In 2011 when Mary Gersemalina created coffeeneuring as a mash-up of the words “coffee” and “randonneuring” I jumped at it. That came along during what I might think of as my “peak challenge” period. I had founded Bike to Work Spokane (which became Spokane Bikes) and was chairing the Spokane Bicycle Advisory Board. Anything I could do to boost the idea of riding a bike was fair game.
Coffeeneuring fell right after I successfully completed #30DaysOfBiking in September, which I made even more of a challenge by writing a blog post every day. And I own a coffee cup with a drawing of a harried-looking woman and the words “Yes, I’ve heard of decaf. What’s your point?” Of course I was in.
I haven’t participated every year, and some years I tried and didn’t quite make it. Some years I didn’t blog about it; instead I tweeted my efforts. Social media accountability definitely helps with any of these challenges; telling others you plan to do something is a motivator for behavior change.
My feeling about this particular challenge is that making it a chore or obligation defeats the purpose, which for me is simply to enjoy bike rides and have a prompt that gets me out the door on a day when I might otherwise not have ridden. Plus, of course, an excuse to drink more coffee. Wouldn’t want to let the blood level get too high in my caffeine system.
2011: I know I did it but I didn’t do much to record the effort other than to write a post to let others know about coffeeneuring as the latest and greatest bike challenge.
2012: We had just moved to Seattle and were living in the heart of downtown with about forty-‘leven coffee shops within a stone’s throw. I had plunged into my new job as executive director at Washington Bikes and the whole year is a blur. Pretty sure I didn’t do it.
2013: Another year lost to the blur of intensive work. Our major annual fundraiser was an auction held toward the end of October or early November each year so coffeeneuring came at a challenging time.
— Barb Chamberlain (@BarbChamberlain) October 19, 2014
— Barb Chamberlain (@BarbChamberlain) October 11, 2014
2015: According to my tweets I made at least 4 rides, including one in San Diego on a business trip. We had just moved to a new house and I was exploring new-to-me coffee destinations.
2016: I mentioned it once on Twitter but have no other evidence that I participated. This was the first year of the merger of Washington Bikes with Cascade Bicycle Club. I served as Chief Strategic Officer for the two organizations and we had a lot of moving parts settling into the new configurations so I’m sure that played a role. No irony that bike jobs sometimes serve to keep me from riding more often.
2017: Another extra-memorable successful year, this one made special by the wide geographic range covered in our big bike tour riding the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Towpath.
— Barb Chamberlain (@BarbChamberlain) October 16, 2017
— Barb Chamberlain (@BarbChamberlain) October 29, 2017
2018: Started but didn’t finish.
2019: Success! And this was the always special bike date edition, with my Sweet Hubs along for every ride.
2020: Success! With two notable items: First ride was our first-ever visit to the San Francisco Street Bakery, in the neighborhood we hoped we’d end up living in. Second ride with friends Stefanie and Corey to a park for hot cider from their apple trees brought us the news that our offer on a house had been accepted. Yep, that’s our local bakery!
#Coffeeneuring #2: Rode to Burfoot Park to meet up w/@StefRandolph and Corey to have some of their homemade hot cider. Most memorable coffeeneuring trip ever; while we were at the park we got word our offer on a house was accepted. Woot! https://t.co/vhe5LeGyCj
— Barb Chamberlain (@BarbChamberlain) October 26, 2020
2021: Completed 5 of 7; thanks to a late start, couldn’t quite get across the finish line. Every bike ride is a reason to celebrate, though!
Today’s #undriving = #coffeeneuring #1. 8+ sunny miles on Zelda w/Sweet Hubs on a #BikeDate: drop off glass at recycling, farmer’s market, chai from Dancing Goats Espresso, takeout brunch from New Moon Co-op Cafe, birdwatching/boatwatching at marina, grocery store, home.
— Barb Chamberlain (@BarbChamberlain) November 1, 2021
2022: Couldn’t participate thanks to that pesky broken wrist.
2023: Will she or won’t she? I have until Nov. 20 and this could be another good year. Some travel will intervene and I’ll have to plan which days of the week I can get my rides in.
How about you? Even if you don’t like coffee, an appropriately autumnal beverage is a nice way to warm up after what might be a cool-ish time on two wheels. Cider, hot chocolate, tea. Heck, decaf even counts.