Sunday, 5 October 2014

#Coffeeneuring 2014: Ride 1

Destination:  Jake's Cafe, Woodside Animal Farm, Woodside Road, LU1 4DG
Date:  Sunday, 5 October 2014
Hot drink of choice:  Cappuccino
Total mileage:  7km
Bicycle:  Riley the Enigma

Today was all about easing back into cycling, three weeks after my medial glute muscles staged a mutiny, causing all sorts of havoc for my knees -- as if they aren't Grumpy enough all on their own! And then I had a 24-hour vomitting bug on Thursday/Friday. So all in all, I have felt a little fragile but determined to get on my bike for no good reason other than 'just because', not because I had to get to anywhere. 

Coffeeneuring is a fine excuse! This friendly, slightly tongue-in-cheek challenge is becoming a key event in the Autumn calendars for people on bikes around the world. "The Rules" are here. I find coffeeneuring a lovely way to wind down after a summer of challenges of a more physical nature. I do hope there is one more night ride still in me before those too shut down but, if not, I love winter cycling in Bedfordshire: quiet and contemplative meanderings through skeletal landscapes and ever-changing mists. 

So this weekend, I completed Ride 1 of the Coffeeneuring Challenge (2014 Edition). 

Ride details/report:

Today, I set off from home with the firm intention of having a closer look at two local points of interest within a few miles of home. I've gone past both of them many times with barely a fleeting glance. You know what I mean? You probably have a few places like this near your home, too. Why not go for a walk or a short bike ride (because that's how close they are -- you know it!) to have a closer look? 

View from the road I often take to Harpenden -- see that small (indeed, short) church spire?
Today I am going to go have a look.

The large house is a residential care home -- not of interest, today at least.

St Andrew's parish church, Slip End.

I love the tree-tunnel boulevard effect leading in.

The grounds and graveyard are very well tended -- more like a garden park than a churchyard.

A brief guide to wildflowers common in churchyards.

I could not find any gravestone or memorial marker pre-dating 1900.

The church itself indeed feels like a very 20th century creation.

One massive family burial plot takes centre stage -- with lots of small individually engraved
paving stone sized markers.

These are a few of the neglected plots in the grounds, many from the 1950s.
How soon families and friends move away and forget.

After a quiet 20 minutes at St Andrew's, I cycled through the village of Slip End to Woodside Animal Farm. 

Woodside Animal Farm has, in addition to a petting "zoo", a village-like collection of small family-run businesses, one of which is Jake's Cafe, today's Coffeeneuring Destination. 

Seated on the deck at Jake's, next door to a rather twee home decor shop and
a more interesting (but closed) supplies shop for "crafters".

You've been warned!

The service was unbelievably slow but both the coffee
and "single breakfast" were hot, tasty and reasonably priced.

I decided to return another day to actually visit the animals (and pay the £5 entry fee to do so) but found the chicken coop right next door to the crafter's shop so stopped by to say 'hello' to some good layers. Unfortunately, they all thought I was bringing them treats! 

One got so excited, she flew up to the top of the fence -- straight into my face at very close quarters!

Also on the premises is the "Self Service Dog Wash", which apparently is one of the most popular enterprises at the Farm! 

There is also a "farm shop". The farm does not grow food so this isn't a food shop, rather it's an emporium of supplies for the animals you may keep at home, with an emphasis on poultry, rabbits and the like. Nothing for cats (I asked!) -- apparently cats are considered to be well-served by other shops, as indeed there is a large pet supplies shop down in Slip End village itself. 

From where I had locked up my bicycle, I could see two alpacas up in their pen (past the ticket booth).

Next time, I will take my bike right into the
outdoor eating area, rather than relegating it
to the car park next to the bins!

Finally turning for home, I saw the first local bit of true Autumn colour. While it's admittedly not to a "New England" standard, it's a visible sign that the seasons are indeed changing. I love cycling in rural Bedfordshire in the wintertime, so this is a welcome messenger, not a bad omen.


  1. Rebecca, I'm inspired! This is the perfect combination of "post-season" riding and the need for warm drinks on chilly days, AND an excuse to get out and ride around with a little creative concept around it.

    1. Great! The most "challenging" aspect of it all is documenting each ride. ;) I've just added you to the Facebook page. I'm not sure if posting a few words & a photo to that "counts", but it sure helps me pull all my stuff together to do a final "wrap up" at the end of it all, especially if I've posted the details of different ride to different sites, i.e. a mixture of Twitter, Facebook and blogging. Good luck! And Happy Pedalling and Sipping!

  2. That's an impressive chicken. I didn't know they could fly!

    1. They can, Jake, but with such stubby wings and heavy body, not very high or very far and few chickens actually bother. :-)

  3. Thx for the peek into your local cycling world. That was a threatening, witty sign: trespassers will be composted!

    1. You're welcome, Jean. I love the insights you give into yours, so I'm glad I could do the same for you, if only a little. The sign made me laugh - very British sense of humour! We have a friend who 'collects' funny signs so I enjoyed sharing this one with him.

  4. What an excellent idea! I may try a weekday version as my weekends are full of family stuff. Your trip sounds great, it's so good to set modest ambitions sometimes.

    1. Coffeeneuring is great anyday, anytime! If you want an 'official' finish, there are Rules. Are you still freelance/work from home or similar? You can nominate a couple of weekdays as your "weekend" for the purpose of The Rules - key is to stick with those days for the duration of the "Challenge". :)

  5. I'm an at home mum, so I could do a school day version and skip the official finish. I've been off the bike for so long that I almost dread getting back on again.

    1. Your bike is your old friend, remember? Just enjoy getting re-acquainted. At the end of a little ride, you get a coffee and she has mud on her tyres. Both happy. :-)

  6. Yay, not sure what changed, but I can now write comments without being a Google+ member. Now, off to my next coffeenneuring adventure...

    1. Yay! I switched off Google+ as the comment function. :) Enjoying your coffeeneuring adventures -so cool you have yet another tree house to feature!


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