sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

March 25, 2014

errandonnee 2014
posted by soe 10:59 pm

Remember when I did the Coffeeneuring challenge last year? Well, Mary at Chasing Mailboxes also hosts a winter biking challenge focused on encouraging participants to run errands via bicycle. The Errandonnee ran for two weeks and required completing 12 errands from a minimum of seven (of 11 categories). You also needed to rack up at least 30 miles in the process and document the process with photos.

Because Rudi is out of commission and couldn’t participate this year, I decided to take part on behalf of the Burrow. However, my bike is living in the office parking garage at the moment, since it crowds the space Rudi needs for crutches, which meant I needed to use Bikeshare to complete my quest. It was fine, but definitely meant I had to think about the process more than I would have with my own bike.

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January 4, 2014

winter wonderland
posted by soe 12:42 am

It snowed last night, and this morning we awoke to this:

Icy Tree


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November 27, 2013

coffeeneuring, part 3: the conclusion
posted by soe 3:09 pm

Below, find the third and final Coffeeneuring report. (Links to Part 1 and Part 2.)

Ride #6: Nov. 3
The Coffee Bar, 1201 S St., N.W., Washington, D.C.
2.6 miles

I’d biked past this place in Shaw several times and seen people sitting out in the sun, so wanted to make sure we made it over. And, frankly, after such an eventful Coffeeneuring ride on Saturday, something close and easy sounded really good.



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coffeeneuring, part 2: the big chair ride
posted by soe 4:11 am

Yesterday, I wrote about my October Coffeeneuring rides. Today we get the four first ride I did in November:

Ride #5: Nov. 2
H Street Coffee House & Café, 1359 H St., N.E., Washington, D.C.
17.38 miles

This was my epic ride of the event. Following a stop at the Meet Market craft fair, I had decided I was going to head across the river to Anacostia’s sole coffeehouse, Big Chair Coffee. To get there, I rode down to the Tidal Basin,


past first the marina,


then the fishmarket, and then Fort McNair. I pedaled through Buzzard Point and over the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge. It’s worth noting that the center of the bridge is a drawbridge and it gives your stomach butterflies to pause there, even if the clouds and the view of Alexandria are magnificent.


The view of the east side of the Anacostia


is far superior to that of the west.



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November 26, 2013

coffeeneuring without the coffee: part 1
posted by soe 1:43 am

Coffeeneuring, the third annual, seven-stop coffeeshop bike ride challenge, ran from early October to mid-November. I originally planned to share these stops as I did them, but that only worked for two of eight (#1 & #4), so I’ve reproduced them both in my extended event reports.

My rides split neatly in half by month, so below are the October rides:

Ride #1: Saturday, Oct. 5
Teaism, 2009 R St., N.W., Washington, D.C.
3.11 miles

Coffeenuring #1: Teaism

I started the weekend slowly, having slept past the event I’d planned to take part in on Saturday morning. I puttered for a while, did some chores, but failed to find any food that appealed. So, I thought, I could tie in my bike ride and coffee shop quest with a snack. By this point, it was later in the afternoon and my ride also had to include a stop at the garden, where my plants were awaiting water, parched after a week of sun and warm temperatures. Watering and picking vegetables takes time, though, even for such a small community garden spot as mine and by the time I finished up, it was getting close to 5.

My original hope for the day was to visit a coffeeshop (Bourbon) nearby that I hadn’t yet tried. I took the L Street cycletrack over to L, but they’d put away their food. No worries, I thought. There’s a second location of Filter over by GW, and my phone suggests it’s open until 6. Not, apparently, on weekends, when it isn’t open at all.

Fine. I can start this week with a known entity: Bread & Brew is on the way home and they have a nice outdoor deck and tasty bread pudding (even if their tea leaves something to be desired). As I pedal up the hill, I notice the windows are dark and the patio deserted. They, too, were closed.

By this point, I’d pretty much given up hope, but then realized sometimes your heart’s desire can indeed be found in your own backyard: Teaism in Dupont Circle is 1.5 blocks from my house, but after all the other shops I visited, I completed the day’s ride with 3.11 miles under my belt.

I celebrated with chai and naan, my teahouse version of tea and cinnamon toast and my default to-stay order at Teaism, on the bench outside the front door.


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November 24, 2013

dc donut crawl
posted by soe 3:36 am

Today was the D.C. Donut Crawl, a recreational bike ride that stopped at four local doughnut shops over an 8-mile course. I signed up as soon as they announced it, because I always tell people I’m perfectly happy to ride my bike if they stick food halfway through the route. My friends Michael and Julia signed up at the last minute to accompany me, which was nice of them.

The ride kicked off up in Brightwood at the Chocolate Crust. I’d gotten off to a late start, which put us at the back of a very slow moving line. It was clear that the number of participants had overwhelmed the small shop, where the employees struggled to serve folks in an efficient fashion.

Chocolate Crust

They were temporarily out of the chocolate doissant, a doughnut-croissant hybrid the shop is locally known for, by the time Julia and I got to the cash register, so I opted for the chocolate-filled doughnut. The dough was a bit greasy (more like a fried dough shell than your traditional Berliner doughnut casing), but the frosting piped in was quite tasty. I combined it with a butter beer, because, really, when offered a drink out of Harry Potter, how do you say no? (It’s very sweet and butterscotchy.)

Because we were so far behind the rest of the riders, the marshal for our group decided to skip GBD in favor of getting to the third stop, downtown’s Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken, which Washington Post staffers recently dubbed the best doughnuts in the city. Located near my office, I agree with their assessment, but also recognize these are yuppy doughnuts, each costing approximately $3. Julia opted to follow her piece of fried chicken with the pecan pie doughnut, which turned out to be too sweet for her tastes (she sent it home with me, and Rudi and I split it for dessert tonight), but I liked the Almond Joy, a coconut cake doughnut topped with chocolate frosting and candied almonds.

The tour finished at Union Kitchen, a building used as a collective incubator space for small food-related startups, where District Doughnuts, another new-to-me shop, had two flavors for us to sample: caramel apple streusel (which was delicious) and pumpkin spice (which Julia and Michael raved over). We had a brief conversation with the owners of the business, who explained the key to doughnut-making lies with the dough. As I have found the key to quality pizza lies with the crust, I could appreciate the distinction.

After a few other stops, I decided to conclude the day by running past GBD (Golden Brown Delicious) on my way home. They had put their fritters on sale for the day, so I picked up a gala apple-cinnamon fritter, which Rudi and I split tonight, and a raspberry-ginger fritter, which we’ve saved for tomorrow. I had had mixed feelings about GBD’s doughnuts the only other time I visited them, so it was a real pleasure to bite into the apple fritter and find it so chock-full of apple bits. Rudi and I agreed that it was one of the best fritters we’d had.

So it was a fun ride, even if there were some kinks to work out for the next one. And I definitely should plan to work out tomorrow because one should not, as a general rule, consume as many baked goods as I did today, even if they were interspersed with bike riding.

Thanks to the organizers and the participating shops!

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