January in the Northwest; omnipresent grey skies, cutting winds, and a natural lights out at 4:30 pm. For city dwellers, winter in any region can start to wear on your mood and motivation. While the mountains may be calling, you can't always go when there's work, kids, laundry and traffic to contend with. Of course, a blissful and devastatingly instagrammable winter spent skiing around subalpine lakes and hiking to picturesque hot springs would be ideal, especially with all the new gear you picked up over the holidays. But who has the time for that every single week?
If this sounds like you, then you are not alone and coffee outside is here to help! The concept is simple and you've most likely heard of it before. The name says it all: 1. Coffee 2. Outside, that's it. When winter has you confined to the city and work prevents you from heading to the mountains, grab a couple of friends and go make some coffee in the closest nature you can find. We did just that here in Portland with PDX coffee outside which is coming up on its two year anniversary this spring. What started as a small gathering of two, three or five people has now grown to a group of up to 30 individuals from all walks of life converging on Portland's pockets of urban nature to experience communal caffeination. This is just what most of us are looking for over winter and during the week. A reason to get out, and an excuse to drink more coffee.
Whether you have a group of 30 people or are going out on a solo endeavor, coffee outside aka camp coffee will get you out of bed, on your bike, and into the world. That being said, getting started can be a bit daunting if you are new to a city, or new to the outdoor brew as a whole.
The best way to weave coffee outside into your weekly routine is to keep it low pressure, and take some simple planning steps. You’re not doing anything complicated or significantly challenging, although you may get caught up setting lofty goals of getting to that awesome place just outside of town, but we’ve found it best to stick to places that are within 10 miles of your front door. After all, this is about finding sweet spots and hidden gems just beyond your doorsteps. Local parks, rivers, natural areas, etc are ideal destinations for a solo or group coffee outside morning.
Now you may be reading this and thinking that getting a group together isn’t always going to work, and you would certainly be correct. I myself have missed more than handful of PDX coffee outside mornings due to late nights at work or simply sleeping in. Thus, two years into PDXCO I have finally embraced the midweek or weekend solo adventure that has brought me a new appreciation for the bluffs, parks, and rivers around Portland.
Ultimately it doesn't matter how, when, or where you do it. Coffee outside is a way to break up the week and get out into the world, plus it’s accessible to people of all abilities. My favorite part of coffee outside has been seeing five year olds and 65 year olds alike showing up to meet new people, see their city and drink some coffee. It is by far the most diverse experience I have had in the world of bikes, and I am better off because of it. So do yourself and your community a favor, and go make coffee outside with someone.