Council leader vows to find compromise after cyclists banned from meeting at cycling café

The dispute between Velolife and Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead has threatened the future of the café

The leader of the council at the centre of a dispute about cyclists meeting at a cycling café has vowed to find a “pragmatic compromise.”

Velolife café near Reading faced an uncertain future after the council banned riders from meeting out the site because they “cause a nuisance to nearby residents.”

Owner of the café, Lee Goodwin, said its existence “hangs in the balance” as the council has threatened to take action that could result in Velolife’s closure.

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But there could be hope for the café, as the leader of Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead council, Simon Dudley, said he will meet with British Cycling and council officers to resolve the dispute.

On Sunday (August 11), Councillor Dudley said on Twitter: “Cycled to Velolife to chat to fantastic owner Lee. He’s got a great setup here for cyclists to enjoy.

“I will be meeting with British Cycling and responsible Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead officers to find a pragmatic compromise to allow this super little business to flourish.”

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The dispute between Velolife and the council dates back to 2017, when the local authority opposed the site, formerly The Snooty Fox pub, being converted into a café, shop, bike repair workshop and a cyclist meeting place.

A government planning inspector was called in to handle the dispute last year, ruling that Velolife could continue as a café and cycle repair shop but that organised meetings of cyclists must not start or finish at the café.

The council took matters further by issuing a warning to cycling clubs that cyclists meeting for “organised rides” are in breach of the rules.

After a public backlash, the council apologised to the clubs but still warned that it could take action that “threatens the future of the café.”

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British Cycling has agreed to meet with Cllr Dudley, saying: “We look forward to meeting Simon Dudley, leader of RBWM later this week.

“We, together with Cycling UK, want to make sure that people on bikes can ride, socialise and visit cafes together, both now and in the future.”

Cycling Weekly has approached RBWM for further comment.

Alex Ballinger
Alex Ballinger

Alex is the digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter and now as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output.

Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) and joining CW in 2018, Alex has covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. 

Away from journalism, Alex is a national level time triallist, avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.