Friday, March 19, 2010

"Will ride for coffee"

It's been a little while.

Cabin fever has reached it's peak, but warmer sky is now the horizon.

I rebuilt the Bombadil Wednesday, but I have ridden it every day so far this week. Generally pulling the girlie to and from the park. We like to go for sammiches after. My daily lunch date.

After the rebuild, I've been lucky to do a few solo rides. The new bar position was a welcome change. I feel more natural on the bike.

Coffee was had courtesy of kaladi, starbucks, and cafe europa. All on different rides mind you.

On one ride, I happened to have my camera, and remembered it would shoot video. I figured I would give it a try. One handed off road. So's shaky.

I also took my first stab at editing something together in the computer. Mainly just playing around with the program to learn basics.


The music is by Dave Brubeck, off his "Take Five" album. It is a classic. You should go buy it.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Places unknown

Ever get to feeling like a caged animal wearing a rut in the ground from pacing the same steps over and over? Of course you have. And the best way to quell that? Take a different path.

Well I did that literally and it was exactly what I needed.

I have lived in or around Denver since 92 and have ridden a fair amount of the bike paths and routes. All of which seem to conveniently end up at cafes but that's beside the point. After my usual ride in to work on my usual route, I decided to scout the trail maps for an alternate route home. Well, I found that route, but also discovered an entire network of trails I never even realized existed. I took the alternate route home and had a wonderful ride despite the damaging winds we were having. Somehow the trees, and buildings were situated so that the brunt of the gusts were diminished.

Now armed with some new found knowledge and having the next day free to ride, I was on a mission to go explore. Some of this new route was along the "Highline Canal Trail" which I have ridden most of from my house south-west, but have not been on it heading north-east. That said, the highline is fairly consistent so I knew what to expect, but was very excited for the portion of the ride along the "Sand Creek Greenway" trail. This has been described as a multi surface trail that often meanders between packed gravel and rougher single-track. Mountain bikes are "recommended". Excellent. The Bleriot should do just fine. It seemed as though I could basically take it from its eastern all the way to its western terminusses, and hook up with the "Platte River Trail" southbound and once it connected with the Cherry Creek trail I would be back on familiar ground.

Well, due to some construction, wrong turns, and poorly marked trail sections, I actually rode about 10 more miles, but had none of that occurred this is the route:

Started from home, rode counter clockwise ending at Kaladi Brothers.

This was my first attempt to access the Sand Creek trail at Airport Road. Oh, just be problem.

ZING! Try again.

Some backtracking and I was able to jump on at Chambers.

Went through the "Bluffs Nature Center" that is located in the area of the old Stapleton Airport. Never knew this existed.

Farther north west the trail runs directly below the iconic Sapp Brothers truck stop sign. Seen it a hundred times from the freeway, had no idea a trail went right past it.

Continuing west takes you literally right by the Commerce City refineries, under train tracks, and through airplane graveyards. This doesn't sound very enticing, but I was absolutely in awe of how nice the trail was and how scenic. Plenty of tress and color changing to see, open space, picnic areas...crazy.

This is the confluence of the Sand Creek and Platte River at the western terminus of the trail and my southbound turning point.

One of the several pull offs along the trail with benches and tables. What's odd is, along this part of the trail there are few entry points for some ways and very little if any residential population. It's mostly commercial and industrial. I realize I was riding mid day on a Wednesday, but I did not pass one single person the entire time I was on the Sand Creek portion of trail.

All said I put in just short of 50 miles. The weather was cool and a bit windy but I enjoyed a nice packed lunch trail side, and finished up at Kaladi's to warm up on coffee. It feels really strange to "explore" what has been my back yard for years and find a world I never knew was there. I have taken this same type of ride countless times but always headed south into a much more developed area of town. This was a huge departure in scenery and feel but could not have been more welcome.

Monday, September 28, 2009

With love from San Francisco.

Here is a guest post from our west coast caffeinated wheelwoman ♥ meligrosa!

I look forward for the weekends so I can be up and running before most of my peers for a sole purpose, go get coffee. I make my own coffee half of the time, because half of the amazing rewards of caffeine, is the ritual of going to a coffee shop.
Speaking of ritual, here in San Francisco we are very lucky to have such fine coffee shops, roasters and cafes, and one of them is Ritual Coffee Roasters.

Like a bee to honey, this square of goodness was calling my name from the bike lane on the opposite side of the street...

I had not heard of this coffee shop in the Inner Sunset. I happened to spot the above flashing sign (in my head) and decided to stop by. The machine is a beautiful La Marzorcco and the beans used are the above mentioned, Ritual Coffee Roasters. The place is a gem. There is every little cute little thing any hand-made soap loving person would love. I personally fell in love with the little creatures they had around, from bugs, crickets, especially this wooden bird that I think I will buy as a self-gift next time, perhaps.

coffee bird

It's the little things.

I sat down my caffeinated partner for the day, it was a rather foggy but not cold, Saturday. Not necessarily under the 'heat wave' status we had falsely been warned. Maybe outside San Francisco limits the weather was blazing. Not here. I had already imagined myself sipping ice Americanos in the afternoon, just in case. I ordered a macchiato and it was good. Short, strong and with room for more coffee in a couple of hours. It is Saturday, after all.


The sitting area is small. Shortly after I took the below image, a good looking young man sat next to us and read the paper. That is always a good score with me, newspaper (and not an iphone!), his bicycle outside and coffee. Indeed, it is the small details.

take a seat

This was a nice discovery. After that I treated my stomach to some good food and continued to ride the day away. Some friends just don't understand the need for so much coffee, but they go along for the ride. That is nice, because coffee with friends on weekends is always super! ♥Cheers!!
summer sky

Want more? Go here. Read this.
Bikes and the City

Thanks meli, this was splendid!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Wash Perk Coffee

The Grand Poobah and I are both pretty loyal customers of Kaladi Brothers Coffee, here in Denver. We've known Marko since he moved here, from Alaska, 11 years ago. Speaking for myself, I admire what he does with his roasting and his ethical buying practices. The actual Kaladi Brothers physical plant leaves something to be desired, however.

Kaladi often resembles a rowdy British pub, during the World Cup playoffs. The acoustics are weird and, when it's crowded, you end up with one of those situations where everyone in the place is virtually shouting, trying to be heard over the din. And, half the time, you can more easily make out what someone two tables away is saying than what the person across from you is telling you.

I most often sit outside at the sidewalk tables in warm weather to avoid the noise inside. But, sitting ten feet from a traffic lane on one of the busiest 4-lane thoroughfares in the city leaves a bit to be desired ambience-wise. The noise and exhaust from the passing traffic on Evans Avenue can be a bit unpleasant, at times. Still, I go to Kaladi Brothers on a regular basis because I am like Norm, on Cheers. Everyone knows my name, and they have a big cup of coffee poured for me before I can even order.

This past Sunday though, Brad and I met up on the bicycles and headed down to a shop with which neither of us was familiar, Wash Perk Coffee. Located in the heart of the Washington Park neighborhood. Even though it suffers from the common "punny name syndrome" (Perk Hill is in the Park Hill neighborhood, Pikes Perk sits virtually at the foot of Pikes Peak, down in Colorado Springs), I couldn't hold that against the place.

The Grand Poobah has arrived

As we approached the shop, I realized that I often ride right by it on the way home from Cycle Analyst. I had noticed the tables and umbrellas, but I am typically on a mission when I go to Richard's shop, picking up some esoteric bit of bike equipment that no one else in town will stock. So I've never had occasion to stop in.

The location at 853 E. Ohio Ave is in a tree-shaded neighborhood of small bungalows and Craftsman houses. The volume of the auto traffic is dwarfed by the foot traffic and bicycles (at least, it was at 10:00 on a Sunday morning). The bikes got parked against the patio rail, and the decision was made to sit outside and enjoy the pleasant surroundings.

Flowers and vegetables in a sidewalk garden

We went inside to order our drinks, and I was impressed with how quiet and calm the small seating area was. This would definitely be a conducive atmosphere for settling in with a good book on a rainy (or snowy) morning. After chit-chatting with the baristas, we ordered up our drinks (black coffee for me, latté for Brad) and repaired to our patio table.

My favorite way to start a day

Are my gloves latte' colored, or...?

The coffee was excellent (they use coffee from Kaladi Brothers Roasting), the staff was friendly, and the surroundings were quite pleasant and relaxing. Even though its roughly 2 miles past Kaladi Brothers from my house, I suspect I'll be wiling away the occasional morning coffee hour at Wash Perk, in the future. The extra distance from the house will actually allow me to get a bit of a ride in, too.

That's How We Roll

Someone asked me the other day, how to become a member of the Association of Caffeinated Wheelmen.

I said, "First, ride a bike. That makes you a wheelman. (And despite the "man" we are most certainly co-ed. Think man in broad terms like human.) Second, drink something with caffeine in it. Coffee, tea, Diet Coke...whatever. That makes a caffeinated wheelman.

Now, do these things with someone else. You are associating with another caffeinated wheelman. Voila, you have your own Chapter of the Association of Caffeinated Wheelmen!"

Wherever I hang my hat is my home

To that end, Carol and Dave joined me, Saturday, on a coffee ride. A coffee ride is exactly what it sounds like: No agenda, no schedule, no tour itinerary. Just ride from coffee shop to coffee shop, deciding which one to hit next, as you go. Make some detours, along the way, if you feel like it. Dave and I rode our fixed gears, and Carol rocked her Green Hornet single speed.

We started by meeting the Grand Poobah and the Princess at Kaladi Bros. They were unable to join us on the ride (the Princess is only 2-1/2 years old, so she's not quite in that mode, yet), but we spent an enjoyable time with them, drinking coffee and playing with magnetic letter blocks on the metal table top.

Once we left KB, the three of us headed north, with a vague plan to maybe check out Wash Perk. Unfortunately, due to my less than stellar navigational skills, we rode past it, and ended up heading for Pablo's on Sixth. (Which was fine, since Brad and I got over to Wash Perk on Sunday.)

Along the way, we made one of those detours that I mentioned, and stopped at a yard sale. We made some purchases, set them around the corner of the house to be retrieved later with the truck (chairs, etc.), and continued on.

These two guys were shopping the same yard sale we stopped at

As we rounded the corner onto Sixth, heading toward Pablo's, I heard Carol say something behind me. Then, I heard Carol yell something, and I looked around. Her tire had gone flat while we were at the yard sale, and she was trying to keep me from riding away. The operative theory is that the guy with the StingRay had an icepick.

Dave and Carol enjoy iced vanilla latte's...while I fix Carol's flat

One of the alleys off of 7th, on the way to St. Mark's. Someday, I'd like to do a Tour deAlley in Denver

The flowers are beautiful in Cheesman Park

Not all of the beverages consumed were caffeinated, I was really enjoying a nice apricot ale, at St. Mark's

Oldest Chrome bag in captivity. I got it at the BIO show, in Vegas, in 1994!

From St. Mark's, we wended our way back to my house to get the truck and retrieve the yard sale treasures. Total time out: 5 hours. Total time on bikes: ~1.5 to 2 hours. Total caffeine consumption: 40 oz. black coffee, 48 oz. iced vanilla latte'. Total miles: ? (I don't have a cyclometer on the fixed gear, and it's not the point of the ride, anyway).

Have your own Association meeting, and let us know about it.

Jonny X

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Got wind of a new joint

So a fellow artist, and coffee chiquita dropped me a line recently regarding displaying some of my art at the shop she's working at. "Wash Perk". I had not heard of it previously. So I sent off a small commando unit for some recon. Commander Jon will hopefully have a full report.

Here is a photo set from the source.

Say tuned.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Welcome to the machine

Appreciation vs. Snobbery

I think that, in the context of this blog, you must realize that I like coffee. Juan Valdez is like the father I never had (in that he is not only Columbian, a coffee farmer, and a drug lord of sorts, but he is also fictitious, while my real father is none of those things). But, to the point, I do like my coffee.

And, I'll admit that I prefer good coffee. The aroma of fresh-roasted beans in a coffee house draws me like the scent of Chanel #5 draws an Italian businessman away from hearth and home and into the arms of a busty young starlet with skin like the morning dew and hair like cornsilk. I am attracted to a well-steeped French Press like Hillary was drawn to improbably tall landscape features and for much the same reason, "Because it is there."

And, I make it no secret that I visit a goodly number of coffee shops through the course of my day to day life. And, because of that, I have been accused of being a "coffee snob" (just as I have been accused of being a "bike snob" simply because I have nice bikes).

But, I don't think of myself as a snob. I think of snobs as being people who pretentiously refuse to use any product "beneath" their lofty ideals, and I am quite capable of downing the better part of a potful of truck stop java from time to time. Quite honestly, as long as it is strong enough, I have never found a coffee that I can't drink, and enjoy.

Conversely, if you take the finest, most-expensive coffee beans to ever travel through a monkey's alimentary canal, grind them up and brew too few of them in too much water I will spit it in your face and rinse the insipid aftertaste out of my mouth with a nice strong cup of Maxwell House.

I once took a pound of pretty nice coffee in to the office where I worked, and made the "coffee club" pot with it, since we had run out of the normal Folgers the day before. I wasn't trying to make any kind of statement, or show off my "sophistication". (Seems like a lot of "quotation marks" in one sentence, now that I look at it). I simply knew that we were out of coffee and I didn't want to go through withdrawal because the secretary was too lazy to go to Sam's Club and get more.

One of the engineers made a great show of taking a couple of sips and then declaring, in a voice that could be heard throughout the office, "I can't taste any difference between this and the regular stuff!"

Despite his rudeness, I was polite to him, and just explained that I had only brought in the coffee because we were out. This only prompted him to go into a long-winded explanation of why my coffee was no better than the Folgers that we usually drank. It finally sunk in that, regardless of whether he could taste a difference or not, he couldn't appreciate the quality of the coffee. I had to be a "snob", because I enjoyed something that he didn't.

Reverse snobbery, ladies and germs, is as bad as the regular kind.

But, here's the deal: I will drink any coffee which is properly brewed. I will ride any bike which is properly set up and fits reasonably well. I can eat some pretty appalling food, if it's spiced correctly.

I just prefer the good stuff, I don't insist on it.

I am, however, a barbeque snob. But, I'm Southern, it's in my blood.