Thursday, November 15, 2012

Coffeeneuring Round-up & A Few Social Rides

I managed to get my last two coffeeneuring rides in last weekend, even though it was a bit of a squeeze. To be honest, my heart wasn't really in it. I'm just not a coffee/tea person. If there were a beerneuring event, I would win.

Coffeeneuring Trip 6:
Coffee Shop: Starbucks
1455 K St. NW
Date: Sunday November 4th, 2012
Miles: 4.84 miles

I was participating in the Tweed Ride later on in the day, so I knew I'd need to get some breakfast/fuel. I grabbed a vanilla latte (my usual go-to drink at Sbucks) and relaxed before getting ready for the ride. I know Starbucks is a chain, but there's a reason that it is successful: they are good at what they do.

Coffeeneuring Trip 7:
The Diner
2453 18th St. NW
Date: Monday November 5th, 2012
Miles: 2.5

This was my late-night edition. I'm very much a night-owl, and most of my local bike rides actually take place at night. I thought to myself--why not coffee? I was actually going to go to Tryst because I had thought they were open 24 hours. I was wrong. Luckily, The Diner (owned by the same people as Tryst) is next door and they are a 24 hour establishment and serve the same coffee (they also own The Coupe, another coffee place I visited in a previous coffeeneuring stop).

I grabbed a hot coffee to go because I didn't really feel like sitting in a diner alone at night. It was pretty tasty, if a little "fancy" for diner coffee.

Coffee to go on the bike. I managed to not spill it on the way home :-)

And that concludes my coffeeneuring adventures for 2012. I have to admit, I've just never been a coffee & bike person, even though I know they go together like peanut butter & jelly for most people. I'm more of a bike & lunch/dinner type-person. If I'm out for a ride, I don't like to stop too much and lose my momentum. I prefer to ride to a destination and that's it. Done. Does that make sense?

One bright side of having my work schedule turned upside down for the last month is that I was able to actually participate in a good many organized "fun" rides that I don't normally get to do. I believe I've mentioned this before, but I'm not a big fan of group rides. They tend to be a bit too chaotic for my tastes with folks not understanding how to ride safely with a group of people. They can either be a blast or a total nightmare.

However, I've been getting the itch to ride in a group again, and I saw an opportunity to try a few new rides, as well as join up with some familiar faces.

First up was the DC Bike Party group. This is a relatively new group and they do an evening ride once a month on Wednesdays. I've been invited to ride with them before, but my work schedule prevented me from doing so; except I finally had a Wednesday free! My first impression was that they were all very young. People rode all kinds of bikes, but there were a core group of fixie riders that seemed to be "leading" the ride. This is very much a free-wheeling group (er, except for the fixed-gear riders, I suppose). There is a large bike-speaker set-up to provide some tunes that really sets the atmosphere. Unfortunately, the speakers were out of commission on this ride. There was also a lot of spontaneous "races" and deviations from the route. I thought this was actually a lot of fun. With most organized rides, my brain starts to go numb after awhile and I just want to get it over with, already. That didn't happen on this ride. There's a pit stop in the middle (BYOB) and the end is usually at a bar/party somewhere. Definitely a "party" bike group. I had a good time. I even got to do their halloween ride too. That was quite a sight, I'm sure.

Gathering up at Dupont Circle (crappy photo, sorry)

My Halloween costume for their Halloween ride. I'm not really sure what look I was going for. Vampire Warrior Princess? Whatevs.

Lots of people! Costumes!

It's Counselor Troi & Lt. Cmdr. Riker. Cute couple.

My next ride was the 7th Street Social (formerly the Eye Street Social). This ride is every Thursday evening, and is hosted by BicycleSPACE. I've done this ride before and really enjoy it. It's usually a slow meandering route around the city. If you've never done a group ride before, this will probably be the ride for you. It's not overwhelming and everyone is usually on the same page when it comes to signaling & traffic flow. They also have a bike-speaker system (nicknamed the Monkey Wagon) and usually have popsicles as a mid-ride treat.

Gathering up outside of BicycleSPACE

The Monkey Wagon

Pitstop at the Lincoln Memorial (where we were promptly yelled at by a Park Ranger for being an unauthorized "demonstration". <---insert rolling eyes here)

Next up was the Illuminated Art Ride hosted by The Daily Rider. The idea was to light up your bike and becoming a rolling illuminated piece of art. I'm sure you all know my love of accessorizing my bikes, so this appealed to me greatly ;-) The Daily Rider was kind enough to provide a bunch of lighty-things to add to our bikes, and I also bought some nifty spoke lights as well (which I still use). Some people went all out and dressed up their bikes like Christmas trees. One lady even had a bike with a thousand rhinestones glued on! That must have taken ages, but it looked spectacular.

Lighted Pedi-Cabs carried musicians that played while we rode.

And last, but not least, was the annual DC Tweed Ride. This was my third year of participation. I really enjoy dressing up & riding around the city (even though there seem to be a few haters in our local media). I wore my steampunk "cycling tour" outfit (which was ironic, because it's definitely not made for cycling). Thank goodness Betty is a step-through frame, because there was nothing lady-like in the way I had to hike up my dress to ride. I wore my cold weather tights underneath, so it wasn't too immodest.

We all gathered at Franklin Square off of K Street for the usual pre-ride photos & gawking. As usual, Betty got more compliments than I did ;-)

The ride started off a little rough since we rode on some pretty heavily-trafficked streets (even for a Sunday) and there were times the car traffic got a little too agressive. Once we got past Union Station it was smooth-sailing though. Our halfway point was the National Arboretum, which I had never been to before. I really need to go back. We stopped for more photos & to rest a bit (my hips were killing me since my dress was very constricting while riding) and then we headed back. The end was Logan Circle, and the after-party was at The Brixton, which I think was a really good fit. First, it was actually big enough to accommodate the group (even though it was a bit of a squeeze at first) and the style of the Brixton fits with the "tweed" style. I stayed to have a couple of cocktails and headed home quite happy, but worn out. Cycling in a skirt/dress/heels is NOT for sissies.

My outfit. Hem reached my ankles. Not pictured: heeled boots.

Obligatory High-Wheeler shot.

My favorite bike at the ride. This is the 2nd year I've spotted it. I love the Red Baron!

Post-ride cocktail on the roof of the Brixton. They have great views up there, but be wary in the colder months: either you will roast under their heat-lamps or freeze out on the perimeter.

And I think that will be it for organized rides for now. The Tweed Ride is usually my last group ride of the year.

Now I'm going to work on just keeping up a basic level of fitness. I signed up to do the Unity Tour again (a separate post about that is forthcoming) and this year I want to train *right*. Last year was fun & I did fine on the ride, but I want to really be able to enjoy it rather than just get through it. I've already started cross-training & building up my fitness by running. If you follow me on twitter, you might have noticed that I've been running quite a bit lately. I'm signed up for a 5K "Turkey Trot" on Thanksgiving, and an 8K Jingle Bell Jog in December. I've found that running has really helped my biking quite a bit. I'm hoping to get a "real" road bike & a trainer so I can do some indoor training when it gets colder (but more on that later).

The season has definitely changed and its getting darker earlier & colder. Time to get my cold-weather gear out of the closet. I'm a year-round rider, so I can't let a little cold/snow/dark scare me off. I'll have cold weather tips posted soon.

How's your riding coming along? Any fun rides lately? Did you coffeeneur?

(click on pictures to get a better look. I don't know why this stupid app makes them so blurry)