Tag Archives: #audax

Unchained Coffee

Coffeeneuring 2020

The Coffeeneuring challenge is now an annual event for Team Brevet Bird.  Since Digby joined the team in 2019, it is an even bigger must-do as good coffee and excellent cake are seriously important to him.  Coffeeneuring can and does take place all year round. It is very much a part of our bike riding as you can’t beat sitting in a fab coffee shop relaxing with a top-class mocha and an excellent piece of gluten-free cake.  It has also gone international, so a great way of keeping in touch with friends who might ride a long way or perhaps not so far.

The annual coffeeneuring challenge, where you can earn yourself a patch for your saddlebag via your coffeeneuring exploits, takes place in autumn each year.  It’s like a randonneuring brevet where you visit a number of checkpoints but, in this case, drink coffee.  For coffeeneuring, there are effectively seven checkpoints you must visit to complete the challenge. Each checkpoint is validated by taking a photo and sharing it on Twitter, Instagram or the Coffeeneuring Facebook page. As in randonneuring, this happens within a set time limit.    You can also write up your exploits in your blog and share that via various social media platforms.

This year, we set ourselves the challenge that all seven coffee houses would be independent.  Sandwiched between the outer limits of suburban London and the M25, independent coffee houses and good cafes are somewhat thin on the ground.  The locals seem to prefer Costa, Café Nero and the rest.  Therefore, a steely eye was kept out in the run up to this coffeeneuring to find some unvisited local coffee places.  Due to COVID, one turned into a hearing aid shop!

The three highlights of this coffeeneuring were:

The Buntingford Coffee Shop This is usually a bit outside our usual orbit but, as we were riding out to Cambridge for an overnight stay prior to an Audax UK brevet, it was an opportunity too good to miss. As per our last visit excellent coffee, GF cake and friendly helpful staff.

Koho is our top favourite local coffee house.  It serves the world’s best mocha and the GF cake is pretty awesome.  This turned out to be our last sit-and-enjoy visit as shortly afterwards, KoHo was back to COVID safe takeaway coffee.

Rumsey’s is a chocolatier with a coffee shop.  We’d had our eye on this place for a while.   I picked the most amazing November day to visit this during a 100km round-trip ride, again prior to the COVID shutdown of eateries.  Sitting outside, with the sun beating down on us, Digby was blown away a mug of white coffee came with a chunk of chocolate to turn it into a mocha.  To top this out there were a handful of mini chocolate buttons to nibble on. The GF cheesecake was pretty amazing as well.

We also threw in a wild card option with a ’carry your own beverage’.  I work for the NHS and currently this is from my home office, as I am classed as ‘high risk’.  During this coffeeneuring, I was able to spend 3-4 hours per week on site.  To cut down person to person interactions and satisfy the need for tea, I got a thermos flask bidon for the bike.  Thus, I could carry my own hot beverage to work and not futz around in the office kitchen.

Top tip for thermos bidon – providing you swill it round with hot water first, make your beverage directly in it and add the milk last, it keeps liquids hot for many hours.  .

Coffeeneuring ‘brevet’ card:

Control 116 OctBuntingford Coffee Shop
Control 213 OctOserley House coffee shop
Control 325 OctDaisy’s in the Park, Pinner
Control 422 OctMuddy Boots, Rowan Garden centre
Control 528 OctKoHo, Little Chalfont
Control 604 NovRamsey’s, Wendover
Control 710 NovRusty Bike Café, Uxbridge

For the complete Coffeenuring 2020 photos go to FLICKR

A Mileating Start to 2015 – Steve starts chasing Tommy

Number 1 - One Tear Time TrialI’ve known Steve Abraham for so long now, I can’t really remember a time when his antics both on and off the bike haven’t been a part of my life.  Riding a November 600 with Steve and Ian Hennessey particularly stands out.   Steve’s ability to cover lots of miles, usually on brevets, and to eat large quantities of food is legendary within the Audax UK community.  Steve is putting both of these extra-special talents to take on Tommy Godwin’s long-standing year mileage record of 75,065 miles, set in 1939.

Being an audaxer used to riding his bike at odd hours of the night and not wanting to waste a minute of the 365 days he has to accumulate more miles than Tommy did, Steve started turning the pedals of his Raleigh bicycle at 00:01 on 1st January 2015.

Dream Machine - Mean Machine

After spending the night a-wheel, Steve rocked up at 10am to ride his club’s New Year’s Day 10 mile time trial.  Well, every little helps!  Donning a number befitting the winner of the Tour de France, Steve sped (relatively speaking, with 116 miles in his legs) down the North Bucks Road Club course.  Playing with a rather evil headwind and sleepy tiredness, Steve returned to the time keeper half an hour later.  After speaking to the men from the telly, it was time to get pedalling again.  As Nev Chanin used to say, time is miles.

And he's off

Steve departed with a small peloton of AUKs in the direction of Bicester.  One of these being Drew Buck, well-known super-AUK for his exploits on various crazy machines around Paris Brest Paris.   Bunch banter was good with Drew telling us various stories, including the PBP where he and Steve shared a triplet bicycle with Nigel Winter as their middleman.  The persistent headwind was a bit pesky and the appearance of hedges and houses to slow the wind down was much appreciated.

Steve & Drew - Two AUK ledgens

After a night feasting on flapjack, the hunger gods tapped Steve on the shoulder and it was time to head to a source of food.  Cue an early visit to Bicester on top of the one planned at 3pm for a mega feed before heading back to Milton Keynes.  Steve’s encyclopaedic knowledge of food emporiums was deployed and a baby KFC was chosen.  Standing in the queue, Steve enjoyed a brief moment of normal life.  Once replete with chicken (sans tea or coffee, as the machine wasn’t working), it was time for Steve to ride in circles until his next scheduled rendezvous with Bicester’s eateries.   I swung in the opposite direction to meet up with the Bike Butler and then home.

No coffee, no tea - got to be Pepsi then

Score on the One Year Time Trial door for 01/01/2015: 222 miles (358km in new money) – mine was considerably less.