Bikes and coffee are two of my favorite things. With plentiful bike trails and an endless market for hipster coffee, Washington, DC, is great for both. I was coffeeneuring before coffeeneuring – there’s nothing I like better than wandering the city and then stopping for mid-afternoon java.
Now in its sixth year, the Coffeeneuring Challenge is where you bike to seven different coffee shops over seven weeks. And with the timely end of my gubment contractor job, I had plenty of opportunities to bike the city. Also, a recent liberalization of the coffeeneuring rules permitted rides during the week – not just the weekends.
It was like the universe wanted me to coffeeneur. So I did, biking way more than seven rides. Biking and coffee was nearly a daily experience. Always Be Coffeeneuring, indeed.
Here are the highlights of my coffeeneuring adventures!
Swings, Del Ray, VA
Thank you, federal government, for giving me time to catch up on my reading, among other pursuits. I began my coffeeneuring with a 26 mile jaunt across the river to Swings in the charming Del Rey neighborhood of Alexandria, VA. Squeezed between the Mount Vernon and Four Mile Run trails, Del Rey is very bike-accessible.
REI is White People Heaven! Opening day of this new store in the NoMa neighborhood of DC and I’ve never seen such a frenzy. The line to get in stretched around the block and beyond. While I waited for that to clear, I cruised up the Metropolitan Branch Trail to Filter near Catholic University. They make one of the best cappuccinos in the city.
And the REI is well worth a visit. Located in a historic arena where the Beatles played, it’s huge and packed with cool stuff.
Green Lizard, Herndon, VA
My first metric century! That’s 100k or 65 miles by bike. The secret, I discovered, is to keep eating and drinking. The WO&D Trail is perfect for that. I stopped at the Whole Foods in Vienna for a snack, Carolina Brothers in Ashburn for trailside barbecue and cappuccino in Herndon at Green Lizard.
Best Buns, Shirlington, VA
I’m obsessed with the bike commuters on the Mount Vernon Trail. It looks so much fun to bike into the city every morning along the river. So I tried a reverse commute to Shirlington. It was quick and easy.
Located a block from Dupont Circle, Emissary had the best coffee of the Coffeeneuring Challenge. This cappuccino was tiny, perfect and delicious.
The coffee at this former amusement park was awful. But it’s such an interesting and photogenic spot along MacArthur Boulevard that it’s well worth the trip.
A Baked Joint
For the grand finale of the Coffeeneuring Challenge, I went to Friday Coffee Club. Every Friday morning, area cyclists gather at A Baked Joint to talk all things bike. It’s where you go to learn about new routes, equipment and other tips. Plus, the coffee is great and they have a nice chorizo biscuit.
I’m including this just because it was a delicious. Located in the Renaissance Dupont, Illy Coffee dishes out some great coffee, including this, a Cappuccino Viennese. New to to me, it’s a cappuccino with whipped cream and dusted with cocoa powder. Damn, this was good.
Thank you, Mary G., for starting the Coffeeneuring Challenge! I, of course, love biking and coffee and will take any opportunity to take part in two of my favorite pursuits.
But the challenge makes me feel like I am part of something bigger. And I am! Coffeeneuring now takes place in every part of the globe. It’s a worldwide movement of bikes and coffee.