Nancy Cycles!

Nancy Cycles!
"You got to be careful if you don't know where you are going, because you might not get there." ... Yogi Berra

Monday, October 6, 2014

Coffeeneuring Challenge

October 6, 2014

I have known about this "challenge" since it's start, but have not taken part in it until now. This year I am aiming at reaching the goal of a tea stop each of 7 weeks for the challenge 10/4-11/15. I believe I can "ride my bike slowly ... and enjoy a fine beverage". Here is a look at what it is about. For details google coffeeneuring challenge and read all about it.


Coffeeneuring season has arrived! Hard to believe that the Coffeeneuring Challenge is now in its fourth year, but I looked at my calendar and it really is true. From 12 participants that first year to over 125 last year, coffeeneuring continues to grow. I hope you will consider giving it a go this year.

Coffeeneuring is based on an idea from Joe Platzner, of the Seattle Randonneurs. As he discussed life after the 2011 edition of Paris-Brest-Paris, he noted:

A bunch of us have trained pretty hard for PBP. After PBP, I’m probably going to lobby RUSA for an official "Coffee Shop Run" medal. To earn it, you need to ride your bike slowly to a nearby coffee shop and enjoy a fine beverage.

Coffeeneuring, I thought. It’s perfect! I launched the Coffeeneuring Challenge that year.

The Chasing Mailboxes Coffeeneuring Challenge is a relaxed weekend cycling endeavor for cyclists everywhere. If you like riding a bike and enjoy drinking coffee or tea (or even hot chocolate), consider taking on this challenge.

In a nod to the French as well as randonneuring, the Coffeeneuring Challenge has its share of rules. Don’t let them intimidate you, though. As those who have successfully completed the challenge in previous years will attest, they are all manageable.

My plan for the blog is to post when I ride #1 (I better get pedalin' as I have only a few days to get this one in the books), then with each additional ride of the challenge I will edit and add it to this page. Being retired, I get to pick any two days of the week for my outings.



Cafe at Snohomish Fitness; 707 Pine Ave. Snohomoish

STASH Green tea (I try to always carry my mug with me)

25 miles

Do not go here for tea!

They serve only "bag" tea, which I expected. But I did not expect to pay $2.45 for mediocre tea. I thought Starbucks prices are high, but at least their tea is a very good quality.

Nice ride with my friend Dorothy and my stop at what appeared to be a great little cafe at the end of the trail. Not. It is part of the Snohomish Fitness Center and I believe that is the focus, and not good drinks.


Tea Shop Without Walls. North End of Centennial Trail
Sencha Tea (leaves from that little round tin in the photo)
44.5 miles
I suppose I am doing a teaneurring challenge. I had forgotten to pack my tea diffuser so I brewed my tea in the "cowboy coffee" mode. Put the leaves in the bottom of my cup to steep and drank from the liquid on the top and kept refreshing the hot water. It worked very well. I enjoyed my lunch, coconut bon bon included, and a rest at the Red Barn which is the end of this trail, before heading back.
A foggy and misty morning that did not turn to sun as we had been somewhat promised. None of my riding buddies was available to join me so I did a solo trip. Not many people on the trail, and only me at my lunch and tea stop.




Star Mini Mart & Deli; Perrinville, WA

Lipton Tea

19.25 miles

I had intended to go to the Corner Coffee Bar & Cafe, but found it closed on Sundays. I will have to save that one for another day.

Conjuring up my resourcefulness and flexibiity, I crossed the parking lot to the Star Mini Mart & Deli to ask if they had tea available. I was led to the coffee and tea corner by a nice young man and told I can fix my own tea. He knew the coffee shop is closed on Sundays and said they close at 3:00 on all other days. That is why he started selling tea and coffee a few weeks ago. I chose their best tea, their only tea. For real tea drinkers, Lipton is not at the top of the list, but it is not all about the tea. It was about the experience and about me getting on my bike this cloudy morning.

After fixing my tea and taking the photo, I went to pay him for the tea. He asked how much I wanted to pay!! I have NEVER had that happen, ever! I thought to my self -- 1 lipton tea bag and some hot water in my own mug -- how about a dollar? Ok he said. Then I started thinking I should have offered less! But we were both satisfied with the dollar exchange. He says he hasn't sold many, so doesn't know how much to charge. Hmmmm -- he needs some business advice.

I sat on the bench at the nearby skate park and enjoyed my mug of Lipton tea, and loved watching the six or so young boys playing and doing their tricks on their wheels of choice -- skate board, roller blades, razer scooters, bikes -- and reflected on how if this had been an activity back in the (my) day, I would have been one of those kids all scraped up from the learning curve, but learning and doing it all! I played a lot with boy cousins and they kept me challenged and active. Now teaneuring will take the spot to be my challenge!!




Snohomish Senior Center, Snohomish WA

Red Rose Tea (see the steam eminating from the mug)

23 miles

Red Rose is a fraction of a step higher than Lipton, and I had to search through the basket and under the Lipton bags to find the only one there.

I had finished riding the Centennial Trail with two bike club friends and rode on to the Senior Center where I was quite sure I could get a tea. Sure 'nuf, there was that basket of tea bags next to the "Donation Money" jar. I put in a dollar and took my tea to a table near four women who were playing scrabble. Each table had a handmade napkin holder and a handcrafted pumpkin. After looking around at all the handy work I took my photo and settled in with my tea.

The women invited me to play scrabble with them but I didn't have the time this day. I said I would keep it in mind for some time in the future; one said that if I am not a member, I am not, they would have to charge me $3 to play. Hmm.. a donation of any amount for my tea, but $3 to play a game of scrabble. Seemed kind of pricey to me but no matter since I knew I would not be playing scrabble with them anyway. I finished my tea, thanked them and went on my way.

Seems I am on a bit of a trend -- having tea in "off the grid" places. And not very good tea at that (except what I brewed). As I say -- it is not all about the tea. I would never had gotten to chat even this little with the scrabble players if I had not gone in for my teaneuring count.




The Farm "cafe"without walls, Snohomish WA (Pumpkin Patch)

Hot Chocolate -- with whipped cream ;'-)

12.5 miles

We did a family Pimpkin Ride that one of our bike club members leads annually. The weather was a bit worrisome at the first of the morning, and we even got a few drizzles on the way to the pumpkin patch. But the clouds soon opened up for the sun and we enjoyed a very fine day.

Jaydon and Lucy amongst the pumpkins


We walked through the pumpkin patch to choose some to take home

Our leader even provided a sag wagon driver (his wife) to carry our chosen pumpkins back to our vehicles. We wandered around the farm, visited the petting zoo, watched the duck race and laughed through the pig show. The story teller adapted The Three Little Pigs to leave out the Big Bad Wolf and include a BIG Pig (Grampa George)

The three houses were built of staw, corn, and sticks


The BIG Pig huffed and puffed at the houses

The BIG Pig chased the three little pigs around the yard until they found the "brick" house at the end of the path. It was quite fun and well done.


A farm building at the Farm

After all this activity we found a perfect spot to have our packed lunch, enhanced with fresh bakery items, fresh cider for some, and my hot chocolate


Tea and crumpet


Piroshky's Bakery & Crepes, Everett WA

Assaam Black Tea -- whole leaf!

11 miles

Finally a good choice of loose leaf teas from the wall of teas!

The Wall of Tea choices

Then I had to choose a crumpet to go with it (everyone knows that my crumpet is any pastry or bakery item).

The choice is not easy as all things are delicious

I finally chose my crumpet and enjoyed my repast.

There is also a selection of tea pots

Having spent two and a half days babysitting two year old Lucy and five year old Jaydon while mom and dad were at the hospital bringing in baby sister Kate, I was very ready for my time at the tea shop with a relaxing cuppa. Susan's "respite" was to go back to work this morning. I got the better part of the deal.

Lucy adoringly welcomes her baby sister while Jaydon opens a card for Kate

Today was my day to go home and I was concerned that my planned bike ride to home would be rained out. Fortunately the weather forecasters were once again wrong, and I got to do at least my short ride with my teaneuring stop for the day.



Whidbey Coffee Kiosk, Mukilteo Speedway, Mukilteo WA
"The only Green Tea we have" (and it was quite good)
15 miles
I was welcomed at the drive-in window on my bike by a very friendly barista.
As there was no place, inside or outside to sit, and it was a little drippy out, I found a spot under the eaves of Ace Hardware to enjoy my "tea and crumpet".
Oh me of little faith! Weather forecast is dismal for this coming week and I was sure I would be able to get in only one of my teaneuring trips (my personal goal is for two a week). Theatre plans for today changed and I looked out the window to see potential window of biking weather. Quickly I changed clothes and hopped on my bike. The first few turns of the pedal saw me getting a few large ploppy rain drops, and feeling the cold damp air. My first thought was to abort my trip due to unfavorable conditions. But alas, I persevered.
A bit wet out
My next concern was that I would have to give up one of my other (personal) goals and stop at a Starbucks. With the threat of thunderstorms by some, I did not want to be terribly far from home, and could not come up with a place other than sbux for this day's tea stop. Ah, but there is the Whidbey Coffee Kiosk just across the street and around the corner. Another goal realized.
After enjoying my tea and muffin at my Ace Hardware "table for one" stop, the weather was almost clearing -- it seemed. That changed to rain drops the minute I got back on my bike. But it was light rain and intermittent so I took advantage to ride through some neighborhoods and look for Halloween decorations.
Puttin' on my top hat...
Come into my parlor little flamingo...


Wandering through a quiet neighborhood, I passed a few little girls out on bikes and scooters, playing in less than ideal weather. They did not let this drippy day deter them from havng some fun outdoors. If we let that happen here in the Pacific Northwest, we would not get out of the house very often in the fall and winter months. Or spring for that matter. I had stopped twice to clear away small branches and debris left by the high winds we had last evening.

Approaching my driveway I realized what a fine day I had had out here today: I got to do one of my tea stops; I avoided having to stop at Starbucks; I rode in some rain; I viewed some Halloween decorations; I got to enjoy little girls playing out in the rain. All of this because of "coffeeneuring challenge #4". I doubt I would have gotten on my bike today had it not been for my goals for the challenge.



Seas the Day Cafe, Everett Marina, Everett WA
English Breakfast tea
31 miles
No good green tea choices...
Sharing tea time with the fisherman

My two riding buddies (Vickie & Gerry) would arrive by ferry from Whidbey Island so I biked down to meet them for the start of our ride. We try to ride together once a week when we all are in town. Vickie has been gone to her other home in Michigan for the past month, so it was good to welcome her home and enjoy time, a ride and coffee/tea together. The coffeeneuring challenge fits smoothly into our rides as we always have a "tea and crumpet" stop in the middle of a ride.

One ferry leaves for Whibey, the far ferry brings my friends from Whidbey

Yet another break in the weather allowed for one of our regular loops from Mukilteo to Everett and back. There are some nice, moderate hills at the beginning to wake up the legs, some views of the Sound along the way to our cafe stop, and some paved trail riding to end the trip. The last time the three of us stopped at this cafe (Spring I think), Vickie had (accidentally) tossed her wallet into the trash can and we searched everywhere before finally finding it. Today the barista remembers her!

Our paths parted about four miles before the end of our ride as they headed back for the ferry and I headed for home on the less hilly route. For a lot of the ride we had sun!!! Quite a bonus for us.




FROST, Mill Creek Town Center, Mill Creek, WA

Green Passion Tea + Bavarian Cream filled doughnut!

25 miles

No bike racks, but the fence served as a place to secure my bike, and my window side table allowed me to keep an eye out. More bikes would require some doubling up I think. I try to not ALWAYS have a crumpet on these tea outings, but that is not easy! My crumpet was very good, the tea was no big deal. Frost is a bit pricey, and I expected my $3.50 16 oz. Green Passion to be better. This is most likely not my choice of a "regular" tea spot for me. Might be my spot to pick up a decadent "crumpet"
Lots of choices -- hard to get just tea

A bit drippy today, but morning was forecasted for the "best" chance of dry for a ride, so I did. Our Fall color seemed to be passing us by until recently.

Near my house some nice fall color
On the way home, I enjoyed more color
A bit of color on Silver Lake shores

My ride home did end up being a little on the wet side, but the rain was mild and not cold. Also, having any and all gear known to humans for any conditions, I was well prepared. I did have a thought about what a good idea a riding cape may be. I always thought they seemed "silly", or maybe "nerdy" is more the word. But as I rode and felt my legs under tights getting a little wet, the usefulness of a cape seems a good idea. I don't like wearing rain "pants" as I get wetter with those on than not, and a cape would allow air to flow around your body. The only drawback I can foresee is wind. But I had no wind and don't normally ride in a lot of wind. For that matter, I don't normally ride in rain anymore (since I don't commute to work) either. A moot point I guess.

I had a good day on my bike today.



Under The Red Umbrella, Everett WA

English Breakfast Tea

32.5 miles

Our first sunny day this week! A gorgeous day for a ride.

I put in my order and chose a spot out on the patio, not sure why all the other patrons were inside rather than out here enjoying this delightful day.

There was plenty of room for everyone on the sidewalk patio, but I was the only one out here.


There was no bike rack, but plenty of room for my bike inside the fenced patio and right near me. I don't know if this would work well for a group of cyclists in mid-summer, but it worked great for me today. Didn't even need a lock. While I was securing my bike to her spot, a good friend, Kristin, came jogging by with her friend and we were able to exchange a few greetings before she took off to continue her run. She thought she had seen someone else riding along with the same exact helmet ornament that I had. After some discussion about where she had seen her (along the waterfront), we agreed that it had been me she saw. I couldn't imagine someone else had this same hemet decoration!

About my helmet ornament, Pumpkin Girl (witch). I have had her adorning my helmet basically for Halloween, but am not quick to want to put her away. I have had so very many smiles, thumbs up and positive comments from adults and kids as well, that I don't want to have my helmet be naked! Actually I forget that she is up there so when someone acknowledges her I am not alwlays sure what that is about. Three comments today, two of which mentioned the word "helmet" (as in "cool helmet" and "I like your helmet"), one was a bit more questionable to me. As I was freewheeling down a local hill with a nice shoulder, I approached a Utility truck that had the shoulder closed and there was a lot of traffic in the road. I slowed, dodged right by one caution flag, and knew I would then need to stop for traffic. A utility worker approached (and of course I was thinking he was going to tell me I could not go through here, and to get the blankety blank off the road). Instead he stopped me to let a bulk of traffic pass and then stopped the traffic for me to get around the lane closure. It was a short distance, but fast traffic so I was grateful to him and thanked him a ton of times. He asked if I knew there was a "hitchiker" with me. I smiled, not realizing until I was past and seeing my shadow (remember -- a sunny day?) that he was talking about Pumpkin Girl.

I would disembark Pumpkin Girl if I could find a Thanksgiving type ornament, but have not been successful in my search. For now, it is simply such a pleasure to bring a smile to so many people I see on my rides.

Cycling along the marina brought scenes of calm water, water birds and lots and lots of boats.

Ducks ripple the harbor


A tugboat pulls into the harbor (I don't know what for)
This scow seems to have sawdust or something similar piled onto it.

I passed a couple of Halloween leftover yard decorations, and one kind of caught my eye

Did someone slay her, did she fall off her broom, or is she simply exhausted from late night cavorting with ghouls and goblins?

Time to head home in yet more sun that the day held.

A very short piece of trail that crosses over a main road with lots of traffic (where the shoulder had been closed)

Ahhhh, another great day in the saddle.



Corner Coffee Bar & Cafe, Perrinville WA
Republic of Tea English Breakfast, pumpkin (of course) bagel (toasted) with cream cheese
26 miles
Quite a selection, but no green that suited me

Republic of Tea is quite a good tea even if in "bags", but I am not fond of flavored green tea, so I chose my stand by black tea, put in my order and "set up camp" at a cozy table.

My cozy corner to relax and enjoy my Republic of Tea and bagel

A few customers came and went, but it was very quiet during my time here. At one table sat two women friends who appeared to be having deep and meaningful conversation for the entire time I was there. So nice to have a friend with whom you can solve all the world and personal issues. I chose inside seating today as the patio was totally shaded, and it was a bit chilly and damp out there.

Bike racks are seeming to be a rare commodity, and this place is no exception. I used what I have learned (long ago) is referred to as the "poor man's lock", and threaded my helmet strap through my front spokes and fork as a deterrent to would be bike thieves. I use this method only when my bike is nearby and in eye contact, and in low traffic (seemingly safe) areas. If someone would hop on my bike, I would (theoretically) have time to get to them before they could ride off with it.

Pumpkin Girl had to stand on her head for the poor man's lock, but she survived.

I normally try to "lock" it on the inside side to make it less easy to get to, but I wanted to get this photo.


As I was paying up to leave, I noticed this near the register...

Some customers leave their tip in a very creative way, and the staff posts them here.

Back in the saddle for the ride home, I knew I would take advantage of what had turned out to be a lovely afternoon. The early morning temp at my house was 38 degrees and I waited, hoping for better conditions before starting my ride. By about 9:30 it had risen to 45 and I began gearing up for the adventure. And now I was riding in 50+ with mostly sun on my back. I took time to slowly ride and enjoy the back roads to home and to get more "air time".

This brought a smile to my face ;'-)
A spur through the county airport shows how proud we are to be the 12th man.


And so another beautiful day of coffeeneuring.




Peet's Coffee & Tea Redmond WA

Dragonwell Tea and Almond Croissant

28 miles

Hard to believe we had yet another gorgeous sunny day after a rain filled week! But we'll take it.

It is always a delight to share a day with friends, and when those friends like to ride bikes, it is a bonus! I picked up Vickie and Gerry at the ferry, loaded up their bikes and gear, and we drove to our old standby Sammamish River Trail for a day of riding in that sun. Of course there is a slight chill in the air at this time of year, but we are always equipped with plenty of clothing options to bundle into and then peel out of when it gets to be a bit too warm. We were ready.

We do this trail a lot, either together or separately when no other choices pop into our minds, so it is a pleasure to have that little connector trail for a slight variation. They hadn't been on this spur trail that takes us through downtown Redmond so it was a treat for me to share it with them. Arriving at Peet's (coffee AND tea!) we each felt it had taken such little time to get here but were ready for a cuppa and a treat. Another outdoor day as we settled into our table on the patio with the umbrella to shade us from the glare of sun.

Once again -- little parking for bikes, at least convenient parking. There was a bike rack but it was around the corner and out of our sight. With so little traffic outside, we sunggled our bikes into an out-of-the-way corner near us on the large patio

We lingered over a refill of hot water for our tea so to stay just a little longer in this warming sun and relaxing atmosphere. We finally pulled ourselves up and out to the trail for our return ride. On these short days, the sun leaves rather quickly, the air cools down a lot (put that helmet liner on), and dark will arrive way before we want it. So lingering is timed to miss at least some of this.

On this weekday the trail had very few people and made for a quiet, uneventful but pleasant end of our day.

On the climbing wall at Marymoor Park

Lone climber was out doing his thing too.

These next two photos were not taken on this day, but it is much as today was, including the gaggle of geese discussing whether to head south.

Quiet weekday on the trail along the river
Which way is south?

It seemed that all too soon we were saying our goodbyes with thoughts of what our next outing will bring.





Red Cup, 5th Avenue, Mukilteo WA

(Organic) Dragonwell Tea (bag) & Blueberry Crumble Muffin

18 (chilly) miles


I waited for our 25 degree thermometer to warm up! Finally at just about 11:00 it approached 49 and I got geared up for my ride for a fine beverage.

A bit frosty this morning, but only on the sides of the road. Road itself is clear and dry.
Frost on fallen leaves

From home to the Red Cup is a huge 2+ mile downhill which meant verrrrrry cold to get there, but of course I was bundled against the chill. There are several interesting funky type sculptures around the courtyard of the cafe.



Early this morning as I waited for the temp to rise, I had the thought that I might do a realllly short ride in that frigid air. But then it got up into the balmy 50 degrees and once in the saddle, as usual I wanted more miles. The air was crisp, the sky was blue and the sun was warming, so I added my miles through the county airport on the way home. On the grounds is the Flying Heritage Collection air museum. I took a detour around the building to get information about hours and cost, as well as to find the entrance which is not at the front of the building that faces the main road.

I think this would be an interesting stop sometime, but not today. I did find the wing structure interesting as well.

I can't say I fly when I bike, so my bike has a dream.

This is my next to last teaneuring trip for this challenge. And the weather is being quite coopertive. Tomorrow is forecasted to be a copy of today, but even if it rains I will get out for my final trip. I have kept a couple of very close by stops in my back pocket just in case of terrible weather so I can do a very short ride if need be.



French Bakery -- 19th Ave. Everett WA

(Organic) English Blend Tea (bag) & Chocolate Croissant

22 miles

This morning was a copy of yesterday morning and once again I waited for our thermometer to warm up to 49 degrees before getting on my bike for my tea ride. A crisp, clear, beautiful day! And had I not had this goal of completing my teaneuring challenge, I may not have gone for that fantastic ride today. As soon as I was in the saddle, I was happy to be cycling.

This is a route I ride to get to Sarah's periodically, and the French Bakery is a stop that our bike club leader takes us to when we join his weekly short ride around his neighborhood. I added a few miles on the return trip by taking the bike trail for a short distance.

Being in the French Bakery, I could not think I should pass up a chocolate croissant!

But look what I passed up!!
See the sun reflecting on the floor. A gorgeous day.

There was no bike rack, but room for my bike on the back patio at the rear entrance. I had a window side table and could easily watch my bike. Plus --- there was no one anywhere around here who would have any interest in a bike!

My bike is getting to know lots of fences in lots of different patios and decks.

So ends my search and enjoyment of 14 teaneuring stops. On my next page is a round up of photos and summary of these seven weeks.

This photo I took today is for Mary G as a thank you for such a fun and adventuresome activity.

Thank you Mary