I know, not the “normal” kind of article written by a coffee roasting company. You’d think we’d spend more time writing about dialing in brew methods, coffee roasting geekdom, the process of sourcing green beans, and the like. While those are fun conversations … what people are most interested are finished products or results. Meaning, what can coffee do for you? That’s a similar conversation with frame builders. Sure, they could post endless articles about the specific processes of making carbon frames, welding techniques on aluminum frames, and the like … but what we really care about is how the bike performs while descending a steep chute or how well it climbs without compromising suspension travel.
Back to coffee, mountain biking, and economic development. Here’s how the process works in my mind and why and how they’re all interrelated:
Saturday morning … you wake up and make a cup of coffee with your aeropress. Like electricity, coffee sends signals to your mind and body to get ready for awesomeness.
You load up your mountain bike and drive to a trailhead (while sipping on your 2nd cup of coffee with your Loam Coffee insulated travel mug … cough).
As you’re driving through the small town where the trailhead is located you stop for a snack. Then onto the trailhead.
You shred. It’s an Instagram-worthy day … but you’re having so much fun you don’t even remember to stop and take selfies. The shred is real.
After you shred you stop and eat a fat burrito that you’ve been dreaming about since half way through the ride. A burrito and a pint … a match made in heaven.
Without thinking about it or noticing you’re benefitting the local economies of the places you visit and ride. Simple as that.
This is not a new theme as we’ve addressed this topic before. But what is different is not only addressing this topic with intentionality but living it out with even more intentionality. I hate to admit it, but I used to view mountain biking more as a consumer would going to a Best Buy to shop for a 65” flat panel TV. It was merely transactional. I would load up my bike, descend upon the trailhead like a swarm of locusts consuming a field, ride hard, and blaze out of there to go home and clean up. Now? I’m more intentional about where and how I ride. Not only that, but where and how we get involved as Loam Coffee.
I now keep pointing to our mission to keep the ship sailing forward:
Our mission is to create new businesses and opportunities around our passions for coffee and cycling. We believe that when we come together and leverage our assets within the mountain bike community it creates jobs, builds trails, fosters growth and brings life where it was declining.
Our dream is to see our passions come together to bring a positive change everywhere we go. Whether it's sitting in our neighborhood coffee shop or ripping down our favorite trail.
Will you join us on the ride?
For us, it’s always been more than coffee. This is where wearing my professor hat comes in. I’m currently finishing up teaching a course on community development. Every journal article or book I read on the subject, while it may have a city focus to it, my mind immediately goes towards mountain biking and where we’re building new trails. On one hand, in the mind of a mountain biker we’re thinking about the opportunities to ride in new places. For the community though, it’s more than a trail, but a way forward. Not only that but hope … for a new future … a more robust economy … job creation.
My social media feeds are filled with innumerable upcoming trail building days. Again, there are many ways to look at those. On one hand, mountain bikers are taking action and are active participants in expanding their area’s trail offerings. On the other hand, these same actions and activities will benefit the community where these new or existing trails are. In the end, it’s a win-win. When we dig, when we ride, when we buy snacks or that fat burrito we’re also helping out a local community in real and tangible ways.
Keep drinking coffee, keep riding, and keep digging.
Words and photos by Sean Benesh, Loam Coffee Founder and Brand Manager.