How one music company boss converted his business into a cycling cafe during coronavirus lockdown 

The business owner said he hopes to come out of the pandemic “stronger than he went in” 

(Image credit: Getty Images)

A music business owner has weathered the financial storm caused by the coronavirus pandemic by launching a pop-up cafe for cyclists.

Bruce Tate is the owner of Newcastle-based live bookings business Need Music, but was hit by crisis when he was forced to close due to the Covid-19 lockdown, the (opens in new tab) BBC reports.  (opens in new tab)

Without any income, as Mr Tate was not eligible for government support, he needed a new way to make a living, which is when he saw a cyclist ride past his office. 

Need Music is based along the hugely popular Route 72 cycle route, also known as Hadrians Cycleway, which runs from Ravenglass in Cumbria to South Shields in Tyne and Wear. 

After a “light bulb” moment, Mr Tate decided to convert the outdoor area of his offices into a cafe to capitalise on the number of cyclists riding by.

He put in some covered seating areas and added a service hatch to the office cafe, with the official opening of the Route 72 cafe in July. 

The cycling hotspot now serves homemade pies and pulled pork sandwiches made by Mr Tate’s wife, and on its busiest day 100 riders stopped by on their way from Newcastle to Wylam.  

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As the second lockdown is now over, Newcastle remains in tier three which means the cafe can only open for takeaways, so Mr Tate has opted to open at weekends. 

He said: “I will come out of this pandemic stronger than I went in.

"Hopefully I will have two successful businesses, instead of one." 

The pandemic has resulted in a huge surge in the number of people cycling in the UK, as people have tried to stay active with gyms and leisure centres closed, while others have opted to commute on two wheels to avoid public transport. 

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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former 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, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex 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 the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.