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The joys of trail coffee

Text and photos by @lukebhall

Coffee Culture and Cycling Culture have always been married in one respect or another. It’s no secret that this history falls back onto European bike routes where a cafe can always be expected in the next town. A little caffeine hit never hurt between long segments of climbs, or just big days in the saddle. Besides that, an espresso while you rest your legs tastes pretty great too. But you don’t need to be epicing up France’s Mont Ventoux before needing a quick jolt from some coffee.

I came out of the travel industry and have been lucky enough to live the coffee, ride, stop for more coffee, then ride again lifestyle. But this cycle seems to be a universal language of people on bikes. And I can say first hand it translates from Europe to the US pretty well. 

We ended up at the parking lot before the rest of our friends arrived. It was 7:30 on a Sunday morning after all, and not everyone coming was part of the early bird crew. We were trying to beat the heat and the forecasted afternoon storms. So while waiting, still groggy from the weekend alarms, we ground some coffee and took in the stillness of the morning. It was going to be a chill day of riding, meandering through the front range back here in Colorado. 

After unloading the bikes and checking tire pressures, a quick text message let us know our friends were en route, but later than expected. In all honesty, I wasn’t mad. A slow start felt good for the way the day was trending. It’s really easy to get into the mountains with a strict time table. But today was about having a good time and not about a specific objective. 

So we sat the jetboil down in the dirt and let the water heat up. While waiting for it to boil, we pulled out the grinder, poured in some fresh beans, and prepped the aeropress. It’s really a compact system that was easy to bring along. We even have friends who toss this setup into a backpack for longer days and boil water at streams for some mid ride caffeine. We weren’t out for a long day like that, but while in the parking lot it made sense.

And in this moment all was well in the world. Even with everything going on, a brief second to take in the small joys in life was a moment of solace for both of us. 

By the time we sipped on the coffee long enough for it to cool down, we looked up and saw a familiar car pulling in. A few last swigs and we were awake and ready to pedal hard. It only took a few minutes to realize the coffee break was enough to give us the advantage on our still groggy friends. After a mile or so they woke up themselves, but why suffer through that when you can have a hot drink on a cool morning?

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