Its the 4th annual Coffeeneuring Challenge, but this year will be my first attempt. For me this is an exciting opportunity to visit places I've never been, to go to places I've never seen, even along familiar routes. My friends have all chimed in support, and laughed because I'm not known for athletic challenges. This is, if you know of coffeeneuring, hardly an athletic challenge. You only need to go two miles.
Being a caffeine consumer I've hit the places close to me already, Java Jane's on 15th and 145th and Bareistas on Aurora are well known haunts. Sadly, both are too close to count for the coffeeneuring rides. I don't recommend Java Jane's if you're on a bike. Its in the Goodwill parking lot and cars will not be shy about either cutting you in line, or choking you with their exhaust. Bareistas is nicer, surrounded by smaller shops, and my favorite tobacco shop, the coffee is better than Jane's and the girls are obviously quite charming*
At the end of this post I'll give a list of the Shoreline area coffee shops I'll be visiting for my challenge, and the projected days. If you'd like to meet up send me a message and I'll do my best to ride with you and have a cup, I enjoy helping new riders and meeting other cyclists.
Today, however, I took my coffee the usual way. I started with a ride with my friends R. and D. (names redacted for privacy). R hadn't ridden in a long time, he's an older gent, not quite a young buck anymore, but not old enough yet to be anyone's dad. D is a bit younger, and had been wanting back in the saddle for a while. This was their first ride with another friend in a long time, and I chose a route that wasn't too long, starting on N 160th and riding to the end of the Linden Ave. Greenway, where it hooks back up to the Interurban Trail.
Densmore, as always, gives new riders a bit of push on this side, its a near 180 degree climb, and for me at least, there's no shame in walking up it if you've got any weight. D. was envious of my little basket, because, as usual, my little dog rode in it, jaunty little head poked up. I lent her my Sherpa bag (cannot recommend that brand enough), so she could take her Pom.
The trail was a wonderful experience for these almost-new riders. D. had expressed concerns because they didn't have helmets, and they were scared of riding near cars. I wisely steered us down suburban streets until we hit the Interurban trail. D. marveled at the infrastructure, the trail was full of families enjoying their evening. When we got to the greenway she was a bit nervous at first, it being a street, but within minutes she was riding as confidently as if she owned the street. R. is usually a driver and, frankly, usually a bit grumpy about sharing the streets behind the wheel. Yet this evening he spoke at great length how wise the greenway investment was, how expanding it could change how often he drove, and how much he would like that. D. mourned her job required a car, because she used to ride from Lynnwood to the Seattle Center and back as a teenager. We settled down for a picnic as the sun set, sipping from water bottles and bemoaning the need to go back. We watched others speed down the trail and D. asked if I minded going so slow. I shook my head, its nice to ride with new folks, to take a slower place and really look at what's around you. When you go slow because you can't go fast you don't look around, you're powering through. When you go fast you're looking out for danger. But when you're riding with novices you can point out the art along the way, and immerse in the beauty around you.
On our return I made cups of hot cocco and asked what it would take to make this a regular thing, D. wanted to go every weekend. I call this "new rider glow" you realize it doesn't take much to get in the saddle and you want to go crazy go nuts. R. was more realistic, work and school for him was going to make these rides something to schedule. So we pledged to ride together every other weekend. And you can bet I'm going to drag them to some pretty out there places.
Shoreline is bikeable, but we need more riders to prove it. I saw so many riders out there on the trails tonight, and it warmed that cold vestigial organ I call my heart. I wondered how many of them became riders because of the greenway nearby. I wondered how many started because a friend just ceaselessly harassed them to go riding with them. I wonder how many got in the saddle as adults because they never stopped riding as kids.
And Shoreline needs those riders, there's safety in numbers. As I rode the Interurban there was one...person of questionable character, who chimed how much he'd love my bike, making R. nervous. He's quite capable of laying down the beats, he just really doesn't like doing it (like any good man). While D. and I rode fearlessly (I can and have used my bike as a weapon of self-defense) we did because we knew as a group we were safe. D. expressed concern that I rode this trail every morning, asking if it bothered me, and I answered truthfully, yes it does. There should be a way to help the people along the trail, but I'll be darned if I know where to begin.
As a rider, I do know this; we're safer from attacks. We're safer from traffic. We're safer when we ride together. And we need to ride together. Here's the places I'll be visiting for the cofeeneuring challange:
10/5 @ 11am Tomorrow!
2200 N 56th St.
Seattle, WA 98103
10/11 or 10/12 (time TBA)
The Bridge Coffee House
2150 N 122nd St
Shoreline, WA 98133
10/18 or 10/19 (time TBA)
Highlands Coffee Co.
14508 Whitman Ave. N
Shoreline, WA 98133
10/25 or 10/26 (time TBA)
The Bounty-North City
17551 15th Ave NE
Shoreline, WA 98133
11/1 or 11/2 (time TBA)
Seattle Gourmet Coffee
17565 15th Ave. NE
Shoreline, WA 98133
11/8 or 11/9 (time TBA)
Diva Expresso Bar
14419 Greenwood Ave N.
Seattle, (technically) WA 98177
11/15 or 11/16 (time TBA)
17202 15th Ave NE
This would be a perfect time to start organizing trains. If you're unfamiliar with the idea, a train in the non-machine sense, is the term for a group of cyclists who ride together to complete their commute. For example as a group they stop and pick up each rider, and as a group, drop each rider off at their destination. A conductor makes sure everyone knows the route and helps keep the group together.
Let's get together and start some trains. You can contact me via e-mail (vanwolf "at" gmail dot com) or on twitter @HyperboreanWolf. Pick a weekend and a time and I'll help you get started. Or if you just want to meet up and get a cup of something sweet with another rider. .
Want to know more? Here's where you can sign up to coffeeneur officially:
Special thanks to Mary who started this wonderful tradition! If you can, please consider kicking more than just the required $4, she does this out of pocket you guys.
If you want to find other local riders participating:
Cheers and safe travels my friends.
*note: Bareistas baristas dress is a manner that is..risque. It is always tasteful, but do be respectful when you visit them. They are beautiful women, but they are still human beings who be deserved to be treated as such.