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Bikes, especially tri bikes, have been engineered as of late to hold a lot of water and fuel. Some tri bikes’ integrated water systems can hold two or three bottles’ worth of fluid, which is critical for long days in the saddle or iron-distance races.
However, we’ve all been at a place during a multi-hour ride where we’re craving a cold can of Coke, or maybe a cookie, or maybe both. Local watering holes are lifesavers when it comes to surviving the heat, mental doldrums of training, or even ducking for cover during bad weather.
Check out these unique pit stops across the nation that local triathletes fondly – and gratefully – stop at to refuel on their weekend adventures.
Stewart’s Shops – Upstate New York
Stewart’s has everything and is well-known in the Upstate NY area. Stewart’s is a gas station, but also so much more. Most serve hot pizza, ice cream, and other greasy spoon delights alongside a great selection of salty and sweet treats to power your watts home.
Pinegrove Furnace General Store – Gardners, PA
Pennsylvania is chock-full of random general stores off the beaten path. While a great stop for triathletes, the Pinegrove Furnace General Store is along the Appalachian Trail and is frequented by those passing through on their epic AT thru-hike. The store is great to grab water, people watch, and meet folks from all over the country.
The Old Sunrise Grocery – Blairsville, GA
Although mountains may not be what immediately comes to mind when you think about Georgia, the “Three Gap” and “Six Gap” routes take riders through the mountainous terrain of North Georgia. Stopping at the Old Sunrise Grocery is a local favorite to rest the legs and fill the belly. Old Sunrise Grocery is known for its famous boiled peanuts, but sells typical drink and snack fare, too.
Pops 66 Soda Ranch – Arcadia, OK
You can’t miss Pops 66 Soda Ranch in Arcadia. No, you literally cannot miss it; there is a giant statue of a glass bottle of soda with a straw outside the shop (it lights up at night, too!). For those craving some sugar to spur their mid-ride lull, look no further than Pops 66 Soda Ranch, which has tons of vintage-style soda and milkshake options for the triathlete with a sweet tooth.
Betty’s Country Store and Grill – Sperry, OK
Betty’s is a true heartland-style pitstop. Whether you’re looking for a social ride lunch or a sugar bomb slushie, Betty’s has you covered.
Bearded Heart Coffee – Bailey’s Harbor, WI
Door County, also known as “the Cape Cod of the Midwest” is popular with cyclists for good reason – ample bike-friendly roads and trails, excellent weather, and beautiful views await two-wheeled visitors. Make a pit stop at Bearded Heart Coffee, which showcases small-batch, locally-owned coffees, pastries, sandwiches and ice cream.
Casey’s General Store – Iowa (and Beyond)
With more than 2,000 stores scattered in small towns throughout the Midwest, Casey’s General Store has a cult following with cyclists who know they can almost always find a place to stop for a Coca-Cola, even on the most rural ride. But if you ask most cyclists, Casey’s is no in-case-of-emergency-option – instead, it’s a full-on destination, thanks to the delicious from-scratch pizzas served by the slice.
The Gold Hill Store – Gold Hill, CO
Triathletes and cyclists who dabble in gravel and off-road biking love to sweat it out on the climb up Gold Hill and be rewarded with pie, coffee, and beverages at the quaint Gold Hill Store.
Mountain Tool and Feed (aka, The Sasquatch Store) – Black Hawk, CO
The Sasquatch Store is an experience, to say the least. From featuring hundreds of hard-to-find soda and candy brands to selling huge stuffed sasquatches, this store is a must-stop for the quirkiness of it – and to refuel before ascending the famous Casino Highway.
The Dam Store – Loveland, CO
The Dam Store is a double entendre if we’ve ever heard one. Not only is it right next to the dam in Big Thompson Canyon, but it is a kitschy store that’ll make you say, “Damn, that’s a cool place.” If you’re feeling adventurous, you can climb the mini-fire tower at the store to look into the cavernous dam below.
The Masonville Mercantile – Masonville, CO
In case you wanted to buy some 1800s-style garb along with your soda and snacks, the Masonville Mercantile has you covered. It’s a bizarre mix of old-timey clothing and knick knacks (there’s even a jail cell outside from the “Wild West” days), but also has a cooler and food options, too. Come for the treats, stay for the Victorian-era clothing.
The Daily – Bozeman, MT
The Daily is perfect for a run or ride fuel stop. It specializes in hot coffee and excellent breakfast burritos – even featuring vegan burritos, too!
Brighton Store and Cafe – Brighton, UT
Big Cottonwood Canyon is a stunning and challenging ride through the foothills of Salt Lake City. After reaching the top of the canyon, treat yourself to a refill at the Brighton Store – or in pro Skye Moench’s case, a warm coffee and standing under the heater inside.
Veyo Pie Shop – St. George, Utah
This under-the-radar pie shop suddenly found itself busier than ever when Ironman St. George was announced. Located at the top of the steepest climbs on the course, the Veyo Pie Shop is the place to go to refuel before descending back into town.
Mt. Lemmon Cookie Cabin – Mt. Lemmon, AZ
After suffering through a 5,500 foot elevation gain in 21 miles, any triathlete deserves a cookie. And that’s exactly why the Mt. Lemmon Cookie Cabin, with its face-sized cookies, is a storied athlete favorite.
COAST – Big Sur, CA
The coast-hugging ride from Pebble Beach to Pacific Grove is a must-do, not only for the scenery but for a stop at COAST, a water tank-turned cafe serving up espresso, sandwiches, and soft-serve ice cream that always hits the spot.
Rally Coffee Bar – Cottage Grove, OR
The Covered Bridges Scenic Bikeway dishes out plenty of Instagram-worthy shots during your ride, but the real picture-perfect moment comes during a mid-ride coffee stop at Rally Coffee Bar, where you can get mochas made with dark and decadent house-made ganache. (If it sounds delicious to you, that’s because it is.)
Kohala Burger and Taco – Kawaihae, HI
If you’ve ever headed to the Big Island, whether to race, spectate, or volunteer, it’s likely you rode the infamous climb from Kawaihae to Hawi. At the corner where you turn right to begin the climb to Hawi, there is a strip mall so small you may not even notice it, but in that strip mall is one of the best taco and ice cream shops on the Island. The owner, Tammy, has volunteered at the Ironman World Championship since 1984 and is very generous to cyclists stopping by, usually giving out free water refills and suggesting a refreshing Dole Whip before you get back on the road.
Kalapawai Market – Kapolei, Hawaii
Kalapawai Market has a few locations on the island of Oahu and is a favorite of triathletes and cyclists – the owner himself is a triathlete and his wife a cyclist. Not only is Kalapawai Market filled with delicious treats and hot coffee, but the market sponsors many local triathlon and cycling races, too. Sounds like our kind of pit stop!