ACT News


Cafes ride high on back of the chain gang

Morning rush hour in Canberra has become a caffeine hit for those city coffee houses with a bent for bikes and an understanding of symbiosis.

Cafes are fostering strong ties with the capital's ever-growing cycling community, including supplying coffee to bike shops, hosting or participating in bike events and even manufacturing and selling bikes themselves.

Fyshwick is the newest host of the bike and bean partnership, with a cafe and a cycle shop business opening next to each other and with a large, shared doorway linking the spaces.

The Cyclery co-owner Jayson Clarke said the business venture with Celestino owners Paul and Vince Celestino was spawned by the intertwined nature of the two cultures.

''We love cycling and we also love good coffee, and on the other side [Vince and Paul] are into cycling, so it just works,'' he said.


In the last five years a number of cafes and roasters as dedicated to the two-wheeled freedom machine as they are to creating the perfect brew have popped up around the city.

Economist and Member for Fraser, Andrew Leigh, said cyclists were great for business because they often filled cafes in lull periods, such as early or late morning.

''The ideal customer is one that uses a shop's capital stock - things like tables and chairs - when it's fairly empty,'' he said.

The social capital of coffee and cycling cultures, Mr Leigh explained, also enriched the community.

''One of the things the culture illustrates is the best sports aren't just fun, they're social.

''The strength of community among cyclists is one of the reasons why they do it.''

Lonsdale Street Roasters, Mocan & Green Grout and Two Before Ten all designed their own jerseys which they wear to various cycling events throughout the year.

But Canberra Cycle Chic blog editor Trish Smith said it wasn't all about competition cycling.

There was a huge number of cyclists ''just looking to get from A to B'' who took advantage of Canberra's good weather, flat terrain and road space, and enjoy a coffee stop-over just as much as cycle groups, she said. While some wanted the caffeine kick, for many cycling groups ''it's simply more about the destination''.


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