Posts tagged ‘coffee’

October 8, 2011

Coffeeneuring: Fueled by Caffeine

Many awesome excuses abound for riding your bike. I keep threatening to organize a Cupcake Ride, for example, although we’re starting to lose the kind of weather that makes people happy to get out and spend the better part of a day on the bike chasing frosting. (I will put one together, I promise!)

I just encountered another great idea I’ll share in case we can get this rolling: coffeeneuring, courtesy of bike blogger Chasing Mailboxes in the other Washington.

If you’re not familiar with randonneuring the term may sound pretty funny; that’s a long-distance ride form with required check-ins.

Shrink the distance considerably, make the check-ins seven (that’s right–seven) of your favorite coffee shops over the course of the next few weekends, and you have coffeeneuring!

This is not for the over-achiever who wants to pound out the miles and hit seven in one weekend, mind you–this is a leisurely deal. Chasing Mailboxes launched it in September with the idea that you could easily ride to a different coffee shop every weekend through September and October, so her rule is that only one coffee stop per weekend counts.

Since we’re coming to this a bit late, I’ll give full credit if you want to ride to two in a weekend because heaven knows, I do!

For the ladies, this Sunday’s Belles and Baskets ride gives you an easy way to get in a stop, since we always, always have a treat stop on these rides.

Post here, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter using the #coffeeneuring hashtag to share your caffeinated pedaling destinations.

Ideas for Destinations to Get You Started

  • Our friends at Roast House Coffee sell their awesome Ride the Edge blend and other great brews online, so you’ll never have to run out of coffee! (You still have coffeeneuring as the excuse to head to local coffee shops) This stop is a roasting facility, not a true coffee shop, but if you come by during business hours you can meet the roasters and buy direct.
  • Chairs Coffee serves Roast House and has some incredibly luscious latte flavor combinations. Try First Love, then Second Love, and you’ll be in love forever.
  • Main Market Co-op doesn’t have full latte service but they do have Roast House iced toddy and a really wonderful deli case–great place to hit on the west end of downtown for a fast and yummy lunch.
  • How about Rocket Bakery on West First as part of a Carnegie Square Bikespedition?
  • Look for bike-friendly restaurants like Sante, Madeleine’s, The Elk, and others that have a bike rack.
  • Spokane SoDo District offers a number of caffeinated fuel stops; we hit only one in our two-part Bikespedition there at the Spokane Public Market, but there are more.
  • For a longer ride, take the Old Palouse Highway out to On Sacred Grounds in Valleyford, which makes a great halfway point.
  • Atticus is another fun stop that serves Roast House and other local coffees. They have a great gift shop and a bike rack right out front.
  • Heaven knows I love Rockwood Bakery and their awesome quiche!

Your Turn

  • What are your favorite coffee-shop destinations for a bike ride?
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June 9, 2011

Nice Rack, Lady

A common question I get is what I do with my bike at a destination that doesn’t have bike racks. Since this may come up a lot when we go on our Bikespeditions I thought I’d share my work-arounds.

#1—Vote with your wallet! Take your dollars to places with bike parking and TELL THEM that’s why you did it

My closest grocery store (Rosauers on 29th) has a rack so I like going there. When I set a meeting at a coffee shop I choose one with a bike rack whenever possible (and it’s usually possible).

You’ll find racks next to TasteMadeleine’s, the Rocket Bakery on Main, Main Market Co-op, Santé, and Chairs Coffee for starters. Other spots like Rocket Bakery at 1st and Cedar or Rockwood Bakery on 18th have railings that work for bike rack improv.

Building owners/managers might want to look at this issue to make their facilities more attractive in a tough economy for commercial real estate.

The bonus points for awesomesauce go to the Davenport Hotel, where you can check your bike in at the bell desk and they’ll stash it in the side room they use for luggage. Tip the nice bell staff when you leave!

More bonus points for the Steam Plant Grill, a bike-friendly restaurant that has a rack in their covered parking area and that sponsors Spokane Bikes every year by hosting the Bike to Work Week Wrap-up Bike from Work Party.

#2—Improvise

Street signs, trees, hand rails, fences, benches (heavy or attached to the ground), external piping (look at the back of the building), and other fixed items enable you to use your lock. Spokane Transit stops have nice tall poles.

Parking meters are a last resort since you could just lift the bike, lock and all, right off the meter so it’s a defense in name only unless it’s one of those funny meter poles you’ll see in a few spots in downtown Spokane that has a little handle on the side through which you can thread your cable.

Think about a couple of things in choosing your lock-up spot:

  • Will you and others be able to see your bike? “Eyes on the street” provide security, so a spot right in front of an establishment is safer than an out of sight, out of mind spot at the back.
  • Will you block the sidewalk at all with your choice of location? Don’t.

#3—Impose, but Nicely

Sometimes I impose just a tad depending on the destination. This is one of those things I find much easier when I’m wearing a skirt and heels than when I’m all kitted out in Spandex and clicky shoes. People just treat me more nicely when I don’t fit their cyclist stereotypes.

I have taken my bike into a couple of grocery stores and asked someone at the closest courtesy desk or checkstand if I can stash it against the wall near them and if they’ll keep an eye on it, explaining that I have to do this since they don’t have a rack (and generally don’t have any signage on handy tall poles out front). So far no one has ever turned me down.

“Would you mind if I just brought my bike in since you don’t have a rack?” with a sweet smile gets me pretty far at an event facility. Every time I’ve asked, staff have let me put it in a side room, a hallway, near the coat rack or somewhere that doesn’t inconvenience others but gives me more peace of mind that my transportation will be there a couple of hours later when I need it.

The key for me is two sides of the same coin:

  • “Entitlement”–I am a customer and they need to make it possible for me to deal with my transportation the way they did for drivers when they paved all those parking spaces.
  • Lack of “entitlement”–I ask politely if they can help me solve this problem and they always do. I think I’d get different (worse) treatment if I got self-righteous or huffy about it.

I also bear in mind that I am almost never dealing with anyone who made a deliberate decision not to put in a bike rack, and they probably can’t make one appear later either.

It’s like dealing with customer service on the phone: they didn’t design the problem so they don’t really own either problem or solution. They’re just there to make you feel better so you’ll keep bringing them your business.

And you’re there to remind them that if they want to continue getting your business and that of other people on bikes, they might want to suggest to management that a bike rack should be installed.

A version of this post first appeared on my personal blog, Bike to Work Barb, in Dec. 2010: No Rack?! Now What?

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