Saturday, November 10, 2012

Coffeeneuring Number 7: Saint Elmo to the Rescue

Today is my father's 95th birthday. I hope he and my Mom are enjoying themselves. Do they have Canadian Club in heaven?

After a week of unseasonably cold weather and five bike commutes we were greeted with some pretty decent riding weather. With 150 miles in my legs since Monday I felt my legs needed a break.  So whatever riding I did today would have to be short and sweet.

Gersamalina a.k.a. Gypsybug a.k.a MG, the Queen of Coffeeneuring, disallowed my coffee trip to Red Truck Bakery a couple of weeks ago on the grounds (no pun intended) that the ride to and from the coffee drinking lasted only one half mile. The minimum for qualifying is 2 miles. And event rides don't count (so this rules out the 72 miles I did after drinking my coffee).

So I had one more coffeeneuring ride to do to finish the Coffeeneuring Challenge of 2012.  I decided to ride to the waterfront in Old Town Alexandria and partake of coffee in the food court near the Torpedo Factory. In  the process I rode past a Firehook Bakery and a Starbucks. I wanted to do the Challenge without going to a coffee or bakery chain so I have assiduously avoided these places as well as a Drunkin Donuts about a mile from my house.

When I arrived at the promenade behind the Torpedo Factor I was stunned at how little bike parking there is. Alexandria is supposed to be a Bicycle Friendly City but once again it showed that it has a long way to go to earn this honor.  I managed to lock my bike to one of two bike racks near the food court. They each had a bike locked to them and the each of the racks would barely fit one more bike.
Closed x 4! Fail!

Once Little Nellie was hitched up, I walked to the food court. Each door to the building had a white sheet of paper on it. Closed.


Having already used up three nearby non-chain coffee shops I decided to head to the Del Ray neighborhood, home of Saint Elmo's Coffee Pub. Saint Elmo's is a bit of a Del Ray institution and it deserves its reputation as a fun place to hang out.  In front of the shop is a bike corral where customers can lock up their bikes on the street. Alexandria, you need to do a whole lot more of this!
Muffn with coffee. Mighty fine.

Inside I ordered a medium Americano and an Cranberry Orange muffin.  Both were excellent. The muffin was not quite as good as Red Truck's, but the coffee was the best of all my coffeeneuring stops.
Little Nellie in the bike corral at St. Elmo's

I took my time riding home. After riding Little Nellie exclusively for about 165 miles my body has dialed into riding her. It's hard to explain but spinning properly requires getting your hips and ankles and knees working together just so. The ride home, despite two decent hills on Fort Hunt Road, was effortless.


Where: St. Elmo's Coffee Pub, Mount Vernon Avenue, Del Ray, Alexandria VA
What: Americano and orange cranberry muffin
Distance: 18 miles

So, there you have it. I have met the Coffeeneuring Challenge of 2012.



  1. Huh. I hit St Elmo's at about 5 after a nice and friendly visit to Velocity - where the gentleman confirmed that my derailer housing was crap. I had a nice cup of tea - but had not ridden my bike not even from the car to the bikeshop. So I get no credit whatsoever.

    The old Food Pavilion is closed? Que Triste. I had heard that it was doomed. There was a pizza / pasta place there that we use to like to go to with the dogs. They served an endless bowl of pasta, but you had to buy bowls of sauce. Was sort of a clever gimmick, poor executed.

    Anyway, had my first Dairy Godmother. I should get extra points for that!

  2. I'll have to put St. Elmo's on the list! Glad you finally found a winner.