The 4th Annual Coffeeneuring Challenge is over and 7 weekends, 7 cups of coffee, 7 different places way to spend some riding time. Thanks is due Mary of Chasing Mailboxes for making it happen and I'm guessing that anyone participating did so with a smile on his or her face. I mean, bikes and coffee? How can you not smile . . . seriously!
For me the schedule was easy at least for the first few weeks with Haile Plantation's Village a place I go every Saturday, so planning the first few destinations was much easier than my ride up the East Coast a few years back. Below are my destinations and some relevant pictures.
Cup #1; October 4, 2.5 miles, Tree City Coffee Roasters
Tree City (soon to be called Flagship) is not in Memphis, but the young lady from whom I purchased my first Challenge Cup is Memphis.
It’s hard to match the freshness of coffee roasted by Andrew on Thursday and sold on Saturday; that is exactly the way it works when I visit the Farmers’ Market in Haile Plantation’s Village each Saturday morning.
Cup #2; October 11, 2.5 miles, PattiCakes
PattiCakes is also located in Haile Plantation’s Village and, as the name implies, specializes in cakes of the cup variety; very suitable to accompany a cup of coffee.
PattiCakes brews locally roasted Rembrandt Coffee in a neighborhood friendly environment where locals kibitz, chat and relax. Their house blend was even better when coupled with one of their cupcakes.
Cup #3; October 19, 1.65 miles, Barnie’s
Franchise coffee places are not my favorite places, but the local Barnie’s is more neighborhood then franchise and is a comfortable place to spend a few Sunday morning hours checking email and reading online news. The coffee of the moment was Mocha Java and it required a Danish to help overcome the UF Gator’s loss to Missouri’s Tigers.
Cup #4; October 25, 4.5 Miles, Starbuck’s
I’d talked about bike parking along G’ville’s highly commercial Archer Road and one of the establishments with adequate through remote racks was Starbuck’s. Since then they have relocated to the other side of the street and I decided to check their bike security along with getting the Cup #4.
Like any Starbuck’s in town it was full of young patrons, virtually all of whom were virtually connected to some virtual part of the virtual world. Like any Starbuck’s in town there was a steady din of conversation. The coffee d’jour was satisfactory and the donut I chose was above average.
The new location offers adequate bike racks and reasonable security, but with the drive-through passing within inches of the racks extra care is required when coming and going .
Cup #5; November 1, 2.5 miles, Limerock Road Neighborhood Grill (LRNG)
A place featuring adult beverages might be excuse for the quality of its coffee, but when you call a tavern a “grill” and serve meaningful meals, the coffee should be as good as the meal. LRNG doesn’t serve mediocre coffee. Order a cup and you get some of G’ville’s best; Tree City.
I settled at the bar on an unseasonably chilly, blustery morning when the recently completed extension of Archer Braid Trail (ABT) through Haile Plantation was being officially acknowledged. Bike riders in their brightly colored kits mingled with the usual Saturday morning Farmers’ Market patrons, enjoyed some music, collected a few freebies and sampled munchables from LRNG.
The ABT extension makes Haile’s Village very bicycle-accessible which fits well with the New Urbanist development’s concept. The Trail now extends nearly nine miles from the west trailhead in the small community of Archer to its current terminus at well-maintained Kanapaha Park and will eventually connect with other existing and planned trails. Ample parking at Kanapaha Park makes it an ideal place for families to enjoy the Trail and the 2.5 mile ride to The Village. Cup #5 blended all the things that’re good about riding a bike in Gainesville and the Challenge simply added another good reason to be in the saddle.
Cup #6; November 8, 7.5 miles, Maude’s Classic Café (A Gourmet Coffee Shop)
With the last weeks of the Challenge at hand Cup #6 could be had in conjunction with the Fall Arts Festival in downtown G’ville. Whata deal! Maude’s was the right place to have a cup and a muffin before plunging into the crowd drawn by the Festival perfect weather; neither too hot nor too chilly.
A cursory study of Maude’s could cause it to be viewed as a hipster café, but it’s neither more nor less so than the other trendy coffee shops in G’ville. A cup of Sweetwater Organic Coffee, also a G’ville roasted brand, and a muffin while watching the eclectic mix of people made it a good way to prepare for the larger than usual crowd of Festival-goers.
Cup #7; November 16, 2.8 miles, Waffle House, Archer Road
America might run on Dunkin’ but in the South there’re a lot of people who’ll have their coffee at Waffle House so I decided to make the Southern Tradition the place for my final cup.
The coffee at WH isn’t exceptional, but it comes in a heavy cup that keeps it hot and you’ll get the question, “need some more hon’?” until you pay and leave. It’s hard to beat the value and even more difficult to ignore the Southern Diner ambiance; that’s one of the reasons to go there. Another reason? Waffles, of course. And then there’s the show put on by the grill operators on a Sunday morning.
Meeting the requirements of the 4th Annual Coffeeneuring Challenge was well worthwhile and helped put my disappointment from the Bicycle Challenge into proper perspective. Serious bicycle riding has little to do with kits and carbon fiber and centuries. It’s about caring about yourself and your community and enjoying the ability to get around on two wheels powered by your own effort.