Featured

Number 1 – Home to Fosko Coffee Barre

Riding our bikes to go drink coffee.

Coffeeneuring is simply riding your bike to get some coffee. I found out about it earlier this year when I needed to replace a broken fender on my bike and the new fenders arrived with a copy of Bicycle Times magazine which had an article about coffeeneuring.  I usually don’t need a reason to go ride but I have been doing more in town rides lately, trying to explore some places I’ve never been or even thought about riding before. Plus our town has become more interesting with several breweries and lots of coffee shops. We have also been doing some slow rides where several hundred people show up to ride at a painfully slow pace for an hour checking out the city. It’s an unruly mob and it’s almost become a victim of its own success but I have seen a lot more people out riding in the last few years so it must be having a positive effect. Enough to now be sporting several new bike shops in town.

Ride number 1 was an easy ride downtown to Fosko Coffee Barre with some neighbors and friends. I posted a Facebook Event to see if there was any interest or if I was in this on my own. Eight participants accepted the challenge and arrived promptly Saturday morning at the house and were ready to roll at 8:00am.

IMG_0185
Rita, Stephanie, Jason, Joanne, Jay, Barbara, Paul and Mike

There was a small hiccup earlier in the week when Barbara, my spousal equivalent, asked if I was attending the Spirit of UWF & Alumni Awards ceremony with her on Saturday morning like I promised. She was being honored with the ‘Public Service and Education’ award by the University of West Florida for her environmental work. Lucky for me the ceremony was at 9:00 just down the street from the coffee shop so not only was she able to make the ride but I was able to attend the ceremony.

The route downtown was easy as it’s mostly downhill although there were several street closings due to all the construction in the core of town. All the hip new apartments and shops that are part of our urban renewal.

map 1

Pensacola is fairly walkable/bikeable if you stay around the older part of town or know the back routes. There is a pretty active cycling community here. Pensacola has quite the history having been one of the first settlements in the United Stated back in 1559 (although it was short lived due to a hurricane that sank most of DeLuna’s ships in the bay. The actual settlement is maybe a mile or so from our house and is being slowly excavated by the UWF Archaeology Department). We made it to Fosko’s and took over all the available bike parking and crowded up the joint.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Jill, Rita.That’s me in the black and white checked shirt. Mike

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Me, Mike, Paul behind Mike, Joanne with my coffee, Stephanie behind Jason’s coffee. The mural on the wall is of downtown Pensacola back in the day.

None of us had ever been to Fosko’s. The interior was clean and modern with some cool looking apparatuses hanging on the wall. Coffee related? No one knew or thought to ask. Later: Japanese Cold Brew

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We all ordered various coffees and chatted for a bit. Joanne stole my coffee and spent the next 15 minutes apologizing. Her husband, Jay, took Barbara’s coffee but was unapologetic. I’m not sure if anyone else is going to complete the challenge or if they were just along for the ride but I made sure to document my purchase although somewhat blurily.

IMG_0187

Rita wins the award for getting an actual breakfast.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Jill met us there.

IMG_0188

I didn’t get a chance to mingle as much as I would have liked so I hope no one was left sitting quietly by themselves. At 8:50 Barbara and Mike and I headed out to the awards ceremony. The ceremony was held in the historic Museum of Commerce which fittingly has a pennyfarthing on it’s sign.

IMG_0195

We were slightly embarrassed when we arrived as we were wearing casual riding clothing and everyone else were in suits and dresses. No matter. They let us in. A nice breakfast was served and awards were given out. No more coffee for me though.

IMG_0193

Then we three had a pleasant ride back uphill and home.

Summary

So I’ve created this summary so you don’t have to read every single entry in my blog to make sure I’m not trying to weasel my way into getting a patch without actually doing the work. I didn’t do a ‘theme within a theme’ unless you consider bad writing a theme. I drink coffee every day and I ride my bike most days but I rarely combine the two. Coffee for me is to have something warm to drink in the morning and I like the ritual of grinding beans and boiling water and it’s even better when I’m out camping as it’s nice to be doing something I do every day in a new somewhat challenging environment. Riding my bike I do most days as I ride to work on weekdays and on weekends I run errands or go for a longish ride on the mountain bike or the Fargo. I don’t really like purchasing a cup of coffee, as I think it’s a waste of money and I think I make a decent cup on my own although my taste isn’t very refined. I do know the coffee at my office is horrible. Combining these two things in the Coffeeneuring Challenge was kind of fun. I get to recalibrate my coffee taste buds with coffee brewed by professionals and ride my bike to somewhat different places around town and it was cool that I got to get a few others to come along, some even to finish the challenge and earn their badge. There were several places I wanted to ride to that I didn’t get the chance. One was Fort Pickens out at the beach but Hurricane Irma messed up part of the park road and there is new bridge construction that has messed up the traffic patterns through Gulf Breeze. I’m hoping to get out there some cold miserable Sunday in December when the road opens and traffic is low to do an Always Be Coffeeneuring ride. The other place I didn’t get to was Bamahenge. Some guy over in Alabama has recreated Stonehenge in the pine forest along with some dinosaurs and various other things. It’s about 60 miles round trip but I haven’t been feeling like riding that far this season. Again, I’ll save it for an ABC ride. Thanks for hosting this event. I’ve enjoyed the simpleness of the rides and the rules and I’m looking forward to next year’s challenge. Thanks again.

Number 1

where you went: Fosko Coffee Barre, 8 South Palafox Street, Pensacola, Florida

date you went there: Saturday, October 14th

what you drank: Just a regular coffee.

a detail or two about your coffeeneuring ride: Ten of us had an easy ride downtown. Good parking. Barbara got an award.

total mileage: Somewhere around five miles round trip.

Number 2

where you went: The Leisure Club, 1151 Office Woods Dr a, Pensacola, Florida

date you went there: Sunday, October 15th

what you drank: Just a regular coffee.

a detail or two about your coffeeneuring ride: Three of us rode some cyclocross trails and some urban singletrack. We met three others at the place. Plenty of room to park but no racks.

total mileage: 15 miles round trip more or less.

Number 3

where you went: Drowsy Poet Coffee Company, 86 Brent Lane, Pensacola, Florida

date you went there: Sunday, October 21nd

what you drank: Just a regular coffee.

a detail or two about your coffeeneuring ride: Seven of us rode into uncharted territory. We met two others there. Did some vegetable shopping on the way back. No good bike parking.

total mileage: About 11 miles round trip.

Number 4

where you went: Bagelheads, 916 East Gregory Street, Pensacola, Florida

date you went there: Sunday, October 22th

what you drank: Just a regular coffee.

a detail or two about your coffeeneuring ride: Solo ride due to plans going awry. No good bike parking.

total mileage: Five miles round trip give or take.

Number 5 & 6

where you went: Bear Lake, Blackwater River State Forest, Santa Rosa County, Florida

date you went there: Sunday, October 27-29th

what you drank: Just a regular pour over coffee without walls Saturday morning, Sunday morning and Sunday mid-day on the way back.

a detail or two about your coffeeneuring ride: Two of us did a bike camping trip. Paul’s first time bike camping. Dramatic weather. Yummy beer at the end.

total mileage: 26 miles up and 32 miles back.

Number 7

where you went: Bodacious Brew, 407 South Palafox Street C, Pensacola, Florida

date you went there: Sunday, November 4th

what you drank: Just a regular coffee.

a detail or two about your coffeeneuring ride: Two of us rode downtown and met two others. Lots of events going on including the Slow Ride.

total mileage: Around five miles, not including the Slow Ride.

Bonus Number 8

where you went: The Bluffs, Scenic Highway, Pensacola, Florida

date you went there: Sunday, November 5th

what you drank: Just a regular pour over coffee.

a detail or two about your coffeeneuring ride: Three of us did a coffee without walls ride to the Bluffs overlooking Escambia Bay. A bit foggy but nice and cool. Easy bike parking.

total mileage: 7.5 miles round trip.

Super Bonus Number 9

where you went: Maximilian Coffee 3419 N 12th Ave Pensacola, Florida

date you went there: Saturday, November 11th

what you drank: Just a regular coffee.

a detail or two about your coffeeneuring ride: Five of us did the easy ride through the neighborhood. Found a turtle on the side of the road. Good bike parking.

total mileage: 4.08

Super Mega Bonus Number 10

where you went: Red Rock Road Mountain Bike Trail, Blackwater River State Forest

date you went there: Sunday, November 12th

what you drank: Just a regular pour-over coffee.

a detail or two about your coffeeneuring ride: A loop of the trail with a coffee stop down by the creek. Then exploring some new ground for an additional section of trail.

total mileage: about 25 miles total.

Super Ultra Mega Bonus Number 11

where you went: George Artisanal Bistro and Bakery, 1124 W Garden Street, Pensacola, Florida

date you went there: Saturday, November 18th

what you drank: Just a regular coffee.

a detail or two about your coffeeneuring ride: Ran some errands. Noisy patio but warm sunshine. A trip to the market and then home. No bike parking.

total mileage: about 7 miles.

 

Super Ultra Mega Bonus No.11

This whole Coffeeneuring thing is finally coming to an end with today’s ride to George Artisan Bakery and Bistro. It was just Barbara, Paul and me heading out at 8:00ish. We did a quick run by a yard sale that we hit earlier in the morning to pay for some Nalgene bottles and some kitty food bowls. Then it was downtown to the bank to deposit my paycheck and then over to E Street to the bistro. Paul was sporting his new singlespeed bike. He gets a new bike every month it seems. The ride was through the downtown neighborhoods. Lots of colorful houses and artsy yards. We arrived without too much trouble. Bike parking was nonexistent so we managed to secure the bikes to each other.

IMG_0332.JPG

We sat on the front patio which was nice as the sun was warm but the noise from the traffic on Garden Street and the whiny kid at the adjoining table made it less than ideal. I understand the whiny kid part but I don’t understand loud pipes on bikes. Who are we trying to impress? Anyway, the coffee was good and the Nutella muffin thingy I had was way too sweet.

IMG_0335

The whole episode left me a bit jangled. Paul was kind enough to pick up the bill. Thanks, Paul!

IMG_0337

Next we headed to Evermans to pick up some coffee beans for my camping trip coming up next week to the Chief Ladiga Trail and Talladega National Forest in central Alabama. We tried doing a loop there last year but our timing was all wrong so we abandoned that trip and hit Blackwater River State Forest instead. Talladega National Forest promises some healthy climbs and cooler temperatures, pushing the limits of my endurance and equipment. So after Evermans we hit the downtown market and wandered around there for a while. There were a surprising number if coffee stands set up; something to think about for the ABC club. Then it was a gentle ride back up the hill to home to complete the 2017 Coffeeneuring Challenge. Thanks for making this happen!

map 11

Super Mega Bonus No.10

Today was ME time after all the social stuff I did yesterday. I packed up the mountain bike and a thermos of coffee and headed north to Blackwater River State Forest to do a bit of trail riding on the Red Rock Road MTB Trail.

Redrock Trail copy

I parked at the creek and noticed there were a couple of cars with bike racks on them. It’s always good to see people riding up in the forest. I got kitted up and headed out. It was a semi bleak day, low 60’s and cloudy. I took a bit to get warmed up but after the first good climb I was fine. The trail is a lollipop, with a 1 mile two way section and a nine mile loop for a total of elevenish miles. After the first three miles or so I hopped on the service road that runs down to the creek. No one was camping so I parked my bike and pulled out the thermos and some snack bars and commenced the ‘coffee’ portion of the coffeeneuring obligation.

IMG_0317

The coffee was still warm which was a pleasant surprise. Before I started to get chilled I got back on the bike and finished out the loop. Once I got into the groove it turned out to be a good ride. Sometimes it’s hard to get my mind right.

Anyway, I made it back to the car and ditched the thermos. Coffeeneuring obligations complete, and grabbed the GPS to go do some exploring for some trails we want to build I hope next winter. It’s hard to get out here the rest of the year because it’s so hot and buggy and the lightning storms roll through. I headed back up the paved road to a new road the forestry people built to access a parcel of private land.

IMG_0328

I followed the road several miles into the forest, taking any little trail that split off just to see where it went. It was a good day to explore but I was surprised by the amount of spiders still alive after the cold snap we had a few weeks ago. The don’t bite but they are large and annoying when the web gets stuck on my face.

IMG_0327

The road ends at the private parcel but it gets real close to Juniper Creek, the same creek where I had my coffee but further down stream. Mapping done, I turned around and headed back. It was noticeably cooler on the return trip. I got back to the car and chatted with some hardy fellows that had done some bikepacking up to Open Pond in Conecuh National Forest. Total mileage for the day was somewhere around 25 miles.

Super Bonus No.9

This was another quick and easy ride in the neighborhood to Maximilian Coffee.

IMG_0314

Map 9

Some of these guys are so close to getting the patch but aren’t there yet and I feel compelled to keep doing rides to prod them along. It was a nice cool morning, gloves and a hat were required. There were five of us; Rita has returned after healing up from her injuries, Carlos bailed due to the need for sleep. We got to Maximilian’s around 8:30, sat at the bar and studied the design of the 2017 patch options. There was no consensus as to which was the better looking color. I’m not sure where I’m going to display mine. Maybe a hat? A sash? The coffee was good and not very expensive.

IMG_0312
Rita, Jay, Me in back, Joann and Paul

Maximilian’s is part of the Cactus Flower restaurant, a southwestern themed place that serves really good food but is a little out of my price range. They have good sangria though. We left a little after 9:00. We spotted a turtle on the side of the road and grabbed a couple of quick pictures of it. Don’t see a lot of turtles around here in the hood but it’s not unheard of.

IMG_0315

Stopped at a yard sale but I didn’t buy anything. They did have a toothbrush for sale. I didn’t ask the price. I spent the rest of the day cooking fish for the BFA fish fry.  It was a perfect day to lounge in the park eating fried food and drinking cheap beer. Now it’s nap time.

Bonus Ride No.8

It’s not against the rules to do more than seven rides is it? I had two participants this morning for the bonus round of coffeeneuring. Both Jill and Paul haven’t reached magic seven rides yet so I feel like I’m doing a good deed by keeping them motivated to get the patch. Rita was going to recuperate some more by going to the beach. The goal was to ride from the house, out Scenic Highway to The Bluffs. It’s not very far or very hard but there is a lot of traffic at times. The ‘highway’ portion is U.S Highway 90 that runs from Jacksonville Beach in Florida to Van Horn, Texas. Interstate 10 has replaced the need for Highway 90 as a cross country route but it is still important for the local commuters. The portion we rode on is also part of the Southern Tier Bicycle Route. The ‘scenic’ portion is to the right as you are going north. The road is maybe 75′ above the water so the view over Escambia Bay is nice, especially in the morning with the sun rise. Escambia Bay was once one of the most polluted bodies of water in the U.S. Back in the 1970’s there were major fish kills from all the chemicals that were being dumped by some industries at the north end of the bay. Thanks to the Bream Fisherman’s Association, the government forced the industries to clean up their act. The factories are still there and the water is still not pristine but it has gotten a lot better in the last 40 years. There is even a company growing oysters on the bay now which hasn’t happened in quite a long time (we had so much rain this year that the oyster crop didn’t survive. Oysters require a certain amount of salt water but the rain flushed the bay with fresh water for too long so they all died. Next year I hope will be better).

The Bluffs is a city park that has a long boardwalk paralleling the bay through a live oak hammock. Over the years the park has had its ups and downs. There used to be lots of partying going on and it was a cruising spot back in the day. The park has improved quite a bit but it still could use some love. The other drawback is there is a railroad track that runs next to the water and crossing it is technically illegal but lots of people take their dogs down there or go fishing. The water is shallow for a long way out.

IMG_0308.JPG

The Bluffs was today’s coffee without walls destination. Paul and Jill, previous coffeeneurers, arrived ready to ride despite the dreaded time change. It was pleasantly cool with a hint of fog to keep things moist. We jumped out on Hwy 90 and crossed Bayou Texar and then eased into East Pensacola Heights for a detour around the busier parts of Hwy 90. Then we braved the highway for a few miles northward to The Bluffs.

IMG_0302.JPG

After locking bikes and grabbing supplies we headed down the steps on the boardwalk. There is a small overlook that was the perfect spot to brew a cup of coffee and fortunately no one was there so we climbed the bank and made it ours. Paul brought some pecan muffins and I had some biscottis. I did however forget the creamer but the coffee was surprisingly mellow. Paul drank hot chocolate and Jill and I had the coffee.

We chatted for a bit, discussing upcoming vacations and work obligations. Then we packed everything up and continued on the boardwalk and back to the parking lot. We hopped off Hwy 90 to shortcut through East Pensacola Heights again, back across Bayou Texar and back into our neighborhood.

map 8

No.7

Number seven was another easy one to start a longish day. Four of us ended up meeting at the Bodacious Brew for a quick coffee before the Slow Ride. Ashley met me at the house and we did the easy ride down to meet Jay and Joanne at the coffee shop. Rita messaged that she had hurt her hand so she was not able to ride today. Who knew coffeeneuring was so brutal? There is a lot happening downtown this weekend so the coffee shop was crowded with tourists.

Still we managed to get a cup and hang out a bit. I had a pour-over of their dark roast which was tasty but it was $3.76. Jeez. I’m not sure what the green stuff was that Ashley was drinking. We sat in the hot sun drinking hot coffee and really wishing it was 20 degrees cooler. A little before 10:00 we headed for the start of the Slow Ride at the Clean Energy Festival. Jay, Joanne and myself are all helpers in the ride, blocking intersections and assisting people in need. This was a relatively smaller crowd of around 250 people so the stress level was down a bit.

IMG_0298.JPG

We cruised through some of the older neighborhoods and around the St. John’s Cemetery and around the Blue Wahoo’s stadium before heading back to the Clean Energy Festival.

IMG_0299.JPG

Thanks to the Pensacola Police Department for helping out with the traffic. There was some free beer at the festival and some electric cars and solar panel salesmen and such. There was even bluegrass and yoga, both at the same time! I lost Ashley at some point but she made it home ok.

IMG_0301

Along with the Clean Energy Festival, there was also a Busker Festival and one of those umbrella things where they hang a bunch of colorful umbrellas across a street. Kinda fun.

IMG_0300.JPG

But the big event of the weekend is the Greater Gulf Coast Art Festival. Grab a cup of beer at the Pensacola Bay Brewery and put your mind right for looking at some art. Some of it I liked, some of it not so much. There was a guy from Nashville that made pannier bags out of old seat belts that I was coveting. I did buy Barbara a dragonfly made from rocks and copper for her birthday. After a couple of beers and a few sausages I was done with crowds so I headed home to rest up for the Bonus Coffeeneuring Adventure tomorrow.

map 7

Coffeeneuring Without Walls 5 & 6

The plan this weekend was to take the Coffeeneuring Challenge on the road. The local mountain bike club (Pensacola Off Road Cyclists – PORC) was hosting a camp and ride weekend up in the Blackwater River State Forest. The forest is around 211,000 acres of mostly pine trees and black water creeks. There are several impounded lakes that offer fishing and camping and there are miles of quiet paved back roads and even more red clay/sand/gravel roads and the occasional mountain bike trail. Cycling has become quite popular which the forestry department loves as it’s low impact, it gets people using the forest, and doesn’t cost them anything. The camp and ride promised to be a nice social gathering with a little bit of riding and some generous portions of food. I however chose to do a little more riding and also introduce Paul, one of the coffeeneurers from my previous rides, to bike camping.

IMG_0244

Paul is retired and has taken up cycling to keep from getting sedentary. I got him interested in bike camping earlier in the year and hooked him up with Adventure Cycling and CGOAB. He’s all in; all new equipment was purchased and this was the weekend to try it out. The goal was to leave Friday around noon from the trail head in Milton and ride the 27 miles through the state forest to Bear Lake Campground.

map 5

We would spend the night and he would return back to town the next morning and I would stay for the weekend and do the club stuff and ride back Sunday morning.  The weather promised to be interesting with a little rain forecast for Friday night and cold front coming in Saturday. We set out around 2:00 on the Blackwater River Heritage Trail  which is an old rail bed converted to a paved recreational trail that heads north out of town to withing spitting distance of the forest.

IMG_0279

We worked our way north and east through the forest arriving at the Bear Lake campground around 4:30.

IMG_0247

It had been pleasantly overcast all day and around 70 degrees however the rain was predicted to arrive after midnight. We got set up and fixed dinner and hung out with a few of the bike club members that were staying the whole weekend. I finally crawled in the tent around 10. It started raining around 12:30 and it came down hard for several hours with thunder and lightning, totaling about 3 inches (this according to the people that left their drinking cups out all night). Paul made it through his first night of bike camping successfully and both our tents worked well but my panniers did not. I left them on the bike because they are supposed to be waterproof but they each had about an inch of water in them so some of my food and all my coffee filters got soaked (yeah, it helps if you read the instructions on the panniers which I did when I got home). Still I managed to crank out a decent cup of coffee in the morning and I tried toasting the water out of my soggy pb&j sandwiches which worked ok though they were a little charred.

IMG_0236

IMG_0237.JPG

 

Paul packed up and left early to ride the north wind back to town. I did a soggy hike around the lake, showered, fixed some lunch and took a much deserved nap while the next band of rain blew through. Around dark, it was time to eat and everyone stood around shivering and eating pulled pork sandwiches and chili and banana pudding. There was a night ride scheduled and several brave souls bundled up to ride the cold wet 6 miles around the lake. I took this as an opportunity to put on all my warm weather gear and crawl into my sleeping bag. After a toasty quiet night I woke up to clear skies and temps in the upper 30s. I fixed another coffee and snacked on some of my remaining dry food.

IMG_0259

There was another ride scheduled for 7:30 but it was a 60 miler which is a bit out of my league. The burly men (there were no women that I saw) were resplendent in there winter kits and carbon bikes ready to get some red clay mud on them.

IMG_0255

I took my coffee and went for a hike over to Krul Lake, about 2 miles away.

IMG_0268IMG_0277IMG_0243IMG_0245

The bike club was supposed to serve breakfast but by the time I got back all the waffles were gone. The wind was really cranking out of the north at this point so I packed up my bike, said my goodbyes and pretty much coasted the 32 miles back to the car.

map 6

I did stop at about 20 miles at the state park by the Blackwater River and made a cup of coffee and read my book in the sunshine.

The last couple of miles into Milton is on Highway 90 and a portion of the old brick road has been restored for a bike path.

I got back to town around 2:00 and hit the new brew pub where I had a flight of some stouts, a porter, and an IPA along with some sweet potato fries.

IMG_0288IMG_0239

Number 3 – Drowsy Poet and Bailey’s

Today’s ride was to the Drowsy Poet Coffee Company up by Pensacola Christian College. I’ve never ridden to that part of town mostly because I was worried about the neighborhoods and I wasn’t sure there was even a way to get up that way without getting on busy roads. After some research and Google Streetview, I realized my concerns were unjustified. We even found a shortcut not obvious on the map. We had seven riders show up, all previous Coffeeneurers from last weekend. One newbie didn’t show although she was adamant she was doing this ride.

IMG_0217
Paul, Jill, Anthony, Carlos (missing a front brake pad), Rita (on a sporty new bike) and Barbara.

We headed out around 8:20 and worked our way west then north. It was pretty easy to navigate this part of town as the streets are quiet and residential and in a grid pattern, but once we crossed Fairfield Avenue, the roads become less grid-like and more artsy. Hopelessly lost, we eventually resorted to using a phone to figure out where we were as Rita was about to come unhinged since she hadn’t had coffee yet. We backtracked a bit then found the correct street which took us to the overpass across the Interstate and into an industrial park. A quick hop across the railroad tracks got us to the Drowsy Poet. Brett and James from last weekend met us there.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
I was telling myself that the smell was from bats not homeless people

IMG_0222

 

IMG_0220.JPG
Rita, Jill, Anthony, Carlos, Paul and Barbara. James’s legs and Brett’s bike in the background.

IMG_0219

It was a nice shop with a player piano soothing us with some nice tunes. There is even a quiet dark back room if you need to do some work. We however chose the patio which wasn’t that interesting but cool and breezy more appropriate for our sweatyness. Cake and coffee were consumed and conversations were had.

IMG_0221

Then it was time to git. We pretty much retraced our route but we stopped at Bailey’s Produce to do a bit of vegetable shopping.  Nobody bought any pumpkins but I did get a pound of field peas for my favorite meal of peas and cornbread.

 

IMG_0227
My Big Green Salsa dwarfed by The Jolly Green Giant.

The rest of the ride home was uneventful although we did spy a sidewalk between two houses that seemed like an official public pathway so we circled around and took it to the back side of a nice neighborhood park. We were back home by 10:30 so we can rest up for the Pensacola Slowride at 4:00.

 

 

Number 4 – Slightly Less Than Epic

Yesterday’s Coffeeneuring ride was really nice and the Slowride in the evening was better than expected. There was a gentleman that was riding a Renovo Hardwood Bicycle. Quite a nice bike but well out of my price range. I also got the chance to introduce a young, well dressed couple to Coffeeneuring. They are new to town by way of Little Rock and they were dressed for a Tweed Ride, which I guess is pretty popular in less hot and humid environments. Coffeeneuring will help introduce them to the town I hope.

Sunday’s Coffeeneuring ride was a study in disappointment. Failure at every turn. Why bother.

Plan A: To ride out to the beach to Fort Pickens, brew some coffee atop one of the bunkers, enjoy the view, ride home. It’s a ride I try to do once a year. The route is 40 miles round trip and for the most part it’s pleasant but there are sections that are less than ideal, especially across the 3 Mile Bridge to Gulf Breeze and the main intersection at Pensacola Beach. The ride at the beach to the fort is really amazing and worth the hassle. Unfortunately Hurricane Irma covered the new road in sand and undercut it in several places so the road is closed until December. To me it’s not worth riding across the bridge if I can’t go to Fort Pickens.

Plan B: Pack up all my coffee fixin stuff, drive up to the University, do some mountain biking, brew some coffee, drive home. I don’t think this technically follows the rules as I believe we are supposed to ride our bikes to get coffee then ride back, not drive to the trail, ride our bikes, then brew coffee, then drive home. I was prepared to let the lawyers work all that out as I was prepared to brew coffee for anyone that showed up, coffeeneurist or not. As it turned out I forgot the matches to light my stove so there was no coffee. I did do a nice loop with Mike and Candy.

Plan C: Ride down to Bagelheads and get a cup of coffee and ride home. Unfortunately Bagelheads is less than a mile a way. However I needed to pick up a newspaper at the grocery store which is not really on the way so the two mile rule was not violated. After a nice cup of coffee and a salt bagel with butter I cruised down to the fishing pier to check out the new bridge construction and look at the angry water. It was blustery with the wind coming out of the south so it would have been a brutal ride out to the fort.

Map 4

IMG_0228

IMG_0231

 

Number 2 – Home to the Leisure Club via Urban Dirt

I woke up feeling less than spectacular this morning. Probably the Sriracha Potato Chips and peach cider I had for dinner. The weather radar showed a large yellow blob a little south of my house moving slowly northward. I half expected (hoped) my two companions that signed up for today’s ride, Carlos and Anthony, would bail on me but about 10 minutes before eight they both messaged they were on their way. Ugh. I kitted up and met them at the door just as the rain started. We chatted for a few minutes as the rain eased up and the sun came out. Off we go into the liquid sunshine!

IMG_0196.JPG
Serious Anthony and Stern Carlos in the liquid sunshine

Map 2

The route took us north through the neighborhood, then across Carpenter’s Creek and up the hill to Baars Park where there is a makeshift cyclocross practice course set up for the local racers. We made a weak attempt at riding the loop but it wasn’t really defined and it was really too much work to try to piece it together. We gave it a shot though and it pretty much confirmed my theory that cyclocross is much more fun to watch than actually do. We left the park and headed southeasterly through the ritzy neighborhood that abuts Bayou Texar. Several hills and turns later brought us to the secret entrance to the local 100 acre woods. The property is part of the airport that is technically off limits but the neighbors use it for dog walking and fort building. It is a spiderweb of trails with no real defined route.

airport woods

We rode around for a few minutes until Anthony noticed it was 9:05am and we were supposed to meet some others at the Leisure Club at 9:00. The rain had pushed back our start time a bit. We hopped out of the woods and hurried to the coffee shop. Sweating out on the patio were Brett, James and Jason already sipping some coffees.

IMG_0201.JPG
Me, Safety Brett, Anthony, James, Jason and Carlos.

It was roasting hot in the sun and hot coffee probably didn’t help but it was great fun chatting with these fellows. They are really into the cyclocross scene and Jason told us a story of stalking Jeremy Powers in a restroom at a race in New England last year. The coffee had him pretty wound up and James and Brett couldn’t help but egg him on. We’re pretty proud that the current U.S. National Cyclocross Champ, Stephen Hyde, is from Pensacola and he’s got a lot of locals motivated to do some cyclocross racing. To my embarrassment I forgot to include him in the Coffeeneuring Challenge Facebook invite. Sorry Stephen. Maybe next year.

I paid $3.23 for a cup of coffee which I think is a little on the expensive side and it wasn’t any better than the stuff I make at home. It was good though.

IMG_0198

 

IMG_0200
Jason is serious about his coffee.

So we sat there for an hour before someone thought we should go ride some more. Carlos said he was having trouble with his shifting so he headed back to my house. The rest of us meandered around through the park and back to the 100 acre woods where we ran into Gregg Allman out walking his dog. Well not really but the guy looked just like him with the long ponytail and a bit of a belly. Kinda freaked me out. We roamed around for awhile taking whatever trail came around until we got kinda tired of it. Brett and Jason has ridden from across town and they were ready to head back. I had some chores to do so we said our happy goodbyes. I did a quick loop around the Bayou and made it home only to find Carlos’s truck still parked out front of the house. I quickly messaged him to see if he was ok and if he needed a ride. He messaged back and said he was fine and then sent a picture of bacon and eggs and grits and toast. I guess he got a better deal and faked a drive train issue to get out of riding some more. Loser.

Breakfast

After showering and getting a snack, I was outside putting up a screen door for our kitchen when the neighbor lady called me over. She’s a ‘collector’ and she has a garage full of ‘stuff’. She had an old bike that she wanted to give to me. I said yeah, I’d take a look and yeah, it was an old Huffy of her daughter’s. It was way to small for me but I do have a friend that is rather petite that might could use it. Then she said she had two more on the other side of the garage and yeah, they were pretty junky also. She said I could have one so I got the larger of the two for my sister. Then she told me to go ahead and take the other one also. Now I have three junky bikes to give away. These could be for future Coffeeneuring rides!

IMG_0207