Cruising for Caffeine: 4th Annual Coffee Ride

| April 28, 2014 | 0 Comments
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4th Annual Coffee Ride

When the calendar rolls around to April, it means it’s time for me and my cycling co-conspirator, Pamela Palma, to lead another caffeine-fueled ride! We’ve alternated in the past between San Francisco and the East Bay, and this year it was the latter’s turn to host our adventure. Our 22-mile-ish route would make five new stops throughout Oakland, Alameda and Berkeley: Bicycle CoffeeVines Cafe & GalleryThe CRO CafeBlue BottleAlchemy Collective. This ride would also be a benefit for Bike East Bay, the cycling organization formerly known as the East Bay Bicycle Coalition (I currently serve on the board of directors.)

Bicycle Coffee

Bicycle Coffee

Bicycle Coffee is normally closed on Sundays, but they graciously opened their shop doors for us at their Jack London Square location. Despite the light sprinkling of rain that began falling around 10AM, about 80 enthusiastic cyclists showed up at their roastery and retail shop to partake of Bicycle Coffee’s delicious complimentary coffee — single-serving, pour over cups and cold brew — that was offered as a special treat to our group. (However, they do offer free coffee to the public on Fridays!) After Renee Rivera, the Executive Director of Bike East Bay, welcomed everyone with a brief speech about the organization, we headed out into the mist towards Alameda.

Vines Cafe

Vines Cafe

By the time we arrived at Vines Cafe & Gallery, a lovely home-now-coffeehouse next door to Thomsen’s Garden Center on Lincoln Avenue, the rain had already disappeared and been replaced by the warm spring sunshine. Towards the entrance of their building, Vines Cafe sells a selection of ceramics, prints and other collectibles. As you make your way towards the back of the space, you’ll find a quiet sanctuary to enjoy your coffee and pastries — either inside or on their lovely patio that overlooks the neighboring nursery.

Blue Bottle

Blue Bottle

We took a scenic route past Shoreline Drive along the southern part of Alameda before cutting through Fruitvale to take a loop around Oakland’s Lake Merritt. Then our group headed northwards on Broadway to Blue Bottle; their coffee empire continues to expand, and they’ve recently renovated W.C. Morse building, a former truck showroom, into an elegant cafe with an array of high-end espresso machines and other wares.

CRO Cafe

CRO Cafe

About a mile away, we dropped into The CRO Cafe‘s newly remodeled space in Temescal Alley. They’ve also extended their hours from 7am-6pm. (You can read more about owner Luigi Oldani’s venture in my previous feature.)

Alchemy Collective Cafe

Alchemy Collective Cafe

Our final stop was the worker-owned Berkeley cafe, the aptly named Alchemy Collective. It’s a cozy storefront that serves Verve Coffee and a small selection of pastries and treats.

Alchemy Collective Cafe

End of the ride!

Thanks to all who came out on the ride and the local establishments that graciously served our thirsty crew all day. Follow me on Twitter if you’d like to learn about next year’s ride! And see more photos at my Flickr account here, and Pamela has additional images here.

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Category: bay area, berkeley, east bay, local food businesses, oakland, restaurants, bars, cafes, tea and coffee

About the Author ()

Jenny is happy to wear multiple hats at KQED; she works as an Interactive Producer for the Science & Environment unit and blogs for Bay Area Bites, KQED's popular food blog. Jenny graduated with honors from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Film and Television program and has worked for WNET/PBS, The Learning Channel, Sundance Channel and HBO.