Friday, November 1, 2013

Shameless Coffeeneuring Guest Post

In an an apparent attempt to bury herself in guest posts, MG has put out a call for posts from all participants in her Coffeeneuring Challenge. In an attempt to make my post more interesting, I will bribe you with a small child:
Beware, that smile hides at least six teeth.
And believe you me those things are sharp.

Guest Coffeeneuring Blog Post Questions

1) Where do you live?

Sioux Center, IA, which is in the NW corner of the state. Not to be confused with Sioux City, IA, or Sioux Falls, SD. Some of you may know of my town as the start of RAGBRAI 2012. For any of you who were there, you played a pretty big role in getting me started in biking, so thanks!

2) How did you decide to coffeeneur?
I find that having a goal, no matter how silly or odd, makes it way easier to get on the bike (especially now that the weather is turning cold). I'd participated in the (very chilly) Errandonee this past winter, and enjoyed reading everyone's stories. With the addition of the Coffee Shop without Walls rule, I found it possible to hit seven "shops" in my very rural area.

3) What bike are you using as your coffeeneuring bike? What makes it a good coffeeneuring bike?
I mostly ride a 1970s Schwinn World tourist, which serves as my town/errand bike. It's heavy and beat up, but it fits me pretty good (I'm 6'3", so used bikes in my size are rare). It also has Shimano's Front Freewheel System, which means that you can shift while coasting. Its a feature that is mostly good as a conversation starter, and I'm dreading having to ever repair it.

4) Where did you choose to coffeeneur for this coffeeneuring trip?
Using the Coffee Shop without Walls rule, the family and I headed out to a small park to enjoy the lovely weather. This late in the year you never know what the weather is going to throw at us, could be a blizzard or it could be beautiful so we take what we can get.

5) Is the coffee shop beautiful and the coffee delicious? Tell us a little about your coffeeneuring locale.
The park was actually quite lovely. Fall color is still hanging on, despite Iowa's perpetual wind trying to tear all the leaves off. Actual coffee shops in this area are few and far between. I am saving a coffee shop that I find quite lovely (and the espresso wonderful) for last.
Sioux County is an area in transition. One one hand, farming has been really good business the last few years, and that money circulates through the local economy, leading to more urbanesque things like nice coffee shops. In opposition to that is the history of this area being intensely conservative, both politically and fiscally. Its basically an area where it's fine to be rich, just don't flaunt it (too much).

6) What other types of riding do you do besides coffeeneuring?
I cycle with my family quite often. In September my wife and I picked up a longtail. We've really enjoyed being able to strap both kids to a single bike, and still have cargo room to run errands. I get a childish level of glee seeing what I can all load onto that bike. My wife bakes for one of the local coffee shops, and I usually manage to get the shop's early morning muffins delivered by bike.
I also do some road riding (first century a month ago) a fair amount of which is on gravel roads. Even in Iowa the traffic is not your friend, but about 90% of the roads here are lightly traveled gravel. My bike of choice for that is a Sekai 10-speed that I put some 32mm Paselas on. I'm hoping to do the Almanzo 100 this spring.
I believe the correct term is "Gravel Mutt"

7) What else did I forget to ask you that you want to share?
What about bike parking, accessibility, friendliness? There is really very little bike parking. The only business I know of with any sort of rack is the local mall. The schools and public libraries have been good about installing racks. Honestly, you hardly need to lock your bike around here, its a pretty low crime town.
Sioux Center is actually a really easy town to get around on by bike. Everything is close by, and you can route around high traffic roads without issue. We've also been putting in some separated trails that are nice for families to use. In my mind, if you don't feel safe enough sending a 10 yr old on a bike route, it's not good enough. Drivers in town are very well behaved, but I was run off the road by a semi last week while riding out in the country, which was an unpleasant first. People have noted that having RAGBRAI in town has really put bike planning on the minds of city and county officials, we've got a lot of projects in the planning stages, so I hope to see big improvements in the next few years.

No comments:

Post a Comment