Whether you’re out for a leisurely cycle or an early-morning commute work, having a favourite coffee stop or post training caffeine cafe, is an important part of any cyclists ride. Just a few things can make or break the list of favourites..
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 or a converted barn country hillside. It might be purpose built to attract the lycra clad, 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 local business hub. So what do all these wonderful temples to tea have in common? They’re perfectly positioned to make your ride even more enjoyable.
You 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.
They feed us
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.
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!
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 ….all served up with a friendly smile and a great cup of coffee, of course.
So we’ve hunted down some great cyclist-friendly spots where you can leave your bike and grab some delicious and wholesome grub.
Breakaway Café (City Bowl, Cape Town) This quaint coffee shop, situated on the Cape Town fan walk, at the junction of the Green Point and Bree Street bicycle lanes, serves up great coffees and smoothies. It’s a perfect stop for those who cycle to the office.
Delta Café (Craighall Park, Joburg) Located at the REEA Foundation, this family-friendly and pet-friendly café is a popular neighbourhood spot for a relaxed breakfast or lunch. The offering includes delicious Bean There coffee and mostly organic and free-range dishes. Cyclists flock to this venue, where bicycles are welcome and diners can sit under the shady trees to catch their breath before tucking into the café’s quick and healthy fare.
Old Town Italy (Umhlanga Rocks, Durban) Situated in an up-and-coming area, this trendy Italian eatery makes an ideal pit stop during morning or afternoon rides. A dedicated cyclists’ area lines the sun-dappled sidewalk, and comes complete with bike racks and high stools on which you can perch, cleats and all. Select a few items from the deli counter to takeaway, or order a bite to eat and a coffee from the extensive menu.
Ride In (Jonkershoek, Stellenbosch) This relaxed café, situated among the beautiful gardens in Jonkershoek, offers fresh, locally sourced produce, the menu boasting a range of all-day breakfasts, bagels, salads and tempting baked treats. There are also options for those with intolerances and dietary requirements. Situated just 4km from the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve and a scenic cycle track, the venue cleverly boasts shower facilities, bike hire and a bike wash, too. For the little ones, there is a kiddies cycle track and a large play area.
Starling and Hero Bicycle Café (Woodstock, Cape Town) In addition to being a bicycle showroom and retail space for cycling accessories, this shop boasts a café. Grab on-the-go snacks, freshly baked cakes, energising coffee and a variety of freshly made juices and smoothies. The menu also offers a range of tasty omelettes and sandwiches. Leave your bicycle for a service while you tuck into your fare of choice.
The Grind Coffee Company (Melrose JHB)
Located in the trendy precinct of Melrose Arch, The Grind is a coffee connoisseur and cyclists delight – serving up healthy food and novelties like coffee on tap and #coffeeinacone (the most Instagramed coffee in the world!). This bike friendly coffee shop is next to the Concept Cyclery store and boasts bike parking and some cool customer perks like Whatsapp Ordering and loyalty programs, enabling you to grab a snack on the go or lock up your bike while you relax for a post ride meal.