Since December 2014, I’ve looked forward to this outdoor event every month. I make sure to keep the last Sunday of the month open. I found Coffee outside through the Tempe Bicycle Action Group or T.B.A.G. I started following T.B.A.G. in the fall with every intent on attending one of their events. I saw an invite, Coffee Outside, put together by some Phoenix cyclists. When I saw the event, I thought “Well I love coffee and I can definitely bike, so why not.” The idea behind Coffee Outside is that you bring the things you need to make coffee outside and you get there by way of cycling. I tried to invite some of my friends who bike, but no one could make it. So I put myself out of my comfort zone and decided to try this out by myself.
My first few cups
On my bike ride I kept thinking to myself, what are you doing, what are you going to talk about, WHO are you going to talk to? I figured, at some point I could just turn around and it would look like I was just going on a regular training ride. When I reached Papago Park only a few people had arrived. I decided to get off my bike and ask if this was the coffee outside event. Ryan and Libby were the first to greet me. I chatted with a few more people and eventually met a mutual Tucsonan, Mike. Its comforting knowing many people from Tucson make their way up to Phoenix and that many of us have similar interests. Everyone that I met was friendly and I definitely knew I needed to go to the next one.
Juan ended up joining me on the second and third Outside Coffee events. Today was the fourth cup. All of these people I see once a month and every time we are building a friendship through coffee and biking. I’m learning more about biking and making connections that have room to grow. Tom joined me on my ride today and I was able to share my Coffee Outside experience with him.
Drew rode with Juan and joined us at today’s coffee outside!
I’d been telling Tom about this event for months and how much I look forward to this event that gets me outdoors and meeting new people. I meet people who are so different from me, but very much the same. The thing that brings us together may be coffee or cycling, but the biggest thing is intrigue. We all wondered what this event was all about at one point. Whether we saw the first event post and wanted to join on a whim, saw someone else we new, or Ryan who was curious to find who would join. Maybe you were invited by a friend or family member, but what made you decide to go was that curiosity about what it was all about.
A conversation is often started with intrigue. How did you hear about the event? Where are you from? We wonder what is that camera that Ryan is holding? We use these questions to make a connection. This is how Tom ended up taking this wonderful photo of the Papago Buttes. He was curious about the camera and Ryan was happy to show him how to use it.
In the photo below is Nick. Tom started talking to him as we were making our coffee. After moments of chatting we find out Nick is from Tucson. Tom, Juan, Drew and I are all from Tucson and have a kindred spirit with Tucsonans. We ask where he went to high school and turns out he graduated from Salpointe in 2008. My first reaction is to ask him if he knows my cousin Alex. A little bit of background on Alex, everyone knows him and there is a 90% chance that whomever I’m talking that went Salpointe to will know him. Of course Nick knows Alex!
Every Coffee Outside is a new adventure, a new chance to meet people and make connections. A time to laugh, be merry, share a little bit of ourselves with others. I hope to be joining some of these folks on other rides around town, but for now I enjoy my monthly cup.Until the next Coffee outside adventure!