Some of the best bike rides include a stop for coffee and baked goods, ideally with a couple of buddies.
In 2010, several Randonneurs formalized the linkage between cycling, coffee, and pastries into an annual Coffeeneuring Challenge. Coffeeneuring was conceived by Seattle Randonneur Joe Platzner (who also briefly served as a Cascade Bicycle Club interim Executive Director in 2013). Since then the Coffeeneuring movement has been advanced by Mary Gersemalina from Washington, DC.
Cascade Bicycle Club Ride Leader Jennifer Lehman explains the interrelationship between group rides, coffee, and treats:
“I like riding with a small group of friends. I have had the pleasure of meeting a diverse and wonderful set of people through the Cascade Bicycle Club who share my appetite for adventure, exploration, and tasty food.”
“Riding for pastries is best in the fall. Pastries are a great motivator to ride my bike when the weather starts to cool and rain becomes more frequent. By the time fall comes around, I’ve finished all the events I trained for during the spring and summer. The rides become more relaxed and social and are a good way to catch up with friends.”
“I try to find hilly routes to justify the sugary treats I’m about to consume. My pastry rides are often 20-30 miles with a couple steep hills thrown in to work up an appetite. The Magnolia Loop with the Discovery Park lighthouse hill is a great example.”
Jennifer usually orders a cinnamon roll with a small Americano.
Another Cascade Bicycle Club Ride Leader, Andy Williams, says he benefits any time he rides his bike. Whether experiencing the solitude of a solo ride or the camaraderie of a group ride, coffee and baked goods are often part of his experience:
“When I cycle solo, often I’m working through issues from job, career, etc., solving difficult problems or thinking how to resolve conflicting values and visions. And, sometimes I just burn calories and relax. I like to ride loops, not out and back routes, and I like to ride to where there’s a view of the water and mountains. I also like to explore the different neighborhoods of Seattle. The Cascade Bicycle Club’s Free Group Rides include a Pastry Ride Series that encompass most of these features, and benefits from a fun group of like-minded riders.”
“When I ride, there’s generally a stop for coffee and a nosh. My usual drink is a double short Americano, but I’ve been known to have a mocha as well. The apple fritters at Zeitgeist are worth the stop, but so are the goodies at Macrina, Zoka, and Larsen’s. Seattle is blessed with a number of great bakeries and coffee roasters.”
“The point of this is to ride bikes, drink coffee, and eat baked goods. Doesn’t get much better than that.”
Whether or not it’s Coffeeneuring season, I almost always try to include a coffee stop in my group rides. Here are some of my suggestions:
At the longer end of the spectrum is a mid-ride stop at the Mazama Store, which is the standard turn-around point for the classic 100-mile out and back over the North Cascades Highway. If you happen to be staying in the Methow Valley, put Rocking Horse Bakery on your hit list.
As Andy mentions, Zeitgeist in Pioneer Square is popular, but so is Caffè Umbria, which is just across the street.
My High Performance Cycling teammates often start rides at Revolutions in the Greenlake neighborhood, then head north to Snohomish Pie Company. Snohomish Bakery is a popular stop for area Randonneurs.
On weekend mornings, teams and groups of riders gather at the Starbucks in Leschi to start their rides. Issaquah Coffee is a frequent stop on rides east of Seattle. It would be feasible to do a coffee-themed ride that links several Caffe Ladro shops throughout the area.
If you prefer a cycling-infused atmosphere, check out upscale Métier (the waffles get rave reviews), and Rapha, both on Capitol Hill. Ventoux Coffee Roasters in the Ravenna neighborhood was a favorite of Seattle cycling icon Jerry Baker. Espresso Vivace tips a hat to cycling with bikes hanging from the rafters.
Peloton Bike Shop and Cafe, near Seattle University, has a funky coffee house atmosphere popular with urban riders and bike commuters, and has a great breakfast and lunch menu.
Where are your favorite coffee stops?