Sunday, November 15, 2015

Coffeeneuring Challenge #7


I had a grand plan for my final Coffeeneuring Challenge outing: a hybrid of going out for coffee and coffee outside. I would ride to the Ballard Sunday Market where Convoy Coffee slow brews coffee from their bicycle-driven cart. Perfect – I get to drink a hot cup of coffee outside after someone else does all the hard work. No packing up my Pocket Rocket, fuel, kettle, water, Aeropress, etc for a little cup of coffee.

I arrived at the Market a bit later than I had planned (hey, if you're going to get a flat, let it be in the warmth and dryness of your home) and there were scores of people ambling about, looking at cheeses, meats, pastries, but where oh where was the coffee cart? I walked my bike down and then up the street, with no sight of those guys. But then I saw Anchored Ship Coffee in a tiny storefront and thought maybe it was time for a change in plan.

coffee fits in the bottle cage
I parked my bike inside using the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, then ordered a Cafe au Lait. After I shelled out $3 (ok, so it was with soymilk – maybe they make it in-house), they filled up my personal cup (yes, I was prepared) with drip from a carafe that had been sitting out there who knows how long and some soymilk. Ouch! Well, this is Ballard, my friends, and they gotta pay their rent. I took a few sips and it tasted like plain ol' drip with some unsweetened soymilk added. I could have gone on that group ride after all and had that big box corporate coffee they were planning on stopping at (it starts with a "T") because that way, I would at least be deliriously happy from the bike ride itself.

As I was riding off toward home, I saw Convoy Coffee at the corner where I had passed just 10 minutes earlier. Had I missed them, or had they just shown up. No matter, I had already gotten a full cup of coffee and spent my allotted funds, so off I went. About one long light and five blocks later, I stopped, emptied my cup out onto an already-saturated plot of grass and headed back down the street to get some decent coffee made by two guys with an Aeropress on a cart pulled with a bicycle. But they were no longer at the corner; I didn't have the patience or time or energy to get through that crowd-filled market one more time to search for them. I switched out coffee for my water bottle and rode home.

I am sure I will be continuing my own Coffeeneuring adventures after the challenge is officially over, so I will get another chance to catch up with those bicycle-riding coffee-making guys. Plus, I will be sporting my spiffy Coffeeneuring Challenge patch.



Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Coffeeneuring Challenge #6: Spotted Cow Cream & Bean


While I am not a veteran (of a war, that is; I am definitely a cycling veteran, but that is not what we're talking about today), I had requested to take this Wednesday off to honor my sanity which has been dwindling. Between being an introvert and having a patient at work who has had her meds reduced, rendering her a question station, I really needed s break.

that's Maxwell, head roaster/manager
And today,  I was lucky – the sun came out! I even got to ride on a brand-new patch of asphalt while the cars had to stay on the gravel. Woo! Woo!

I had been meaning to ride up to Mill Creek's cute downtown area to go to Spotted Cow for quite a while. I believe they are the only coffee shop in the area that roasts their single origin beans on-site. Although their bike parking was not directly in front of or even beside their store (I locked my bike to outside seating so I could keep an eye on it), they were very friendly to me and gave me kudos for having ridden my bike there.

everything to make a ride great

After getting my soy latte and a chocolate macaroon cookie, I couldn't find anywhere to sit, so I asked a gentleman if I could share his table. He was on his laptop and I was trying not to disturb him as a laid out my accoutrements for a photo. But he was curious as to where I had ridden from, how many miles total, do I ride with other people, am I training for an event. It turns out he used to ride a little and he recounted for me a trip he took from Spokane to Lake Chelan on a Schwinn with four working gears that his butt will never let him forget. Aside from his backside, his other reason for not riding is due to lack of time. Of course, he has time to hang out at the local coffee shop chatting with a woman who is trying to rekindle his cycling flame. I mentioned this to him and he smiled. I have planted the seed; with time and interest, it may grow;  I will have to return here to see if there is another bike parked outside.
words to live by

Spotted Cow Coffee
15118 Main Street
Mill Creek, WA



Total Miles: 25

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Coffeeneuring Challenge #5: Ballard Coffee Works


November is the season of the blob
Look out – the blob is coming! November in Seattle is all about rain and since I ride a lot for transportation, I spend a fair amount of time analyzing the local radar for storms. Green is light rain, yellow is hard rain and red is cats and dogs (or fish, in my case). Like the time I was riding home from work and I thought I heard the sound of a fish flopping... on the road. It was the beginning of a heavy rainstorm, no doubt colored red on the radar.

I waited patiently for the blob to pass through and that was followed by more rain, but just green rain. It looked like a lot of drops when I looked outside, but I decided to take a chance on the rain in order to get a good cup of coffee.

The rain was pretty light, what I like to think of as a refreshing mist, like an outdoor spa treatment. A few minutes into the ride, I was reminded of how much I love to ride in light rain. It wasn't too long ago that my ideal weather for a good ride was "58 degrees and light rain", as my mantra went. My preferences have changed a little since then, but a nice misting is certainly welcome, especially when it is followed by warming up at a spacious yet cozy cafe serving a smooth espresso.

Not the only bike out there
Ballard Coffee Works is on Market Street at 22nd Ave, smack in the middle of Ballard. The building used to be a Tully's and there is currently a Starbucks across the street. But the cafe was packed! Lucky for me there were no kids inside because I found a small table near the kiddie play area where I could look outside toward my bike. A special day for the Surly, she sported her green shopping bag which was velcroed onto the saddle to protect it from rain (thus protecting my rear).


I enjoyed a smooth Soy Latte and then purchased a bag of coffee to take to my lucky workmates.

Ballard Coffee Works
2060 NW Market St
Seattle, WA 98107