Sunday, October 13, 2013

Too early for Ride Studio Cafe, twice

This is written in the style of a Chasing Mailbox guest post.  It was my second coffeeneuring trip.

1) Where do you live?

Arlington, the one just west of Cambridge and once called West Cambridge and Menotomy before that.  The Old Men of Menotomy killed some of the retreating British soldiers fleeing Lexington and Concord but Arlington largely misses the historical tourist traffic.

2) How did you decide to coffeeneur?

I saw the post and vaguely recalled the challenge from last year.  I also remember the errandeneuring challenge but that was outside of my ability to compete, being a mostly fair weather cyclist.  I frequently stop for coffee or a shot of expresso on my road rides so it seemed like something that would be easy to do.  In practice, it's hard to get out of the house and making plans for rides is always hard to do.  7 times in 7 weeks could be close to impossible.

3) What bike are you using as your coffeeneuring bike? Tell us a little about it and what makes it a good coffeeneuring bike.

I originally described the bike here as a response to Lovely Bike's "questions to ask when buying a transportation bike".  It is a Surly Cross Check built up with Shimano 105 components, including 105 hubs built up with Mavic Open Pro rims and a racing triple.  It now has a new front wheel with a Shimano 3N80 dynamo hub, Busch and Muller  IQ CYO 60 lux headlight and a Pixeo rear light.  I also use a 2012 Nite Rider MiNewt 600 lumen blinder light and an older red blinker for the back.  The bike has fenders and a Blackburn expedition rack (which fits the Co-Pilot child's seat) and Tubus front rack for carrying clothes, food, and locks when carrying one of my boys.  It usually has the Burly trail hitch since we still use that when I take both boys.  The bike largely functions as my commuter and child hauler and night (or early morning) bike, which it does well at.  The lighting helps with early coffee trips.  I usually carry a pannier with more locks than I need but it is nice to be able to lock a bike up for coffee stop.  The wide tires (700x32) helps with city coffeeneuring trips.

It's a good bike for anything and I'm much happier leaving this one outside than my road bike, which I can't easily carry a lock with.  While I can put a rack on the road bike, it hasn't had one mounted since I had the Surly put together.

4) Where did you choose to coffeeneur for your first coffeeneuring trip?

Well, I chose Sofra but this is about my second trip.  I chose Ride Studio Cafe, my favorite coffee shop and bike store but the hours don't always work for me.

Ride Studio Cafe, Lexington, MA at 6:15AM - it's a little too early:

With RSC still far from open, I headed out to Lincoln, MA, taking the Lincoln/Lexington/Mill cutoff.  Traffic was very light.  I headed from 2A to Lincoln on Bedford Road to Weston Road to Conant and Old Conant roads and by then I had a decent amount of light.  I saw a patch of ground fog on this freshly mown hay field south of Lincoln. There was a lot of ground fog like this:

By the time I was on Trapelo Road heading back into town the sun was up and you could see the trees turning.

I was back in Lexington by 7:30, half an hour before RSC was open, although it looked like Ariela was inside getting the machines ready.  Peet's and Starbucks where open but I decided to stop at the Starbucks near Trader Joe's in Arlington, still a couple of miles from my house.  But that turned out to be a mistake.

5) The Coffee Shop is beautiful.

Not really but the parking lot wasn't too busy that early.  I drank my latte (part of the mistake) outside with a rider who was heading to the RSC Saturday AM ride.  When you go to Starbucks you get decent coffee but the experience can be odd.  First, the wait was long and the room isn't well set up for that.  Second, I saw one employee verbally abuse another, when the latter didn't have a clue to how to make a soy latte hotter and when he pulled too hard on the switch for the steamer.  I felt bad for the guy and also wondered if they train these people before they let them on the floor.  I should have just got a drip coffee and I would have missed this unpleasant interaction.

6) What other types of riding do you do besides coffeeneuring?

Road rides, commuting, occasional errands, and bringing the boys to playgrounds - they need a destination, cycling for the sake of cycling doesn't work for them yet.

7) What else did I forget to ask you?  Do you anything that you want to share?

What did I do after my early AM coffeeneuring expedition?  I went out with the boys to Ashfield, MA, a 2+ hour drive.  The leaves were just past peak and the area was beautiful.  We mostly spent time at our good friends' house, picking carrots, peas, chives, beets, radishes, and asian pears, which the boys loved.  We also played some games at the Ashfield Fall Festival and met Sparky, the firehouse dalmatian:

A beautiful tree we saw on our way to the festival:

Miles for the month: 115, miles for the year: about 2600.


  1. Really loved this post! Thanks for using my questions to frame it, too! I especially like your modification to question 5. The coffee shop is beautiful. Still makes me laugh even having read it a couple times!

    1. You are welcome! Thank you for the inspiration and guidance for the post and spreading the idea of the coffeeneuring. With the weather (35 degrees right now), I usually need more inspiration to get out and ride at this time of the year.