Currently I’m very much in the exploratory stage of settling into our new home: learning best routes to get around, acquiring a sense of how things are oriented, and seeking out the best cafes. This last point is helped along by my friend Mary’s annual autumn Coffeeneuring Challenge, which inspires many utilitarian cyclists around the country – and perhaps around the world – to bike to seven different coffee shops by Sunday, November 17th and report back, well-caffeinated. Any reason for riding bikes and sipping coffee is fine by me, so here are my first four rides.
Visit to Coffee Cat on Saturday, October 12th
1201 Anacapa Street, Santa Barbara, California
Ride distance: 23.4 miles
I was a bit tired from a morning ride with one steep climb in the Hope Ranch neighborhood, so my second ride of the day was a relaxed one with Adam to Coffee Cat in Santa Barbara.
Coffee Cat has a vibe that seems like it would appeal to anyone and assures you that you won’t be bothered if you want to work on your laptop, which many of the other patrons were doing. The lack of available seating indoors drove us to the back patio, which faces the entrance to the Santa Barbara Bikestation, a secure indoor space with parking for your bicycle and showers for freshening up before you go into work. I enjoyed a nice latte and we chatted about the Bikestation concept.
Visit to Coffee Collaborative on Sunday, October 20th
6560 Pardall Road, Isla Vista, California
Ride distance: 4.8 miles
Exhausted and sleepy from a weekend of volunteering and hanging out at a local mountain bike race, I was glad to be home early enough on Sunday afternoon to get in a ride to the nearby Coffee Collaborative. Resisting the urge to nap, I headed out on the bike I missed all weekend – my trusty Surly Cross-Check, which currently also holds the title of “my only bike.”
The streets in Isla Vista were abuzz as usual with undergrads soaking up Sunday afternoon in the sun. I ordered a drink named after our school mascot from the student staffing the counter. It’s called the Gaucho, a tasty blend of yerba mate, almond milk, and honey. Seems appropriate!
Visit to The French Press on Saturday, October 26th
528 Anacapa Street, Santa Barbara, California
Ride distance: 31.9 miles
A gorgeous ride to downtown, drenched in sunlight. Momentum pushed me down State Street towards the beach, then I wound my way back through a couple of wrong turns, a vaguely familiar bike path, and one complete turn-around near the edges of Montecito. Enjoyed an iced latte on the patio of the French Press and read some papers on volunteered geographic information while waiting for Adam to meet me after an event he had nearby. A good blend of everything, really.
Visit to Carlitos Cafe y Cantina on Saturday, November 2nd
1324 State Street, Santa Barbara, California
Ride distance: 26.6 miles
This cantina on upper State Street is beautifully set and seems quintessentially Santa Barbara with its outdoor patio, tasty Mexican food, and ripe opportunity for people watching. Enjoyed some coffee and brunch before heading down to volunteer at Santa Barbara’s first-ever Open Streets event, which I’ll talk about in a future post.