Cycling and coffee stops have been a part of European cycle culture forever. Turning up in some cosy alpine café you’re surrounded by photos of famous riders, all kinds of cycling memorabilia with the smell of coffee and cakes in the air. These surroundings make you feel part of a whole cycling experience.
UK Cycling Cafe: Giro
Now in the UK cycle cafés are becoming a big trend all over the country. We all have our favourite places to stop when out on a ride, from village tea shops to pubs and even a garden centre but always feel a little bit alien in your cycling gear. However now that cycle cafés are popping up everywhere, there is now somewhere where cyclists can stop and not feel like the odd ones out.
I recently met up with some friends at Giro, a cycle café based in the centre of Esher. We parked our bikes outside and noticed they provide free loan locks if needed which is a nice gesture. This place was special with an abundance of cycle memorabilia carefully placed on the walls, which adds to the great atmosphere. Alongside this they even have their own cycle kit on display as well as bikes and loads of other bike related products.The guys who own this place are cyclists and you can just feel the passion which has gone it to this space, just to make you feel at home. I would have no problem going in there alone and it is a great place to meet other riders as well and make new friends as you all have something in common, cycling.
Giro also hosts events. One I witnessed was a virtual race on static bikes with monitors running a system called Zwift, hosted by ex pro rider Matt Stevens. It gives customers a chance to race each other and even win prizes while giving the customers a great way to interact with each other and the staff. I also had the pleasure to meet Jordan, the owner, who was hands-on making great coffee with his own personal touch.
Lobinho Cafe in Portugal
I also had the opportunity to visit a cycle café in Portugal. Lobinho Café, based in a small town called Leiria, an hour from Lisbon. It’s the first one I’ve heard of in Portugal, so I was intrigued to visit. I arrived early, before it opened. Angelo and Anastasia, the owners had invited me and wanted to show me around as well as sample the great coffee and cakes before customers arrived. I really liked the place with its nice décor and cycle memorabilia on the walls. But also injecting their own personal touch which was nice and not forgetting the coffee and cakes which were lovely. Now they have to work on the café to become a hub for the cyclists to meet before and after their rides and this takes time to build. They can look at Giro for example and see how they have grown in reputation as one of the best. It’s the beginning for Lobinho and I will visit again in the summer and give an update on the progress and wish them all the luck in their new project, and from what I’ve seen so far it’s looking good. If you’re in this part of Portugal then it is well worth the visit.
Make sure to check out my next blog which will be about virtual riding and G.P.S.
The views shared are that of the author and are not necessarily that of Lexham Insurance Consultants Ltd.