Mary and Ed. Photo courtesy Mary Gersemalina.
Every week, the #ThrowbackThursday meme fills Twitter and Instagram feeds with photos of friends’ childhoods, drunken college antics, and old vacations and adventures. On The Bicycle Story, #ThrowbackThursday is an opportunity to revisit great bike adventures from year’s past. Today, Mary Gersemalina of Chasing Mailboxes shares a throwback to her first bike tour.
It is June 2005, and my boyfriend Ed and I are going on our first bike tour together. Our route starts in Rockville, Maryland, and from there we will pedal for eight days straight until we reach our final destination of Niagara Falls, Canada. We will not be camping as we’ve chosen the way of the credit card tour.
Our bike of choice for this adventure is a Cannondale mountain tandem. We have been riding tandem together since for the last six months and really love it. Our tour group consists of a small group of around ten cycling friends (including three tandems!), one of whom is our informal tour leader. A genius at routing, she has carefully plotted out our route and overnight stops.
Photo by Ed Felkerino.
From policy wonks working to effect change to trail builders giving mountain bikers a place to ride to a cyclist helping a friend buy a bike; advocacy comes in many forms. Mary Gersemalina’s version of bike advocacy falls somewhere on that spectrum with a marriage of coffee and cycling. Mary created coffeeneuring, a formalized coffee shop ride series that plays on the rigid rules of randonneuring (Mary is also an accomplished randonneur). Though the whole thing may sound a little odd at first blush, coffeeneuring is catching on and getting people out on their bikes and last year expanded to include participants in Canada, Europe, and Australia. Mary and her husband, Ed Felkerino, are also behind Washington DC’s Friday Coffee Club, a weekly, pre-work event that encourages DC’s bike commuters to stop and get to know one another.
In this interview, Mary discusses her inspiration for coffeeneuring and its quick growth, the impact of Friday Coffee Club, the attraction of 750 mile bike rides, her randonneuring adventures in the US and abroad, and more.