Wednesday, November 16, 2011


HA. You thought this post would be about the Tweed Ride, didn't you? Well, that's coming up. I just haven't finished started it yet. Sorry. I also have some pretty awesome (non-cycling) news coming up too. Also an update on the sentencing hearing. That's a lot of things.

But for now, I want to go ahead and get this post out of the way since it's been sitting in my drafts folder for awhile.

A few months ago, gypsybug of Chasing Mailboxes (randonneuse extraordinnaire) posted a "coffeeneuring challenge":

Interested in the Coffeeneuring Challenge? Here’s what you have to do to play.

  1. Ride your bike to 7 different local coffee shops from now through October.
  2. Only Saturday and Sunday rides qualify. Weekday rides are ineligible.
  3. Only 1 coffee shop per day counts. If you visit 7 coffee shops in one day, you may choose only one as a qualifying ride.
  4. You must do a short write-up of your experience that includes: where you went (address and website, if possible), the date you went there, what you drank, who was with you (or state whether you were solo), total mileage, and a few details about your coffeeneuring ride.
  5. You must take at least one photo during your ride, caption it, and submit it as verification that you actually went to the coffee shop and drank a beverage there.
  6. Hot chocolate qualifies, as do tea beverages.
  7. You may not combine your coffeeneuring ride with any other ride such as a populaire or brevet. You may, however, combine your coffeeneuring ride with a grocery run, ride to the gym, or other transportation/utility-oriented ride.
  8. Your ride must be at least two miles total, but there is no maximum so yes, you could ride 100 miles for a cup of coffee.
  9. There are no geographic limitations to the Coffeeneuring Challenge.
  10. You have to go to 7 different coffee shops, although you may ride to multiple locations of a chain (though that is not preferred).
  11. Deadline for submission for the Coffeeneuring 7 is November 2, 2011.
  12. Submissions must be sent to me at gersemalina “at”
  13. All qualifying rides must be submitted at the same time. That is, send me all 7 together, NOT ride 1, ride 2, etc.
  14. Premium unknown, BUT you will be featured as a guest post on this blog. So fame is part of your premium. Beyond that, I cannot say.
  15. During Columbus Day weekend (October 8-10), you have three days to accomplish two qualifying coffeeneuring rides.

Alas, I did not complete the challenge. I ended up getting distracted by putting together my Halloween costume on the final weekend, and before I knew it, I had run out of time to get that final ride in. Boo.

But you can still read all about it!

(I also highly suggest checking out the Chasing Mailboxes blog to read more coffeeneuring exploits)

Stop #1: Columbia Heights Coffee (3416 11th St. NW)
Date: Sunday, September 25th, 2011
Miles: 2.58
Drink: americano

Sorry for the blurry quality. Too much caffeine?

Columbia Heights Coffee is quickly becoming one of those places I stop at frequently before/during work. I decided to stop here on my day off, because I needed to drop off The Boy's bike for some maintenance at the local bike shop and I've never been able to simply sit & enjoy this place.  I rode here, locked up at one of the plentiful bike racks on the block, and got myself a nice iced americano (my favorite) to sip on. Like many local coffee shops, the space is small and it was crowded inside. There are a few tables outside, so I chose one of them. Unfortunately, the mosquitoes were hungry. AAAAARGH, I hate mosquitoes. They ruined what would have otherwise been a perfectly nice early afternoon. I did watch plenty of cyclists using the bike lanes on 11th. I finished my amerciano and rode off on the The Boy's Bike to the bike shop and dropped it off. I took Capital Bikeshare for the return trip.

Overall impression: definitely a neighborhood go-to coffee shop.

Stop #2: Peregrine Espresso (1718 14th St. NW)
Date: Saturday, October 1st, 2011
Miles: 2.5
Drink: americano

I rode over to the Crafty Bastard's craft fair and checked out the different vendors. There were lots of really neat things, but nothing caught my eye enough for me to purchase. I saw lots of people decided to Put a Bird On It, which made me giggle and vendors probably thought I was some crazy idiot. I did take advantage of WABA's bike valet. I couldn't believe more people didn't. I saw tons of bikes locked to anything & everything up and down 18th St. (which was a MESS to bike down, by the way--the construction is AWFUL). Maybe they didn't know it was there? It's FREE, and people will literally sit there & watch your bike for you. No lock required. Why not use it?

It was a drizzly, slightly chill day. A perfect day to fetch a nice hot cup of coffee.  Which is what I decided to do once I was done browsing through Crafty Bastards. I decided to ride down to Peregrine on 14th, since I had never been there. Once again, I ordered an americano (hot) and took advantage of a rare open seat to dry off & enjoy my drink.

Overall impression: its a great place to get a drink to go, but not so much to sit & enjoy (very cramped, very few seating options). They could also use some more bike racks out front.

Stop #3: SOVA (1359 H St. NW)
Date: Sunday, October 9th, 2011
Miles: 5.36 miles
Drink: americano

It was the Season 6 opener for the DC Rollergirls at the Armory! A double-header too. I love going to derby. The only place where I spend more money than in a bike shop is at a derby game. I can't tell you how many derby t-shirt, glasses, buttons & other stuff I have, ha. Bikes, Beer & Derby: they are literally the biggest "sponsors" of my wardrobe. Anyway, I figured I might as well make a pit-stop on H St. since I would be passing near there on my way to the Armory. I decided to stop at SOVA. I've been there before, and I really like the space. It's bigger than it looks, with lots of comfy chairs & an open patio in the back. Definitely a nice place to hang around, if you don't mind all the beardy hipsters. (I don't mind hipsters, but the beards & mustaches freak me out). Unfortunately, I was running late (as usual) so I had to get my americano to go. It was a pretty warm day out, and I forgot to specify iced. The americano they gave me was scalding, eek.  At least I would be able to use Betty's cup holder. I had to dump out a good portion of my drink, though, to make sure it wouldn't spill out and scald me during the ride.

getting ready to take off.

I rode the rest of the way to the Armory without burning myself or spilling my coffee. Yay! Plus, by the time I got there, it was cool enough to drink. I had an awesome time at the derby. I just wish they had better bike parking at the Armory.

I ended up having to lock Betty way on the other side of the lot to this barrier. I don't like locking my bikes to anything that is not permanently embedded in the ground.

Overall impression: I'm a big fan of this place, and I think I might make it a habit to stop here before Derby games.

I made a few more bike trips after the derby game, including a few beer stops. All in all, it was a great day.

Stop #4: Pound (621 Pennsylvania Ave. SE)
Date: Monday, October 10th, 2011 (*Columbus Day Holiday!)
Miles: 4.35 miles
Drink: americano

My parents were visiting, and my dad wanted to check out the Main Reading Room at the Library of Congress. Generally, that room is off-limits to the general public but they open it up a few days every year. Today was one of those days. My dad has a library card for the library of congress, and takes advantage of it whenever he visits. I decided to ride to the Library to meet them. That included schlepping up Capitol Hill. On a normal bike, that's usually not a problem, but Betty doesn't like steep hills. I managed it though, just very slowly. Unfortunately, there was a suspicious package so we couldn't get into the library until it was cleared. It worked out for me though since I was running late ;-) (Can you detect a theme? Yes, I'm one of those people!)

The library itself is amazing. I've done the tour before (do it, if you never have) but I've never been inside the reading room itself. It's gorgeous. We even got to check out the room with the card catalogs---over 2 million cards! It went on forever.

The room itself is carefully designed to reflect the evolution of human understanding. 
They went on forever..they still use this as a back-up system just in case.

Afterwards, we stopped for lunch and I said goodbye to them. Then I decided to stop at Pound since I was in the area. I stopped here once before, but never got to try their coffee. It's a nice place. I still haven't explored it all. There's a back room that looks like it has some comfy spots to sit. Unfortunately, it was full of people and not an open spot was to be found. I got my usual ameriano to go, and waited outside to see if a table would open up outside (there are only two). It was absolutely gorgeous outside. A perfect early fall day. But, they didn't open up (darn table hogs!) That's ok though, I don't blame them--it was a gorgeous day outside. I'd hog it too. Perfect clear weather. Instead, I went around the corner to 8th St. and blew some of my hard-earned money in the two bike shops that are located there. HA! Another beautiful day in DC. I even managed to pick up my new bike companion, Bert. You'll see him in another blog.

Overall: Good coffee, good spot. A bit crowded on the weekends, but I didn't get to fully explore the entire shop.

Stop #5: Chinatown Coffee Co. (475 H St. NW)
Date: Sunday, October 16th, 2011
Miles: 5.94
Drink: Chai Latte

The previous night, I rode down to the E Street Cinema to catch the Sonic Transducer's production of the Rocky Horror Picture Show.....only to have it sell out as soon as I got in line. Bummer. I was all dressed up with nowhere to go, so I decided to catch the other midnight show which was "Human Centipede 2". I.....I have no words. Really. I kinda wish my brain had a delete option. Anyway, in my horror/rush to get out of the theater once the film ended, I left my helmet behind. Oh no!

The next day, I rode back down to retrieve my helmet (they had it, yay!) and figured I could squeeze in a coffeeneuring stop as well. I used Foursquare's "Explore" option, and saw that Chinatown Coffee wasn't too far away, so I headed there.

I knew it a good place because I saw a fellow Electra bike locked up outside. I locked Betty up and stepped inside.

A crazy homeless man decided to demonstrate some push-ups for me as I was locking up Betty. I did not take a photo of that.

My first impression was good. It was full, but not crowded. Small, but didn't feel cramped. A good amount of tables & chairs (although I noticed most of the tables were taken up by single persons, leaving many chairs empty). A clean, industrial look & good music being played by the employees (they often changed songs if one came on they didn't prefer). The music was a little louder than I'm used to at coffee shops, but not enough to be distracting or to hinder conversation. Based on the number of bike helmets I saw being carried in & out by customers, this place seemed friendly to cyclists.

Since I wasn't feeling like my usual americano, I decided to go with a latte. I got mine "to stay" even though it didn't appear any tables were free. I just decided to wait & hope. Sure enough, after about 5-10 minutes a primo spot at the front window opened up, and I snagged it. I must have come at the right time, because shortly after a few more tables opened up and remained open.

The latte was delicious.

delicious latte-ness

So delicious, that I decided to get one to go for my trip back home.

Pound Coffee Mug. If you look at the bottom left corner,  you can see a bit of Bert.

I decided that it would be a good time to fully test out the "spill-proof" mug I bought from Pound Coffee last week.

Verdict: It's not perfect, but it does the job fine.

A medium to-go cup of coffee/tea will fill the mug. You wouldn't want to get a large. Although there were a few drips that escaped the lid here & there, it kept the majority of my latte in the mug and out of my lap. I rode about 2.5 miles over bumpy dc streets, so that was pretty impressive. The lid design allowed me to easily drink from it at stop lights without a fuss. Not sure how it fares temperature-wise, however. I don't believe it's a thermal mug. Will find out as it gets colder.

Overall impression: I think I will definitely be going back there.

Stop #6: Dunkin' Donuts (2750 14th St. NW)
Date: Saturday, October 29th
Miles: 1.3
Drink: Pumpkin Latte

Ok, I'll admit it--this was done purely out of desperation. It was a miserable day, weather-wise, and I simply wanted to get it over with. It snowed! ACK! It's too early for snow. Also, I forgot to take a picture. It would have been blurry anyway, because my hands were frozen.
Anyway, I've been to this particular Dunkin' Donuts many, many times. I don't go for the coffee. The people that work there are very nice & its usually a nice, quiet place to sit for a bit. But the coffee is terrible. It's either usually burned or overly-sweetened. This time was no exception. I think it was both burned & sickly sweet with the pumpkin syrup. Oh well.

Overall impression: I go here because its convenient, not because its good.

And...that's it. I had planned on going to the Starbucks in Bethesda via the CCT, but then I found all my old goth clothes in my closet....and well, that was that.

I hope to have my Tweed Ride review up before this weekend (but don't hold me to that). I also have some news on sentencing hearing (sorry I've been quiet about that lately, there was a reason for that. I will explain all soon). Also, if you happen to have the evening of December 3rd free, keep it open--I'll let you know what for very soon!

WABA is hosting a happy hour this Thursday (the 17th) at Brasserie Beck at 5pm. New Belgium drafts will be available and its all for a good cause-you could even win prizes. Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend due to work commitments, but I hope you will!

Ride safe, everyone!


  1. You were so close to finishing the challenge!
    If you do end up biking up the CCT to Bethesda, check out Quartermaine for coffee instead.

  2. Quartermaine! That's it. I knew there was a decent coffee shop around there but I couldn't think of the name of it.

  3. Doesn't Bert get to go for coffee?