Starting more than 10 years ago (doesn’t time fly!) I used to do a ride each April from Sydney to the Gold Coast, run by a Rotary club.
It was a great experience, one which helped form a whole lot of things about me as a cyclist. How to train to get fit, how to ride in a bunch, what good form/fitness feels like on a bike, how to conserve your energy to ride all day, the role of food & drink as input fuel … lots of stuff.
And I learned this information from the old hands on the ride.
One of whom was a bloke named Harry.
Harry, so the saying went, was “a machine for turning Guinness into road miles” on the bicycle.
This post isn’t about cycling’s received wisdom, passed down from grizzled veterans to callow youths. It certainly isn’t about Guinness.
It’s about coffee.
As I said at the end of last year, I’ve noted that I’m still a little bit more of a roadie than a mountain biker. One possible reason why this is true is that it’s easier.
It’s easier to jump on the road bike straight out of my front gate.
Riding a road bike is easier than riding a mountain bike. It takes less energy, less thought, less stamina, less skill, less explosive power.
(Can you tell that I drafted most of this post the morning after a massive mountain bike ride that totally kicked my arse?).
But another good reason why I ride the road bike a lot is a socio-chemical one.
The post-ride coffee. I am a machine for turning road miles into coffee. (Harry’s equation seems to be more productive, don’t you think?)
So, all other things being equal, a ride that finishes with a coffee is better than one that doesn’t.
All other things are not equal of course. They never are. The phrase “all other things being equal” is as much of a nonsense phrase as those political favourites “at this point in time”, and “the reality is”.
I’m thinking about coffee a little bit at present, because coffee, like many other areas of discretionary spending, has traps and inefficiencies. According to my opinion, the path to the best coffee isn’t always achieved by just spending a lot of money. There are obvious parallels to other areas of my life — the question ‘which is the best bike for me?’ almost always involves a balance of spending vs benefit.
And in the Christmas-New Year period, I have a few days off at home. This is time for family gatherings, catching up with friends we don’t often see. Lots of good stuff.
But it means making more coffee at home. To lay my habits bare before the entire Interwebs (or that subset of it which reads briztreadley), I’m a 4-cups-a-day man: two before lunch, one in the afternoon sometime, one in the evening.
On a typical day, the first one might be at a cafe, post-ride. The second and third ones will be at work (mostly likely from a Lavazza coffee-pod machine), and only the last one, in the evening, will be made at home.
For this time of year, if the day is a non-riding one (it can happen, especially with our return to the stormy summers I remember from the 1970s), all four of those coffees might be made at home.
And much to Annette’s justifiable annoyance, I don’t use the espresso machine that she bought for me a couple of years ago.
I use an Aeropress. $50 worth of plastic. And it makes a great cup of coffee. Worth a try.