The last couple of coffeeneuring trips have been in pleasantly unseasonal weather. Last Friday I toyed with having a cold drink instead of the hot beverage that coffeeneuring was founded on because it was just a beautiful, sunny, warm day. Waking up with temperatures in the 30's this morning, the ground wet and covered with leaves, and an anticipated high in the mid 40's felt much more in tune with the spirit of this adventure.
Once again I've skipped writing up the last few rides because there really wasn't much out of the norm on them. We came, we rode, we went home. I suppose some of the folks that attended the October bike party of "Flock Of Cycles" last week would qualify as unusual. We've seen some of these outfits before, but it's hard not to smile when they appear again.
Then again, seeing the Flock moving through the city at night with blinkies-a-plenty is unusual all by itself I suppose. We certainly had a lot of inquiries from pedestrians on who we were and what we were doing. I think we should print up flyers to hand out when someone asks, giving them the information so they can join us the next time.
We also witnessed the Duck Death March last Monday, as our beloved giant, rubber ducky departed Point State Park and headed down the Ohio River.
The city looks empty somehow without him. In a few, short weeks I became very accustomed to seeing him floating by the Point with a constant stream of admirers photographing him from every possible angle. Yeah, me included. It was nice to see so many Pittsburghers willing to let their inner child out and enjoy something so simple as an oversized bathtub toy.
The replacement duck isn't quite cutting it.
Back to the Flock ride... I used the night ride opportunity to test out a new lighting option. I think I like it. Yes, it's a bit clunky and takes some figuring out to attach it to the bike, but I like the idea of a wider back light on the bike.
There are different color lenses that I can use and the next time out I think I'll experiment with that. The yellow lens at least offered a larger, more visible flag announcing my presence on the street. I'm for anything that helps drivers see me.
So getting back to today, we ventured out in more seasonal weather for coffeeneuring event #5. I set out on my own a little bit earlier in order to make a run to REI, then circled back to the trailhead to meet the others. It was a might brisk, but I warmed up on the ride and thought it wouldn't be too bad. That worked until I returned to the trailhead and stopped riding while I waited for the guys to arrive and unload their bikes. Brrrr. I started to cool off fast. Happy once I got riding again, the only thing really suffering were my toes. I had resisted the idea of using the toe warmers so early in the year, but that was foolish. They would have felt so very good when it started to SNOW on the way to Highland Park! Rats. I could have been very happy to not see that stuff for another month. As my one friend reminded me today though: two months to Christmas Eve. At least it was just a light snow and didn't last long.
We rode out to Taza D'Oro in Highland Park. I'd never been there before, but it's a very popular coffee shop. They're very well known for their coffee, and their web site doesn't address non-coffee drinks so I wasn't expecting much choice in tea. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that they actually had a decent selection of tea, plus hot chocolate and apple cider available for those of us that don't get coffee's appeal. I went for the organic citrus green tea and asked for some lemon for it. Couldn't resist getting an apple dumpling to go with it too.
The guys had come prepared to show me how to use my new chain repair tool. I replaced my bike multi-tool recently with one that's a little more comprehensive than the simple one that I had started with. RC brought along an old chain and we proceeded to remove links and reconnect chain until I felt comfortable with the process. Very glad to learn this inside a warm coffee shop and not on the side of the trail in the rain.
We departed Taza D'Oro with a little early Christmas shopping in mind and worked our way first to Pro Bikes in Squirrel Hill (because they carry Specialized) and then to Thick Bikes on the Southside (because they had some very cool looking new socks and because we really like this shop).
We arrived back at the trailhead just as the sun was setting over the Ohio River and the temperatures were dropping. Loaded the bikes and started for home and within 5-10 minutes I was in a moderate rain. For once I was pleased to be off the bike. That could have been pretty miserable. Timing is everything.