Coffeeneuring 2017

Week 1

Avoca Coffee, 835 Foch St, Fort Worth, TX 76107,


This year’s Coffeeneuring Challenge started on the very first day of the season (October 13), and I arrived before they opened the doors.  I’ve never been more eager to get started.


I enjoyed their highly regarded Cortado, and added an enormous chocolate muffin as a bonus. While my senses were being delighted, I couldn’t help appreciating the special bike parking accommodations.


Today’s outing started with my normal 50-mile drive from rural northwest Denton County to my workplace in downtown Fort Worth. It then transitioned to more pleasurable transportation as I grabbed the Rivendell Quickbeam kept in my office for my city life. I turned on my lights and glided through dark and empty streets, on to the Trinity Trails, across the Trinity River pedestrian bridge, through the silent park, and up Foch Street to the coffee shop. After snapping my first photo of the bike outside, the boys raised the big overhead door. Coffee time! Finally, I took an alternate route back to work to make a 4-mile loop. It might be Friday the 13th, but it seems I’m off to a great start.

Week 2

Trinity Park, Downtown Fort Worth, Texas


Pre-dawn, Friday, October 20


Riverside… coffee outside. Fresh, hand-ground Avoca Noir beans, and a robust pour-over brew using my Soto Helix.


Similar to last week, I decided to go coffeeneuring before work on Friday instead of waiting for my more typical Saturday outings. So the Rivendell Quickbeam was once again on call for another peaceful glide through the early morning darkness. Next to a silent blue flame, I watched a city come to life. As the sky became lighter, I saw the swirling clouds reflected on the calm surface of the tranquil river flow.

The weather was so pleasantly cool, I was tempted to secretly glide away from downtown. But I had my moment of peace, and was appropriately caffeinated. So maybe I could manage one more day before the weekend.


Epic Lollygagging 2017

This is the post that provides key information for the 9th Annual Fall Finale 50ish Mile Country Path Ramble. This year’s information post includes bonus photos of Blue Moon leading the reconnaissance expedition. That was a huge responsibility because this year’s route has been modified. The key differences in the route are (a) it is a couple of miles shorter, (b) includes less mileage on FM roads, (c) omits the Rosston General Store, and (d) includes a few new segments. The route for 2017 is similar to what we’ve done in the recent past, but Blue Moon wanted to shorten it a little and trade FM road mileage for County Road mileage. Regrettably, he had to sacrifice a crowd favorite stop in Rosston, but was able to keep the delightful Greenwood stop on the route.

1Blue Moon takes his reconnaissance seriously


This year’s Ramble will be on Saturday, November 11. We will roll out of my driveway at 9 am. That means you should arrive in time to make all needed preparations BEFORE 9 am. Sometimes we have a fire going, or some breakfast tacos to munch. We always enjoy admiring our friends bicycles. This is a social ride, so arriving an hour early would be brilliant!

2He wants you to know you’ll see gobs of barbed wire


The Ramble is a ride I do each year on a Saturday near the end of autumn. The primary objective is to spend a few hours riding a bicycle with others on rural north Texas roads.  A goodly fraction of the route is on gravel roads (about 44% this year). Historically, it’s length has been in the 40-50 mile range. This year totals 48.

This year’s route, weather permitting, will be about 2 miles shorter than last year, and will include a couple of new segments. In the past, I have offered two options.  The standard route, and a shorter interior loop of approximately 35 miles which omits the Greenwood stop. Blue Moon urged me to omit the short route option this year. There are no services on that route at all. Officially, I probably will omit it. However, if you want to come and are not comfortable with the 48 mile route, let me know.

The pace is what I call “conversational” because I think of this as a social kind of touring ride.  We will stop for snacks, photographs, or just because.  Since I’m participating in the Coffeeneuring Challenge, I am definitely planning to stop for a coffee brew-up. Like last year, I plan to have cue sheets available for those who might wish to ride faster or slower than me.

3Blue Moon allowed for my favorite coffee brew-up spot on the route (mile 14.5)

4Blue Moon approves of the brew-up spot in front of the grove

5The Ramble has gone through Leo in the past, and Blue Moon wanted it back this year

In addition to the coffee brew-up on the route, a sort of tradition has emerged to drive into town (Sanger) after the ride to refuel with Mexican food at Miguelito’s. Any who wish to join before making their way back to the big city are welcome to join the group for a little more bicycle-related socializing.

6Not far past Leo, we’ll get to see the big hole


Anyone who is interested in being a part of what is described above is welcome to participate. If you plan to join me, I would appreciate an email message (cj dot spinner at g mail dot com) or a blog post comment telling me that you will be here.  My preparation plans are dependent on the number of folks participating, so please help me with this. If you plan to join us and haven’t already contacted me, please do so now.

7Blue Moon knows we all want to stop at the Greenwood Grocery for grub (mile 27)

8…and admire the classic ad mural…

9…and the park…


If you need my address and/or directions to my little place on the prairie, send me an email.

10Blue Moon made sure we’d have plenty of creek crossings

11Blue Moon suggested routing through Slidell

12Did he mention barbed wire?

13…and gravel roads, we love our gravel roads!


Plan ahead. If this Ramble thing sounds like a good time, block out the day and get it on your calendar now. Then make your contingency plan in case you can’t finish the route for any reason. Finally, let me know you are coming. Bring a friend.

14We are sad when the last gravel segment turns to pavement

I always want folks to know that I’m not hard-core.  I can ride if it is a little cold, or a little drizzly, but I don’t like cold AND wet.  On days like that, I will send you on your way with a cue sheet and my best wishes, and then spend the rest of my day by the fireplace (join me there if you wish).

The other thing to emphasize for this ride is that you are responsible for you. This is not a T-shirt ride, there are no entry fees, and no (official) sag services. That said, Mrs. Pondero has been known to rescue a few folks in the past. She has a pick-up and a cell phone, and often tries to join the group at Greenwood at the time she expects some of us to be there (noonish?).

We’ll have only one place to stop for restroom, water, or snacks (Greenwood, mile 27). You should have a back-up plan for a mechanical problem, and beware…some areas on the Ramble route do not have cell phone service.  Yes, it’s rural.

Any questions?

Lake Murray Trails

I took Eric’s invitation to join him for some early morning trail riding up in Lake Murray State Park. It was a kind of still and steamy hot, and we both were chewed on by chiggers.

Eric made an underbiking comment about “bringing a knife to a gunfight”. Evidently, he is a skillful knife wielder. As usual with photos and videos, it his hard to appreciate the severity of the terrain. Where are all the steep slopes? What happened to all the rocks, roots, and ruts? They most certainly were there, and Eric did a great job of picking his lines. It was probably his smooth, effortless style that made it look so easy.

I plan to return to these trails. But next time, I’m bringing overwhelming fire power against those chiggers.

Midsummer S24O


In north central Texas where I live, summer overnighters are much tougher than those in winter. But they must not be left undone.  Here’s a summary of this one…

  • Blazing hot departure
  • Arrival after sundown soaked in sweat
  • Some kind of cattle operation at a nearby ranch resulted in bellowing cows until late in the dark, moonless night
  • A grey, windless morning
  • Trailside breakfast and a hilltop view
  • Would it rain? Yes.
  • Clouds and light rain kept the heat away…yay!
  • Sleep was lacking, but it was SO worth it
  • Another micro-tour success

Regret or Satisfaction?


Sometimes the difference between bitter regret and sweet satisfaction is the ability to quickly formulate a backup plan.


When life circumstances come and crush your plans, can you analyze the new constraints and find another way?


Maybe it is best not to dwell on an opportunity lost…


…but instead develop the mental agility to maximize the opportunity that remains.

Sunrise Prairie Coffee


This is in contrast with last evening. Then, I was dining at a picnic table at the State Park, and oh, the noise. It was a confusing mix of boat motors, overlapping music sources, conversation, and the happy screams of children at the swimming beach. It was a summer weekend at the lake, filled with crowds. It was happy noise, but not the more subtle and natural sounds I had in mind when I left the house.

This morning was completely different. It was the sounds of the summer breeze, the birds, rustling grass, and cows on the hills.

Apparently, places that energize some folks, make me weary. Places that others find boring are, for me, like being plugged into that which powers the universe.

Down the Rabbit Hole


Sometimes my otherwise completely normal and healthy lifestyle of cycling, camping, and coffee intersects with Mrs. Pondero’s bizarre world of dog agility. I enjoy those outings with her. It is an opportunity to spend time with her, to learn a little more about her interests, and to support her. Finally, and most importantly, it is an opportunity to establish (refresh?) conclusively which of our loving twosome has the strongest hold on sanity.

Dog agility people have their own bizarre culture. They have special clothes, vocabulary, and buy all manner of obscure gear for their dog-related activities. It seems they make up any kind of excuse to get together and do things with their dogs. Some of these activities include running through complicated courses, and they have a wide variety of intricate rules for doing so. They talk endlessly about things that happened at their last gathering, and where they plan to take their dogs next. Although I get the idea that some of them are “unusually focused” on this activity, it is fascinating to watch these wonderfully warm people enjoy their rituals.

But I always bring a bicycle along. It is a security beacon that helps keep me on firm footing. It is a lifeline that helps me return back to a sane world.

“Sure, I’ll be happy to provide logistics support for your agility trial…but first coffee.”