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Welcome Kuma Coffee as our next guest roaster

May 17th, 2016

Welcome Kuma Coffee as our next guest roaster!

Kuma logo red

By US measures, Seattle has a long, rich history with coffee. If it isn’t the birthplace of what we call Specialty Coffee in the US (along with the Bay Area), it’s certainly a founding father, particularly when it comes to espresso and café culture. Influenced by Italy in the late 1970s early 80s, you can hardly walk a block in the Emerald City, even in residential neighborhoods, without passing a cafe.

In a market as mature as Seattle’s, launching a successful roastery is no easy endeavor. In less than 10 years, founder Mark Barany has grown Kuma from a small hobby business to an award winning microroaster. Like our house roaster, George Howell Coffee, Kuma is dedicated to supporting coffee farmers, generally paying above Fair Trade rates and developing Direct Trade relationships with most.

Unlike many of their brethren in the Pacifice NW, Kuma roasts on the lighter side, highlighting and honoring the terroir and intrinsic flavors of the beans rather than covering them up with a dark roast. We’ve just finished our first batch of their ‘Fresh Crop – Balanced’ espresso and were blown away by its complexity (see our Instagram posts for our gushings). Next up is their ‘Bright’ blend of Ethiopian espressos before we venture into their drip coffees.

RSC Kuma Sunshine

These next few weeks are sure to bring some delicious and exciting coffees from Kuma (the 2016 Guatemala crop is about to drop!) and we’re looking forward to enjoying them with you at RSC!

Bikepacking with Joe Cruz: Stories, Images, and a Fearless Approach to Just Doing It

May 8th, 2016

Bikepacking with Joe Cruz: Stories, Images, and a Fearless Approach to Just Doing It


Joe Cruz has bikepacked everywhere, listen to his stories and see how it’s done.

Speaking from a lifetime of bikepacking experience, Joe Cruz is coming to Ride Studio Cafe May 26 at 7pm to share what he has seen and done with us. He comes from a broad perspective of world-wide riding adventures and bringing many photos from his travels. Joe lives in western Massachusetts so is familiar with the amazing bikepacking in our own backyard here in New England and across the United States. Much of his talk will focus on bikepacking that is approachable to those newer to it. He will address the fears of new bikepackers and offer his approach to managing fear. As he says, it’s more about the way in which we create our own barriers that need not exist.

Joe Cruz image of bikepacking.

Image of bikepacking by Joe Cruz.

Joe is one of the bikepacking originals starting his bikepacking adventures in 1988 and spending significant time each year to trips that most people wouldn’t think to attempt. In his work-life, Joe is a professor of philosophy, and he brings a philosophical and practical approach to the sport.

Bikepacking in the US.

Image of bikepacking in the US, by Joe Cruz.

His talk will be inspiring, motivational, and educational–and someone you shouldn’t miss.


Joe’s Seven Treeline will be at his talk – fully loaded as it is when he goes on a bikepacking trip. Photo on Seven Cycles’ website.

Not only will Joe treat us with his images and stories from bikepacking, but he’ll also be bringing his fully-loaded, ready-to-bikepack Seven Treeline for all to see.

Read Joe’s blog and check out his bikepacking images on Instagram.

Please RSVP early for Joe’s presentation (scroll down) – there are very limited numbers of seats. We will provide appetizers and drinks throughout the evening.

Tour Seven Cycles

May 5th, 2016

Tour Seven Cycles Friday, May 202016-01-11 14.58.33

Seven Cycles is located just down the street from us in Watertown. Seven is a company full of bike building professionals. It is the place where custom bikes come to life and many new innovations in bike building have been created.

2016-01-11 14.58.00
Seven has been making the finest bikes for 18+ years and their experience shines as they work. It’s manufacturing at its best: handcrafted bikes are very carefully and perfectly built one at a time, yet the short lead times show efficiency, and a well-run business full of highly-skilled people who are passionate about what they do.


We’re heading to Seven Friday, May 20. Hopefully you have some time to join us then. The tour of Seven will begin promptly at 11:30am. Feel free to arrive 10 to 20 minutes early to check out their showroom prior to the tour. Please register by Thursday, May 19, so we can give Seven enough notice of how many people to expect. An email will be sent to you with details and directions after you register. We hope you join us!

Ride on the Road: The Conjure Series begins February 27

February 12th, 2016

Conjure Series: Summon Spring with Ride Studio Cafe’s Road Season Opener Saturday February 27 – Sunday March 6


The Conjure Series begins Saturday, February 27, kicking off nine days and two full weekends of road rides from Ride Studio Cafe. The Studio is your group riding home base, providing good food and drink to fuel you for base mile riding to conjure the sunny spring.

Screenshot 2016-02-08 19.00.38

We are riding at various times of day, in all directions, seeking out warm spots with good friends, old and new. The roads may still be cold, but our minds are set on warm, sunny days with flowers in bloom and leaves budding on trees. Think bunnies and tulips, shorts, and iced mochas.

We have a lot planned to keep you riding and smiling. Each day will offer a new route and good food either before or after the ride. Examples are pre-ride waffles, weekday post-ride lunches, and plenty of hot drinks to keep you warm. Will you join us in conjuring spring?

Complete ride series details, route details, and times can be found on the Conjure Ride Page. The routes will be posted at least 24 hours in advance of the ride start time. Due to weather uncertainties, we need will post the route when we’re nearly certain we won’t need to change it. 

What Makes this Series Special

Registration is free, rides are happening at all times to allow for everyone to join in, and provides you free, great food, and special vouchers that help you stock up on all of the spring necessities. The more you ride, the higher the value of the voucher you’ll receive. There is even an Instagram contest to join in on. Check out the Ride Page for complete details & to register.

We hope you join us for this road ride series to conjure up a lovely spring!

Screenshot 2016-02-08 19.02.16


Welcome, Cafe Grumpy!

February 5th, 2016

Welcome, Cafe Grumpy!


Ride Studio Cafe is incredibly excited to welcome Cafe Grumpy as our new guest roaster. Grumpy is a small-batch roaster out of Brooklyn, NY. Starting as a cafe in 2006, founder Caroline Bell has noted that roasting was naturally the next step for her passionate team to make. Already a local favorite in New York, Cafe Grumpy became renowned throughout the coffee industry for their expertly roasted coffee, orange color scheme, and trademark grumpy face logo. We are especially pleased to have them in the cafe since they were one of the first guest roasters that RSC ever hosted years ago, and their coffee is just as great as we remember!

Lauren Rothman from FoodandWine.com writes that Grumpy is “one of the first coffee companies to bring serious, thoughtfully produced joe to Brooklyn.” This is the ultimate goal of Grumpy; to educate and involve their customers in the world of quality coffee. The coffee buyers and roasters at Grumpy, who all started out as baristas, are thoughtful in both the creation of their product and in the sourcing of their beans. They maintain close relationships with farmers in many different countries around the world, and want their consumers to know the farm that their coffee came from as intimately as the roasters do.

El Cielito, Santa Barbara, Honduras

The staff at Cafe Grumpy are undoubtedly passionate about their product, but the quality of the coffee is not their sole focus. They also boast a great reputation for humanitarianism and social responsibility. They work closely with farms in many impoverished areas, and so they do their part to help the citizens of the countries where the coffee is grown. Most recently, they have formed a partnership with Action Against Hunger. Action Against Hunger is a nonprofit organization that provides aid to impoverished areas in need of safe water and good nutrition. Cafe Grumpy donates $1 from every bag of their Los Santos Guatemalan coffee to Action Against Hunger, in order to help those in need in the region that the coffee is grown along with many other areas in need.


Buy two bags, get a Grumpy mug!

Buy two bags, get a Grumpy mug!

Here in the Cafe, we are kicking things off with Grumpy on the pourover bar this weekend. Selections include Las Flores from Honduras and Kiamabara from Kenya. The Las Flores is a full-bodied coffee with notes of golden raisin, praline, brown sugar, apricot, and plum. The Kiamabara is a delicious Kenyan with notes of cranberry, vanilla, bergamot, and graham cracker. Both selections are available on Kalita, Chemex, and Aeropress.

To celebrate the arrival of Cafe Grumpy coffee on our shelves, we are offering a limited time promotion: if you buy two bags of Grumpy coffee, then you receive an orange Grumpy logo mug free of charge! The shelves are fully stocked with a great variety of offerings from Grumpy, so come in any time and bring home a taste of Brooklyn.

Tour Seven Cycles Monday, January 18

January 3rd, 2016

Tour Seven Cycles Monday, January 18

Seven Cycles is located just down the street from us in Watertown. Seven is a company full of bike building professionals. It is the place where custom bikes come to life and many new innovations in bike building have been created.Screenshot 2015-01-14 18.38.26

Seven has been making the finest bikes for 18+ years and their experience shines as they work. It’s manufacturing at its best: handcrafted bikes are very carefully and perfectly built one at a time, yet the short lead times show efficiency, and a well-run business full of highly-skilled people who are passionate about what they do.

Screenshot 2016-01-03 14.25.13

We’re heading to Seven Monday, January 18. This is MLK Day – a school holiday; hopefully you have some time to join us then. The tour of Seven will begin promptly at 11:30am. Feel free to arrive 5 to 20 minutes early to check out their showroom prior to the tour. We hope you join us! Please register by Sunday, January 17, so we can give Seven enough notice of how many people to expect. An email will be sent to you with details and directions after you register. We hope you join us!

The FIRST Snowfall Ride of the Season

December 17th, 2015

Ride in the FIRST Snowfall of the Season with Us

One of our favorite pastimes is riding in snowfall.  You can hear the snow crunching under your tires.  It’s such a quiet time; all sound is suppressed by the snowfall.  No one is out on the roads and trails.  The world feels primitive.

The moment of the first snowfall is THE time to ride. We are leading a ride when this first snow hits!

Monday, December 28 Update: Twitter has the latest news concerning when we’re rolling out in the first snow; snow is forecast to hit soon! We will likely be riding in the wee early hours Tuesday, December 29.

T-Rex in the snowstorm

Riding in the snow is peaceful and primitive…just as this photo suggests.

We are ready.  Are you?

Ride Synopsis

  • We are leading a ride that begins here 60 minutes after the first snow of the season begins.
  • We won’t be riding if the snow isn’t going to last for the duration of our ride. Keep reading to understand how you’ll know when the ride is a GO.
  • The ride will be 90 minutes to 2 hours in length total. No more. The distance of the route will take into account how hard the snow is falling & how fast the ride will be.
  • The route is mixed terrain. Expect to be on- and off-road, on trails and through woods.
  • The pace of the ride will be high enough to keep everyone working hard. This way, everyone stays warm. This doesn’t mean we’ll be moving fast considering studded tires and winter setups aren’t exactly fast. The level of intensity will equate to how you’d feel if it were a nice day and you were riding 18mph on the road.

Here’s How We Plan for the First Snow

  • Be flexible.  We have no idea when it’s going to snow.  It’s most common for snowfall to occurduring the afternoon but it could be 2am or any other time.  A mindset focused on the ride, rather than when the ride will occur, is helpful.
  • Be ready.  Have a Snow Essentials Duffel packed and with you at all times – we provide some content hints below.  Have your bike ready to go.
  • The Right Tires:  Having studded tires is by far the best choice for the first snow.  Since we’re very likely to have a few days’ notice prior to the snow, you can time your tire install fairly accurately.  Once the first snow falls you may want to be riding studs for the rest of the winter anyway.  If you need tires, give the Studio a heads up.  We have a variety in stock and can special order anything you might want.  We’re also happy to do the install for you.
  • Headlight & Taillight:  Whether we’re riding at 2pm or 2am, you have to have at least one headlight to join us.  Snowfall makes it really difficult for drivers to see cyclists.  A headlight and taillight will save you.  Make sure you charge those lights a few days in advance.  If you’re looking to upgrade your light system, check in with the Studio; we have the best winter light systems available.
Blizzard in the City

We rode into Boston during the first blizzard of last year. This year, we are planning on being out there during the first snowfall and we hope you’ll be there to join us!

Knowing When the Snowfall Ride Moment Arrives

We’re using Twitter and Instagram to keep people informed of when the ride moment is happening.  We’ll “Twinstagram” intermittently as the weather changes.  We’ll do our best to inform riders as the moment gets nearer.  The final Twinstagram will be 60-minutes before the ride begins.  That’s your klaxon to get your butt and bike over to the Studio for a very memorable ride.

If you don’t use either Instagram or Twitter, you’re going to have a challenging time joining us.  We will be posting some information on Facebook but we’re not using it as the go time alert. Watch the hashtag:


Tricks for Riding in the Snow

  • Traction:  Snow riding is all about traction.  Four ways of maximizing traction are:

o    Apply steady horsepower to the pedals.  This is a lot more difficult than it appears.  If you’re riding at 70 hp on a snowy trail, a change of 10%, or 7 hp, is a lot – and can be the different between maintaining your line and losing traction entirely.  Practice steady horsepower output.

o    Keep your bike upright, even while turning.  The more you lean into a corner, the less traction you have.  Most tires have less tread and fewer studs toward the sides of the tire.  Don’t lean your bike too much.  Riding upright keeps you upright.

o    Tire pressure:  Lower tire pressure provides better traction.  Of course, you want to balance this with the possibility of getting a flat.  We find that riding on an inch of snow is deceptive, in that you feel like the trail is really smooth, when in reality, all the obstacles are still there – and just as sharp – you just can’t see them, so your chance of getting a flat probably increases slightly.

o    Tires and treads:  Studs are best.  Wider is better than narrower.  Treads are better than slicks.

  • Be careful.  This may seem obvious but we see this as a fundamental issue each season in the first snow.  Taking a tumble in the ice and snow can be problematic; these falls are fast, unexpected, and hard.  Ride conservatively and don’t worry about winning.
  • No fenders:  Snow time may seem like a great time to have fenders, but it’s not.  Not only are fenders dangerous on mixed terrain – due to sticks and debris on the trail, it’s also likely that your fenders will get packed with snow and make your ride a lot tougher.
  • Batteries die.  Batteries don’t like the cold so they power down a lot more quickly than on an autumn day.  Three hours of battery life can become one hour – or worse – in the cold months.  Keep your electronics warm – in your jacket or jersey, not in your saddle bag – until you need them.  This includes your phone, backup battery, spare light, and your Garmin – if you’re not the ride navigator.

Likely Weather Conditions

It can’t snow if it’s too cold so it’s likely to be somewhere between 28 and 36 degrees.  Also, you’re likely to get a bit wet as the snow melts on you; gear that leans toward rain protection can be useful.

Always Be Prepared:  Snow Essentials Duffel
Have your Snow Essentials Duffel in your car – if that’s your mode of work transport – so you’re always ready to roll.  In that bag, we recommend:

  • All the clothing you typically use for 30-40 degree riding.  Clothing that likes wet conditions isn’t a bad idea, either.  Note:  We’re only including the gear that people often forget when they’re in a hurry, and riding in unexpected conditions.  If you forget to put your bibs in your Snow Essentials Kit, we have no sympathy!
  • Headlight 100% charged and ready for 2.5 hours of use.  Ideally, two headlights – one on your bars and one on your helmet.
  • Taillight batteries in good condition.
  • Winter shoes or your autumn shoes with overshoes.
  • Long thick wool socks
  • Helmet – with light mount ready to go.
  • Long finger gloves, possibly with liners.
  • Three season cap that covers your ears.  A brim will be appreciated – it can help keep the snow out of your eyes.
  • Neck gator
  • Protective glasses if that’s your kind of thing for riding in a snowstorm.
  • High-vis vest if you like to be visible.  If there’s ever a time to increase your visibility, it’s during a snowstorm; drivers have a really difficult time seeing cyclists through snowfall.
  • Towel to dry off after the ride.  The Studio has towels, too, but a big towel that travels with you can be nice!

Winter lights - photo - Rob Vandermark

For the Diehard Riders That Are 100% Committed

  • Drop off your Snow Essentials Duffel and your winterized bike at the Studio within two days of the expected snow date.  That will make it easier if you’re coming from work.  Make sure you have some kind of obvious name tag on your bag and bike so we don’t recycle them by accident.  We’re always tight for space at the Studio so only drop off your gear if you’re 100% certain you’ll be riding with us.

The Studio Is Here To Help

We have just about anything you could need for winter riding, including:

  • Lots of studded tire options.  And the tubes needed for each tire size.  We can help determine the ideal tire size for your bike and guarantee what will fit and what won’t.  Not all studded tires are created equal.  We can help determine the right price point for your riding needs.
  • Studded tire installation help.  Studded tires are often the toughest type of tire to install because they’re thicker, stiffer, and sometimes are steel beaded.  We’re happy to help.
  • Lights:  We have the toughest winter lights available.  We’ll help you determine optimal number of lumens for your needs.  We’ll help you determine where the best mounting spot is on your bike or body.  The best kind of taillight for visibility and longevity.  So many options – all with different strengths and weaknesses.
  • Gloves:  We have everything from lightweight full fingers to deep winter 45Nrth gloves and liners.  Come by and try the array or models and sizes to determine the ideal setup for your type of riding.  We can help with determining which are best for wet weather, for glove liners, or for the coldest days.  Lots of glove options for lots of kinds of riding.
  • Winter Shoes:  We’ve got 45Nrth Japanthers and Wolvhammers in stock.  We’ll help you find the right size, and install cleats on your new boots, too.
  • All winter clothing, including deep winter tights and a range of jackets for all conditions.

We hope to see you in the first snow!


Fall Five Overall Winners

December 11th, 2015

Screenshot 2015-12-11 20.50.02 Screenshot 2015-12-12 06.44.55

Fall Five Stage 5 Results

December 11th, 2015

Screenshot 2015-12-15 12.42.14 Screenshot 2015-12-15 12.42.04Screenshot 2015-12-15 12.41.55

Fall Five Stage 4 Results

December 10th, 2015

Screenshot 2015-12-15 12.41.38Screenshot 2015-12-15 12.40.45

Fall Five Stage 3 Results

December 9th, 2015

Fall Five Stage 3 Results – Mountain (Road), Circuit (Mixed Terrain)Screenshot 2015-12-09 23.17.24More about the prizes, party, and Overall Results are found on the Fall Five page.

Fall Five Stage 2 Results

December 9th, 2015

Fall Five Stage 2 Results – Point-to-Point

Screenshot 2015-12-09 23.17.01

More about the prizes, party, and Overall Results are found on the Fall Five page.

Fall Five Stage 1 Results

December 9th, 2015

Fall Five Stage 1 Results – the “Prologue”Screenshot 2015-12-09 23.16.37

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More about the prizes, party, and Overall Results are found on the Fall Five page.

Read our November eNews

November 18th, 2015

Read our latest eNewsletter, there is A LOT going on, starting with a great ride and party this Saturday. Also, the Fall Five starts December 4, check out what that’s about, it’s a very fun – and unusual – challenge to undertake! We have a new coffee guest roaster in the Cafe, too. Click below on the newsletter to see it all. If it’s not coming to your email inbox, sign up to receive it now!

















Performance Road Bikes Ready for New England

November 9th, 2015

Performance Road Bikes Ready for New England

Remember last winter? Probably. Remember riding on the cold, snowy days? Likely not, but a lot of people were out there having a great time pedaling throughout it. Even though the snow piled up, the roads were often rideable. Cycling through the colder months has become more and more common in New England. Our group rides continue. In fact, the worse the day is, the more people show up, because people like to ride with others when it’s cold out.

Saturday Ride - Photo by Derrick Lewis

A late-December Saturday Ride. Photo by Derrick Lewis.

There is no better way to get through the winter than by taking advantage of what it has to offer…outside. We have bikes here that are fast, light, performance bikes for the spring, summer, and fall AND are ready for winter. This is uncommon to find with mainstream stock bikes, but it is common for us to deliver such bikes to very happy people. How is this possible?

Lake in Harold Parker State Park, Patria riding - Photo by Henry V.

Road riding near Harold Parker State Park. Photo by Henry van den Broek.

Road bikes with slightly larger clearances that allow for wider tires feel just as fast and responsive as road bikes that barely clear a 25c tire. The difference in frame geometry is minuscule. The mid-reach fork is slightly extended, keeping its stiffness properties and quick handling ability while allowing it to accommodate the mid-reach brake.

Having the ability to mount an LAS file tread tire on a road bike turns said bike into a trail bike. This is a no-compromise setup.


A Clement LAS 33c tire clears the Velo Orange Grand Cru brake, the frame and fork with no issue at all. This is set up on one of our Seven demo Axiom SL bikes.

A set of road wheels that typically accommodates a 23c tire is very likely to be able to accommodate the LAS tire.

A tire that’s gained much popularity more recently is the Clement MSO 32c tire. This one fits in the brakes and frame with no trouble at all. That’s a common choice for road bikes that took on D2R2, a popular dirt-road randonee ride, over the summer.

Or a Continental Speed King – a 35c tire usually only ever seen on a cyclocross bike.

Conti CX Speed 35c

The Continental Cyclocross Speed tire was meant for a cross bike – or a road bike!

This bike that runs the Continental Cyclocross Speed tire is often seen on group rides with 23c tires. Same wheels (Mavic Ksyrium Elites), different tires, easy swap. It’s like two bikes in one. Again, without compromising speed with the skinny tire setup, and not compromising the ability to enjoy dirt trails, rough roads, and have great traction when the roads are wet or slippery.

Saturday big group ride with Rapha's Rich Bravo & Derrick Lewis - Photo by Neil McInnis

It’s a big, fun group ride…just another day on the road albeit during the Cold Season. Don’t miss the opportunities to get out even if the world is coated in snow. Photo by Neil McInnis.

When the roads get icy and riding is still a priority be it for pleasure or for commuting, a studded tire offers ultimate control and confidence.


45NRTH Xerxes tires fit with plenty of clearance to spare so snow pack between tire and fork or frame isn’t a worry.

Both Seven Cycles and Honey Bikes offer fast road bike models that offer this wide range of abilities to ride confidently and quickly throughout the year.

We haven’t mentioned disc brakes here and it’s no secret that we deliver a lot of disc brake bikes. Disc brakes aren’t always the solution, though they’re becoming much more commonly seen on stock bikes. Disc brakes, while offering excellent braking power, add weight to the bike and require the fork and other features of the frame to be stiffer and larger than they’d otherwise be on a road bike.

For the person who wants a fast and light performance bike, caliper brakes are usually a very viable, and appropriate, choice. As with all of the bikes we spec,  it’s important to discuss how the bike will be ridden, where it will be going, and what its intended uses are in the future.

If you want an All-Year, All-Conditions bike, our lead times are awesome at Seven Cycles. In 4-5 weeks, you’ll be riding your new unpainted bike. It’s 6-7 weeks between now and a new painted bike. If this year is like last year, that is well before the first snowfall. Email us at connect@ridestudiocafe.com to discuss more and if you’d like to demo a great bike similar to those we’ve highlighted here.

Dirt Roads Go On And On - photo - Rob Vandermark

This Seven Axiom SL is equipped with low gearing and mid-reach brakes allowing for higher volume tires perfect for conditions found while out exploring the world. The bike is seen here on the dirt and rocks of carriage trails in the Yorkshire Dales, UK.

Ending this post on a high note, the spring isn’t all that far away and with it comes the warm weather, fast rides, and opportunities to travel with the bike. Travel often involves mixed terrain and, again, the larger-volume tires and/or knobby tires can be just perfect.

Introducing Passion House Coffee Roasters

November 3rd, 2015

Introducing Passion House Coffee Roasters

Photo Courtesy of Passion House Coffee

Photo Courtesy of Passion House Coffee



Our new guest roaster is Passion House Coffee Roasters out of Chicago, Illinois.

Passion House was founded by Joshua Millman, a creative individual with years of previous roasting experience. Owned and operated by Millman and creative director Vedya, this small batch roaster takes pride in their artistic approach to coffee. The “AME” logo represents their three genres of roasts. By grouping their coffees into these genres, they hope to spread knowledge of the complexity of coffee and the different ways that it can play with our tastebuds.

The “A” represents Ambient, a genre of roasts containing more mellow flavors.

The “M” represents Mainstream, a genre of more familiar balanced coffees.

The “E” represents Experimental, the genre we will be testing out at first here at Ride Studio Cafe. Passion House’s Experimental genre includes the type of coffee we love to serve: single origins and vibrant, complex flavors.

Read the rest of this entry »

Fall Five – A Fall Competition for Road and Mixed Terrain Bikes

November 2nd, 2015

Fall-Five-stacked-600pxPresenting… The Fall Five

Join the Ride Studio Cafe for the funnest ride series of the fall!

Five Rides, Seven Days, One Big Party, Countless Prizes

Happening from Friday, December 5 through Thursday, December 11. (Yes, the dates changed from mid-November. Later in the fall and later in cross season is helpful for many people’s schedules.)

What is The Fall Five?

This is a five-stage solo road AND mixed terrain cycling challenge that is open to all riders with gumption. Each rider chooses whether to complete the road stage or mixed terrain stage; mixing and matching is fine! It’s a fun way to extend the riding season, and each stage is a short, intense effort that’ll keep you warm.

When is The Fall Five?

  • Ride Stages: The first stage starts on Friday, December 5. The final stage takes place on Thursday, December 11. Stages 2-4 occur between these days.
  • Party Open to All: Friday, December 12 at 6 pm

Why Ride The Fall Five?

Why? Because of the Five P’s!

  • Party, Prizes, Personal Challenge, Phun, Promotions Times Five.

How does The Fall Five Work?

We’re racing five stages spread out over seven days. For stages 2, 3, and 4 you have a few days from which to choose; do the race on the day you prefer. This is one of the beauties of this solo race – race at your convenience. And, this makes it easier to participate in all five stages.

All of the Details

Complete Details and registration information are at the ride page:


We hope you join in this very fun event and keep riding through the fall!

Spotlight on George Howell Coffee

October 26th, 2015

Spotlight on George Howell Coffee 

Our house roaster, George Howell Coffee, continues to impress with consistency and quality in their roasting. George Howell has built close relationships with coffee farmers around the world and they work closely with the farmers to produce consistently high-quality beans. Delicate inspection and a very careful roasting technique on the part of the George Howell staff leads to the perfect coffee we proudly serve here at Ride Studio Cafe. We visited the roasting facility in Acton, MA to take a closer look at the process. 

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6 Reasons Seven Cycles Randonneur Bikes Go the Distance

October 23rd, 2015

6 Reasons Seven Cycles Randonneur Bikes Go the Distance

Paris-Brest-Paris is the most famous of all of the randonneur rides in the world. It is a 1200km ride starting near Paris, France, the furthest point riders go is Brest, then they return to Paris. The clock begins when riders begin in Paris and ends when they return. Therefore, the time they spend sleeping is part of their overall time. Riders also self-support so they bring tools and anything they may need in case of a flat tire or mechanical. They are able to stop for food periodically so they tend to bring front and rear saddle bags, but don’t have the load that one who is touring would carry.

There were quite a few Seven Cycles bikes at Paris-Brest-Paris this year. Seven Cycles recently posted about the ride and of Henry van den Broek‘s adventure there. We worked with Henry to design his bike which is a Seven Evergreen SL.

We’ve worked on numerous randonneur bikes. Sometimes we don’t stop to consider just how many bikes and riders we have on the road. After many hundreds of bikes that we’ve personally worked on in collaboration with riders and Seven Cycles, we’ve got quite a few to talk about and share with you.


Henry and David Bayley happened to meet up during PBP and they rode together for some distance. We worked with Dave, an Irishman, on his Evergreen when he was in town. We shipped him the final product. This made us happy to see two good people with their bikes working together during PBP!

What considerations are there when we work with someone to build him or her the ideal randonneur bike?

Read the rest of this entry »

A Brief Look at What’s Happening: Group Rides

October 15th, 2015

A “Brief” Look at What’s Happening

The number one question I get on a daily basis is: “So what’s happening at the Studio?” My answer is usually a long pause while I try to think of all of the upcoming rides, events, new products hitting the shelves and then I blurt out: “A whole bunch of everything.” That’s not a very concise answer so here’s an attempt to answer this seemingly simple question with the details you’re looking for.

Group Rides

We’ve had a full year of really awesome rides – and we’re continuing to ride as the weather changes. Our weekly rides have been very well attended. In response, we have added more good rides to the line-up. Here’s what’s new:

Saturday 8:15am Horizon Chasers – This long, moderate ride has been running all summer, but it just got a name. Every week it has a different route, usually between 60 and 80 miles. This coming Saturday’s edition of the ride will take in peak fall foliage. So, we’ll call it the Leaf Chasers for this week. Everyone who can maintain a 16-17mph average pace for the distance is welcome to attend. The distances will go down and the ride will migrate forms with seasons. We’ll keep this running as long as we can. Read the rest of this entry »

Welcome Coava Coffee, Guest Roaster from Portland, Oregon

August 5th, 2015

Welcome Coava Coffee Roasters

We are very excited to announce the arrival of a new Guest coffee roaster in our Cafe. We are now serving up delicious roasts from Coava Coffee of Portland, Oregon.


Introducing our next Guest is always an exciting time. Coava Coffee Roasters is a small batch artisan roaster out of Portland, Oregon. Coava has been on our shelves before, in the very early days of the Studio. This makes introducing them as our next Guest even more exciting.

Photo Courtesy of Coava Coffee Roasters

With any adventure there are always great stories that come out of it. Coava’s story begins in the garage of Matt Higgins. Matt started bar tending at local shops while finishing his undergrad at University of Oregon. Soon after graduating, Matt found himself wanting more than what his degree in German was offering him.

Already having a variety of talents under his belt, such as his time at the renowned Albina Press coffee bar, he decided to start trying things for himself. From the very beginning, Coava was focused on pursuing such ideals as sustainable farm practices and a quality product from farm to cup. Matt and his team dove head first, exploring the arts of agricultural science, sustainable business practices, and direct farm relationships. Matt once said in an interview with Joshua at FoodGPS.com, that “The most exciting part is bringing in a coffee that someone has never tasted before, a separation that’s maybe never been separated before, a farmer who’s never had his or her name mentioned ever, because their coffee’s been routinely blended away.”  This is how we think at RSC when it comes to roasters and their product: emphasizing the work that goes into making a great cup of coffee, and enabling us to showcase the talents of the region, the farmer, the roaster, and the barista.

For the first few weeks we will be serving an array of filter options made available from Coava.

Screen shot 2015-07-30 at 4.00.52 PM

The varieties will range from the consistently good Costa Rica Los Nacientes, to the uniquely funky and naturally processed El Salvador La Esperanza. We also will have a similar natural heirloom Ethiopian, Kilenso. Something we are really excited about is serving a well-crafted and consistently-produced natural coffee. Coava does these well! For more on natural processed coffees check out our previous coffee blog posts on the different types of processes used around the world.  We look forward to what these next weeks in coffee have to offer.

As we do with many of our Guests, we will be starting with Coava’s filter coffees offering two rotating varieties available via Kalita Wave or Chemex brew, then we will rotate to serving Coava’s espresso offerings for the last half of their tenure at RSC. We are looking forward to serving you the wonderful coffees Coava has to offer!

Read the rest of this entry »

This Week in Coffee: Farming- Processing Part 2

July 21st, 2015

This Week in Coffee: Farming- Processing Part 2

In these days of summer heat, we are staying cool in the studio with many wonderful iced drink offerings. Come in from the humidity and refresh with a nice cold Spindrift soda, Iced Yunnan Tea from Mem Tea Imports, or Iced herbal tea option, Ginger Lime Rooibos from Rishi Tea.


Of course, we are also offering some wonderful iced coffee options for a cool down complete with a boost of caffeine. Always popular is our cold brewed iced coffee. Enjoy a full 12 oz cup or a quick shot of energy from our small 4oz option. Also available when reserved a day in advance is a 64oz cold brew growler that you can keep in your fridge at home or work to enjoy throughout the week.

This week our espresso is brought to you by our current guest roaster, Mountain Air Roasting of Asheville, North Carolina. Currently is the hopper is Heirloom espresso. This Yirgacheffe, Ethiopian is floral, spicy, and intense. Next up this week we will be Obelisk espresso from Brazil. This option is smooth and delicious with flavors of honey, chocolate, and cherry. Looking for the full flavor of espresso in a cold drink? Any of our espresso drinks can be made iced.

Of course, even in the summer, hot coffee is a wonderful option is get your day going. Currently on our pourover menu are two wonderful offerings from George Howell Coffee. San Jose de Pedregal from Colombia is  rich with flavors of black grape, dark cherry, and orange. Reko Kochere from Ethiopia is bright and sweet with flavors of watermelon, apricot, and candy lemon.

Focus on Farming: Natural Processing

Since February we have covered many topics to introduce some of the complexities of coffee farming and production. We started with a basic overview, followed by a focus on soil effects, climate conditions, altitude, varietals, and harvest. Recently, turning to the processing of coffee, our last post focused on the traditional washed process for removing the coffee cherry fruit from the coffee bean. Today, we write about a less common processing option: natural processing.

Photo Courtesy of George Howell Coffee

Natural processing (or dry processing) is the oldest way to process coffee and plays a large role in effecting the taste of coffee once it is roasted and brewed. Typically naturally roasted coffees present with a fruity flavor that washed processed coffees cannot achieve. This is because in the natural process, the fruit of the coffee cherry is allowed to dry on the coffee bean before being removed from the seed. This allows the bean to assume that fruity or berry flavor. While a vast majority of the coffees we serve here at the studio are traditional washed coffees, we have had opportunities to serve natural processed coffees in the past: most recently, Misty Valley Ethiopian from Gracenote Coffee.

Read the Latest eNews

June 4th, 2015

Read the Latest RSC eNews

If you aren’t receiving our eNewsletter in your inbox, be sure to Sign Up to receive the next edition now!

Click below on the newsletter to read our latest eNews. Don’t miss out on the early registration deadline for the Dusk to Dawn ride, either!
June 1 eNews

Ride Dusk to Dawn for the Fullest Night of Fun

June 2nd, 2015

Ride Dusk to Dawn for the Fullest Night of Fun

Mixed Terrain Riding Just Became Even More Full of Adventure

We’re getting ready for another great ride from Overland Base Camp (OBC): The Dusk to Dawn Ride. We’ve hosted two rides for OBC so far this year — the Diverged Ride and
the Maneha 250.
Both have been big successes. If you missed either of these rides don’t miss the Dusk to Dawn Ride.D2D Test Ride - video image wide - Rob Vandermark

  • What: As the name stipulates: Riding from dusk to dawn. In addition to night riding, this is a mixed terrain about 50% of the ride will be pavement and 50% on dirt: dirt roads, singletrack, fire roads, goat paths, and other terra incognita. The Dusk to Dawn offers two distances and
    levels of challenge.
  • When: June 20 & 21, 2015. From sunset on Saturday through sunrise on Sunday. You can be home on Sunday before 9am or earlier!
  • Where: Heading out from here Ride Studio Cafe in Lexington, MA. Almost two-thirds of the way through the ride we’ll meet at a big fire for a late dinner – and an electronics recharging station.
  • What you’ll need: Bikes, lights, dirt tires, GPS units, SPOTs, and lots of food.
  • Why: It has to be done. Night riding in the summer is about as good as it gets.
  • How: Register at Bikereg.com

We hope you’ll join us for this unique event!

Questions? Email Overland Base Camp.

Multiple Ride and Participation Options:

  • Continuous: Ride the full 90-mile route without sleep.
  • Campout: Ride the first 55-miles and then campout — sleepover — at the fireplace.
    We have tent options and wet weather options. OBC hauls your camping gear, a change of clothes, and whatever else you want at the big fire.
  • Teams consisting of 3 – 6 riders: Each team member starts and finishes the Dutodari together; you get to roll through the night together.

Ride Statistics

  • Distance: Two options: About 90-miles and about 55-miles
  • Elevation Gain: About 6,500 feet for the 90-miler
  • Terrain: Mixed. 50% dirt; 50% pavement
  • Geography: Suburban and some urban
  • Territory: From deep woods to well-traveled roads
  • Sky: Dark

For those that sign up very soon there are still a few Dawn to Dusk custom-made caps left for early registrants. When they’re gone, they’re gone.

We hope to see you at the Dawn to Dusk Ride! #d2dride #overlandbasecamp

Up the Incline at Dusk - photo - Rob Vandermark

This Week in Coffee: Farming-Processing Part 1

May 31st, 2015

This Week in Coffee: Farming-Processing Part 1

For the past few weeks we have been serving up some delicious pourover coffees from our current guest roaster, Mountain Air Roasting of Asheville, North Carolina. Today we are switching gears and serving up Mountain Air espresso with pourover options from George Howell Coffee.

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Read the rest of this entry »

Diverged Ride 2015

April 17th, 2015

Special Ride: Diverged

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Rouleuring-in-ice-and-sand-image-Rob-Vandermark-480x263Update: Routes are Posted

Diverged 2015


The Ride Studio Cafe is hosting and Honey Bikes is sponsoring this very special early spring ride!

This is just a high-level view of what’s happening on April 25. For all of the details and to RSVP, go to the Ride Page on the Overland Base Camp website.

Ride:  Diverged Ride.  All surface types will be represented: pavement, gravel, dirt, and rocks.  There are two ride distances: either 17 miles or 38 miles and fun, medium, and fast paces, too. Each group will have a ride leader so you’re not on your own.

When:  Saturday, April 25 – Various starting times for the different groups

Where:  Departing from Ride Studio Cafe.

Why:  Honey Ride!  All bikes welcome – with some required modifications – see below.

How:  On randonee bikes – or modified cyclocross bikes – see details below.



Honey Bikes Winterando - Ready to Ride

The ride’s name – Diverged – comes from Robert Frost’s poem The Road Not Taken.  Because on this ride, we’re taking all the roads and trails.  We’re fortunate to have bikes, rather than being on foot, so divergence is a good word.  Because this ride is a bit unusual we have a few special bike requirements.

Bike Requirements

  • 28c tires, minimum size.  If you don’t have 28c or wider, you’ll be riding alone after you get a flat. If it looks like mud, we’ll suggest knobby tires like the Schwalbe Racing Ralphs (33mm) or Clement MXP (also 33mm). If it’s dry, then any 28c slick tire such as a Ruffy Tuffy 28c, Continental Grand Prix 4-Season, or wider like the Jack Brown 33c will work and knobby tires will just make it easier from there. Watch Twitter for up-to-the moment recommendations as we near the weekend.
  • Spare tube or two – with all the tools required to fix a flat – or two.
  • Fenders – only if it looks like it’ll be so messy that your riding companions will thank you. Otherwise, leave them at home.
  • Basic tool kit:  Self sufficiency is the phrase of the day.  The group will wait for you if you have a mechanical – in fact we’ll even help – but you don’t want people waiting trail-side too long on a chilly morning.

If you don’t have one or more of these items, you’ll want to get them at the Ride Studio Cafe before that Saturday morning.


  • Honey-Centric Pre-Ride Breakfast – on the house at the Studio starting at 8am. Come hungry.

Honey Bikes Winterando - Wet Lion

The Ride

This ride offers an extremely diverse set of terrain.  On the one hand, Honey has ridden the entire route on a 23c road bike and had a blast.  On the other hand, a few have ridden the route on a fully decked out cyclocross bike – knobbies and all – and felt that a mountain bike might have been nice.  So, this ride has it all, a bit of technical handling all the way to multiple kilometer stretches of paved road.  Bring your 28c+ tired bike and you will have a blast.

Rain or shine, we’ll be smiling through the entire ride.

If you’d like to join the ride, please RSVP in advance – we’ll save a biscuit for you!


A slideshow of photos we took (or were emailed from participants) from the Diverged 2014 weekend is up! Thanks to all who came and rode Diverged with us and Honey Bikes!


Created with flickr slideshow.



This Week in Coffee: Introducing Mountain Air Roasting

April 17th, 2015

This Week in Coffee: Introducing Mountain Air Roasting!


This week we are thrilled to announce the arrival of our newest guest roaster, Mountain Air Roasting of Asheville, North Carolina! Mountain Air applies a gentle roast process to fresh, high quality coffees with the goal of  maximizing and highlighting the natural fruit flavors of the coffee bean. With  a focus on freshness and quality, Mountain Air maintains their mission “to serve you the best cup of coffee you have ever had, every morning.” We are very excited to have them here at the Studio and can’t wait to try out everything that they have to offer!


This week’s poverover coffees from Mountain Air include and Ethiopian Aricha and Colombian Luis Tovar. Aricha comes from the Yirgacheffe region of Ethiopia and is rich with flavors of tamarind, lavender, and white grape. Luis Tovar is from the Huila region of Colombia and presents with flavors of plum, cranberry, and lime.


Also available in the cafe is espresso from George Howell Roasters. Currently in the hopper is Borboya from Ethiopia. This amazing espresso presents with flavors of candied lemon, lavender, and semi-sweet chocolate. Also available is a Colombian decaf espresso with flavors of cherry, chocolate, raisin, and maple.

Come on by, try one of these new exciting options, and chat with us about the ins and outs of coffee!

Latest eNews in Your Email

April 1st, 2015

Latest eNews in Your Email

Our latest eNewsletter that is delivered to your email inbox is out. If you didn’t receive it, search for “Ride Studio Cafe” and see if it arrived in another place in your email. If you haven’t subscribed, be sure to do so, there is a lot of news we have to share with you! We don’t share your email address with anyone and we publish a newsletter every 2-4 weeks. Subscribe here. Click below to read the one we just published yesterday evening. We hope you can join us tomorrow evening and for the special rides coming up soon!
Screenshot 2015-03-31 19.42.32

Riding Essentials for Your Bike

March 24th, 2015

Riding Essentials for Your Bike

Having a bike properly equipped with the basics should a flat or unforeseen situation occur means many fewer things to think about each time you grab your bike to go on any kind of ride. We’d like to share our list of the best items to include on your bike and where they go for maximum convenience.


Pro Tip: In one of your handlebar ends, store emergency cash and a photocopy of the following: drivers license or ID, race license if you race, a credit card, and a list of important phone numbers. Pop out the end cap, roll up the paper and put it in the end of your handlebar, then re-insert the end cap. No one will know those things are there, but you will have them no matter what the circumstances.

Read the rest of this entry »

This Week in Coffee: Farming-Harvest

March 20th, 2015

This Week in Coffee: Farming-Harvest

Happy first day of spring! It feels like winter, but still, the long thaw has begun! If you have been cooped up this blizzard season, come on out and join us for some delicious coffee from Gracenote Coffee, espresso from George Howell Coffee, tea from Rishi and Mem, or even a cup of cold brew!

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Continuing from last couple of weeks, we are serving the George Howell’s La Soledad Espresso from Guatemala. This roast is sweet and bright, with flavors of apple, pear, and brown sugar. Currently remaining on the pourover menu is Gracenote’s Konga from Ethiopia and Bellavista Cortes from Colombia. Konga is light and floral with flavors of guava, jasmine, and marshmallow. Bellavista Cortes is  sweet and smooth with flavors of cherry cola, lemon, and cocoa.

Focus on Farming: Harvest Season

In our recent Focus on Farming Series, we have brought you basic information about the many factors that affect coffee farming and create differences in the taste of different coffees. After a quick overview, we have highlighted details about soil characteristics, climate, altitude, and varietals. Today, we move past the growing season to focus on the harvest.

Harvest occurs at different times in different coffee growing regions. The exact time of ripening of coffee cherries (and thus the time for harvesting) is dependent on climate, topography, and varietal. After a wide-spread harvest in January and February, currently many coffee producers are busy processing and exporting their coffee to roasters around the world. First up, roasters can expect samples and imports from Kenya, Ethiopia, and Colombia. For a general month-to-month understanding of when harvesting happens in different countries, check out this interactive map from Counter Culture Coffee.


Hand-picked Cherries Ready for Sorting at the Start of Harvest Season at Mamuto Farm in Kenya, Photo Courtesey of George Howell Coffee

There are a couple of different methods for harvesting coffee. The first, and most common in specialty coffee is hand picking. Hand picking allows farmers to harvest only the cherries that are perfectly ripe. Often this means that the same coffee plant will need to be harvested multiple times, as cherries on a single plant will not all ripen at the same moment. For more information on hand picking, see this page by Stumptown Roasters.


Mechanical Harvester at Daterra Farm in Brazil, Photo Courtesey of George Howell Coffee

Used on larger farms with flat landscape is another harvest option: mechanical harvesting. Harvesters like the one pictured above at Daterra Farm in Brazil, drive down rows of coffee plants, striping the cherries off the branches. Cherries are moved into two side storage containers while twigs and leaves are shot back out of the machine and periodically pulled out of the powered down machine when it gets clogged. After the harvester, a recollector comes through to vacuum up loose cherries and debris from the ground. For more photos, videos, and explanation of this mechanical process, see George Howell’s photo collection from his 2010 trip to Daterra Farm.

Has this “Focus on Farming” series brought up any coffee related questions for you? We would love to hear them! Email any questions to coffee@ridestudiocafe.com and we will be sure to address the answers in upcoming blog posts.



SRAM Tech Night with Matt Roy and Mo Bruno Roy

March 19th, 2015

SRAM Tech Night with Matt Roy and Mo Bruno Roy

Join us Thursday, April 2 at 7pm for an informative evening with Matt Roy and Mo Bruno Roy, to hear of their experiences riding and racing SRAM components achieving great success along the way. Free food will be served along with RSC Cafe drinks. Bikes sporting the SRAM components being discussed will be on display, too.


Matt and Mo

Matt and Mo together found outside of RSC by Veloria of Lovely Bicycle.

Mo Bruno Roy has raced at the professional/elite level of cyclocross for 12 years and has raced SRAM components on her bikes for the duration of her very competitive life. Mo has extensive experience with SRAM’s CX1 group and will speak to the gearing, simplicity, low weight, and how it equates to cyclocross race success. Mo will also specifically address commonly asked questions by women bike riders and racers as it relates to having the right components for a variety of riding styles.

Mo Bruno Roy

Mo stands as a winner of countless cross races. Photo by Seven Cycles.

Mo’s race resume is long and impressive. In short, she has achieved 41 wins including 9 at UCI races, 3 Masters National Championships, 2 Single-Speed National Championships, and 1 Single-Speed World Championship.

Matt specializes in ultra-distance events. Matt holds the Maine North to South and West to East ultra-cycling records and has traveled great road and off-road distances solo: just him, his bike and gear. Matt will speak about his travels and how riding in the toughest conditions has translated to a very high standard for the components he rides.

Charging up a mountain at the Green Mountain Double Century. Photo from Matt's photo collection.

Charging up a mountain at the Green Mountain Double Century. Photo from Matt’s photo collection.

Matt demands that his components live up to harsh conditions, and are highly serviceable on the fly. Matt is a top mechanic, as well, so he has spent countless hours on the tiniest details making his and Mo’s bikes ride perfectly. Matt knows SRAM components inside and out.

Matt is a professional mechanic working for pro teams in the past and has maintained Mo's bikes throughout her demanding cyclocross career.

Matt is a professional mechanic; he’s worked for pro teams in the past and has maintained Mo’s bikes throughout her demanding cyclocross career. Photo by bikeradar.com.

Ride Studio Cafe’s head mechanic, Mike Berlinger, has worked the SRAM pits at national cyclocross races and has many years of supporting professional racers overseas. He will be here as well, to speak from his experience. He is responsible for each of the pro bike builds that come out of Ride Studio Cafe and he sees what happens to components with normal use in New England and when the components are subjected to racing and other harsh conditions.

Focus on SRAM: SRAM's light-weight components have been with Matt and Mo since the beginning. Photo by Rob Vandermark.

Focus on SRAM: SRAM’s light-weight components have been with Matt and Mo since the beginning. Photo by Rob Vandermark.

Among the cool bikes on display here during SRAM’s Tech Night that show off SRAM components at their best are Mo’s Mudhoney SLX and Mudhoney PRO Seven Cycles race bikes, Matt Roy’s Seven Evergreen PRO, a new Honey cyclocross race bike with Force CX1 hydraulic brakes, and a new Honey Allroads outfitted with Rival 22 shifting and hydraulic disc brakes.


We hope you join us for this very informative evening! It will be a great time to learn a lot about what SRAM’s doing technologically, and to hear interesting stories from those who have pushed the limits. There will be time for Q&A after Matt and Mo are done speaking and time afterward to talk with them and us. Please RSVP, below, so we bring in enough food and chairs for everyone.

This Week in Coffee: Farming – Varietals

March 8th, 2015

This Week in Coffee: Farming – Varietals

This week in the cafe we are serving up some wonderful espresso from George Howell Coffee and delicious pourover options from our current guest roaster, Gracenote Coffee of Berlin, Massachusetts.


Continuing from last week, the espresso currently in the hopper is George Howell’s La Soledad Espresso from Guatemala. This sweet and bright option presents with flavors of apple, pear, and brown sugar.

We are also continuing to serve Gracenote’s Bellavista-Cortes from Colombia. This microlot coffee is smooth and delicious with flavors of cherry cola, lemon, and cocoa. A new pourover option this week has been Finca Kassandra from Mexico. This unique coffee presents with complex and varied flavors of grape, caramel, cinnamon, sweet basil, floral, and pomegranate.

Focus on Farming: Varietals

Over the past few weeks we have been walking you through some basic information on the complex process of farming coffee. Beginning with an overview, we have since covered topics of soil characteristics, climate, and altitude. Today we turn to the characteristics of the plant itself, focusing on the many varieties of coffee plants.


Photo Courtesey of George Howell Coffee

Coffee plants are part of the taxanomical family Rubiacea and genus Coffea. Within the coffea genus, there are over one hundred species, only a few of which produce coffee cherries for consumption. The most common species grown in the coffee industry is the arabica species which consistitute about 70% of the world’s coffee. Other less common species include canephora and liberica. Within a species, further differences exist between different varieties or varietals. The differences can evolve naturally but can also be created through cultivation. Different varieties within the same species share most characteristics, however there are small differences that, in the case of coffee, can require differences in growing techniques and contribute to differences in the taste and body of the roasted and brewed coffees.

Two common varieties of arabica coffee are typica and bourbon. Typica, the earliest discovered variety of the arabica species was first found in the Kaffa region of Ethiopia. Typica has served as the basis for many mutations and cultivations of further varietals. Though typica is a low yielding varietal, it is known for its excellent quality in the cup with rich sweet flavors and complex body. Bourbon is also a low yielding, high quality varietal. It is named for the Island of Bourbon off the coast of Madagascar and began being actively planted by the 1870s. This particular coffee varietal is highly regarded for its balance and acidity.


Cherries of different coffee varietals- Photo Courtesey of George Howell Coffee


The  coffees that we serve here at RSC often involve these two varietals, as well as many others. Take this week’s coffees for instance…

La Soledad is a combination of yellow bourbon, caturra (a higher yeilding mutation of the bourbon variety), typica, and pache. Bellavista-Cortes is 80% castillo and %20 caturra. Finca Kassandra is a bit different from the others: a pacamara varietal. Pacamara is a hyrid of the maragogype (known for have large beans with low density) and pacas (a naturally occurring bourbon mutation with smaller beans). As you can taste in the basil notes of the Finca Kassandra, pacamara is unique with its herbal and savory flavors.

Want to learn more about particular varietitals? Former RSC guest roaster, Stumptown Coffee Roasters has a great guide to varieties that has served as a source for the information in this blog post. A second source is the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) and the guiding information on their “A Botanist’s Guide to Specialty Coffee” page of their website.

You can also find more information on this topic and many other coffee details in the television broadcast of George Howell’s talk at the Studio from this past fall. Check out our post about the “What’s Brewing” series from Lex Media for more information.

This Week in Coffee: Farming – Altitude

March 1st, 2015

This Week in Coffee: Farming – Altitude

This week in the cafe, we are switching up our coffee options, moving our guest roaster, Gracenote Coffee, to our pourover menu and bringing George Howell Coffee back to the espresso hopper.

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For pourover options we have Gracenote’s Pulcal from Guatemala and Igna Mystique from Colombia. You may remember both of these coffees as espressos. On our pourover menu, the same beans are roasted differently to make a great cup of drip coffee. Pulcal is rich and interesting for the pallet with flavors of caramel, chocolate, raspberry, and lime. Igna Mystique is earthy and smooth with flavors of caramel, cola, plum, and orange. This week’s espresso is George Howell’s La Soledad from Guatemala. La Soledad is sweet and bright with flavors of apple, pear, and brown sugar.

Focus on Farming: Altitude

Over the past few weeks we have been walking you through some basic information on the complex process of farming coffee. Beginning with an overview, we have since covered topics of soil characteristics, climate, and today we focus on the effects of altitude.


Photo Courtesey of George Howell Coffee


Most coffee is grown between 3,500 feet (1,000 meters) and 6,000 feet (1,800 meters) above sea level. One noteable exception to this general rule is Kona coffee from Hawaii. Since Hawaii is so far north of the equator, cool temperatures at high altitudes prevent coffee from being grown higher than 2,000 feet. Altitude can have a profound impact on the flavor of coffee. At low elevations, higher temperatures that remain fairly consistant from day into night can lead to a quicker rippening of the coffee cherry. This quick ripening leads to smoother and earthy flavors in comparrison to the more complex and floral flavors found in coffees growing at higher elevations. At a higher altitude, contrasts between periods of mixed cloud cover and strong direct sunlight, and warm days followed by cool nights allow for a slower ripening and development of citrus, fruity, and floral flavors.


Image Courtesy of George Howell Coffee


Also determined by altitude is the density of the coffee bean. Coffee grown at lower altitudes tend to have softer, less dense beans that can tend to lose flavor more rapidly in storage. For this reason, denser beans from higher altitudes tend to be considered higher quality coffees. With this classification, farmers can obtain a higher premium for coffees grown at high elevations, but there are risks to growing at high elevations as well. Access to high elevation land can be difficult with limited access roads and steep hillsides. There can also be problems of erosion, wind damage, and lower yields per plant in these environments.

For more detailed information on the effects of altitude, check out the George Howell Website page on the subject. Want to see George Howell himself talk about this subject and many other coffee production and brewing topics? Check out our post about the “What’s Brewing” series on Lex Media.

eNews: Conjure Series, Honey Launch Party, Cycling Tours

February 27th, 2015

eNews: Conjure Series, Honey Launch Party, Cycling Tours

Read up on the latest of what’s happening where it comes to special rides, the Honey 2015 Product Launch, and an evening of talking about bike tours with Cristiano Bonino. Click on the image below for the whole thing. If you don’t receive our eNewsletter in your inbox, be sure to sign up for it now. We hope you join us for the many things happening here and on the road!

Feb 27 eNews

This Week in Coffee: Farming – Climate Conditions

February 22nd, 2015

This Week in Coffee: Focus on Farming – Climate Conditions


This week we continue to serve some wonderful coffee options from George Howell Coffee and Gracenote Coffee. Want a breakfast snack to accompany your morning coffee? Ask for some ham and cheese with one of our Iggy’s plain croissants and perhaps a hard boiled egg for a great boost of protein that will help start your day off on the right foot.

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For drip coffee, come in and choose from our George Howell menu options: Kenyan Karinga and Guatemalan La Bendición. Karinga is smooth and fruity with tea-like flavors of blackberry and apple. La Bendición is light and bright with lime, tangerine, and the sweetness of toffee.

Today in the hopper we are serving Gracenote’s Pulcal espresso from Guatemala. This sweet and rich roast highlights dessert flavors of caramel, brownie, and key lime pie. Coming up next we will be serving a new Colombian option: Igna Mystique. We are excited to taste this medium roast and its flavor profile with caramel, cola, plum, and orange.

Focus on Farming: Climate Conditions

For the past couple of weeks we have been bringing you some basic background information on the many factors that affect coffee farming. We started with an overview, moved on to soil characteristics, and today we focus on climate in coffee growing regions.

All coffee is grown at latitudes between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. Of course, the climate is not consistant (or ideal for coffee growing) across all areas of the tropics, and this variety contributes to different coffee characteristics and flavors once roasted and brewed.


Photo Courtesy of George Howell Coffee


The optimal climate for coffee farming is one that involves moderate rainfall that arrives immediately after harvest before holding back during a dry season that allows the fruit to set. This dry season is then followed by a sustained period of morning rainfall and clear nights that provide nourishment for the growing coffee cherries. These periods of wet versus dry will define the harvest season of a given area. In areas right on the equator, like Colombia and Kenya, consistant rainfall throughout the year allows for two different major harvest seasons, while other regions have one specific harvest season each year. In some arid regions, lack of rainfall is not necessarily an issue if water can be brought in from river regions. For example, in the Cerrado of Brazil, water can be brought in from the amazon watershed to feed the large flat farms that are being used for mass production.

Other climatic conditions such as cloud cover, sun position, and topography all have a hand in affecting coffee growth and flavor. Ideal temperatures for farming fall between 45 degrees and 90 degrees year round, with large differences between daytime and nightime temperature. This temperature range is commonly found at higher elevations that can produce  wonderfully complex, floral, and balanced coffees.  That being said, higher elevations come with their own challenges of accessibility on steep hillsides, erosion control, and high winds that can damage plants. Check back next week for more information on elevation in Part 4: Altitude.


Photo Courtesy of George Howell Coffee

For more detailed information on climate and coffee growing regions, check out the George Howell Website page on the subject. Want to see George Howell himself talk about this subject and many other coffee production and brewing topics? Check out our post about the “What’s Brewing” series on Lex Media.


Latest eNews is Out

February 18th, 2015

Latest eNewsletter is Out

Take a look at what’s happening. For a blizzard-y February, we can see spring around the corner. The New England Randonneurs are meeting tomorrow. All are invited to attend, most of what they’ll be discussing is their upcoming season full of looong scenic rides. We have published our Calendar of Events, and we have a very special bike promo happening now through the end of the month. Check it out by clicking on it, below!

RSC eNewsletter

This Week in Coffee: Farming – Soil Effects

February 15th, 2015

This Week in Coffee: Focus on Farming Part 2: Soil Effects


For the third week in a row, the studio is serving as a warm and safe refuge from the snow storms. Inside we are brewing up some wonderful espressos from our guest roaster Gracenote Coffee of Berlin, Massachusetts and delicious pourover options from our fantastic house roaster George Howell Coffee.

IMG_0314Currently in the hopper is Gracenote’s Ethiopian Konga espresso. This bright and sweet espresso has been a popular option over the past few weeks, presenting with flavors of stone fruit, candied lemon, and hibiscus. Next up is a new and limited option, Colombia Bellavista Cortes! This microlot option is a special treat with notes of cherry cola, lemon, and cocoa. Come in later this week to try it out while it lasts!

Pourover options this week include George Howell’s Mamuto AB from Kenya and La Bendición from Guatemala. Mamuto is rich and smooth with flavors of blackberry, cherry, and plum. La Bendición is bright and fruity with flavors of lime, tangerine, and jammy fruit.

Focus on Farming: Soil Effects

In last week’s This Week in Coffee post, we outlined a few of the major factors that contribute to the growth, harvest, and quality of coffee beans. Today we focus in on one of the several factors effecting the decision of where and how to plant coffee: soil characteristics.

View from Alto Bonito

Photo Courtesy of George Howell Coffee

Soil content and consistency can have a great impact on the success of coffee growth. To grow successfully, coffee needs access to proper amounts of water and nutrients. The micro-organisms, minerals, organic matter, and acidity of soil will all adjust characteristics of the coffee plant and the resulting coffee bean. Many of these characteristics can be controlled through farming techniques, adding fertilizers and lime, but there is another soil quality that is harder to control: texture. As noted by George Howell, the ideal soil type is one that is “loamy–crumbly, permeable, having high oxygen content, and be deep, especially in drier areas.”

Why deep? And why in particular in dry areas? Coffee plants can survive through long dry seasons characteristic of many coffee growing regions, as long as the soil is able to retain a certain moisture content. Coffee roots can extend three meters into the ground to reach this moisture, making deeper soil that remains moist the longest, the most beneficial for the coffee plant. At the same time, this soil moisture level is a delicate balance, as too high a moisture content can overwhelm the plant and  be harmful to the root system. Farmers must take great care to properly water their plants, knowing the specific depth and textures of their soil and in some cases building in controlled drainage and monitoring soil erosion.


Photo Courtesy of George Howell Coffee

For further detail on farming and optimal growing conditions, stay tuned for next week’s post about climate and regional differences.

If you have not yet had a chance to watch Lex Media’s broadcast of “What’s Brewing” talk at RSC with George Howell, check it out HERE.

This Week in Coffee: Focus on Farming

February 8th, 2015

This Week in Coffee: Focus on Farming Part 1

More snow?! We can think of no better way to warm up to this winter weather than coming by for a hot cup of coffee, tea, or perhaps a delicious mocha latte. Cozy up with a croissant or sticky bun from Iggy’s Bread of Cambridge, take comfort in a bowl of hot oatmeal with brown sugar, dates, cranberries, and pecans, or get a warm boost of protein with our house made vegetarian chili. Yum!


Currently in the Cafe we are brewing up some recent favorites from Gracenote Coffee and George Howell Coffee. In the espresso hopper today, we have Gracenote’s Ethiopian Konga, a bright and naturally sweet espresso that presents with notes of stone fruit, candied lemon, and hibiscus. Coming up next will be Pulcal of Guatemala. This option is soothing and sweet with flavors of caramel, brownie, and key lime pie.

For pourover options this week we are serving George Howell’s Karinga from Kenya and Kochere from Ethiopia. Karinga is rich with fruit flavors of blackberry, black grape, and apple. Kochere is light and tea-like with flavors of earl grey, honeydew, and apricot.

Focus on Farming: Overview

Leaving the snowy Northeast behind, we can turn tour attention to tropical, coffee growing regions for a focus on farming! In the coming weeks, stay tuned to the “This Week in Coffee” posts for further details on the various factors that affect the growing and taste of coffee.

Photo Courtesy of George Howell Coffee

Photo Courtesy of George Howell Coffee

Today, we will start with some basics…

There are four primary factors that influence methods for growing and eventual taste of coffee beans: where, what, how, and harvest.

First, a farmer must decide where is the best place to plant. There are several secondary factors that affect this decision, including soil characteristics, altitude, and climate.

The next question is what species to grow. Not all coffee plants are the same. Some species produce higher quality coffees than others, and certain species will grow better in certain climactic conditions or at certain elevations.

The third factor, “how,” refers to care for the coffee plant and methods to ensure that the plant is receiving proper nutrients and an appropriate amount of water.

The fourth and final decision making factor is when and how to harvest. Harvesting is a tricky and delicate process, complicated by the varied rate of ripening. Coffee beans are seeds of coffee cherries that grow in clusters on the coffee shrub. Ideally coffee is harvested when it is ripe, however, within one cluster of coffee cherries, some cherries can be more ripe than others. Farmers must take great care to hand pick the appropriately ripened cherries to produce the highest quality product possible. Once harvested, the coffee is processed to remove the fruit, dried, and then packaged and shipped to roasters around the world.

Want to learn more about the ins and out of growing coffee? George Howell Coffee is a wonderful resource, with clear and interesting descriptions of the farming and sourcing process on their website.

Another great source for more information is LexMedia’s “What’s Brewing?” broadcast of George Howell’s “Coffee Talk” at the Studio this past October. Check out Part 1: Finding the Best Coffee Around the World for more on sourcing coffee. More detail on “What’s Brewing?” and other episode links are available on an earlier post to our blog.

This Week in Coffee

February 3rd, 2015

This Week in Coffee: Come in from the Snow

Though at times this week the weather outside has certainly been frightful, the coffee inside is quite delightful!


This week we are brewing up some wonderful espresso roasts from Gracenote Roasters and some pour over options from George Howell Coffee.

Read the rest of this entry »

Product: Stages Power Meter

January 25th, 2015

Product: Stages Power Meter

Power meters have become a much more popular option of measuring cycling performance and improving it through the direct measure of how hard a cyclist is pedaling. A big reason for the increase of power meter usage is that their accuracy, durability, and price have all improved dramatically.


This is a Stages Power meter installed on a customer’s 622 SLX road bike.

We work with Stages Cycling and regularly equip riders’ bikes with their power meters.

A few of the many benefits of the Stages power measuring system include:

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This Week in Coffee

January 25th, 2015

This Week in Coffee

This week we are staying cozy in the Studio, safe from the snow, and drinking delicious coffee drinks from Gracenote Coffee  and George Howell Coffee!


Our espresso offerings come from our newest guest roaster, Gracenote Coffee. Currently in the hopper is Konga from Ethiopia. This naturally sweet espresso option will help brighten your day with flavor notes of stone fruit, candied lemon, and hibiscus. Next up this week we will be serving a Kiruga Peaberry from Kenya. This is another bright option with flavors of cherry, sassafras, and elderflower.

Read the rest of this entry »

What’s Brewing? George Howell Coffee Talk Televised

January 24th, 2015

“What’s Brewing?” George Howell Coffee Talk Shows are Live


Image from True Images Photography’s “What’s Brewing?” show.

George Howell, pioneer of the third wave of coffee, and owner of RSC’s house coffee George Howell Coffee Company, spoke here for close to two hours concerning all things coffee. The large audience listened intently and asked very insightful questions at the end.

Read the rest of this entry »

Insoles: Treat Yourself and Your Feet Wednesday, January 21

January 16th, 2015

Improve the Comfort and Efficiency of Your Cycling Shoes – Wednesday January 21, 6-9 pm

Tread Labs offers comfort and support – at a discount for evening attendees

Optimizing the interface between body and bicycle pays big dividends in comfort and performance. Tread Labs, a local insole company, has developed a new alternative for cyclists looking to improve pedaling efficiency and foot comfort. They offer a system of precisely sized insoles based on the length and height of your arch, not the overall size of your foot.

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Seven Cycles Tour Monday, January 19

January 14th, 2015

Tour Seven Cycles Monday, January 19

Screenshot 2015-01-14 18.38.50

Seven Cycles is located just down the street from us in Watertown. Seven is a company full of bike building professionals. It is the place where custom bikes come to life and many new innovations in bike building have been created.

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This Week in Coffee

January 11th, 2015

This Week in Coffee: Introducing Gracenote Coffee Roasters!

We are thrilled to announce that this past week we began serving espresso from our new guest roaster, Gracenote Coffee Roasters! This local roaster of Berlin, Massachusetts is a wonderful addition to our coffee lineup and we are excited to continue to try out the wide variety of top quality coffees offered by Gracenote.


Currently in the hopper is an Ethiopian espresso called Misty Valley. Read the rest of this entry »

Congratulations Festive 500 RSC Riders & Instagram Contest Winners

January 9th, 2015

Congratulations Festive 500 RSC Riders & Instagram Contest Winners

Participation was absolutely tremendous for the 2014 edition of the Festive 500! The number and names of participants (many thousands worldwide) are here on Strava. 28 people who have marked RSC as their club on Strava completed the 500km challenge. Total participation equated to our giving $3,904 to the RSC Ride Conservation Fund! Riders proved that the cold (it was as cold as 20 degrees) isn’t much of a deterrent to fun times riding.

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Fun of the Festive 500 Translates to a Lot of Ride Conservation

January 8th, 2015

Fun of the Festive 500 Translates to a Lot of Ride Conservation

roundelBetween December 24 and December 31, Rapha challenged riders across the globe to ride 500km or more. This year, we took the challenge to a new level: for every rider and ride attended, we donated $20 to the RSC Ride Conservation fund. We also contributed 5% of all Rapha apparel revenue we received for the month of December to the fund. Throughout the Festive 500, we also held Instagram and blog contests. Now we’re ready to reveal the total amount raised and winners of our contests!

RSC Ride Conservation Huge Success!

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This Week in Coffee: The Gift of Coffee

December 18th, 2014

 This Week in Coffee: Give the Gift of Coffee!

IMG_0163Currently in the cafe we are serving smooth drip coffee pourover options from Tandem Coffee Roasters and a delicious and sweet El Salvador Espresso from George Howell Coffee. Tandem’s Guatemalan Chalabal offers juicy flavors of cherry and lemon, while the light Ayele of Ethiopia presents with floral flavors combined with notes of raspberries, cola and lemon. George Howell’s Montecarlos espresso suits the holiday season with notes of blood orange, light brown sugar, and almond. Read the rest of this entry »

Festive 500 – 2014 Edition

December 10th, 2014

Get Ready for The Festive 500

Challenge Yourself & Make a Significant Difference for Riding in Our Community

Rapha Festive 500 pre-snow ride

What the Festive 500 is All About

Between December 24 and December 31, Rapha challenges riders across the globe to ride 500km or more. Read the rest of this entry »

CCNS Testing & Seminar: January 3rd

December 4th, 2014

CCNS Testing & Seminar: January 3rd

We’re pleased to welcome back Aidan Charles and staff of CCNS. He and his staff will be performing a full day of physiological testing Saturday, January 3rd and he’ll be speaking from 5-7pm, as well. Read the rest of this entry »

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