Monday, October 12, 2015

Coffeeneuring #2 2015 or a 3 state multi modal tour

In interview form:

1) Where do you live? Arlington, MA, just west of Boston.

2) How did you decide to coffeeneur? This is my third year and I've held the title of the Northeast Regional Office (NRO) for that time, based on my mapping assistance to the cause.  The mapping is easy and fun so it's not a problem for me. How could I not participate being the NRO,  And it's fun to do.

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 used my 2007 IF Club Racer.  It's for long, fast rides (both long and fast are relative to me and maybe not you).  And it has about 6 liters of carrying capacity, which makes it ideal for longer rides where I might shed or need more clothes, carry some food, and carry a u-lock (if I can't bring my bike inside a coffee shop).  I used that capacity fully on this trip.  The bike has ample generator and usb-charged lighting capacity so I ran lights on for safety.

4) Where did you choose to coffeeneur for this coffeeneuring trip? I chose Caffe Kilim, which I found in obscure way.  There was a post by a local cyclocross rider that had a picture of a racer from somewhere else who had a picture of coastal NH and someone commented, saying that she or he (I can't remember) should stop at that shop when near Portsmouth.  Got that?  When I knew I might be riding through Portsmouth, I pulled the shop out of my memory banks and figured out that it wasn't out of the way and decided to try it.  And there was a decent restaurant next door.  How could I lose?

5) How was the shop, was it worth the trip?  Well, the trip was worth it for other reasons, which I'll get into later but yes, they had decent coffee and a nice, hippy-ish atmosphere.  There were a number of other people in the shop, one buying coffee beans so I knew it wasn't going to be bad.  There was a Turkish theme to the cafe, which wasn't surprising since one of the founders is from Istanbul.  Having been in Instanbul for a couple of weeks, it was familiar place to enjoy a shot of espresso.  But it was definitely an American cafe.  Bike parking was limited but there was a street sign right out front and I locked my bike in sight of where I sat and in view from the restaurant next door.

Official Coffeeneuring photograph.

I wasn't all that hungry (5 hours after breakfast) but I knew that I need substantial food before I made it to my final destination, Ogunquit, ME, so I stopped at The Kitchen.  The Kitchen was an even more appealing place to sit and enjoy a few moments off of the bike. I ordered a sandwich to go and promised to return with my family one day.  I had room in my seat bag for the sandwich and rode off to find the recently renovated Memorial Bridge and ride the last 17 miles (according my GPS) and find a place to eat lunch.

6) What other types of riding do you do besides coffeeneuring? I love taking my IF out for road rides.  I also commute on my Surly Cross Check and take that on trail and dirt road rides when I have the chance.

7) What else did I forget to ask you? Do you have anything you want to share? Sometimes (maybe almost always) the journey is as much fun as the destination.  This ride was a somewhat hastily organized trip to join my family for a large family gathering at the Cliff House in Ogunquit.  At first my wife said that it was fine to ride then she said that she wanted a family trip and it was better for me to ride early and then be bike-less on the trip.  Then, on the evening before the trip, she told me that her sister wanted to go with her since my brother-in-law was working and needed to come up later in the day.  In short, me riding up to Ogunquit was fine with my wife.

I knew I couldn't do the whole ride from home before dinner so I planned on catching the 9:30 AM Newburyport commuter train from North Station.  I left my house about 8:45 and rode to Alewife and picked up a ticket got on a mostly empty Red Line train.

On the Red Line train.  There train was mostly empty and the space wasn't otherwise needed on that trip.

I bought my commuter rail ticket to Newburyport while on the Red Line train and then talked to a very nice guy heading to an Ingress event while on the train.  We both got out at Charles/MGH and I rode the bike path to North Station.  The timing wasn't all that tight - I had 10 minutes to spare.   Bikes are allowed on the commuter rail on weekends but the space is right in front of handicap seating, which wasn't needed on this trip.  There were at least a dozen cyclists on the train and the bikes spilled out of the designated area to another car, which was fine with the conductor.  I sat next to Jake M., who was a cool guy.  He was riding a custom built Surly Cross Check and was heading to a party on the North Shore and then riding back to Boston the next day.  He is also is putting together a Moots light weight touring bike for a two month tour in Central Europe this fall and a planned trip from Vancouver to Alaska next year.  He was great company and an inspiration.

Getting on the commuter rail.  I think I rode about 4 miles between my house and the Red Line and between the Red Line station and the commuter rail station.

On the train.  I texted this picture to my wife to let her know I made the train.  She was surprised that the conductors still wear these traditional uniforms.
Once at the Newburyport station, I followed a Meetup bike trip into Newburyport and over the Merrimac and then headed north.

I've never been on the coast here so I didn't know what to expect.  The first stretch from Salisbury, MA to Seabrook, NH was wind swept and less than pleasing, even with the ocean on one side of the highway.  It had that desolate look of a vacation area when not in season with too much capacity for how many people were there at the time.  The homes were a far cry from Chatham or other well to do Cape Cod towns, and not always in good repair.

Homes with a view - Route 1A and the ocean on one side and a nuclear power plant on the other.

Hampton was in much better shape than Salisbury and Seabrook but still desolate and mostly empty on a cool, breezy October day.

The scenery changed in Hampton, NH, especially north of town.  The road hugged the coast here and everything looked more prosperous than further south.  I saw many people walking on the side of road, with ample space for them away from traffic.  Portsmouth was even more appealing - we'd move there in a minute if we could find work nearby.  I found the coffee shop and restaurant with no problem, enjoyed the brief stop and found my way into Maine.  Before getting to Maine, I watched the vertical lift descending on the Memorial Bridge.  It was an impressive site.  I took a series of pictures and will add the link here in the near future.  The coast hugging road ended so my hope of finding a rock to sit on and enjoy the view and the sandwich I bought in Portsmouth didn't materialize.  Instead I found a nice spot near the Barrell Mill Pond Dam and got out of the sun.

The bridge over the outflow from the Barrell Mill Pond.  The water was running fast!

The remaining miles where easy with some hills and the road again was closer to the coast.  A guy who was staying locally paced me to the hotel.  I found my way to my wife and kids and immediately drank a glass of cold water and enjoyed a hot tub with the boys.  I'm not sure if a hot tub was a good idea immediately after a long ride but it felt good and my muscles were fine the next day.  I later stepped outside to watch the boys swim in the pool.  The water was warm but swimming with temps in the low fifties wasn't fun.

The hotel wasn't exactly my style but the company was great and the rocks were a lot of fun to climb on.

Awaiting sunrise from the rocks.  We had coffee for my wife and me and hot chocolate for the boys.
The route from Newburyport to Cliff House in Ogunquit.

Miles for the ride: about 50, miles for the month: about 200, miles for the year: almost 3,300.


  1. Nice report! Love those fenders and bags on your bike.

  2. Great coffeeneuring interview! :)

    1. Thanks. I did have your questions to guide me!

  3. It's nice to meet another Bay State coffeeneurer. I'll be a regular reader of your blog if you don't mind.

    1. It's public, ready away! BTW there is at least one other MA coffeeneur: Bikeyface (