Last month, Cycling UK asked members to nominate their favourite cycling café, receiving over 1,000 nominations. The winners of the Cyclist Café of the Year Awards were announced at the Big Bike Celebration on Saturday 6 October in Harrogate.
After the votes were counted, a panel of judges from across the UK looked in detail at the cafés that made the shortlist, and then decided the winners.
Cyclist Café of the Year England
The Cyclist Café of the Year in England was awarded to Café Velo in Hampshire. Café Velo’s owner runs a workshop which is incorporated in to the café, and serves regular, vegetarian and vegan breakfast and brunch options for reasonable prices. The café has indoor storage for bikes and features cycling memorabilia on the walls.
Owner Peter said: “We’ve only been open since Easter. I’m chuffed. I cannot tell you how proud we are. The support of cyclists and the local community has been incredible. I hope I have given them what they require. We run ride outs from the café every Saturday and Sunday, and a gravel ride the first Sunday of the month. We also have an on-site workshop with an in-house mechanic six days a week.”
Cyclist Café of the Year Northern Ireland
Bow Bells in County Down received the highest number of votes for Northern Ireland. Bow Bells is owned by local councillor Mark Brooks, with many people who nominated Bow Bells saying they serve delicious large cakes. The café puts on a club BBQ every year and supports local cycling clubs and groups.
Owner Mark Brooks said: “It’s an honour to receive an award for what we do, we are glad we have so many happy customers”.
Cyclist Café of the Year Scotland
Velocity in Inverness was chosen as Scotland’s Cyclist Café of the Year, and has no fixed seating arrangement or standardised menu. Almost everything is homemade and food is locally sourced and prepared by the staff on site. It’s a social enterprise with an adjoining bike repair shop, which also runs courses to promote inclusivity for cycling.
Dave Sage who is the General Manager said: “We are just about to celebrate our 6th birthday, Velocity is a social enterprise and the café space provides a hub for everything to happen. There’s a lot of people putting in hard work to create a warm, welcoming environment for cyclists and other customers, it’s really so lovely that we have been recognised as a place people can come and relax.”
Cyclist Café of the Year Wales
Cycling café I want to ride my bike opened in July 2017 and has since established its place at the heart of the Cardiff cycling community. Owner Jonathan Wright was inspired to open a cafe and bar where you could come and watch the Tour de France and meet others. They serve local craft beer and have big screens to watch races on.
I want to ride my bike has a workshop and classes (mixed or women only) to help cyclists to be ready for any mechanical issues on the road and organise regular ride outs.
Wright said: “We are not a destination café in the countryside, but a city centre café that is popular with students from the University, local campaigning groups, those who work at the Welsh Assembly or visit the National Museum across the road. We aim to encourage more people to leave their cars at home and cycle in Cardiff city centre, we are also an information hub about cycling.”
Eureka Café in Chester, which is also known to regulars as the Mills, has been serving cyclists since 1929. It received a lot of nominations from cyclists who have been stopping there for decades.
Owner Anne Peek, who has been running the cafe for 17 years, said: “This award is not just for us, it is for our amazing customers too. It is the people who make a place. So many of them have stories to tell about cycling in the area – Eureka is a real community. We are only a little café, but it’s a place where people love to come by bike to.”
Popular items on the menu include ‘beans and spare’ – which is beans on toast with extra toast. There is also the special cheese mixture, which is a special recipe passed down from the original founders of the café.
(Source – Cycling UK)