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Stumptown – Belmont

The last time I went to the Belmont Stumptown to meet for one of the local celebrity team rides, one of the local celebrities farted. And one of the other local celebrities called it out. Like this. “Hey, one of you farted.” And everyone nodded and mumbled in agreement. And then everyone looked around for obvious signs of guilt, but no one was giving anything away. So we all just sat there, in that tiny little Stumptown, hotboxing on our own flatulence. (I mean, it was one of our own flatulence, not all of ours – definitely not mine – don’t look at me.) We didn’t know which of us did it. And I just kept thinking to myself, “What an awesome lifestyle this is.”

I’m not sure if it’s the same everywhere else. But in Portland, cyclists seem to be able to do whatever we want. Apparently, we can roll into the hippest of coffee shops, already full of Banana Republic-clad metrosexuals tapping away on their Macbook Pros, wearing spandex skinsuits with gaudy white shoes and road cleats clicking loudly, ruining all of those great American novels being written. We can talk loudly about a bunch of nerdy bullshit that no one else cares about. Gear ratios, Powertaps, tread patterns. And then, in a blatant show of bravado, we can boldly cropdust the establishment on our way out, without anyone confronting us (by “we” I mean someone else in the group – don’t look at me.)

I feel like if I we tried this as a group anywhere else in America, we’d get our asses beaten. But in Portland, everyone just whispers and points. Not with anger, but with admiration for the craftsmanship of our bikes.

Anyway, I don’t go to the Belmont Stumptown very often. And it’s not because the last time I was there, my company let one loose. It’s because the counter setup makes me uncomfortable. You have to squeeze past all of those people in line to get to the end. Past the art. Worried that your backpack is going to knock something expensive over. Then work your way past the people that are working the self serve side of a counter. You have to decide if you should keep the fifty cents for a refill, or put it in the tip jar. And if you put it in the tip jar, will they give you a break when it’s time to get a refill?

I don’t know. I’m an anxious guy. It’s all too much for me. But I think it’s a great coffee shop. The art they pick is my favorite of the Stumptowns. It’s a nice central eastside spot to meet for group rides. But let me just say this…

If you’re planning to open a coffee shop, and you’re trying to maximize both tips and refills on stay-in coffee, you should charge $1.25 with $0.25 refills. That leaves $0.50 to tip. It will help ease my anxiety.