This morning we woke up well rested and ready for another day of riding. After showering and gathering all of our belongings our host, Michelle, had a massive breakfast ready for us. Today’s spread consisted of biscuits, bananas, orange infused water, waffles, eggs, bacon, apple juice and baked ham. Michelle really spoiled us this morning.
Michelle lives on the southside of Indianapolis, just a few miles away from downtown where today’s coffee shop was located. The coffee shop we chose for our morning energy was Bee Coffee. At first, we didn’t know what to expect. The shop was located in the lobby of a tall office building and Dakota is suspicious of chalk board menus which this one had, but the shop was rated well and it was the closest shop to our route. We ordered our drinks and began to plan our next couple of nights.
To our surprise, the coffee at Bee Coffee was great and the owner was just as awesome. She really knew her stuff and seemed well connected in the coffee world. As Dakota and Jesse spent time talking to Michelle, I was spent some time speaking with a customer by the name of Anthony. He was really interested in what we were doing and by the time we left Indianapolis, he had purchased a Ride for Korah T-Shirt on our shop page. We always enjoy visiting coffee shops. It’s where we get approached by strangers the most and are able to have conversations with people like Anthony and Michelle. Before we left her shop, Michelle made sure to support the team in her own way. She shared about us on social media and gave us a bottle of straight cold brew for road. We have enough energy in the bottle to last us a week!
Indianapolis was an interesting city. The downtown area is one of the most affluent portions of a city we have seen on this whole trip. It is clean, well design, and technologically advance. The roads are well maintained with enough bike paths for cyclists to stay off the main roads through the entire area. The city is also up to date, if not ahead of the curve, with all of the latest book share, bike share, and even car share programs. I’ve never quite seen a city like it, but oddly enough we weren’t quite sold on Indianapolis.
Outside of the coffee shop, the city didn’t feel very welcoming. We couldn’t figure out why we felt the way we did until we left the downtown area. The infrastructure around downtown Indianapolis was in shambles. It was as if all of the cities money was only invested in the downtown area. It was like night and day how different the surrounding areas were to the downtown region. From one block to the next the roads went from exceptionally well maintained to a crumbling mess surrounded by poverty. The priority of this city felt clear. It was a city designed by the wealthy for the wealthy. This kind of made us all feel a little uneasy.
At one point the roads got so bad that Dakota’s front brakes were ripped in half due to constant rubbing with his tire wall. This rubbing was the result of crashing through one pothole after another for many consecutive miles. This terrain combined with the heat of the day was enough to make the team miserable. We had one last stop planned on the very edge of the city at a bike shop name A1 Cyclery.
We didn’t have high hopes for this shop given its location, but since Dakota’s brake pad was destroyed, this stop became more that just a visit, it was necessary. Tired, hot, and disappointed with the city planning of Indianapolis, we arrived at A1 Cyclery expecting to be in and out in a few minutes. However, once we walked through the front door, our plans changed immediately.
This store carries some of the coolest bikes on the market and just like Bee Coffee, we met the owner, Chris, and realized that he really knew his stuff. Dakota was able to find a rack for his rear bag that he had been searching for, but could not find online. While Dakota focused on getting his brakes fixed and installing his new bag rack, Jesse and I walked around the store drooling at the sight of all the beautiful bikes. A1 Cyclery carries a brand by the name of Rivendell. Rivendell is a very high end brand that constructs some of the highest quality bikes on the market. It’s usually uncommon for a local bike shop to stock Rivendell. The feeling of seeing these types of bikes at a bike shop is kind of like walking into a car dealership and seeing rows of lamborghinis.
Not only were the bikes amazing, but A1 Cyclery also carries bags from swift industries; another brand that is not commonly seen in local bike shops. As if this wasn’t enough for us to fall in love with the shop, they also had a small coffee bar set up inside. We spent over an hour at this shop enjoying every bit of it and talking to the owner. As we were leaving, the owner walked out with us to take a photo for his social media accounts and to give us some advice on how to avoid rough roads on the way out of the city. This unexpected interaction with Chris and his shop completely made our day.
If you’re ever driving through Indianapolis please stop at either Bee Coffee or A1 Cyclery or both. These guys were awesome and to us the best part of Indy.
After the bike shop we rode our bikes for another 40 miles or so and arrived in Greencastle, Indiana where we had planned to camp out. As we finished the trail we were on and entered Greencastle, we saw a couple of loaded down bikes in the distance. Excited at the fact that we might be able to meet other bike tourists like ourselves, we rushed over to the two individuals who were eating lunch in a pavilion next to their bikes.
As it turned out, the two were riding from Quebec to El Paso, Texas. They were Canadian and doing a cross country tour of the United States. Their names are Jon and Claudel. We instantly bonded over our similar journeys and invited them to camp with us. Jon’s sister had just moved to El Paso the two tourists were on summer break at University. For Jon and Claudel it was the perfect opportunity for the trip of a lifetime.
Tonight we’re enjoying our conversations with our new Canadian friends and we’re learning so much about their views on American politics and social issues. We have also learned that their route will take them through Springfield, Missouri. Looks like we just found some new camp mates for the next week!
If you’re interest in learning more about Jon and Claudel, you can find their tour on Facebook by searching “Adventure Jon and Claudel.”