Good cafés are the bookends for group rides the world over. Why? Caffeine, of course. Espresso bars and the light bites they offer are the perfect complement to both the cyclist's demeanor and energy needs. Espressos, weighing in at 1.5 oz's of fluid, pack a nice ratio of caffeine to water content. That means less to disperse mid-ride behind a bush while lycra-clad compatriots heckle you.
So what distinguishes a fuel stop fit for cyclists who'll spend upwards of $10k on a new bike from a coffee shop we'll pass up even though it's 20 miles to the next spot? The short answer is, it depends. Here are a few general characteristics which all of the following fuel stops have in common:
- The quality of a good espresso pull is certainly one characteristic. Not too acidic, and not too dull.
- The open-arms spirit of the staff is another good quality - there aren't too many folks in the world who welcome forty humans descending en masse upon their establishment dressed in Lycra and paying w/ sweaty bills.
- Finally, bike visibility. We don't usually carry u-locks, so having an eye on the bikes outside while we sip and chat is mission critical.