You simply can’t pass the Lola Bikes and Coffee Shop without looking in. That’s exactly what we did during the visit of The Hague in the Netherlands. We entered the café just for a quick peek but the planned swift coffee break ended up in interviewing Nick Bons, the owner of one of the most beautiful cycling clubs in Europe.
Nick, would you introduce the shop for us?
It’s a bike and coffee shop in one. Running since 2012, it is the first club of its kind in the Netherlands. We bought it from the previous owner in a crowdfunding campaign and so only cyclists own the Lola shop. Coffee and cycling culture is a very important place for us. For example, we make coffee at the races of the UCI MTB world cup and we’re supporting the Child Cancer Foundation – we’re riding for them every year and we also have our own cycling team in Kampala, Uganda. We really try to do it differently in terms of the environment.
As for example?
We have organic coffee beans from Peru and Columbia. We’ve chosen Columbia for it’s obviously a great coffee country but it’s also getting into cycling and we think it’s a good combination to be explored.
I’ve noticed on the board over there that you schedule rides from the shop, is that right?
Lola Cycling Club rides start every Wednesday at 6:30 PM right after work. The rides are free so everyone is encouraged to come and cycle with us as long as you have a bike and a helmet. There are no limits or obligations regarding the membership, so everybody can join. We have beautiful trails through sand dunes and the loop is about 40 kilometres.
What if I come to The Hague as a tourist?
You’ll be welcome as we, naturally, have bikes and equipment including shoes and helmets for rent, so there’s no reason not to go (laughs). We have also two other Lola supporting clubs – one of them is called The Lola Dolphins and has lady rides every Monday. Men are welcome but ladies set the pace.
Where did the name Lola come from?
Lola is a girl discovering the world of coffee and cycling. She’s out riding right now.
Is it a real person?
I can’t tell but she’s the most important person in our company (laughs). The Lola is actually the whole community, it could be anyone who decides to join.
Do you sell bikes?
We’re official suppliers for Cinelli, Pashley, and Cerli. We also sell second-hand bikes that we put together so people can enjoy them again. Recently, we have provided bikes for the life-saving brigade at the Scheveningen beach in The Hague. We also rent fat bikes for the rides at the beach.
What is your relationship with cycling?
I’ve been cycling since I was twelve, that’s when I got a bike from my grandfather. Since then, I rode many beautiful places across Europe with my friends. Recently, I’ve discovered mountain biking but, of course, I’m keen on any kind of cycling. When people with bikepacking bags come to our shop, I’m always very enthusiastic about their trips. Cycling is not only a sport to me, I see it rather as a passion. I cycle every day.
How does mountain biking and The Netherlands come together?
That’s the question many foreigners have as our country is completely flat. However, we have beautiful sand dunes and many trails around the city that could be enjoyed even by mountain bikers. And I must also mention the Dutch biker Bart Brentjens who won the first cross-country race at the Olympic Games in 1996. We’re supporting his MTB team by making coffee for them.
What kinds of customers visit your shop?
As we’re close to the city centre, we have a lot of tourists. Our coffee standard is pretty high, which got us on the “best coffee” list in the city. Visitors who’re coming to have a cup are diverse, we’re open for all kinds of coffee lovers, including the employees from the neighbouring offices who stop for a coffee to go.
If you want to have a ride with the Lola Club members, check out their Facebook page HERE.