Randonneuring is a form of non-competitive cycling that covers monstrous distances within a set times: 200km is the minimum distance for an event but they can go well beyond 1000km. Randonneurs have to be self-reliant and carry their own equipment with them, but they’re a friendly bunch and tend to look out for one another. Not to be confused with bicycle touring, randonneuring is a unique kind of cycling challenge with a long history. Also, I find randonneuring bikes, with their boxy bags and hardy aesthetics, to be rather fetching. I’m tempted to restyle my beater-commuter bike in a randonneur-esque way when I come to fit new parts and snazz it up in the near future.
This post isn’t about randonneuring though. Well not really. There’s no way I’m fit enough to do something like that, nor do I own a suitable bike for it, though I admire the spirit of the races and the batshit distances they cover. This post is about coffeeneuring, a cycling challenge set up by the lovely Chasing Mailboxes blog, which is well worth a read.
Coffee and cycling have always had a close connection with each other, and the ‘cafe stop’ is a regular part of many cycling club’s weekend rides: coffeeneuring looks to link the two together as autumn comes around once again. Coffeeneuring runs every October and has been going for five years now. There are quite a lot of rules (20 in total, which can be viewed here) but they boil down to:
- Cycle to 7 different coffee shops over the course of 7 weeks
- Have a drink there, cake is optional but you should get a picture of whatever you have
- Write a little summary of your ride and the coffee store
I gave coffeeneuring a go this year because I’ve been a coffee lover for years and have really started to take my cycling more seriously over the summer. I also finished restoring/refurbing an old Peugeot bike in September, so coffeeneuring gave me a great excuse to take it out on little rides and enjoy myself. Though it’s not shockingly cold here (north England) having a goal to work towards other than just ‘going out for a ride’ was a good way to make myself get out in the moodier weather and keep riding through October, and having lovely drinks and things along the way makes for a good impetus. We’re getting to a point now where the days get very short here, so it’s been a good way to see out the leisure riding for winter and look into getting a turbo trainer.