I had a lot of fun participating in errandonneuring so there was no doubt I’d do the Third Annual Chasing Mailboxes Coffeeneuring Challenge and all ensuing Chasing Mailboxes challenges. I figured it’d be too easy, except for the part where I’d have to narrow it down to just seven coffees. I mean, we got waaaay more than seven days to visit seven coffee shops, I already bike every day, drink coffee, and–hello!–live in Seattle: birthplace of Starbucks, city with highest per capita bicyclists able to ride one-handed while drinking a cup of hot coffee, and home to five million kid-friendly coffee shops. But I nearly didn’t get it done thanks to an unexpected weekend car trip to Salt Spring Island, a Sunday lost to a pulled back muscle, and days where I failed squeezing in a coffee purchase despite being out and about all damn day. I wasn’t even sure until tallying today if I’d coffeeneured seven times–thank goodness I forced an evening stop on Saturday in case my Sunday submission is tossed out for cheating.
Following are my stops with the summary essentials: “1. where you went (address and website, if possible), 2. the date you went there, 3. what you drank 4. a detail or two about your coffeeneuring ride, and 5. total mileage.”
I’ll also throw in any tidbits on kid friendliness of the coffee shop stops.
1 / one / uno / een
- Ballard Coffee Works (2060 NW Market St, Ballard, WA 98107)
Kid corner with train table, books, and stuffed animals! We met up with two other biking families and the five collective kids (and their beverage swilling parents) had a great time.
- October 5, 2013
- French press (Surprisingly bitter. I usually take my coffee black–like my components–but this cup of mud scared me towards fancy coffees for the rest of the challenge.)
- Fun detail #1: The bike with the Mike O’Brien campaign poster sharing our bike rack turned out to be The Mike O’Brien’s bike. Talk about truth in advertising.
Fun detail #2: DOGS!
After my kids monopolized the two large stuffed dogs in the Ballard Coffee Works play area and ogled a few dogs tied up outside, we adjourned to Gas Works Park to take advantage of the unexpectedly terrific weather. There we met artist Matt Josef who literally just rolled into town, parked, and took the dogs out to stretch their legs. He has plans to bike cross country with his SO and the dogs, but this visit was by car while he works on a commission. He let me hold little Paco for so long he should have been worried I wouldn’t give him back (but I did. And I later gave him my copy of Elly Blue’s Four Paws, Two Wheels which is awesome despite–because?–my submission didn’t make the cut).
And then our friends from coffee returned to the park with their dog! Their DoggieRide trailer is really nice. I love the pop top.
- Miles: 8.5
2 / two / dos / twee
- Milstead & Co (770 N 34th St, Seattle, WA 98103)
No kid-specific area, but the inside is spacious and the cafe connects to the even more spacious History House Sculpture Garden full of neat stuff, like a chunk of the Berlin Wall in the foreground of my photo below. Again, we met up with a couple other biking families. Coffeeneuring is even more fun with company!
- October 6, 2013
- Theo mocha with house-made vanilla
- Fun detail: We stopped by Fremont Brewing Company a block away to check out the new bike corral. This place is kid-friendly, but no coffee. Twice (April 2011 an November 2011) we’ve had Kidical Mass rides end here. I think we’re due for another big visit!
- Miles: 3.4
3 / three / tres / drie
- Makeda Coffee (153 N 78th St, Seattle, WA 98103)
Toys next to the couch and comfy chair in the back. We biked over with Forrest and his brand-new-to-him folding bike. His other ride is a regular bike to which he connects a trail-a-bike when he rides with his kid.
- October 12, 2013
- Mocha–with my most favorite Seven Roasters. This would have been the place to get the black coffee.
- Fun detail: We chose Makeda so we could hop seven blocks north to visit the new G & O Family Cyclery. My first visit to G & O was the day before, but I think I could happily go there every day.
- Miles: 8.6
4 / four / quatro / vier
- Wheelhouse (2113 Westlake Ave Seattle, WA 98121)
A rare kid-free outing! I was out for a hair appointment and intended to grab a coffee at The Crumpet Shop in nearby Pike Place Market, but as soon as I walked in the door, the barista shouted “We’re out!” at me. I’m assuming she meant they were out of crumpets, not coffee, but that gave me the opportunity to make my first visit to Wheelhouse on the way home. We bike by Wheelhouse often and it makes me happily remember Santa Barbara’s shuttered WheelHouse Bikes. No kid stuff, but outdoor seating is always a good thing for littles.
- October 19, 2013
- Mocha and cardamom cake
- Fun detail: I stopped by the Cycling Tweed Rally in Goorin Brothers and saw e-bike conversions by Madboy Electric Vehicles.
- Miles: 9.9
5 / five / cinco / vijf
- Solsticio (1100 N Northlake Way, Seattle, WA 98103)
No kid stuff, but we love Solsticio. It’s right along the Burke-Gilman Trail with great food (smoothies!) and big glass garage door that’s open in the summer. It was a perfect place to stop after our Kidical Mass ride to fall colors in the Arboretum.
- Pumpkin spice latte and allspice cake
- Fun detail: We stopped by the Rent-a-Ruminant goats on our way home. They’re so sweet!
- Miles: 9.3
6 / six / seis / zes
- Swansons Nursery (9701 15th Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98117)
I thought we’d hit a coffee shop in the afternoon, but we got sidetracked at a playground while parading with our friends on their new bikes. Thank goodness the Reindeer Festival in the morning had complimentary hot apple cider. I didn’t snap a picture of it so I’m including pictures of the rest of the reindeer games.
- Hot apple cider (free!)
- Fun detail: A love story! As we were getting ready to leave the park with our parade of friends, a very curious squirrel ran up to our bikes and scurried quickly away several times. I was starting to get a little worried he would jump into/onto one of the bikes and bite a child, but on his third trip in, he grabbed my friend’s brand new Bullitt cargo bike and hugged (humped?) the front tire. Of course in the back of my mind I wondered why he hadn’t chosen my bike, but I’ll admit the Bullitt is a sexy bike.
- Miles: 15.9
7 / seven / siete / zeven
- Black Coffee Co-op (501 E Pine St, Seattle, WA 98122)
No play area, but very spacious. I noticed a bookshelf full of games, but I don’t know if any were kid games. I led a group ride here, Critical Lass rides to the Broadway cycle track and goes Coffeeneuring to celebrate the last day of the Coffeeneuring Challenge which is explicitly against Rule 8: “You may not combine your coffeeneuring ride with any other ride such as an organized century, populaire, or brevet.” Oops.
- Fun detail: I got to carry an extra kid (80+ pounds!) 10 feet. I had hoped to carry him half a mile the
rest of the way to the coffee shop, but in an amazing display of teamwork, an extra bolt was located and used to repair his trailer bike on the spot at the mid-point of our ride.
- Miles: 11.7
alternate / suplemento / extratje
- Uptown Espresso (500 Westlake Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109)
I popped out solo in the afternoon to see my friend’s work in a pottery show (hers were the best, by the way), hoping “Wine, snacks, and live music!” meant “Wine, snacks, live music, and coffee” but no such luck. So afterwards I went around the corner to the closest coffee shop.
- Latte. I haven’t been to “Home of the Velvet Foam” since having a dairy-free nursling so this was to be my first exposure to Velvet Foam. I figured latte was the way to go with Velvet Foam, but I didn’t like it. However, I don’t think I’ve ever had a latte before so it’s probably me. I’m back to black coffee now that the challenge is over.
- Fun detail: while I love (not) sitting on the side of the street swapping my bike shoes for fancier shoes, I’m tempted to once again search for normal-looking shoes with SPD cleats. I’m not very DIY-inclined or I’d try Instructables: High-heel, clipless bike shoes. And there’s Retrofitz who will turn regular shoes into bike shoes. Of course I could just change the pedals. That’s not nearly as exciting, but unless Mr. Family Ride tossed his old pedals when switching back to Speedplay, there should be a perfectly good pair of SPD pedals with a big plastic flat thingy clipped to one side of them somewhere in the basement. Hey, thanks Coffeeneuring Challenge for all allowing me to puzzle this one out!
- Miles: 7.9