Adele Mitchell lifts the coffee pot lid on what makes a cycling café our favourite ride destination.
1. Location, location, location
Your favourite cycling café might be anything from the hub of cycling hipness that’s a stone’s throw from your office on Shoreditch High Street or a converted barn on a Welsh hillside. It might be purpose built by the National Trust, or might be the bus shelter next door to the village store that sells coffee and great snacks. It may be designed for cyclists, or you may share it with walkers, office workers or the WI. So what do all these wonderful temples to tea have in common? They’re perfectly positioned to make your ride even more enjoyable.
2. We feel welcome
Some cafes welcome cyclists with open arms: walls artfully plastered with Tour de France posters, your double espresso (imported and exclusive Italian blend) arrives in a cycling themed cup and the baristas have not only cycled to work, but have also ridden most of the Alps as well (though probably not that morning). The unofficial customer dress code is Vulpine, Rapha or Castelli and, if you are a gentleman, you’ll probably favour a beard.
3. They feed us well
While I am sure there are cyclists out there who crave nothing more than a small plate of salad leaves and a mint tea after sixty miles in the saddle, I think I can safely say that the majority of us look forward to something a little more filling: according to Twitter responses it's cheese on toast, fantastic coffee and ‘world class cakeage’ that counts.
4. They have cyclist friendly facilities
No one is going to relax or go for that second coffee if they’re worried that their bike isn’t safe outside. A café with outdoor seating is the preferred option for most of us, but secure bike parking is a real draw – especially when it’s raining. Some cycling cafes have workshops for repairs and spare parts and clothing on sale while other cafes even have showers!
5. They don’t just serve great coffee
The best cafes also build a community: look out for pasta and ride nights, guided rides, cycling and bike maintenance tuition, spinning nights, charity rides, team rides, film nights, cycle sport on wide screen TVs, beer, Bike Jumbles, print sales and even knitting events (at the iconic Look Mum No Hands café in London, if you’re wondering)….all served up with a friendly smile and a great cup of coffee, of course.
Have we missed anything out?
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