All cyclists know that coffee and cake go hand in hand with cycling. Its historical, like bread and butter, or ant and Dec. but why do we love them so much and what is the attraction of a cafe that keeps us coming back?
As cyclists we are creatures of habit. We are often found at the same coffee shops on the same Sundays with the same group of mates, but things have been changing over the last few years.
Previously if you wanted to get a shot of caffeine and a slice of home-made cake we would go to the most suitable cafe in whichever town we were passing through. The cafes that attracted the biggest crowds often had an outside seating area, so we can keep an eye on our steeds as we re-fuelled. However, a new breed of cafe is emerging, a cafe designed with the bike in mind.
So, what really is the difference between a cycling cafe and a cafe that cyclists go to? I believe the devil is in the detail, for example. A cafe local to me has reached out to a few of the local clubs and is offering them discounted coffees on their weekly rides. Others fit secure bike lock areas outside the cafe to encourage us 2wheelers in. The savvy ones are even swapping out their big slices of carrot cake for more healthy energy focused options, such as coconut energy balls or healthy flapjacks. I have even seen cycling branded energy gels for sale next to the till in one small cafe up in the peak district
It’s not just cafes that are making the change. As online prices get cheaper and cheaper, more independent shops are looking to diversify their offering to cyclists. One way many of these shops are achieving this is, you guessed it, by having a coffee machine.
In theory it’s a great idea, but good coffee and the right environment is hard to achieve. That being said, there are some fantastic shop/cafes out there. One of the best bike shop coffees I have had is in Twenty3c near Milton Keynes. Free WIFI, bike parking, and plenty of new bikes to drool over whilst you check your Strava times. Its a fantastic environment.
What does the future hold for our beloved mid ride coffee stop?
I believe that the cafes that will succeed in attracting us cyclists will be the ones who genuinely offer a great coffee at a great price and serve it with a smile. A relaxed environment incorporated with some simple cycling touches will go a long way and keep cyclists, coming through the door. There is a risk that if a cafe tries too hard to be “cool” to cyclists then they may start pushing us way. Either way coffee, cake and cycling are a match made in heaven and the threesome is here to stay.
Let us know what you think. Which is your favourite coffee shops and why?