Coffeeneuring: Lessons Learned

It's me bike #bikedc
Bike #1: The Real Bike. A Specialized Sirrus, this has really held up well, despite me crashing it on the H Street trolley tracks a couple years ago.

I like biking. I love coffee. I also enjoy writing and photography. I’ve been doing coffeeneuring for years without even realizing it. The Coffeeneuring Challenge (where you bike to seven different coffee shops over seven weeks) adds  structure and purpose to my cyclo-wanderings around Washington in search of java.

I had big plans this year. I was going to go on long bike trips to places I’d never been. But, in the end, I just stayed in DC.

Ever since the Errandonnee Challenge (12 errands by bike over 12 days), biking has become more of a routine activity for me than a special adventure. Errandonnee taught me that it was easier, quicker and more fun to get around DC by bike than any other method.

I bike every day. Monday-Friday it’s back and forth to the Metro, the grocery store, and other errands and activities. On the weekends, it’s to social activities, go get lunch or drink coffee (always be coffeeneuring). On Sunday afternoons, I enjoy taking a spin around the monuments.

Peak leaves on the Mt Vernon Trail #bikedc
Bike #2: The Foldy. It’s a Breezer Zig 7, which I got off Craigslist. It’s basically an older Dahon Speed 7.

When it comes to biking, I don’t want to wear funny clothes. I don’t want to prepare. I don’t want a bike that costs thousands of dollars. I want the simple and everyday – which is why I like my foldy bike so much. I got it used off Craigslist for $300 several years ago. Easy to get on and off, and with a tight turning radius (thanks small wheels), it’s perfect for getting around the city.

I also have a real bike – a Specialized Sirrus. A hybrid (road bike frame, upright position), it’s good for longer distances.

Bike people are like cat people – they seldom have only one. Two bikes puts me on the low end of cycling obsession. I want more. I think it’s time for a new foldy and a mountain bike capable of dealing with DC’s potholed streets.

When it comes to city biking, I like the Dutch approach, where cycling is an ordinary activity that everyone can do. Advancements in infrastructure like the 15th Street Cycletrack have brought this idea within reach of Washingtonians. Building protected bike lanes means people will bike – it’s that simple.

Errandonee convinced me that cycling could be done everyday; Coffeeneuring helped hone my biking philosophy.

But you don’t care about that. Here’s where I ate and drank:

Coffeeneuring 1: Peet’s (17th and L)
Date: October 4, 2014
Distance: Five miles

Coffeeneuring 2: Compass Coffee
Date: October 12, 2014
Distance: Ten miles

Coffeeneuring 3: Uprising Muffin Company
Date: October 12, 2014
Distance: Ten miles

Coffeeneuring 4: Slipstream
Date: November 1, 2014
Distance: Two miles

Coffeeneuring 5: Starbucks
Date: November 2, 2014
Distance: Ten miles

Coffeeneuring 6: Pleasant Pops
Date: November 9, 2014
Distance: 15 miles

Coffeeneuring 7: Illy 
Date: November 16, 2014
Distance: 6 miles

My favorite? Compass Coffee. With a couple of great bars nearby, you could spend a whole day on that block. My second favorite? Peet’s at 17th and L. It’s sunny and you can watch people bike by on L Street.

But, in the end, I don’t think it matters which coffee shop you visit. The most important thing is just to go.

Author: Joe Flood

Joe Flood is a writer, photographer and web person from Washington, DC. The author of several novels, Joe won the City Paper Fiction Competition in 2020. In his free time, he enjoys wandering about the city taking photos.

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