Why do cycling and coffee go so well hand in hand? Perhaps because one fuels the other, and that goes both ways. Both bring people together for great conversation while enjoying something they love. Both bring a connection whether between long time buddies, significant others, or someone you just met. Yet why do so many people forgo the coffee shop ride? The most likely culprit is not enough time for both but the basis of the ride is for enjoyment. The coffee shop stop just adds to it.
How To Have A Great Coffee Shop Ride
Of course what encompasses a great coffee shop ride can vary greatly from one rider to the next but there are a few similarities that go with any. The first is that it should fit within your ride plans. If you’re busy doing intervals up a climb all ride, stopping part way through for a nice coffee probably isn’t going to be the most relaxed and enjoyable. After however is another story. Also, if you’re trying to knock out a century or long ride in a descent amount of time, stopping for an enjoyable cup of joe with nice conversation also probably isn’t the most efficient way to have a nice stop.
Pick a Good Mellow Route
The best coffee shop rides are the ones where you’re just riding to ride; to enjoy the company your in, the roads you’re on, and the places you’re seeing. Then stopping for a little while is a great way to continue those thoughts and engage in even more conversation. The epitome of this is when you’re stopped at a coffee shop for longer than your total ride time. You’re not out for a big hammer day, you’re out for the enjoyment on all ends.
Find a Good Shop to Frequent
Finding a good coffee shop can be a challenge in some places. Either there are too many to choose from or hardly any. A few prerequisites are:
- They have coffee (or any drink) up to your standards of taste.
- They have a seating area that can be thoroughly enjoyed. (Drive-thru’s or tiny coffee shops that never have any seating aren’t going to cut it.)
- If it’s a nice day, they have quality outdoor seating to enjoy the day.
- They have, at a minimum, an okay selection of pastries and other goodies to be enjoyed if desired.
How To Look Like a Natural in a Coffee Shop – Coffee Shop Etiquette
Whether you live in an area where there aren’t many cyclists around or the coffee shops are already full of them, you want to have proper etiquette while there. If not, you will stand out and look out of place as well as potentially embarrassed. The key is no matter what, act like you belong. This is easier in some places than others but regardless, do it with authority.
Where To Park Your Bike
Your first hurdle at a coffee shop is where to park your bike. You want it in a visible place to people in general as well as in a location where you can see it from where you are sitting. Some shops that are frequented by cyclists have “bike parking stands” which can be super useful. If not, the best place is probably against a window along the front of the building. Make sure it’s not in the way of the doors or people walking in and out.
Where To Put Your Helmet
After you park your bike, take your helmet off, buckle it and hook it on the stem and drape it over the handle bars. This looks good and will keep it from falling or getting caught on anyone walking by. Additionally this leaves your hands free to carry a coffee, pastry, etc. and removes the situation of having your helmet on inside where you look goofy. Under no circumstances should you place your helmet on the table, face up or down. You sweat in that thing and it’s nasty. No one wants it on the table that they eat off of.
What To Be Careful Of
The biggest thing to be careful of while stopping at a coffee shop is slipping in your cycling shoes on the tile, wood, whatever slippery surface of a floor the shop has. This is very easy to do depending upon your shoes, cleats, and any spilled coffee potentially already on the floor. Take shorter steps and never make any sudden turns. You’re not playing football after all.
The Dreaded Ride Home
Depending upon your ride and how long you’ve been stopped, getting moving again to ride back home can be a struggle. Your legs will likely have tightened up and particularly if it’s chilly out, you will want another cup of something to just sit and relax some more. When you do finally get out the door, start slow as if it were the beginning of your ride. Warm up for a few minutes and then ease back into your normal pace.
How Often Should You Go On A Coffee Shop Ride
Obviously this is personal preference. Some would say daily, others weekly, others monthly. Coffee shop stops are a way to continue the pleasures you get from riding through a different medium while adding a few. If you never really have time for a coffee shop stop you should maybe slow down a bit and take a day just to enjoy the ride and company. It’s what cycling is all about anyway. Let us know in the comments below what your favorite coffee shop ride is and how you enjoy it.