Cafés are especially inviting in winter – and if you happen to be riding your bike through a cold drizzle, nothing will please you more than turning a corner and spotting a neon CAFÉ sign framed by handlebars, and a row of bicycles parked out front.
Bike cafés have grown in number and popularity as cycling has become the preferred mode of urban transport around the world. They are often based on different concepts, but just about every one is a great place to exchange greetings and information with other bikers and inflate your tires or carry out other repairs.
Here are some of our favourite cycling cafés from around the world – and we know there are many other amazing ones out there. It’s up to you to find them and let us know!
Look Mum No Hands Bike Café in London
The wonderfully named Look Mum No Hands (aka LMNH) café and bike workshop in London isn’t just for coffee and cake. They also provide an immersion into the world of cycling. You can enjoy hot food, beer and coffee, a complete repair service, cycling-related screenings and exhibitions, and lectures on a variety of fascinating issues, such as “Training like a woman: How to adapt your cycling training to your hormones.” LMNH is a marvelous introduction to the city’s cycling culture.
Address: 49 Old St. in London
The Cyklist Bike Café in Eindhoven, Netherlands
The Netherlands is one of the most bike-friendly countries on the planet. Appropriately, it has a wealth of bike cafés. The Cyklist cycling café in Eindhoven is located on the property of a former gas factory and offers a wonderfully welcoming ambiance to have a cup and a sandwich and to watch the Tour de France on TV. It has a shop where you can buy jerseys and other personal cycling products, and offers weekly group rides and organised cycling tours. The menu includes special beers, great coffee, a variety of hot eats and cakes.
Address: Gasfabrik 3, entrance via NRE terrain.
The Trail and Tar in Cape Town, South Africa
The Trail and Tar in Cape Town is first of all a store selling bicycles and cycling accessories (as well as running shoes) and offering full workshop facilities. It is also, however, a “Coffee Shop supplying a wide range of Coffees, Smoothies, Fresh Juices and snacks.” It offers weekly rides for all fitness levels and views itself as “a hub for like-minded individuals and unparalleled friendly and professional service in a casual and relaxed environment.”
There are actually two Trail and Tars in Cape Town. One is located in Tokai – at the trailhead for the Tokai and Greenbelt MTB experience – and the other is at Battery Park, at the foot of Table Mountain and its magnificent national park. It sounds as if, if you are in that neck of the woods and want a special ride, this is the place to go.
Tokai store address: Unit 3 Forest Glade House Shopping Centre, Tokai Road. The website, provides no contact info for the Battery Park store, so call first before you go.
The Seok Seng 1954 Bicycle Café in Singapore
The Seok Seng 1954 Bicycle Café is unique for many reasons. For one, it’s located in a former airplane hangar just outside the Seletar Airport, so you can dine while admiring the variety of private jets owned by Singapore’s wealthiest. It has a varied menu that offers Western, Japanese and local dishes. It is a cycling café to the extent that its walls are covered with vintage bikes, some 100 years old, and the owner has an art collection that can be viewed on request and which focuses on – cycling, of course.
Address: 80 Seletar Aerospace View, #01-01 Maj Aviation Building
The Up Cycle Café in Milan
Finally, back in Europe, we saved the best for last. The Up Cycle Café in Milan is a wonderful refuge for cyclists who love cycling, good food, lively conversation and eco-sustainability. It describes itself as “Italy’s first bike café bistrot” and has two large spaces: one is open to the public, the other is a site for co-working managed by one of Up Cycle Café’s founders, the company Avanzi – Sustainability for Actions. It has great food and a rich cycling program that includes gravel-trail adventures and a Bike-of-the-Month feature (this month the D’Anna-designed frame is showcased). Enough said.
Address: Via Ampère 59, Milan