On the ski hills, on the bike trails, and thru life in general

Posts tagged ‘Glasshouse Cafe’

Coffeeneuring #5 – The Glasshouse

A little tardy in responding to MG’s coffeeneur guest post request but better latte than never…  OK – that was bad but I couldn’t resist.  I had already posted my #4 ride before MG came out with her suggestion so had to wait until I completed ride #5.  Here is today’s ride description in “guest post” form.

1) Where do you live?

I live in St. Albert, Alberta, Canada, a city of 60,000+ on the northwest edge of Edmonton.  I know that MG had to look up where Edmonton was to make her map of last year’s coffeeneurs but, to help the rest of you, Edmonton is about 500 km (310 mi) north of the Montana border and is the most northern North American city having a population greater than 1 million people. Both St. Albert and Edmonton have extensive, and well used, recreational bike trails.

2) How did you decide to coffeeneur?

I regularly read a number of cycling blogs and came across the challenge last year on chasingmailboxes. I thought that it would be good fun and provide added incentive to keep riding later into the season when the weather here is known to throw more than a few frozen wrenches into the mix. I successfully completed that challenge (with ride #7 only 2 days after a 35 cm (14 in) snowfall – a challenge indeed) and fervently hope that the snow stays away a bit longer this year.

3) What bike are you using as your coffeeneuring bike? What makes it a good coffeeneuring bike?

My main coffeeneuring bike is a 2000 Specialized Crossroads hybrid.  Since most of my rides at this time of year are on city streets and multi-use trails, I prefer using the hybrid. Tires are 700×35, with a fairly non-aggressive tread – acceptable for bumping along packed dirt trails, when necessary, but don’t act like suction cups once on pavement. It’s a pleasure to ride, especially now that my new Brooks saddle is broken in. I also have a 2012 Trek Madone 5.2 road bike, which I use for longer (and faster) excursions.

4) Where did you choose to coffeeneur for this coffeeneuring trip?

My caffeine destination today was the Glasshouse Café and Bistro.  Even though it is close to my regular riding route, I hadn’t been there since last year’s #5 coffeeneuring ride. No real reason, other than it is more expensive than other choices on the route and less convenient to get to because of trail construction detours. Unlike last year, when it was -6C/21F and I rode in the snow to get there, today was warm (13C/55F) and the trail was dry. Just so that it wouldn’t be a perfect biking day though, the weather gods decided that a steady 35kph wind, gusting to 50kph, would be appropriate. Such is life on the prairies.

5) Is the coffee shop beautiful and the coffee delicious? Tell us a little about your coffeeneuring locale.

This coffee shop is large, modern, bright and full of greenery, as befitting it’s location in the Enjoy Centre – a huge new greenhouse complex on the edge of St. Albert. I had a very good latte and a so-so pumpkin cream cheese muffin. And, wonder of wonders, they actually had a bike rack by one of the entrances, even though I’m sure that their bike traffic is minimal. Good for them. I should make a point of coming here more often.

The Enjoy Centre, a large greenhouse complex in St. Albert

The Enjoy Centre, a large greenhouse complex in St. Albert


The Glasshouse Cafe. Lots of light and shrubbery.

The Glasshouse Cafe. Lots of light and shrubbery.


The cafe and a small part of the main floor of the greenhouse.

The cafe and a small part of the main floor of the greenhouse.


Latte and muffin. And bike helmet, complete with coffeeneuring button. No tuque and mitts this year!

Latte and muffin. And bike helmet, complete with coffeeneuring button. No tuque and mitts required this year!

Bike rack by a side door. A little old school but still functional!

Bike rack by a side door. A little old school but still functional!


6) What other types of riding do you do besides coffeeneuring?

I belong to senior’s downhill ski club which has a large and very active cycling contingent in the summer. We have scheduled rides in Edmonton and the surrounding communities twice a week and those of us with road bikes usually ride as a group another 1 or 2 days a week. Probably 90% of our rides involve a coffee stop half way through, so we are pretty well a full time coffeeneuring club! I also go out on my own, riding the trail system in St. Albert on the Specialized or getting a workout on the roads with the Trek. I generally get in about 4,000 km (2,500 mi) over the season.

7) What else did I forget to ask you that you want to share?

Being retired, I have ample time to play on my bikes and enjoy life. It is easy to keep active when you enjoy what you are doing and have a supportive peer group around you.

Coffeeneuring #5

Date: Saturday, October 19, 2013

Place: Glasshouse Cafe and Bistro, in The Enjoy Centre, St. Albert, AB

What: Latte and pumpkin cream cheese muffin

Distance: 20 km

Details: A nice re-visit, after a 1-year absence, on a warm but blustery day.

Coffeeneuring 5 – In the snow

The weather forecasters finally got it right, much to my dismay, when we awoke to a blanket of snow this morning.  Not much, only about a half inch, but enough to provide icy lubrication on the streets and trails.  My 700×35 bike tires are not suited to winter, having almost no tread, which makes them great for pavement but not so much for traction in mud or snow.  I went out for a 3-mile walk first, to check the trails, and found that the city was in the process of sweeping them clean.  It was still cool, at -6C, but the sun was shining and it was just too nice a day to pass up a ride.  So trepidation and care was the order of the day when I set out.  I often push the season when I head out in spring as soon as I see a bit of pavement showing through the ice and snow, so I figured that this wasn’t much different.  And I was pleasantly surprised!  I had no problems with traction, even on the areas that the sweeper hadn’t got to yet.  By noon, the sun had melted some of the open stretches and, with the swept areas, about 60% of my route was snow free.

Some parts of the trail were still snow covered…

Some parts of the trail were partially melted off…

And some parts of the trail were fairly clean!

The snow has covered the ice but the duckweed patch is mostly snow free. Ominous clouds in the north.

The snow on the duckweed had melted off, except in the shadows of the deck rails!

Bye geese! Have a nice trip – see you next year.

And I was able to get in my coffeeneuring requirement too.  After my usual ride out to Big Lake, I headed over to the Glasshouse Bistro and Cafe.  It is located in The Enjoy Centre, which is the new home for Hole’s greenhouse – one of the largest greenhouses in western Canada.  I enjoyed a very nice vanilla bean latte and warmed up for my trip home.  On the way out, I passed a guy dressed as a marshmallow who was just entering.  The cashier looked over at me and said “And so it begins…”.  Ah Halloween.  And here I thought I would stand out dressed in my biking duds!

Vanilla bean latte at Glasshouse Cafe

Coffeeneuring 5:

Date: Friday, Oct. 26

Place: Glasshouse Bistro and Cafe, St. Albert

What: Vanilla bean latte

Distance: 18 km

Details: 1st ride in the snow.  Probably not the last.

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