Coffee and cycling go handlebar-in-hand. So it’s no surprise that some bike shops are formalizing the relationship with a marriage of bike culture and caffeine.
Following a growing trend in the US and abroad (see London’s popular Look Mum No Hands!), New York City finally has its first bicycling café. Red Lantern Bicycles, which Brian Gluck opened in Brooklyn last fall, features a workshop in the back and a coffee bar with wooden stools up front. It attracts Manhattan-bound cyclists from nearby bike lanes in the morning, and shop customers and passersby during the day. They savor brew from fresh-roasted beans that Gluck picks up by bicycle from Puerto Rico Importing Company.
Gluck, whose cycling résumé includes a stint as a New York City bicycle messenger and a previous partnership in another Brooklyn bike shop, saw an opening for a business geared toward city commuters. His shop offers maintenance, repairs, off-season storage and classes, but specializes in helping match people with affordable, used bikes revitalized for urban riding or converted for cargo hauling. Typically you’ll find steel frames with fixed, flip-flop, or three- or five-speed internal hubs. “The longtail is our answer to the car,” he said.
Although the shop is named for the Lanterne Rouge of cycling lore – the distinction awarded the rider who finishes last in a road cycling race such as the Tour de France – Gluck is moving full speed ahead. He has applied for a liquor license to serve wine and beer in hopes of extending even further sociability around cycling culture.