As the cake of time crumbles inevitably in the mouth and is washed down by the coffee of an excellent ride, Cycling Weekly continues its foray into Britain’s burgeoning cycle cafes – with a brief skip across to Ireland while we’re at it.
We cyclists must have been good this year because, seriously, cycle cafes are popping up everywhere.
The first instalment of our look at the best British cycling cafes is here>>
Inverness, IV2 3NF
Velocity’s founder Laura Nicolson wanted to share the bike repair skills her dad taught her, and her love of cycling. The result is a social enterprise where any profit goes to promoting cycling in Inverness and cafe punters sip ‘bicyclattes’ and ‘campagcinos’ from the proprietor’s retro cup collection, with renowned locally home-baked cakes. Government climate change funds help Velocity provide maintenance sessions around Inverness. There are social rides and live music, too.
t: 01463 419956 e: firstname.lastname@example.org; Daily: 9am-6pm; until 9pm on Thursdays and 8pm Fridays and Saturdays
Velocity café and workshop
Roll for the Soul
Bristol, BS1 2JL
Founder Rob Wall wanted to create a focal point in Britain’s first cycling city where roadies, mountain bikers, fixie riders and non-cyclists alike could mingle. Opened on July 1 the crowd – and council grant – funded result is a community interest company where punters’ money goes towards RFTS’s social aims: promoting cycling in Bristol. Cycling groups meet and share ideas, there’s servicing and repairs upstairs, and ‘bespoke’ maintenance tuition, while downstairs the cafe sells Mediterranean food, using local suppliers where possible.
t: 07596 917963; Mon-Tue 8am-6pm; Wed 8am-9pm; Thurs-Fri 8am-10pm; Sat 10am-10pm; Sun 11am-5pm
Brighton, BN1 4ZN
Three of Velo’s proprietors own Dark Star Brewing Co, Flour Pot artisan bread and Small Batch Coffee Company, and happily these are the cafe’s ingredients. Opening at the end of September in Brighton’s new park, The Level, inclusive is the word. The cafe has a grass roof, solar panels, rainwater harvesting, 360° park views and outdoor seating. There’ll be a workshop, bike parking and cleaning facilities, kids’ and adults’ rides and events, bike recycling, maintenance and clothing.
e: email@example.com; seven days a week: 7am-6pm in winter; 7am-10pm in summer
Rothbury, NE65 7SF
Named after the reverend who brought education to Rothbury, Tomlinson’s, a former schoolhouse, is now a cafe with cycle hire, a bunkhouse and great views over the River Coquet. In Northumberland National Park, Tomlinson’s attracts cyclists and walkers as a base for exploration, in groups and flying solo. There’s low-cost accommodation in dorms, homemade wholesome food and evening meals Thursday-Saturday. Secure bike parking, periodic bike doctors and guided rides are on offer, too.
t: 01669 621979 e: firstname.lastname@example.org; Sun-Wed 9am-5.30pm; Thurs-Sat 9am-10pm (last food orders 8.30pm)
Maison du Velo
Reigate, RH2 7JS
Its July 4 inauguration puts it amongst the newest, and likely the shiniest, of the new kids. A road shop, key popular bike models are displayed in a glowing, catacomb-like gallery in the basement, almost guaranteed to elicit a ghostly ‘wow’ on first sight. There’s a homage to the local ‘Legs of Steel’ route, its toothy profile emblazoned on the shop window. Gaze at it over a coffee, or get out there and do it. Apex bike fitting technology is being trialled soon.
t: 01737 241188; e:email@example.com; Mon-Sat 8.30am-6.30pm; Sun 8.30am-3.30pm
Cycle Lab café
Cycle Lab & Juice Bar
London, Pitfield Street, N1 6EY
Shoreditch bike shop with a little alchemy. One of the original cycle cafes, CycleLab recently doubled in size, spreading into next door. With seating for 10 indoors and benches beside PlantLocks outside there’s fresh soups, sweet and savoury crepes, juices and smoothies. Oh, and carrot balls (a spherical carrot cake). Cinelli, US Raleighs, Argon 18s and Genesis bikes, Catlike helmets and loads of Endura clobber are on sale, too. Cycle Lab has a cyclo-cross team and runs monthly 80km road rides.
t: 0203 222 0016; e: firstname.lastname@example.org; Mon-Fri 8am-7pm; Sat 11am-6pm; Sundays and Bank Holidays closed
3 Queen Street, Redcar, TS10 1DY
This cycle-themed cafe, complete with traffic lights and zebra crossings, opens in December, with secure bike parking and bike hire where hungry riders on NCN1 can refuel on healthy soups and paninis. You can also watch your bike being repaired while you wait. Behind the scenes it’s all about the community with a day centre for adults with learning difficulties, while Sustrans, working with the local job centre, loans cycles to jobseekers.
bit.ly/16RjFGf (cafe website coming soon)
t: 07985 270558; e: email@example.com; Mon-Sat 8.30am-6pm
Full City Cycles
London, Leather Lane, EC1N 7TR
Small, hip and mighty, Full City uses every inch of its 3x6m space. With a coffee machine in the corner and no food, it’s takeaway only, though customers of all ilk and age are welcome to stand and chat. On every surface (and ceiling) there’s pre-loved £200 bikes to £1000+ carbon machines, with custom builds, natch. Incredibly, repairs take place in the same space. Meanwhile, monthly Alley Cat and/or street keirin races nod to its owners’ courier roots.
t: 020 7998 4988; e: firstname.lastname@example.org; Mon-Fri 9am-7pm; Sat (less officially) 10am-4pm; Sun: closed
Fade Street, Dublin, Ireland
If Facebook ‘likes’ are anything to go by, Rothar’s 5,700-plus means popularity in shovel loads. Now celebrating a fifth birthday, our Irish contingent predates most UK cycle cafes. Local and ethical is the word: Irish companies Imbibe (triple-certified coffee), and Caranya’s Cakes (vegan options available) provide cycling fuel, while Rothar refurbishes abandoned bikes for social aims like training and employment. Repairs and maintenance classes run on Sunday and Monday when the cafe is closed.
t: + 353 (0)1 6772233; e: email@example.com; Open Tue-Sat 10am-6pm
The Hub café
Redbourn, Hertfordshire, AL3 7LL
With Allpress coffee from a La Marzocca coffee machine, the Hub has people travelling miles just for a cuppa. Organic ice cream adds to the offer with locally sourced cakes made by a guy from The Great British Bake-Off. Sweet and savoury waffles are in the offing, too. The Hub organises monthly sportives of 15, 28 and 48 miles around the edge of the Chilterns and in autumn and
winter holds evening talks, with Phil Liggett among past speakers.
t: 01582 792389; e: firstname.lastname@example.org; Tue-Sun 9am-5.30pm
This article originally appeared in the October 10 2013 issue of Cycling Weekly magazine