Bicycle shops add coffee bars, classes, even yoga

Owners hope to build the next community space, and the concept popular in many US cities.

By Bruce Kennedy Aug 30, 2013 10:38AM

Road 34 Bike Shop, Deli and Tavern in Fort Collins, Colorado (© Cyrus McCrimmon/The Denver Post via Getty Images)It appears that drinking and driving do indeed mix -- at least when the drink is coffee and the vehicle is a bicycle.


Two consumer trends -- the constant demand for high-end java and a growing number of people commuting on bikes -- have combined in recent years to produce a hybrid: the bike shop and coffee bar.


According to The Wall Street Journal -- and you know a trend has gone mainstream when such a paper starts covering it -- it's not just hipsters in bike-friendly cities who are supporting these new establishments.


The Journal quotes a survey conducted this year by the National Bicycle Dealers Association of 4,000 bike shops showing that 12% have coffee bars, 11% have spinning classes and nearly 5% serve beer. About 1% also had yoga, massages or full-service restaurants on the premises.


These bike cafes basically didn't exist five years ago. But a market researcher who tracks the bicycle industry told The Wall Street Journal that there are now about 100 across the country. The number of bike cafes is expected to grow by about 500% over the next five years.


Most of these shops aspire to be more than just a place where you get your flat tire fixed while sipping a double espresso. "We wanted a community space where people could gather for a coffee before work or for a glass of wine after work," Julie Kloss, a co-owner of Dutch Bike Co. in Seattle, told NBC News in 2011.


Along with becoming the new neighborhood gathering places, a number of bike cafes are working to support community bicycling, locally made bicycles and other products.


"The bikes-and-coffee thing is just such a natural. People are so passionate about both things," Michael Salvatore, the owner of Heritage Bicycles General Store in Chicago, told the industry website Bicycle Retailer last year. His store has a full-service coffee bar, pastry goods and the funky baristas you'd expect, along with its own line of "vintage-inspired, handcrafted" commuter bicycles sold on the premises. And along with being a bicycle repair service, it also sells bicycle-related gear and clothing.


Salvatore said he thought the mixture of bicycles, coffee and retail would "be a perfect way to get novice cyclists in the door and get a warm situation where they could feel comfortable."


The bike cafe concept also appears to be a perfect fit for many multitasking Americans preparing for their morning caffeination as they pedal off to work.


More on moneyNOW

38Comments
Aug 30, 2013 11:35AM
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Coffee & roadies are a natural pairing.
Aug 30, 2013 11:57AM
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What a wonderful idea. I hope there is one opening up in Albuquerque which is very bike friendly. (except for the crazy vehicle drivers.)
Aug 30, 2013 12:07PM
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good idea.. search into it and there will be more job openings and small business' starting up. 
Aug 30, 2013 1:13PM
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Love this idea, however, in NY its mostly the hipster crowd doing this, and they are not very welcoming of us older non-hipsters.  I also feel the prices of some of the "vintage" bikes is too high for the average person looking to buy a nice, comfortable cruiser style bike.  I shopped for a bike in many of these so called smaller, independingly owned shops and the prices were outrageous.  I then found one that looked like a typical ladies cruiser bike with a comfortable seat already on the bike (because at some of the hipster bike shops, the seats on the bikes were not great or comfortable so they offer you another better, more comfortable seat costing upwards of $30 or more to put on the bike) in a bike shop in my own area that has been in business for at leat 30 years and it cost me less than $250 and its a wonderful bike and serves my needs just fine.  The place is not one of the "cool" new trendy places that serves coffee and wine, but they are honest, nice and also will fix your bike later on when and if needed for free or a small fee for certain things. 
Aug 30, 2013 12:19PM
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Ride a bike - burning fat is cheaper than burning gas. Besides, as bad as traffic is here its probably faster. ;)
Aug 30, 2013 12:37PM
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Fun article.  Thinking about growing up back in the 70s in Wisconsin.  We used to hang out at the bike shop... the real bike shop, as we really lived on our bikes and were always in building and repair mode and saving for the next step up.  I think there were parts, tons of bikes with wild names and .... very thin tires.... but no coffe latte or beer (maybe out back of the building).  Oh well, now its fun to see the neighbors with their bikes all hanging from the cielings of their garage, then once every couple months the families will all come out in their custom biking clothes and helmets and bring the bikes down and attach them to the roof of the family SUV, then all drive away..... 45 minutes later return.... all climb out with a bottle of water... take the bikes off the roof of the SUV, put them back on the rack on the ceiling of the garage, wave to me..... then I'll stroll over and ask what happened and they'll give me a strange look.... and I'll say "you are back so soon, did something go wrong?", and they say, "No, we drove over to the park and took a couple laps around the bike path for fun to get outdoors and came home... it was great"....   Ahhhhhhh..... two café latte's and a shimano please.
Aug 30, 2013 1:25PM
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I like to mountain bike a lot.  I like coffee.

 

but since I would never risk my life riding on the road (really? you got a death wish?)

and we don't have bike paths...and not enough sidewalks to get anywhere by bike....

 

I'll keep my coffee in my old thermos - on the way to the trails to ride.  Heck, I'd rather breathe the clean air in the woods anyway :)

 

more power to those communities equipped for proper, safe, and separate areas for bike travel.

Aug 30, 2013 12:17PM
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One of my favorite bike shops here in Austin is Mellow Johnnie's because of their coffee bar. It's also pretty easy to get to by bike and is a fun way to see downtown Austin. 
Aug 30, 2013 12:18PM
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Good idea but won't catch on with me. When I go to a bike shop it's usually a quick stop in to get a few parts I need and I'm off again to try to get done what I need done. I might have a couple dozen things I need to do before I can call my day done so I don't have time to stop for coffee. I'd like my work day to end at a reasonable hour.
Aug 30, 2013 1:03PM
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Before I get the considerate cyclists too pissed off let me say I know there are good and bad in everything.

Good idea. While they are at it have bike shops offer free movies and board games and anything else that can keep them there. The more time they can spend in the bike shop schmoozing with other cyclists or doing whatever activities means the less time they are out in the center of the road tying things up.

Welcome to the region of inconsiderate cyclists with their yellow jerseys trying to pedal 40 plus in the roadway with a bike path not 20 feet off to the side of the road. I live in a region that has bike paths that run all over the county. Hundreds of miles of paved trails yet they insist on sitting two feet this side of the white line. Every summer you see in the local news a few accidents with vehicles and a few weeks ago we had a fatality.

The hundreds of miles of bike paths paid for by the taxpayers are there for a reason you inconsiderate Lance Armstrong wannabe frauds. Use them!

Aug 30, 2013 2:37PM
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Action Sports in Bakersfield, CA has a café, Rock wall, and spin classes!!!
Aug 30, 2013 2:56PM
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Oh look............. All the hipster cyclists who voted for black Jesus hang out en cher at bike shops  righteously sipping their lattes or ales with their yellow wristbands and their Sh&tmano equipped bikes. How utterly now.

Aug 30, 2013 3:44PM
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Oh, a bicycle shop....
 
I thought they meant REAL bikes!

Aug 30, 2013 1:02PM
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I don't drink coffee but I have been hanging out in bike shops for years - when I am not on a ride. 
Aug 30, 2013 12:51PM
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Hanging out at bike shops is cool.  Since I don't do drugs the coffee doesn't interest me.  A bakery in the bike shop would be nice.  Ride on.


Aug 30, 2013 12:25PM
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All they are missing is weed and good weed. Add a smoking area (Weed Bar) .All of us at our local bike shop ride, smoke weed, drink coffee. Awesome.
Aug 30, 2013 12:49PM
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Great idea! I've been riding to coffee for years!  Great places to meet for a ride or CoFFee!
Aug 30, 2013 12:49PM
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This is great news!  I am sick and tired of tripping over bikes outside Starbuck's and having to stand in line with these queers with their mooseknuckles showing.
Aug 30, 2013 12:12PM
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I will be selling my bike, as apparently only Liberals, and Homosexuals ride them.  Since I am neither,  I must find another form of transportation and exercise.  In the meantime - cyclists - you are subject to the same rules and laws as drivers, obey them and teach your children.

Drivers - the streets and roads belong to everybody.  Respect others or get off the road.



Aug 30, 2013 12:07PM
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I wonder if they fly the rainbow flag?
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