Destination: The Bitter End Coffeehouse, Grand Rapids, MI Drink: Snickers Latte & University Blend Coffee Distance: 3 miles Bikes: Peugeot UO-8 & Schwinn World Sport
Here we are on the closing day of the 2017 Coffeeneuring Challenge with one ride to go. Most of the other coffee shops near us close early on Sundays so we decided to venture across the river to the West Side to the only 24 hour coffee shop in Grand Rapids.
The wall decorations have a distinctly French flavor, which I always appreciate.
The Bitter End was packed with students studying so we were lucky to grab the last table. Here we are a few sips into our drinks. The Snickers latter is highly recommended
I finally broke down and got an actual coffee for the closing ride of the challenge. The ciders and teas of the previous rides were certainly delicious but I had to get coffee at least once. It certainly helped fuel us up the hill away from the river on our return trip.
Destination: The Sparrows Coffee & Tea, Grand Rapids, MI Drink: Hot Chocolate & Yam Jam Distance: 3.2 miles Bikes: Peugeot UO-8 & Schwinn World Sport
It seems The Sparrows Coffee is the first place to become a three-time coffeeneuring destination since I moved to Grand Rapids. The drinks here almost never disappoint so it’s too bad I only make it here during coffeeneuring season. As evidenced by the window in the picture, it was nice and warm inside tonight.
As always, here are the drinks just after sitting down.
Somehow, there is no bike rack near the shop so this tree had to help us out.
One more ride to go! Hopefully, we can squeeze it in this weekend.
Destination: Southlawn Park, Wyoming, MI Drink: Sleigh Ride & Three Fennel Tea Distance: 2.8 miles Bikes: Surly Pugsley & Trek T1
We were on a roll with our night rides but we wanted to try a mid-day ride during our lunch break from work. Our office and warehouse is buried in an industrial park with few options for food or drinks. Jimmy Johns is one of the few places for food and there are no coffee shops for miles.
After boiling some water in the work kitchen, we headed down to Jimmy Johns to grab sandwiches to go.
We ducked into the residential area just to our west and had a quick lunch picnic in Southlawn Park for our first Coffee Shop Without Walls ride of the year.
First things first, we poured out the water and began brewing the tea before lunch. It was a nice change of pace to get a ride finished in during the lunch break.
After a short ride with the wind at our backs, we returned to work and got one last picture by one of the warehouse doors. The fat bike really make those skinny track bike tires seem tiny.
Destination: Lyon Street Cafe, Grand Rapids, MI Drink: Chai Latte & Ginger Chamomile Tea Distance: 2.1 miles Bikes: Peugeot UO-8 & Surly Pugsley
We’re continuing our trend of nighttime coffeeneuring rides and they keep feeling colder. I’m planning a long ride on the fat bike this weekend, so this ride was a great opportunity to make sure everything was working properly.
Lyon Street Cafe is probably the closest coffee shop to the house so we had to make a few extra loops to get the required distance for this ride.
I always forget how fun the cups are at this place. Between the chai latte and chamomile tea, we had a relaxing time talking the time away until we realized almost everyone else had left. It sure is nice to have a number of coffee shops open late so we can sneak these post-work rides in.
I just looked back at the photos from the ride to Lyon Street Cafe last year. At least there’s no snow on the ground yet!
Destination: Lantern Coffee Bar and Lounge, Grand Rapids, MI Drink: Chai Latte & Earl Grey Tea Distance: 2.6 miles Bikes: Peugeot UO-8 & Schwinn World Sport
I’ve been meaning to get back to the Lantern Coffee Bar and Lounge in downtown Grand Rapids since I saw a friend’s band play there last year. It’s cool that they have an event space mixed with a coffee shop. Unfortunately, there was an event going on that night so we had to take our drinks to go.
Before we left, I was able to snap a perfect coffeeneuring photo of a bike repurposed into a table for lids and sugar.
It certainly got colder as we walked around so we tried to keep moving and ended up looping around most of downtown,
Even this guy got in on the coffeeneuring action:
I realized that in my 3rd year of coffeeneuring in Grand Rapids, I still never worked the river into any of my rides. We finally got to the pedestrian bridge to grab a night photo of the city lights.
With all the events in town, we snagged the last parking spots in town.
I’m hoping we time our trip to Lantern better next year. It’s a cool place to sit down and hang out.
Destination: Wealthy Street Bakery, Grand Rapids, MI Drink: Chai Latte & Earl Grey Tea Distance: 11.6 miles Bikes: Scott Contessa & Soma Grand Randonneur
Keeping up the pace on our catch-up week for the challenge, we found a cool but dry night for a second ride in week 2. The destination coffee shop, Wealthy Street Bakery, was just down the street so we decided to make it the warm-up destination after a longer evening ride.
Riding around Reed’s Lake in East Grand Rapids is one of the best quick loops out of the city. Heading east, we zig-zagged through Grand Rapids until we reached the lake. Naturally, my photos of the lake aren’t as good as my brother’s photos from last year.
As the sun set, it became quite cold for the ride to the bakery. The most direct route from the lake to Wealthy Bakery is on Wealthy Street. It is lightly traveled in the evenings so it is usually an easy ride but it has some very rough sections of cobbles. After bouncing down the street, we were more than ready for a warm drink and a snack.
Looking back at my pictures so far, I’ve realized they are light on bike and the coffee shop themselves. I’ll have to start taking more photos on future rides.
Destination: Common Ground Coffee House, Grand Rapids, MI Drink: Chai Cider with Cinnamon Distance: 2.3 miles Bikes: Peugeot UO-8 & Schwinn World Sport
The opening ride for our 2017 Coffeeneuring Challenge was indeed a wet one. However, given that we already missed the first week of the challenge, we couldn’t afford to miss a ride opportunity.
With pouring rain and fender-less bikes, we headed east to my favorite shop in the area, Common Ground Coffee House. While avoiding the major streets on account of the rain, we cut through the Grand Rapids neighborhoods of Heritage Hill, Midtown, and Fulton Heights. Common Ground is next door to the bike shop I used to work at, so returning to these streets reminded me of many, less rainy summer test rides.
After parking the bikes out front, we were welcomed by a quiet, warm shop and an impressive fall drink on special. We both went with the chai apple cider topped with a cinnamon sprinkle. It was a perfect way to warm up.
We stayed quite a while in an attempt to warm up and see if the rain slowed. We did finally dry off a bit but the rain was steady. and it was time to ride home. The ride back had a few sketchy downhill moments and both of our brakes struggled in the rain. We made it back safely and are hoping future rides are a bit drier.