2nd Coffeeneuring trip of the season on a sunny, but cold and blustery day. I decided if I didn’t go today, I’d never fit all my rides in in time.
Additional theme for this year’s rides seems to be “rides with tales”. Today’s was “Road Closed -I don’t think so!”
I rode past the sign, with fingers crossed, and although the road was fenced off just before the sneaky shortcut I needed to take, fortunately there was a special way through. Phew!
Today’s ride was a 7.8 miles round trip on my shopping bike to a Costa coffee. Not an exciting option, being part of the largest coffee chain in the UK, but good coffee and a choice of vegan options. Stuck to my “Veganeuring” theme and had a really tasty vegan mince pie (never too early!) and a soya mocha.
I could also have had a vegan Christmas cake slice, a cookie or a wrap, but I’ll save those for another time! Good bike parking on the other side of the retail park’s car park, so it is out of sight once you’re inside the cafe but it does have a roof in case it rains.
Maybe next time I’ll have a straightforward ride with no stories or drama??!
Autumn arrives, and with it – Coffeeneuring! Two years ago I managed to complete the Coffeeneuring challenge and achieved my badge. Last year I miscounted my weeks and sadly failed. This year? Well – it’s another year, another start and I’m keen to be successful again. I’m so keen I actually got my dates wrong and went Coffeeneuring last weekend before the official 7 weeks had even started. I chalked it up as a warm-up ride, and set off for my real first Coffeeneuring trip today.
In case you’re wondering, Coffeeneuring was devised as a way to encourage people out on their bikes for pleasure, particularly after the long “randonneuring” rides over the summer. The full rules, regulations, and guidelines are given here. Actually that makes it sound very official, and it’s not really. Very roughly rides must be at least 2 miles, you should visit a coffee shop (or similar), drink coffee (or similar), and repeat 6 times over what’s roughly a 7 week period. What you must not repeat is the cafe, have no more than 2 trips per week, no more than 1 per day, and your ride mustn’t be part of an organised ride. Oh, and organising your rides with a “theme” is encouraged as well.
With all that in mind, I decided this year I would try to find vegan treats at every cafe stop. On my premature Coffeeneuring trip, an enquiry about vegan cakes was met with a very short “No!”, so I was interested to see how I’d get on elsewhere. Oh – and I’ve named my challenge “Veganeuring “, just to be annoying.
So today, my day off in the week, was the perfect time to start. I had a number of other things I needed to do in town so I decided to go for it and combine everything into one big event. It made for an eventful trip.
Heading into town I stopped to help a lost looking man with a map – a proper paper OS map. I showed him where he was, pointed him in the right direction and set off again, feeling very virtuous. Moments later this veritable Good Samaritan was nearly knocked off her bike at a mini roundabout. Apparently a bright turquoise reflective cycling jacket in broad daylight makes you invisible. Without wanting to dull my halo at all, I should confess that hand gestures were exchanged at this point, but none of them vulgar. That incident made my heart rate spike I can tell you!
I eventually made it to the Leisure centre for a short swim, and then on down into town to a cafe called “Grounded” for my official Coffeeneuring stop. This is a really lovely cafe, with seating both inside and out. It overlooks the river, and has very handy railings outside that I locked my bike to.
I had a very nice almond milk mocha, but sadly they had no vegan cakes. Remembering they serve a Vegan breakfast I was surprisingly restrained and only ordered toast with vegan margarine and jam. I had to laugh -as the waiter brought my order over, he loudly declared “Vegan toast!” I could almost hear the thoughts of the people around me “what’s in normal toast that isn’t vegan??!!”
Then I walked my bike up through town to meet my parents. The bike parking on the town bridge was full, which was pleasing but annoying, so I found a good place further up the high street. As I was locking my bike up, I noticed the man I’d helped with his map again. He thanked me once again, confirmed he’d found the wood he was looking for, and asked my opinion on the local coffee shops. I was so pleased to see he was having a successful day out!
Stopping to retrieve a baby’s dropped sock I also met a lady I’ve been seeing around Chippenham for 20 years, but never spoken to. We used to get the same train every morning to work, but being British had never actually talked to each other. We were finally having a lovely chat, stood on the pedestrianised area outside The Angel Hotel, when I was nearly run over by a Range Rover screeching to a halt inches away from me. I was beginning to think I had a target painted on me!
After a cup of tea and lovely catch up with my parents I mounted my bike once again, and made it safely home.
“Try everything once except incest and folk dancing” – Sir Thomas Beecham.
Well I’m glad to report this post does not involve incest, nor folk dancing (although I have already tried that – primary school in the 1970s was very different to today), but it is about trying something new.
Following on from trying pacing at parkrun last month, when the opportunity arose to attend a Tai Chi session at work I jumped at the chance. The coincidence that it was one of my running friends, Valerie, who was taking the session made it a lot less daunting but I still had a look on You Tube to see what I could expect. Apparently it involved a very muscular man in a tight white vest, standing ankle deep in water. I showed the video to my husband who asked if work were also going to provide the waterfall that the man was standing in front of, but as the location for the session was going to be on the second floor I answered that this was unlikely, unless there was a major plumbing incident.
I arrived at 8:15 am promptly, and was relieved to see my friend Valerie hadn’t morphed into a muscular man in a vest. There were only 4 of us, plus Valerie, in an open plan space at the top of the office, surrounded by unused chairs and desks, so it could have felt a little awkward. Maybe surprisingly it didn’t, after we got started it just felt very relaxing and calming. The cracking and popping of joints I’m sure helped break the ice, and loosened us all up before a day sat at our desks.
I really enjoyed it, and felt almost too relaxed for work afterwards – but sadly that soon wore off. I was very pleased to see the sessions will run again next week, and have already signed up. Thank you Valerie!