Coco Bikes – SKBC – PBR – Denver Chain Chase: The Royal Rush Bike Race

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Michael (left) Kirsten (right) on the way from Checkpooint #1: Highlands to Checkpoint #2: Denver Bike Cafe. Credit: Jeff Doorn, July 2013

Saturday, July 13th, I embarked on my first bike race with two of our good friends, Michael and Jeff (their first races as well!). Like previously noted, Jeff just moved here from Dallas – he bought a bike roughly a week prior, and had ridden a few times, however we calculated the Poker Rush race to be about 20 miles. Jeff and I being the newbies to biking said, “Why the hell not?” We had 4 hours to finish the race, we didn’t mind if we were last, and we could meet some new people.

We started off at Coco Bikes on Inca in Denver; this is where we registered for $20 (which included sweet tshirt), received the manifest, and hung out until race time. There were roughly 60 people entered in the race – some beginners, like Jeff and I, some serious racers, and some participating to have a chill, bike ride day with friends. All were welcome, which made the race less intimidating.

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Poker Run – Royal Rush Bike Route. I did not include the bike ride to the starting point, Coco Bikes, from our apartment which is another 4 miles. Our ride home from Broadway clocked another 6 miles. Thanks to the Strava App for allowing me to keep track of these things!

When we were signaled to begin, Michael, Jeff, and I road to the Highlands, the hardest part of the entire race. This is where I hurled in front of children along the sidewalk of a beautiful neighborhood. I had only rode in the Highlands once, which was not anything too strenuous as it was only a few blocks. This was totally different. With some coaching and support from my friends  Jeff and Michael, we made it to our first check point. The rest of the race was around the greater downtown Denver area, including Washington Park, Odelay Tacos, & Denver Bike Cafe.

Four checkpoints, one thunderstorm, and roughly 28 miles later (including bike ride from house, race, and bike ride home), we had finished our first race. We weren’t first, last, fastest, slowest – somewhere in the middle was where we wound up. The experience was incredible, and we met amazing friends.

So, why am I writing about this? Simple: to encourage newbies to not be afraid of such events. It’s an incredible, accomplished feeling to finish a bike race, aside from it being a hell of a lot of fun.

Check out places like CocoBikes, the SKBC Facebook Page, Denver Chain Chase, and other Facebook pages to see what races are coming up in your area! Don’t be afraid – if a bunch of fresh-to-the-city Michiganders can do it, you’ve totally got this!

Big thanks to Denver Bike Cafe & Odelay Tacos for participating as check points in this awesome Poker Run event.

Denver Bike Cafe – Laid-Back & Local

Feature written by: Kat Wood, DenverSpeax

Denver Bicycle Cafe (DBC) has a great assortment of beverages and snacks to choose from. Credit: Kat Wood, June 2013

When I moved to downtown Denver in August of 2012, one of the first places I got excited about was the Denver Bicycle Cafe, which is conveniently located a block away from me at 17th and Lafayette streets. I can say without hesitation that it’s my favorite cafe in Denver. The staff who work at DBC are so down-to-Earth and personal; they’re always friendly and greeting you with a smile and  good conversation. They recognize me  by now and usually know what I want before I do! This, among many other reasons, is what keeps me coming back. 

DBC is located at 1308 E 17th Ave Denver. Check out these wicked snacks! Credit: Kat Wood June 2013

DBC was founded in 2011 by two friends who simply loved bikes, beer, and coffee, and wanted to create a place to share that love with the Denver community. The quite sizable building consists of two bar areas, window seats, two person tables, and picnic style tables.  They serve a wide selection of bottled and canned beer from local Denver breweries (keeping it in the community) as well as breweries from around the state. Not enough local for you yet? They also brew locally roasted coffee. They take pride in the grinding of the beans, using awesome hands-on techniques to brew your coffee right in front of you. I love the local theme at DBC; it’s obvious that the community is a priority, which is reflected within the products they choose to use – local, local, local. DBC also offers a selection of bagels and pastries, as well as some hot items, like tamales. They welcome you to bring your own food and also provide nearby eateries menues. 

 

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Sweet bike shop, dudes. Credit: Kat Wood, June 2013

Now that you’ve heard all about one side of this hybrid bike shop / cafe, let’s jump to the other: the bike repair/tuning section. You can make an appointment with the ever so knowledgable mechanics to tune up your ride, or simply remove a stuck pedal. Need a flat repaired? No problem. Their mission is to get you back riding as soon as possible! 

The outdoor patio is situated right next to the bike corral, so you can a keep an eye on your ride; however, in this uptown neighborhood, I don’t really find it necessary to have to watch your bike like a hawk if you bring a lock. I frequent the patio and its picnic tables on sunny days with my dog, Kokuma. Dogs on leashes are welcomed, and there is always a fresh water dish set out for the furry patrons.

The atmosphere of DBC is laid-back and hip. It’s filled with cyclists of all types: single-speed and fixed gears, to long distance, road cyclists, and mountain bikers. Come with a friend to have a beer on a sunny Saturday, or come during the quiet hours on weekdays to study, or work on your laptop. No matter the time, they will be playing EXCELLENT music (in my opinion). I remember a particular afternoon I was studying, and the playlist that was playing could have been straight from my personal iPod! 

DBC is always hosting events and celebrations. They often have coffee and beer tastings, and even beer and cheese pairings. They also host game night as well as charity events to give back to the community. These event dates can be found on their website: http://www.denverbicyclecafe.com, which is also embedded throughout this post.

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Click on the picture to be directed to DBC’s Facebook Page, and like ’em! Credit: Kat Wood June 2013

What it all comes down to, is,  if you like good music, bikes, beer and coffee – any or all of the above, you have to check out Denver Bicycle Cafe. It’s your place to be. 

 

Watercourse Foods – Making Bellies Smile

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Watercourse Foods Menu (click picture for link) Credit: Kirsten Ebey May 2013

Let’s get something straight right off the bat: I am not a Vegetarian, but a self-proclaimed foodie. I love meat, and all the benefits / consequences it has to offer. I just don’t see myself crossing over to the Vegetarian world any time soon.

With that said, let me introduce you to one of my favorite restaurants in Denver: Watercourse Foods, a 100% Vegetarian Restaurant situated at 837 E. 17th Ave. Over the past decade, Watercourse Foods has grown from a breakfast and lunch only operation to a full blown restaurant (including breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and bakery, open 7 days per week. With a beer and wine license, Watercourse has the ability to run wicked drink specials you can pair with your meal, anytime – my favorite being their signature mimosa. Delicious!

Watercourse Foods includes indoor and outdoor seating, and provides plenty of opportunity to lock up your bike. Street parking is also available surrounding the restaurant, and usually isn’t too difficult to locate.

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Watercourse Food’s Portobello Po Boy with lemon caper aioli, french fries, and quinoa salad. Credit: Kirsten Ebey May 2013

My ultimate dish at Watercourse is the Portobello Po Boy. A native of Louisiana, I know my Po Boys, and let me tell you: this Vegetarian style Po Boy is the whip. Topped with cole-slaw and lemon or chipotle caper aioli on a kaiser roll, how can you go wrong? If that’s not enough, no worries – two sides of your choice complete the meal. To be honest, I clap every time it’s presented to me. it’s like Christmas.

Another favorite of mine is their Ho Ho Cupcake. I apologize for not having a picture to include because it’s the most glorious cupcake I’ve seen in a while. Chocolate genoche atop  a chocolate cupcake filled with cream. So simple, yet so much flavor. It took 3 of us and 5 minutes to tackle this monster.

Portioning of all plates, regardless of appetizer or meal, are fit for sharing. So, share the love of your delicious menu choices with your friends or family you bring to the restaurant, as everything is amazing. There is definitely no skimping on portions at Watercourse Foods!

Although it has been busy each time I’ve visited (late afternoon lunch, every time) and the restaurant is packed, I’ve never had to wait. I’m unsure of the wait times in the evening and morning, but would assume it would be quick due their vast seating arrangements (numerous table tops, outside seating, and the bar), their swift, attentive wait staff, and the magical way your food disappears from your plate minutes after receiving.

The ambience is cool and welcoming, which the wait staff compliments very well. The appearance of the food is amazing – I often find myself looking around at everyone’s plates, and wondering what they ordered so I can get it next time! For the time and energy Watercourse Foods puts into every dish, including utilizing fresh ingredients, I can’t believe that it is still affordable – everything is priced very well, which is great for such a unique, creative establishment.

Is your mouth watering yet? Need a late afternoon snack? Head on down. 🙂 Support local restaurants, and make your belly smile.