Coffee and cake are just as important as carbon fibre, so here’s our pick of Britain’s many and varied cycling cafes
Coffee and cycling go hand in hand, cake and cycling go hand in hand and cycle cafés are the perfect place to enjoy this happy trio.
Whether for tourers, mountain bikers, fitness buffs or hipsters, whether you want somewhere to stop en route on a weekend ride or you just fancy coffee and cake while looking at bike stuff and/or cyclists, here’s our pick of some of the best out there.
If we’ve missed out your favourite cycling café or you’ve enjoyed a visit to one of our listed establishments, then tell us in the comment box below.
Cycling Cafes in London and the South
Bike Beans Cycle Cafe (Ashstead)
Address: 5b Rectory Lane, Ashtead, Surrey, KT21 2BA
Bike Beans runs led rides, with pasta afterwards, while members (free to join) can log rides straight onto its website.
The cafe itself is taken “very seriously”, with coffee and homemade cakes to tempt non-cyclists too.
With parking and onscreen racing, Bike Beans also provides skills and confidence-building cycle courses.
Cadence Performance (London)
Address: 2A Anerley Hill, London SE19 2AA
With bike fitting, fitness tests, coaches, physiotherapy and osteopathy, this is a haven for cyclists. You can even compete in a virtual turbo-trainer Pyrenean race either with your mates or online with strangers in the Cycling Performance Centre before stuffing your face with cake and cappuccinos.
If you’re after an oil-soaked, feet-up kind of place this is a little on the clinical side, but then again it is a bike clinic.
Giro Cycle Cafe (Esher)
Address: 2 High St, Esher KT10 9RT
Proven to be one of London’s most visited cycling cafes via Strava (Roehampton Gate Café topped the list), Giro in Esher is a brightly lit area serving all manner of coffee, cake and lunch options. There’s kit to buy too, and several group rides leaving from the cafe.
Full City Cycles
Address: London, Leather Lane, EC1N 7TR
Small, hip and mighty, Full City uses every inch of its 3x6m space. With a coffee machine in the corner and no food, it’s takeaway only, though customers of all ilk and age are welcome to stand and chat.
On every surface (and ceiling) there’s pre-loved £200 bikes to £1000+ carbon machines, with custom builds, natch. Incredibly, repairs take place in the same space. Meanwhile, regular Alley Cat and/or street keirin races nod to its owners’ courier roots (and those of many of the customers).
The Hub (St Albans)
Address: Redbourn, Hertfordshire, AL3 7LL
With Allpress coffee from a La Marzocca coffee machine, the Hub has people travelling miles just for a cuppa. Organic ice cream adds to the offer with locally sourced cakes made by a guy from The Great British Bake-Off. Sweet and savoury waffles are in the offing, too. The Hub organises monthly sportives of 15, 28 and 48 miles around the edge of the Chilterns and in autumn and
winter holds evening talks, with Phil Liggett among past speakers.
Look Mum No Hands! (London)
Address: 49 Old St, London EC1V 9HX
Famous cycle cafe LMNH holds anything from lunches to launches, the former featuring some mean salads, cake and coffee, the latter including Boneshaker magazine and Levi’s Commuter range.
Tech start-ups come here to work and telly comes here, too: ITV’s Cycle Show was filmed here with Graeme Obree a guest. LMNH has race and bike polo teams with replica kit for sale and cool merchandise. There’s a bike repair and they run maintenance courses, too.
Maison du Velo (Reigate and Cranleigh)Address: 31 Lesbourne Rd, Reigate RH2 7JS or 62 High St, Cranleigh GU6 8AG
One of the newest and likely the shiniest, of the new kids. A road shop and more recently mountain bike shop, key popular bike models are displayed in a glowing, catacomb-like gallery in the basement, almost guaranteed to elicit a ghostly ‘wow’ on first sight.
There’s a homage to the local ‘Legs of Steel’ route, its toothy profile emblazoned on the shop window in Reigate. Gaze at it over a coffee, or get out there and do it. Apex bike fitting and regular rides as well as a busy community can be found here too.
Rapha Club (London)
Address: 85 Brewer St, Soho, London W1F 9ZN
Classy road-racer Soho hang-out and self-styled “home for sport and wider culture of road racing”.
Coffees hail from international roasters, made potable in a custom (i.e. black) Synesso espresso machine, alongside a range of filter coffees, pastries, baguettes and salads.
With race screenings and film nights, rides run on Thursday and Saturdays (100-120km) at 25kph-plus.
Splurge on Rapha kit from the adjoining shop, or admire the pretty bikes on display for you to drool at.
Route 1 (Kent)
Address: 70 Beach Street, The Promenade, Deal, Kent CT14 6HZ
A friendly cycle café on the Deal Promenade, expect to find bike parking as well as sandwiches, soups cakes and treats. Cycling events televised live in TV and fantastic coffee.
Midlands and North
Dales Bike Centre (Yorkshire)
Address: Fremington, Richmond, North Yorkshire, DL11 6AW
A gateway to road cycling in the Dales with bunkhouse, cafe, hire centre, workshop and a shop with new bikes, ex-hire bikes, clothing and kit. Guided mtb rides, social rides and maps are available to navigate the undulating Dales, along with mtb training.
As for the cafe, it offers cakes, sarnies and soups all made using local produce – along with a great view over the Dales. Oh, and the Tour’s Grand Départ comes right past its door in 2014.
Eureka Cafe (Chester)
Address: Parkgate Rd, Two Mills, Chester CH1 6EZ
Serving cyclists since time immemorial, the Eureka Cafe is a hive of road and off-road biking activity, sometimes attracting, according to head honcho Anne Peek, “most of the North-West’s cycling clubs”.
Eureka’s cakes (made by Anne and daughter), and “spare” toast are legendary, while famous riders drop by to relive youthful cafe visits.
Address: Polocini LTD, 16 Hardman’s Lane, Whitefield, Manchester. M45 7BD.
Home of rainbow jersey-coloured cake and with its own coffee blend, Polocini’s walls are bedecked with classic cycling jerseys depending on whatever racing is on at the time.
Themed demo days showcase fancy bikes, most recently Marco Pantani’s Giro d’Italia-winning Bianchi, with monthly sportives, weekly rides and cycle tours.
Popup bikes (Manchester)
Address: Arch 5, Corporation Street, Manchester M4 4DG
What started as a coffee shop with bike parking has spread to encompass many things. With a community ethos, Popup provides access to tools and second-hand parts to those on low incomes, plus bike tagging; profit contributes to these social goals. Free membership entitles you to parking (weekly, monthly, annual tariffs).
Mud Dock Cafe (Bristol)
Address: 40 The Grove, Bristol, BS1 4RB
Unique harbour views on reclaimed land. Upstairs the cycle cafe becomes a restaurant after 3pm; downstairs is a bike shop.
Themed rides have a meal and beer in the price, with meal deals upstairs on rustic food (plus Christmas party reservations now available!), plus espressos and cakes, maintenance courses are offered downstairs.
Rockets & Rascals (Plymouth and Poole)
Address: 7 Parade, The Barbican, Plymouth, PL1 2JL or Salterns Court, Sandbanks Road, Lilliput, Poole, BH14 8HS
Founder Steve Toze is fast achieving his goal of galvanising cycling in Plymouth, and there’s now a branch in Poole too.
With a raft of social events both on and off the bike, including day and weekend rides, a vibrant cycling community lives here.
Route 2 Cafe bar (Devon)
Address: Monmouth Hill, Topsham, EX3 0JQ
On the Exe Estuary Trail along National Cycle Network Route 2 (hence its name), Route 2 provides locally renowned and sourced food in its eco cafe with, among other eco measures, low energy lighting and rainwater harvesting.
The shop provides bikes to hire and buy, and a good selection of kit. There’s even accommodation and the occasional live band. A workshop offers repairs and maintenance and a club is in the offing this summer.
Roll for the Soul (Bristol)
Address: 2 Quay Street, Bristol, BS1 2JL
Founder Rob Wall wanted to create a focal point in Britain’s first cycling city where roadies, mountain bikers, fixie riders and non-cyclists alike could mingle. The crowd – and council grant – funded result is a community interest company where punters’ money goes towards RFTS’s social aims: promoting cycling in Bristol. Cycling groups meet and share ideas, there’s servicing and repairs upstairs, and ‘bespoke’ maintenance tuition, while downstairs the cafe sells Mediterranean food, using local suppliers where possible.
Address: Bridge Street, Rothbury, Morpeth, Northumberland, NE65 7SF,
Named after the reverend who brought education to Rothbury, Tomlinson’s, a former schoolhouse, is now a cafe with cycle hire, a bunkhouse and great views over the River Coquet. In Northumberland National Park, Tomlinson’s attracts cyclists and walkers as a base for exploration, in groups and flying solo. There’s low-cost accommodation in dorms, homemade wholesome food and evening meals Thursday-Saturday. Secure bike parking, periodic bike doctors and guided rides are on offer, too.
Cafe Ventoux (Kettering)
Address: Tugby Orchards, Wood Ln, Tugby LE7 9WE
With a busy cafe serving meals as well as coffee and cake, you’ll also find a range of Boardman bikes plus a Wattbike studio and clothing.
Regular rides and bike fitting are available too – and this cafe is heavily involved in plans for the Boardman performance studio.
Scotland and Ireland
Address: 1 Crown Avenue, Inverness, Scotland, IV2 3NF
Velocity’s founder Laura Nicolson wanted to share the bike repair skills her dad taught her, and her love of cycling. The result is a social enterprise where any profit goes to promoting cycling in Inverness and cafe punters sip ‘bicyclattes’ and ‘campagcinos’ from the proprietor’s retro cup collection, with renowned locally home-baked cakes. Government climate change funds help Velocity provide maintenance sessions around Inverness. There are social rides and live music, too.
Address: 16 Fade street, Dublin 2 and 167 Phibsboro road, Dublin 7
If Facebook ‘likes’ are anything to go by, Rothar’s 7000-plus means popularity in shovel loads. Now celebrating a fifth birthday, our Irish contingent predates most UK cycle cafes. Local and ethical is the word: Irish companies Imbibe (triple-certified coffee), and Caranya’s Cakes (vegan options available) provide cycling fuel, while Rothar refurbishes abandoned bikes for social aims like training and employment. Repairs and maintenance classes run on Sunday and Monday when the cafe is closed.
Do you know cafe we’ve not mentioned? Tell us in the comments…