A great cappuccino is something to behold. They’ve been known—on many an occasion—to turn a day around. A mid-ride double shot can put life into dead legs and a great Americano can warm a soggy winter training ride. The comings and goings of the day’s ride are often swapped—sweaty kits still donned—over a cup o’ joe at the local coffee shop. A small conglomeration of cyclists informally gather and sip their drinks as they wind down from a few hours well spent.
Personally, I take my coffee black. The bitterness grows on you, like a piece of modernist art that you hate at first, but to which you slowly become addicted. My post ride coffee is a slow ritual—my only real concern being finishing just before it gets too cold, and, of course, getting home before I get in trouble for being out too long riding bikes.
The drink itself, however, is only a means to gather. An excuse to bask in the afterglow of a Sunday morning ride, it affords us time to relive and chuckle about the KOMs and county line sprints. Prolonging the great sense of camaraderie that grows out of cyclists riding en masse brings us to the café table. The community brings us back here.
It’s interesting to note how many places in this city you can grab a cup of coffee. Just as interesting are the sundry groups of people that fill these places. The Dunkin’ Donuts of the world have lines out the door cued with business people needing their caffeine fix, but I can’t ever think of a time I saw a group of cyclists gathering for a pre- or post-ride break. We always gather at the small shops, where passionate people assemble your drink with care and detail—it’s not the easiest or the cheapest option, but we’re getting more than just coffee. A tangled assemblage of bikes leaning outside a coffee shop is as good a sign as any that good flavors and good people can be found within.
Your bike—whether high-end racer, beach cruiser, bar crawl fixie, fat-tire snow bike, retro ten speed, recreational hybrid, or off-road unicycle—is a cup of coffee. When you throw your leg over it, you become a part of something wonderful. Regardless of the number of hours in the saddle, you are a cyclist. You bought more than just a cup of coffee, you bought into a community.
Like the small coffee shops, your local bike shop (LBS) is the place to find this community. Bike shops—of all shapes and sizes—are the gathering spots for cyclists of all shapes and sizes. You can find wonderful products, but more than that you can find great people who want to share cycling with you. We’re not Dunkin’ Donuts. We are not the cheapest or fastest option, but we can offer much more than some new components and an email order confirmation.
Come out and see us. Better yet, come out and ride with us! (Shameless plug alert: Our monthly no-drop EP ride leaves Cadence at 9am tomorrow (Saturday) morning. All riders welcome). Riding is why we all do what we do. It is not about the bikes themselves. They are a means to gather.
So stop by and say “hi” sometime. I’ll buy you a cup of coffee.