Cafes have been embedded in the culture and tradition of cyclists since the 1950s. They are used as a meeting point for the start of a group ride; for a ‘cafe stop’, half-way through a 50- or 100-mile club run; for essential refreshment for long-distance cycle tourists and as a finishing point of hard-training pros and leisure riders alike.
Look Mum No Hands! (below) in Clerkenwell in London features classic Italian racing bikes and cycling accessories decorating the interior. It is a space to be used and enjoyed, not too fussily designed, with a big screen showing bike racing and a workshop and mechanics for the customers’ bike repairs.
Boutique cycling brand Rapha has its “Cycle Club” cafes, which usually appear on a pop-up basis. This maintains a degree of exclusivity to the boutique brand, although a permanent cycle club is now a fixture in San Fransisco.
A combination of gallery, shop and cafe, the Cycle Club is a meeting place and hub for road riders. Unlike most ‘pop up’ stores, the Rapha Cycle Club will be more than just a retail space. With live screenings of road races and a full calendar of exhibitions and events, the Rapha Cycle Club will be a home for the sport and culture of road racing.
Ronde in Edinburgh’s Stockbridge mixes cafe and retail space. The shop focuses on displaying high-end bikes, exhibited almost as artworks, boutique clothing and accessory brands, and coffee and cakes. This cafe has made cycling culture one of its raisons d’être, with authors appearing for book signings and professional riders to promote their teams and races.
Reviewed by Brian Palmer of The Washing Machine Post blog.
Also of note is Patisserie Cyclisme, an online resource that aims to collate and review cycling cafés from around the UK and abroad.
My local cafe, Corrieri’s in Stirling, has not undergone a cycling-specific interior design but mixes Italian theme decor with some cycling jerseys and prints. It is used as a weekly meeting point and post-ride stop by various club riders and other cyclists, as well as the occasional celebrity.