Mojo Bicycle CafeMojo Bicycle Cafe in San Francisco.
By Stephen Irving
Photography: Navid Baraty
The importance of physical spaces in the development of new cultural forms cannot be understated. As the North American bicycling revolution spreads onto the streets of neighborhoods across North America, savvy entrepreneurs are responding with dynamic bicycle-friendly businesses. In addition to a growing number of bicycle shops and bike-friendly bars and eateries, the bicycle café is taking root.
More than just a simple coffee shop with a bike rack in front, bicycle cafés are often combined with bicycle retail and repair services and provide a one-stop shop for commuter cyclists. The growth of these bicycle-friendly establishments provides community space and enhances the visibility and legitimacy of the commuter cycling movement as a whole.
In addition to being a bike shop, Mojo Bicycle Café in San Francisco, California also features a café where customers connect and enjoy breakfast, sandwiches, soups, salads and delicious coffee. Mojo is the product of two former bike shop employees, John McDonell and Rem Nelson, who decided to pursue the dream of self-employment by opening their own establishment.
“We always fantasized about a bike shop where you could get your bike worked on, buy some bike gear, a good cup of coffee or just come to hang out. All this without the “bikier-than-thou” attitude that too often seems to permeate shop culture.”
Minneapolis, Minnesota also has a thriving bicycle café culture. In addition to such venerable institutions as the One on One Bicycle Studio and Cars R Coffins Coffee Bar – both of which materialized amidst Minneapolis’ thriving bicycle industry – Joshua Klauck and friend Adam Dunn recently opened the Angry Catfish Bicycle and Coffee Bar in South Minneapolis. As Klauck notes, the Angry Catfish is cycling and coffee culture personified. “We focus on the cycling enthusiast who already knows what they want and like, and can use our expert advice, quality service and top of the line merchandise. That being said, we help people who know they want more; who don’t have a lot of money but want something one-of-a-kind. We serve Intelligentsia [brand] coffee and offer alternative brewing methods such as dripper wells, French presses and siphons.”
Klauck hopes that the Angry Catfish, which will open in December 2009, will first and foremost be a place to commune with fellow cyclists in a welcoming atmosphere. In addition to offering a wide array of custom services and great coffee, Klauk and Dunn have a vision for community programming: “Events will be a big part of ACF. Our building offers a large space and we plan to offer Pilates, art openings, coffee cuppings, the occasional live band – and much more!”
Keep your eyes peeled for a bicycle café in your community – or maybe you’re already thinking of starting one. As the pedal-powered revolution glides its way into the hearts and minds of North American commuters, it’ll only be a matter of time before there’s a bicycle café in your neighbourhood.
Angry Catfish Bicycle and Coffee Bar ngrycatfishbicycle.com
Mojo Bicycle Cafe mojobicyclecafe.com
One on One Bicycle Studio oneononebike.com
Cars R Coffins Coffee Bar / Cykel Garage