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Beans and pedals

Bike icon

Beans and pedals 01

PZeroVeloThere are moments when, at the end of a long climb or after tens of kilometers spent to fight against the lateral wind, even the most tireless of cycling lovers needs to stop pedaling and get off his bike to have a coffee, cool off and possibly take the occasion to have a quick repair of his vehicle. Cycling cafés are here for this reason. Born in Vienna, Austria, to spread later first to the North and then to the South, by now they are present all over Europe. And they are definitively cool. Here is a list of the best ones spread out over United Kingdom, Spain, France, Germany and Italy.

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Look Mum No Hands!, London
The most famous in Europe, the one with the nicest and most evocative name. In fact before competing with demanding ramps, twists and slopes, everybody has been a child who played on bikes taking his hands off the handlebar and shouting proudly: “Look, mum, no hands!”. Look Mum No Hands! is one of the first cycling cafés in the United Kingdom. Founded in 2010, it includes a repair workshop, a bar, an exhibition space. The coffee served comes from Square Mile Coffee Roasters, a multi-award winning company based in the East area of the English capital city. The menu presents a wide range of food, from breakfasts to lunches and dinners based on pasta, toasts and hamburgers. The selection of beers is remarkable as well. In addition to the historic headquarters in Old Street, Shoreditch, a new restaurant (without workshop) has opened in Whitechapel. The workshop opens every day, from 7.30 am to 7:30 pm from Monday to Friday, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on Saturday, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on Sunday.

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Pop Up Bikes, Manchester
A little further North, definitively more “Spartan”. While most of the European cycling cafés have the look of smart and refined bars hosting a workshop, here the feeling is the opposite: that of a garage where to stop to have a coffee. Pop Up Bikes in Manchester is first of all this: a place where to park one’s bike (there is room for 100), 12 hours a day, 6 days a week. A place where the aroma of ground coffee is dominated by the smell of the WD40 lubricant. Furniture is stripped-down: a hangar and some sofas. The menu is stripped-down too: a wide range of coffee, tea, hot chocolate and home-made sandwiches.  Besides the quality of the technical assistance, atmosphere, conversations, philosophy make all the difference. “Community before profit”, to gather Manchester’s cyclists and open also to people who don’t have two pedals to push under their feet. The address is Corporation Street, withing cycling distance from Victoria Station, ideal for those arriving or leaving by train.

La Fabrica, Girona
Stopping for a coffee while pedaling on Costa Brava, in an establishment owned by a former Canadian champion. La Fabrica, in Girona, was born in an old carpentry as wished by the former professional cyclist Christian Meier and his wife Amber. In the shop you can buy technical outfits or packages of coffee and sweet food, but great attention is paid to social topics. A large table is an invitation to people to meet and talk, the coffee is chosen and purchased according to the standards of the fair trade, milk is strictly of local production. Open 7 days a week, from 9 am to 3 pm, it is located in carrer de la Llebre.

Keirin Cycle Culture Cafe, Berlin
A cycling café founded by two former couriers attended by couriers. Keirin Cycle Culter Cafe is located on the Spree’s bank, in Berlin, in Oberbaumstraße, and often welcomes the dispatch riders of the German capital city. Opened in 2004, it is renowned as the first shop of used and repaired pieces, but inside it is possible to find historic bikes, magazines, books and, obviously, a workshop and good coffee. After 13 years it risks closing because of a rent increase that the founders can’t pay anymore. On Facebook, a new page “Save Keirin Berlin” has been created for this reason. To prevent the cancellation of a piece of history.

Steel, Paris
Once upon a time a style magazine decided to open a cycling café in the chicest city in Europe. The result could be only Steel, an establishment where much attention is paid to design, refined and elegant, offering refreshment to the increasing community of Parisian cycling lovers, with coffee, sandwiches, salads and a shop of definitively fashionable technical clothing. Located in the eleventh arrondissement of the French capital city, rue de la Fontaine au Roi 58, Steel often serves as a meeting and departure point for long morning rides.

Bianchi Café & Cycles, Milan
A name, a guarantee. Bianchi is this when it comes to bicycles. The most ancient bicycle factory in the world, born in 1885, opened its Cycling Café in 2014, in via Felice Cavallotti, very heart of Milan. And it is something beyond the concept itself of Cycling Café. Sophisticated, elegant, with a special consideration for the Italian good wine and food tradition, Bianchi Café & Cycles offers a very wide range of solutions: from quick meal for those just stopping for a short rest, to brunches, lunches and dinners, offering also a gourmet corner and a refined open air section. Without forgetting the main ingredient, the bicycle, with a shop and a workshop capable of meeting any demand.

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