Coffeeneuring: Day 1

Today is the first day of coffeeneuring, an annual challenge of riding one’s bike to get a coffee. Since I ride a bike and like coffee, and since it’s not terrifically challenging, I’m having a go for the first time this year. So here’s today’s report:

Distance: 5.80 miles

Bicycle: 1987 BSA folder a.k.a. “Goldfinger”

Venue: Bella Cafe & Bistro, Royal Leamington Spa

Purchase: large mocha (Delta coffee) and a brownie – £5.40

Marks out of 5 for the cafe: 5!

Bike friendliness: no lock-ups anywhere nearby but I sat outside next to my bike. Leamington is in general OKish for a cyclist but not as good as Stafford – lots of uneven cycle paths, missing dropped kerbs, and just a general lack of proper thought.

Other stops: Broadribbs bike shop

Here’s my mighty steed for the day:


Now fitted with lights and new tyres. I had rather a lot of bother with the rear tyre, first with an inner tube with not one but two holes in it (which inevitably I didn’t find at the same time), probably caused in the boot of my car, then a third puncture I found today caused by the tube rubbing on a rough part of the rim. The bike’s not gone 15 miles and already I’ve had three punctures! The rear light is also on the blink, and like all electrical devices there’s no obvious reason why. All I know is it’s about as dependable as a Harry Kane free kick – the only thing you can rely on is its unreliability. A bit of a pain as I sought it out especially to fit the bracket on the back of the bike.

I was lucky the latest puncture didn’t happen on my way to town, I’d popped to the pub last night and when I got back from work today I did a round-the-block shakedown, barely a quarter of a mile, because the weather wouldn’t make up its mind. I took a few minutes to consult the map and found the tyre flat when I went to set off. I’m getting pretty slick at changing tyres now, so it wasn’t much of a hold-up.


So off I went. The seat is still far too low, and I’m rather conscious when riding that I look like a clown in a circus riding around with my knees round my ears. Well not quite, but you get the idea. After popping into a bike shop on the way from work in search of a 25.4 x 400mm seatpost and drawing a blank, I thought I’d see if a different shop might have the post I wanted. No dice, but they were very helpful so I took the opportunity to buy a couple of bungee cords for the rear rack. Here’s the bike shop:


It started spitting with rain so I thought I’d better get a move on and find a cafe. I wanted to start away from the big chains, as I know I’ll call on them later and it didn’t really seem the right way to begin. I’d got a vague idea where to find a few independent cafes and pootled round until I found a likely looking place:


The barista said a friendly hello as I walked in, and I explained he’d have to bear with me as I’d never been in before.”Well, first of all – welcome!” he said, in a nice, friendly, genuine way. I ordered my default – large mocha – then looked at the food on display, and was tempted by a brownie. Somewhat reluctantly I parted with my first ‘Churchill fiver’, and took a seat outside next to my bicycle. The barista brought my drink out and cheerfully said ‘enjoy!’


And enjoy it I did. The mocha was nice, and the brownie was outstanding. Such a shame I can’t just pitch up at the same cafe seven times for this coffeeneuring lark…

I set off and just down the road stopped to look at my favourite plaque ever, affixed to the base of a statue of Queen Victoria:

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