A few days ago, I read somewhere that a cyclocross race was going on in a big park not far from where I live so I made plans to head down there with a flask of something hot and watch a bit of the action.
By pure coincidence, my friends from the bike shop were also planning to go down and
heckle support some of their customers who were taking part. When they mentioned they’d be bringing hot chocolate and beer, I was completely sold.
“Did you really need to bring the trailer?” Rich asked me. “Of course not!”, I responded. But hey, I’ve never let common sense get in the way of having fun before and I’m certainly not going to start now!
What with it being Sunday, I thought I’d take the opportunity to squeeze in Coffeeneuring trip 2:
- Where I went: My first ‘coffee shop without walls’ of the challenge – Heaton Park, Manchester.
- Date I went there: Sunday 5th October 2014.
- What I drank: Well, therein lies a tale.
First, I had an instant hot chocolate made by Rich on his jet boil stove with a blueberry & lemon cake made by Karen – it was a surprisingly good combo and I’m glad I resisted the repeated offers of a shot of Whisky in my hot chocolate. Some of the others were not so strong and ended up with more whiskey than hot chocolate…
Soon enough, however, I caved and had a bottle of Duvel. IT. WAS. DELCIOUS. A little later, I caved a little more and had a bottle of Sol. IT. WAS. ALSO. DELICIOUS. All around me, people were supping assorted beers and taking swigs from the ever-present flask of whiskey. Still, I resisted.
In between beers, I had some of the tea I’d brought with me. It was tea. It was not especially delicious. I continued to resist the whiskey, largely because I can’t abide the taste of the stuff but mostly because I wanted to make it home in one piece.
- A detail or two about my coffeeneuring ride: My left knee started hurting during yesterday’s ride and is really quite painful today. I stopped at the supermarket on the way to buy marshmallows but they didn’t have any. The road to the park was randomly closed for resurfacing so I had to take a huge diversion. My trailer has developed an odd noise. There was a lot to be grumpy about but, do you know what? I think I’m starting to understand this whole Coffeeneuring business… When you force yourself to ride slowly and then you just spend some time hanging out with good friends, sharing the contents of your assorted panniers / trailers / frame bags in nice surroundings, soaking up what remains of the day’s warmth as you heckle those crazy enough to actually partake in the racing, there’s all of a sudden nothing at all to feel grumpy about.
- Bike friendliness of the locale: Well, it’s a public park with plenty of nice wide paths and some really nice scenery so it scores very well on bike friendliness initally. But, if you want to leave your bike somewhere and go for a walk in the woods or pop into the coffee shop or even just take a leak, there is absolutely NOWHERE to lock your bike up. That’s fine if you have someone to watch it or you’re a risk taker but I think it again shows how little thought goes into the needs of your average bike rider when public places in England are being put together. Is this a problem in other countries, I wonder?
- Mileage: Probably 10 – 15, especially with the unplanned diversion.
- Must visit?: Meh.
So, there you have it. 2 of my 7 coffeeneuring rides completed on the first weekend of the challenge – tune in next week for more of the same!
Oh, and because I know you love ’em and we didn’t see anyone riding one in the race, here’s a few pictures of our collection of Surly bikes.