Coffeeneuring Challenge 2020 #4: Downtown Phoenix Coffee and Donuts

November 14, 2020

There’s so much good coffee and food that I never get to in downtown Phoenix. There’s even a nice 20 mile route through a series of bike routes and canals to get there. So coffeeneuring was a great excuse to get out and try some new places. I figured I would probably only get downtown once during this month so I wanted to hit a few places even though it would only count towards one coffeeneuring challenge trip.

Surly Cross-Check with frame bag, water bottle, hip pack, and donut bag
This was post-ride and you can see how well the donut bag rested on the cables for 20 miles

The Ride

The ride started with my normal route to Tempe, and once I got there I crossed Tempe Town Lake and hooked up with the Grand Canal. I could’ve taken that for longer but opted to get off on Washington and take the straight shot all the way downtown.

A well manicured portion of the Grand Canal in Phoenix

Based on some cycling maps, I thought Washington had a bike lane the whole way but that was not true. The lane disappeared for the last couple blocks, but it wasn’t too bad with the double lane and light Saturday traffic.

Riding through downtown was fun, even with a few wrong turns. I ended up on the sidewalk a few times but that was due to unfamiliarity with which streets are good biking streets in the area. I did end up on Oak Street which was super nice and included some really cool murals.

A mural of Lisa Simpson
I stumbled upon this whole street of murals in so many different styles

On the way back, I was able to get on the Grand Canal for for longer and found some neat looking birds. My kids love animals, so I thought it would be fun to take pictures and try to identify the birds with them when I got home. We looked them up and found a super cool website about birds in Maricopa County.

They ended up being Black Necked Stilts and a Great Blue Heron!

A group of six Black Necked Stilts standing on the gravel bank of a canal in Phoenix
Black Necked Stilts seemed to be named exactly as I'd name them
A Great Blue Heron walking along the gravel bank of a canal in Phoenix
I had no idea Great Blue Herons hung out in the valley

The Drink(s)

I stopped at Xanadu Coffee first and heard they make great espresso, so I kept it simple with a plain espresso. It was delicious with some of the coolest custom ceramic cups I’ve seen.

An espresso and sparkling water sitting on a table in homemade cups
Xanadu cups were very unique

Next up was Urban Cookies. I had planned on a donut, but upon seeing the menu, that turned into three donuts. Luckily for me, the bag of donuts rested perfectly on my shifter cables since I was riding without a rack. In the emergency case of not being able to carry them, I was prepared to eat all three donuts in one sitting.

A maple pecan donut in a box with one bite taken out of it
Not pictured: two donuts hiding underneath

I took the donuts to LA BOHEMIA where I got the Mocha. They do great drink photos on Instagram which is what enticed me to get the mocha, even though it’s not my usual espresso beverage. But it tasted even better than it looked! Probably the best Mocha I’ve ever had.

It’s going to be tough to try anything else on their menu in the future, it was that good. I also dipped the cinnamon sugar donut in the last few sips of the Mocha. I can’t not dip a donut in coffee.

A mocha in a paper cup with an orange LA BOHEMIA sticker on it sitting on a table. In the background is a mask, hip pack, and paper bag.
Mocha + maple = delicious

I did end up with an extra donut that I couldn’t eat, but it sat perfectly on my shifter cables for the whole ~20 miles home, where my wife was more than happy to take it off my hands.

One Good Thing

I stopped to offer assistance to another rider on the canal who had a flat. They had it under control but we got to chatting and shared the next couple miles together and traded Stava usernames. So here’s to serendipitous Strava friends!