With the amount of rando brevets me and the Brevet Bird have been riding, scheduling our coffeeneuring challenge has required some very careful Hoob planning. I have the time, sat on the sofa Monday to Friday while she is at work earning the groats for us to ride, enjoying challenges like this one. We are now officially at 3.5 cups, so half way – the half a cup of Americano with milk was drunk by Audax UK super-legend Barry Parslow, but more about that later.
This took us a-three-wheels from Chez Hirondelle into the glorious London Borough of Hillingdon. With the Bike Butler, we pedalled out to watch the British Human Power Club’s final criterium of the summer at Hillingdon Circuit. This outfit covers the dark-side in all its shades of black and into a wee bit of grey. That includes Moultons, as they are ‘special needs’ two wheeled bicycles, rather than standard carbon bling types. Of course tricycles are unquestionably included. We watch five mates from the Tricycle Association (TA) spin round and round chasing glory in the TA criterium league in session one for the slower machines. Once the trike race had been settled, we watched something like a golden bullet with two wheels called Beano flash round at an average of 32.9 mph in the second session. We were now cold enough to go and find coffee, the key mission of this outing for me and her. Along with the Bike Butler (he had come for the racing), we pedalled off to downtown Ruislip where we scored our first #coffeeneur; a cappuccino.
Round trip 48km
This was sans me as the Bird did this one on her way to work on two wheels. I was of course on the sofa waiting for the weekend to arrive and with it, cycling. I do have to say that this was a most essential coffeeneuring outing. The Bird’s work tea supplies were getting precariously low. So a visit to the tea and coffee specialist store Whittards was essential. This particular Whittards is located in Portobello Road, London in deepest Paddington bear country, although the Bird has yet to spot him visiting Mr Gruber for buns and tea. A purchase of Russian Caravan and 1864 black tea was stashed in her pannier bag to take back to the office.
Round trip 85km
I’m back and on three wheels again. Destination, the Marlboro Athletic Club cycling club’s lunch stop via a spot of coffeeneuring. Unlike the previous two coffeeneurs, we get the fantastic autumn colours of the Chiltern Lanes. Given that I want a decent coffee shop, not a Costa or similar, we decided that Amersham is our elevenses destination. The Bird does indeed find a coffee emporium that isn’t Costa and we spend a pleasant half hour on a comfy sofa with the Bird supping a very good Mocha.
After chatting to a chap with an APB Moulton (don’t see too many of those), we pedal on to Chesham to meet the Marlboro. A peloton of 9 members of the modern day Marlboro with not a bike between them has gathered for lunch. This includes the Great Barry Parslow. First Brit to ride PBP (in 1966) and then goes on to finish four more until his failing eyesight stopped play. Barry has many randonneuring exploits on trike, including PBP and the Trafalgar-Trafalgar 3,100km permanent from the tip of Spain to the centre of London. Barry finished the cup of coffee that brought us to half way in this challenge; a privilege indeed on coffeeneuring 2017.
NB – The Marlboro Athletic Club is actually a bicycle club is seriously old (well over 100 years), and the only bicycle club that is an AC in the United Kingdom.
Round trip 90km
In coffeeneuring cups 4 to 7, we will renew our acquaintance with the bear from darkest Peru, meet Mr Elgar, rendezvous with the Wool Barrons and do a spot of errandonneuring.