Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Sunrise Coffee & Bicycles


A group that meets every other Wednesday morning at a different location to drink coffee and have good conversations.  Since I have to be at work by 7:30, I can't make it when school is in session but do my best when we don't have school, like today.  With Sunrise at 7:04 we met at Hebrews Coffee and then headed out for a better spot to see the sun. Although sunrise was beautiful it was difficult to get a great view.

We decided to try to get to the Galloway trail via Nature Center Way, but due to a recently installed fence, we had a much bumpier ride than we expected.  After the slightly adventurous detour, we finally made it to the trail and split into separate directions.  Since I had a heavy bike, loaded with a medium sized dog, and no need to make it to work by any particular time, the guys road off and I took my time heading home.
We knew there was a chance for a little rain, but instead it started to sleet.  It wasn't too bad, because at least we stayed dry as it bounced off of us, but as I changed from trail to road, the precipitation changed to snow.  Starting light, but by the time I was home, the flakes were HUGE!  Lucky for me, Tsuki LOVES snow and cold weather, so she did just fine.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Coffeeneuring Challenge Ride #7

Our Final Ride to complete the challenge.  The temperatures have been below or barely above freezing all week, and I had been able to continue riding to work, so I was well prepared for the cold ride.  The weather forecast was predicting snow for the weekend, so I wanted to keep the ride short and early.  I set out a little after 7 am to go to the closest coffeehouse.  Since the challenge requires a minimum of a mile ride to the coffeehouse, I rode around the neighborhood for a third of a mile before heading down the road to Einstein Bros Bagels. When I arrived my speedometer read 1.45 miles.

 I had a free specialty coffee coming thanks to Mr. Huwxby, a fellow teacher, who gave me his fully punched coffee card, so I choose the cinnamon caramel latte.  YUM! While waiting for my coffee one of the employees asked if Tsuki could have a treat and she took a doggie bagel out to my happy doggie.

While I was trying to organize my selfie, a customer pulled up and offered to take the shot for me, reminding me once again why I love living here and how friendly and helpful people are.  We headed home. Again I wondered around the neighborhood to increase my mileage, but still only road 2 2/3 miles.  I am so happy to have completed this challenge, and as I look back over the last seven weeks, I see that four of the seven rides were on my own, while three of them involved meeting or riding with friends.  I believe that friends kept me going, but my intrinsic motivation has allowed me to be successful.  Last year, the couch was much too comfortable and I only completed a couple of weeks before giving up.  Last year, I also gave up on commuting to work during the month of October, and this year, I have continued to ride.  In fact, last week was our coldest week, with each morning colder than the previous, and each one starting below freezing, and yet I rode my bike every single day.  I have joined several groups on Facebook and the encouragement from others does help keep me going.  I am not sure if I am going to continue with the coffee challenge through winter, but I know I am going to keep riding!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Coffeeneuring Challenge Ride #6

On the way to Amanda's house.
Today the weather went back to being gorgeous! Dawn was a bit frosty, but once the sun came out it warmed quickly. The sun was bright enough to provide some great shadow shots. Tsuki, Kapua and I rode out to Amanda's to pick her up and then met Erin on the trail and rode on to Mudhouse Coffee downtown.

I wanted to ride at least 20 miles since I don't get any evening rides in now that the sun is going down so early, so we just started riding around town.  We rode through the college campus, around the park, through some nice neighborhoods and finally decided to hit the trail.  By the time I got home I had just over 30 miles for the day, was quite warm and hungry, and for once Tsuki didn't even ask for more play time.

The weather is supposed to start dropping this week and we may even end up with some snow on Saturday, so I will be planning on stopping at a coffee house close to my house maybe taking a long route to get the mile requirement in.  I am actually looking forward to the experience.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Coffeeneuring Challenge Ride #5

Halloween ride in the wind.
Fall has arrived, finally.  Last weekend we neared record highs and today we reached a record low. The first night below freezing and it goes all the way down to 25°F. Brrr! Friday, we didn't have school, so we took a ride to the park, over six miles round trip. It was still in the 40's, but the wind was ferocious!

I am actually glad that the weather is this cold on a Saturday so that I could test out my winter attire on a weekend, since I want to try riding to work as much as possible all winter.  So when Wayne suggested Kingdom Coffee & Cycle for Saturday morning, I was in.

I set out my warm clothes the night before and headed out right after sunrise.  Friday night I crocheted mitten tops for my fingerless gloves, but within a few minutes I realized that I didn't cover my thumbs and they were going numb!  Other than that, I was just fine.  Tsuki ran for two and half miles, without showing any signs of being tired, but when we got downtown, I put her on the back of Kapau so we would take less space in traffic.  After I got my coffee and took some photos, Wayne showed up.  He hadn't been sure he was going to make it on such a cold morning, but he decided to do it and realized it wasn't so bad.
Why can't I go in?

After Wayne got his coffee, we took some pictures and talked about our clothing choices, we went our separate ways, him on towards breakfast, and me home for a roundtrip of almost six miles for me, and about five miles for Tsuki.  The grass in the backyard was still covered frost, but the exercise kept us all quite warm.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Coffeeneuring Challenge Ride #4

We are on the fourth weekend of the Coffeeneuring Challenge and it does not feel like a Fall day, with the need for a hot beverage.  Instead with a high of 83°F, I decided to go for a long ride and just enjoy the beautiful sunny day.  I picked Dancing Mule Coffee Company as my location because it is almost two miles from my house and on the way to a Greenways Trail. I went online to check out their hours, since many coffee shops in the Midwest are closed on Sundays, and discovered that The Dancing Mule Coffee Compnay has a great backstory about their name and I highly recommend reading it here.  I parked Tsuki and Kapua outside and ordered my coffee on ice, but while I was waiting Tsuki had to vocalize how sad she was that I was not in sight, so the barista offered to bring my beverage out to me so I could stay outside with her.  I got my 16 ounce iced coffee in a 20 ounce cup so I could put it in my cupholder as we rode to the trailhead.  On the Galloway trail we received an interesting compliment when another cyclist, while passing us, asked if I was from Amsterdam, since I was riding my cruiser dressed in casual clothes.  I guess our ride are rather Dutch in spirit. 

After riding through the park, I took us to the nearest PetSmart because this past week Tsuki lost her collar with her i.d. and although it must be somewhere in the house or yard, it seems to have disappeared and she was in the need of a replacement.  I was able to get her a cute purple harness with LED lights on clearance among the Halloween supplies, and as we left PetSmart my riding friend Susan called to see if I wanted to go for a ride.  At this point I was needing some real food so we agreed to meet at Culver's, and then continue for a longer ride.  For lack of a better plan we decided to just go back the route I had already ridden and enjoy the beautiful day.  So back on the trail and then home, for a total of 17.11 miles.  The most challenging aspect of my ride today was going up the hill from the park to PetSmart.  You can see the spike in my elevation in the graph. I was only able to make it about two thirds of the way up with Tsuki, who weighs 35 pounds, on the bike so my goal is to be able to make it all the way up with her added weight.  With next weekend being All Saint's Day, I need some good themed ideas for a ride!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Coffeeneuring Challenge Ride #3

This morning we got up and rode with some friends for coffee while watching the sunrise.  We rode took a slight detour from our route to avoid some marathoners and ended on the top of the parking lot just as the sun was peeking over the tree tops.  It was a beautiful, cool and crisp morning spent with friends and coffee.  What a great way to start a Saturday.

This weekend Tsuki could have run for the full ride, but we went up and down the street in front of our house while waiting for friends to arrive so she didn't quite make it to the parking garage, so I rode a few blocks and up three stories with her on the back.  She was definitely happy to run this morning.  She was running as fast a I was willing to ride for a total of six miles, and after we got home she did not want to be left behind.  After I left again, she tried her best to get out of the yard to find me, but I had places to go that she could not follow.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Coffeeneuring Challenge Ride #2

This morning was wet and cold with a cloudy sky and a chance of mist.  The oldest running local Farmer's Market in Springfield, MO is just over two miles from my home and I wanted to get some supplies for the week, so I thought I would take Tsuki, ride Kapua, and get some coffee while there.  Another local rider was going downtown and we ended up passing each other at the intersection near my house, so we stopped to chat.  He shot a picture of us with a real camera - thanks Wayne - so it looks much better.  You can tell from this picture that she didn't like to sit and wait, she was ready to move.  This is the only portion of the ride that Tsuki was on Kapua, since she ran both ways today.

As soon as we passed this intersection, the "mist" got rather heavy, so that it was dripping off of my helmet, but in a few blocks it lightened up again and we didn't get too wet.  We parked Kapua near the tomato guy, and got our supplies, but the Aviary truck that I usually get coffee from was not there today.  I almost gave up hope when I noticed the bakery truck was selling coffee, tea, and hot chocolate being run by a couple of friendly teenage girls.  I decided to get some hot tea instead since it was pumpkin spice and was so good I didn't need to add anything!  YUM! Did some chatting and headed home with my bounty.  Then I got ready for the afternoon 32+ miles ride on the Frisco Trail.  Poor Tsuki had to stay home.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Coffeeneuring Challenge Ride #1

I plan on documenting my Coffeeneuring Challenge rides on this blog, which means I am going to try to include Tsuki in all seven rides.  If you want to know about the challenge, you can find more information HERE

It was a chilly morning so I didn't get going until almost nine, but I bundled up in my new leg-warmers and took Tsuki and Kapua out for a ride to get some coffee. We stopped at Classic Rock Coffee Co. and got a Chocolate and Carmel Latte, yum.  This is a great place to ride your bike, even though they don't have a bike rack out front, they have plenty of space inside and don't mind if you bring your bike inside to park.  Of course, I couldn't take Tsuki inside so a group of bikers (the motorcycle type) offered to hang on to her leash and watch my bike while I ordered my coffee.  The coffee went into my cupholder and we continued on to the park so we could watch the ducks while finishing the delicious Cup of Joe.  Continued down the trail and then back home for over 12 miles total.  BTW, Can you tell from the picture that Tsuki wants some coffee too?

Our Story

I have this wonderful dog named Tsuki Inu who is half border collie and half mutt.  Since she has so much border collie in her, she is smart, and usually bored.  Since I am a teacher, I spend much more time to spend with her in the summer, but personally get tired of just throwing the Frisbee in the backyard for her to catch.

I also have an Electra Hawaii bike named Kapua.  In May of 2013, I decided to stop making excuses and start losing weight.  I tried to run, and would take Tsuki, but I don't enjoy running, and Tsuki always wanted to go faster.  So I started riding Kapua.  I started with Tsuki beside me for just one mile, and over a month got both of us able to go around four miles.  As the summer progressed I found that I was able to go further, but Tsuki couldn't seem to make it past the 3-5 miles mark, and if it was hot or humid she wore out sooner.

Then school started and I could only take Tsuki out on the weekends, so even though it wasn't hot, three miles was about her limit and I wanted to ride further.  But I didn't have time to figure out a solution, so I just kept the rides short.

July of 2014 I started riding a lot more.  On July 4th, I did my first ride over 30 miles on Kapua and realized how much I enjoyed a nice long ride.  But the problem remained of how I could get Tsuki to run with me.  So I created a stand for her and put her on the back of Kapua.  I even crocheted a cover for it with my scrap yarn, so it wouldn't be slippery.  I put her up and walked her around and she seemed to do just fine.  After a ride or two, she was a pro at riding on the back of Kapua, and now I can take her with me on a long ride, letting her run when she has the energy, and then letting her take a break on the back.  She gets about a total of five miles and I get to ride for as much as I want.  This blog is a record of some of our rides together.