downtown without having my bike within sight. That definitely made a move to the patio less relaxing that it should have been on a gorgeous fall day. (Minneapolis has lots of bike thefts and this cafe is 2 blocks from One On One / SexWorld after all….I told you the neighborhood is gentrifying.) Ride distance: 27.2 mi
Cuppa Java – Minneapolis
Cuppa Java is on a surprisingly busy road so it’s not generally along a common route for me. This particular day I was on my way with my club mates Walter and Carolyn to the Freedom Ride in North Minneapolis. We were going to be really early for the ride so I, of course, suggested a coffeeneuring stop. Bike friendly is only OK with a lack of bike racks but lamp posts made due in a pinch. Ride distance: 35.2 mi
Dogwood Coffee – Minneapolis
Tucked within Calhoun Square in Uptown Minneapolis is Dogwood Coffee. Yummy cardamon latte here was matched with a yummy ginger cookie. Bike friendly is good with bike racks out front and they accept Bicycle Benefits stickers for a discount. Ride distance: 35.1 mi
Canteen – Minneapolis
Canteen was an impromptu stop on the Bryant Ave bike boulevard while I was testing out a potential bike tour route. I was on my way to a different shop but after having passed two other shops on Lake St, I did a quick U-turn and locked up at Canteen. Their seasonal latte was flavored with fig and paired with a ginger snap bite. Bike friendly was a yes with bike racks out front and in the back. Ride distance: 29.0 mi
Afro Deli – Minneapolis
I tried the Ethiopian tea based on a recommendation from a patron sitting next to us. It was a nice change from my usual milky lattes. Bike friendly gets a negative with a lack of bike racks especially since it is located across the street from the U of MN business school. Walter and I were in a bit of a hurry after attending a lunch presentation so this cafe deserves a second chance. Ride distance: 8.4 mi
Carley Coffee – Minneapolis
One of my favorite discoveries this year was Carley Coffee on Lake St and Bryant Ave – the City’s first bike boulevard. It was one of the shops I had passed before stopping at Canteen. Look at this cozy fireplace surrounded by a ring of comfy chairs – how nice is that? This ride was a meet up with my family that included my nephew, Max, who is about to leave for a 2 year work assignment in Singapore. During my visit with Max in Chicago, we definitely bonded over coffee so I knew this place would be a hit.
My drink today was a Cinnamon Toast Latte – I’m hoping that the promised “magic” in the drink wasn’t simply crumbs from the toaster oven…. Bike friendly is thumbs up with bike racks out front and being along the bikeway route. Ride distance: 2.3 mi
Mon Petit Cheri with a bonus Franklin Bridge Opening Event – Minneapolis
Out on one of my last long rides with my brother before leaving town we managed to get in two snack stops. The Franklin Avenue Bridge had been closed all summer for major renovation and the City held a ceremony to celebrate the re-opening. The new configuration put it back to one lane each direction as it was originally built leaving wider space for bikes and pedestrians. The hot cider was not anything special but the spacious bike/ped lanes with lookout spots are amazing.
Mon Petit Cheri gets a thumbs down for bike friendly with no bike racks close by so we took turns watching the bikes while buying our goodies to eat at the outdoor seating. It was a cold fall day and sitting inside would have been a nice option. At least the pastries were ridiculously decadent. My ensuing sugar coma warmed my cold extremities. Ride distance: 33.4 mi
Pigtrain Coffee – Denver’s Union Station
Denver was a weekend layover on my road trip to CA and I decided to spend the day exploring with Denver’s B-Cycle bike share system. Union Station is very bike friendly for locals with lots of bike parking and a bonus for me was the bike share station out front. Union Station was already gearing up for the holidays and it was a nice place to hang out. Pig Train Coffee’s name is still a bit of a mystery to me but the coffee was good. I tried a specialty drink called the Miele Latte – tasty. Ride distance: 6.0 mi
Philz Coffee – Redwood City
Coffeeneuring to the rescue! Having landed smack dab in the middle of Silicon Valley, it was a challenge to get motivated for riding on the crazy streets here. (I don’t even want to drive here with its crush of frantic, stressed-out people.) We are within walking distance of downtown so making the minimum distance of 2 miles took a bit of planning on my part without knowing the area. I created a route to REI on Industrial Blvd so that gives you a sense of how fun of a ride it was… It actually wasn’t that bad once I got out there. REI gets a not-so-bike-friendly rating with it’s poor bike rack placement. I’m thinking they don’t see many people riding there so locking up along the rack wouldn’t be a problem.
I first visited Philz Coffee in Santa Monica so was excited to see a branch near me. The Tesora Mocha was my drink of choice to celebrate surviving my first ride. Bike friendly gets a thumbs up with bike racks out front and with its location downtown bike lanes can lead you there from a number of directions. Ride Distance: 5.1 mi
Cafe Venetia – Palo Alto
My final coffeeneuring ride was more adventurous with a trip to downtown Palo Alto from Redwood City – I got to experience disappearing bike lanes, hazardous construction zones, and generally frantic drivers. But I made it and enjoyed some nice chocolate mousse to celebrate. Bike friendly was fine with bike racks along University Ave. With treats like this enticing me, it’s not going to be long before I get to know the place. Ride distance: 6.0 mi
Today’s daily prompt is percolate – Any suggestions for percolating places I need to explore in the Bay Area?