What is Coffeeneuring? You might well ask.
A Little Background
The word coffeeneuring is a play on the word randonneuring. For cyclists, randonneuring means long distance rides and often not enough sleep. So it’s a natural leap to recognize the role that coffee plays in long distance cycling.
You can get a better idea of what randonneuring is about from this article by Rene Herse Cycles. But briefly, randonneur rides start at 124 miles and more (200 km and more) with the longest distances being 750 miles (1200 km). Paris-Brest-Paris is the most well known organized ride. Every four years thousands of cyclists from around the world gather in Paris, France to undertake this challenge. They must complete the 1200 km distance in under 90 hours. Coffeeneurs take things a little more easy — the minimum distance is 2 miles (3.2 km) — so, lots of time for coffee (or tea if you prefer).
How Does it Work
Coffeeneuring is the brain-child of Washington, DC based Mary Gersemalina, who herself is a Randonneur. In 2020 Coffeeneuring celebrated its 11th anniversary and attracts cyclists from around the world. In 2020 it was held from October 10 through November 23. For northern folk that’s the end of the peak summer cycling season. For southerners it’s a way to kick-start a summer of cycling. The challenge is managed through a private Facebook group where coffeeneurs post accounts, photos and beverage details.
Beverages don’t have to be coffee; tea and other drinks are just fine. While many coffeeneurs stop at coffee shops and bakeries, a large number will have “coffee without walls” — coffee picnics along trails and in parks. Many will take along travel espresso makers!
The community is online and widespread, but the cycling is definitely off-line. The cycling is fun, but the camaraderie of being a coffeeneur is what makes it special.
Here are the basic rules:
Each year there is a theme to go along with the challenge. In 2020 the theme was “one good thing”. A reminder that in the challenging COVID times, we have much to be thankful for.
This is the account from Facebook postings of a first time Coffeeneur — Margot Jorgensen. Tip: hover over the photos to see captions or click the first image for a slide show with captions.
October 14, 2020, Ride #1, 86 km
Alliston to Orangeville and back. Lattes at Mochaberry. Best moment — a little one, 5 or 6 years old, turning to wave goodbye to fellow bus passengers. You could feel the waiting drivers and cyclists smile.
#onegoodthing — school buses are back.
October 16, 2020, Ride #2, 12ish km
October 31, 2020, Ride #3, 75 km
Alliston to Creemore and back, a regular ride to our favorite café, Affairs Bakery. The challenge is to get there while the chocolate croissants last.
Take heart the next time someone flips you the bird, especially when you are cycling. This is where those middle fingers go when they die. Happy Halloween!
#onegoodthing — chocolate croissants of course!
November 4, 2020, Ride #4, 72 km
A gathering of the two-wheeled clans at Hockley Valley General Store. What was intended to be a short 40km ride morphed into 72km due to the glorious weather.
#onegoodthing — the earthy smells of the harvest season.
November 11, 2020, Ride #5, 90 km
Mostly on the road, but some trail work.
Barrie has a wonderful waterfront with a beautiful Veteran’s memorial park overlooking Kempenfelt Bay on Lake Simcoe.
#onegoodthing — country roads with 50/60km speed limits.
November 16, 2020, Ride #6, 40 km
Alliston to Tottenham and back, 40km. Cappuccino at Taste of Freedom restaurant. Ok, we had some chocolate mousse too :-}
#onegoodthing — the sound of Canada Geese heading south for the winter. But a special mention to the tailwind we caught as we headed home after lingering too long over the chocolate mousse.
November 20, 2020, Ride #7, 50 km
A day of contrasts all within 10km of our home. 50km, 14c. Another beautiful day.
We set out in the morning with a loop to a neighbouring town and then rode a 4km circuit around Earl Rowe Provincial Park. (2 km from our home). Then back to our home town.
We wanted to visit our neighbour’s tea house as we are ashamed to admit that she’s been there for 7 years and we never have. Tea at the Corner is a block from our house in a lovely circa 1900 home, in the historic part of our town. They have a choice of 50 teas and we chose Diamond Jubillee. This tea was created to celebrate Queen’s Elizabeth’s 60 years as Queen of Canada (and some other places too). It seemed fitting as we’ve been watching The Crown. Tea was served with warm sconesandjamandcream.
After tea, we headed to Sheldon Creek Dairy (5km from our home). The dairy supplies many of the high end restaurants in Toronto. We picked up some supplies and said thank you to the cows.
On the final stretch we caught a wedding and their transport truck at nearby Gibson Hills. The Hills are a lovely reserve made available to the public by the family that owns the land. They didn’t want it to be developed into housing.
#onegoodthing — Coffeeneurs