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Best Of MCR: Cycle Cafes

Sarah Roe with the best spots to wheel up, lock up and brew up

Written by . Published on August 19th 2014.


Best Of MCR: Cycle Cafes
 

IF YOU like riding a bike, and over two million of us now do, then chances are you'll like to plonk your bottom down in a café.

The café also operates a 'suspended coffee service', where you can buy a coffee for a stranger or those bringing up the rear. Unfortunately, you can't bugger off and let someone else pay for yours later.

Whether it’s a croissant and a quick shot of caffeine after the daily commute or respite after a 100 mile slog over wind-swept hillroads, coffee shops are warm havens to escape the elements, relax and refuel.

Cycle charity Sustrans asked its local staff and volunteers to recommend their favourite cafes in Greater Manchester close by cycle routes. Here's their top picks:

Grindsmith

This eco ‘coffee pod’ on the banks of the Irwell is a cosy haven to warm up after your morning commute in from Salford (route six). Cycle-friendly owners have a chopper as decoration on the walls and also run the new coffee trike unit on Deansgate. Grindsmith seats just eight people inside (it's effectively a shed), alongside outdoor seating with a vantage point from the Salford side of the river. Enjoy artisan coffee or try out delicious homemade ice cream from local maker Ginger’s Comfort Emporium. You can even mix the two together. 

Greengate Square (by the Cathedral), Salford, M3 5AS. facebook.com/grindsmith

GrindsmithGrindsmith

Caffeine and Co.

These coffee traders have two operations in the city centre and have branched out to the tranquil surroundings of Longford Park, where the coffee is still superb. Close to the Transpennine Trail (route 62) and the Bridgewater Way (route 82), this is a perfect stop-off on a leisurely ride to Lymm. Try their cakes, freshly-baked bread, and other carb-heavy pre-ride fillers.

Longford Park Bungalow, Stretford, Manchester, M32 8DA. facebook.com/CaffeineandCoLongfordPark

North Tea Power

A favourite of creative types, NTP will stoke you up with a range of real leaf teas and some fine coffee too. It’s a great place to meet up before a cycle ride out along the Rochdale canal from Piccadilly Basin towards Hebden Bridge (route 66, not the one from LA to Chicago). There are plenty of naughty temptations to reward deserving cyclists alongside a selection of hearty sandwiches. Many of the staff cycle and there’s usually a bike or two parked inside. If there’s no room for your steed there’s parking just opposite, and bike shop Keep Pedalling is just round the corner if you need an oiling.

36 Tib Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester, M4 1LA. northteapower.co.uk

NTPNTP

Coffee Cranks

A mini coffee shop strapped to the front of a bike. Madness? Genius? Both. This nomadic cafe serves up fair trade coffee at various locations around the city. Its current spot is the Platt Fields Bike Hub, the latest place to meet some of the city's cycling community and support fair-trade anti-capitalist/corporation take-it-to-the-man'ism.

Everywhere and nowhere. coffeecrankscoop.org.uk

Popup Bikes

Manchester’s original cycle café is opposite the Co-op building in the underbelly of a characterful railway arch on Corporation Street, only a few blocks away from Sustrans National Cycle route six. You can park your ride in over 100 indoor spaces for over twelve hours, six days a week, while enjoying an expertly crafted flat white with a satisfying toastie. You can also leave your wheels for the day in the cycle storage or put it in for a full service and repair with the resident mechanic.

Arch 5, Corporation Street, Manchester, M4 4DG. popupbikes.co.uk

Popup BikesPopup Bikes

Coffee Fix

This small family-run coffee shop started out as a coffee cart roaming around festivals but has now settled down in the leafy suburbs, close to route 558 (yes, there's a fair few routes). Cyclists are welcomed with open arms and have access to a garage out the back. Choose from an impressive coffee menu with four different brewing methods as well as an wide range of tea, sandwiches and cakes. If you can squeeze into them when leaving, you can even buy a special Coffee Fix cycle jersey and shorts. Apparently Wiggo has three.

80 Church Road, Gatley, Cheadle, SK8 4NQ. wearecoffeefix.com

POD Deli

This former Post Office-turned-deli has been adopted by local Levvies and often has bicycles parked in the front seating area. Nip off the nearby Fallowfield Loop at lunchtime for salads, fry-ups and wholesome meals, as well as a range of coffees and teas. It even has an alcohol licence, might want to get a taxi though eh? 

30 Albert Rd, Levenshulme, Manchester, M19 2FP. pod-deli.co.uk

Pod DeliPod Deli

The Courtyard Coffee House and Restaurant

A classic destination for cyclists, this quaint cafe can be easily missed from Knutsford's main high street. Inside you'll find an impressive collection of 30 Penny Farthings which decorate the ceiling and walls - the largest collection of English made machines in the world. Take advantage of home-made tea and cake before setting off to explore Cheshire's countless green lanes and heritage attractions. Nearby Tatton Park has a cycle path which runs through and connects to quiet routes through Ashley, Hale and Altrincham.

Rear of 92 King Street, Knutsford, Cheshire, WA16 6ED. courtyardknutsford.co.uk

Selo Deli

Selo is the Slavic name for village, and this vibrant little Eastern European deli has certainly contributed to the great community vibe going on in Monton. If you’re heading out towards Worsley along Bridgewater Way (route 82), call in to get a continental coffee fix here. It’s not a traditional cycling gaff but you’ll find freshly-baked artisan bread, cakes like the Monton Tart, as well as soups and stews to warm the cockles. Weirdly, the café also operates a 'suspended coffee service', where you can buy a coffee for a stranger or those bringing up the rear. Unfortunately, you can't bugger off and let someone else pay for yours later.

188 Monton Road, Eccles, Salford, M30 9PY. @selodeliirena

Selo DeliSelo Deli

Katsouris Deli

The original and best Katsouris (not the mental Deansgate one) in the heart of bustling Bury market. Enjoy people-watching and bellowing stall holders while you sip your cappuccino and fill up on delicious Greek salads, snacks and hot sandwiches. Bury is on route six from Manchester, much of which is traffic-free and includes the Irwell Sculpture Trail. You may prefer to keep your bicycle with you but there is lots of outdoor seating for a true continental experience.

23-25 Market Square, Bury Market, BL9 0QD. www.katsourisdeli.co.uk/home

Sandbar

Long associated with Manchester’s cycle courier community, Sandbar often had stacks of bikes piled up in its back alleyway. In these more safety conscious days you’re likely to be politely asked to park it at the stands at the front, but you’ll spot many a helmet alongside a latte or espresso here. A bar too, Sandbar serves great real ales and warming grub. Drop into neighbouring Bicycle Boutique to pick up any gear before you head out onto the nearby route six to explore South Manchester.

120 Grosvenor Street, Manchester, M1 7HL. sandbarmanchester.co.uk

SandbarSandbar

Sarah Roe is the Press & Communications Officer for Sustrans, a national charity which helps more people to get on their bikes. The charity developed the National Cycle Network, over 14,700 miles of cycle routes across the country.

For more information on Sustrans cycle routes look upwww.sustrans.org.uk/ncn/map or maps at Transport for Greater Manchester at http://cycling.tfgm.com/Pages/maps.aspx

(photo credits to Livia Lazar)

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18 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousAugust 19th 2014.

Great, useful article this.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 20th 2014.

Seconded, this is great,

AnonymousAugust 19th 2014.

Cycles cafes? Why?

9 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 20th 2014.

Because you've earned it.

AnonymousAugust 20th 2014.

Because it's useful to know where you can park your bike safely....

AnonymousAugust 20th 2014.

Do people cycle in to the city to go to cafes and bars?

AnonymousAugust 20th 2014.

People get the tram/bus/car into the city to go to cafes and bars, so why wouldn't people also do so on bikes?

NazcaAugust 20th 2014.

Train to Piccadilly and then rent a Brompton for some city sightseeing...

AnonymousAugust 20th 2014.

If it was a bigger city then I'd agree, but I can walk from Piccadilly train station to Atlas bar [as an example] in twenty minutes. Not worth bothering with a bicycle and securing it IMO.

AnonymousAugust 20th 2014.

But you could cycle it in about 5 mins. Manchester is a great city centre to ride in. Relatively flat, loads of places to lock your bike, generally safe with regards to traffic. I regularly cycle in just to have a coffee or some lunch. I feel as though I've earnt it far more than if I've driven in.

AnonymousAugust 20th 2014.

@Anon above, I appreciate your last sentence, but I agree with the Anon above you. No need to dash about on your bicycle and be wary about traffic and bicycle security, when you can freely walk about and go places where bicycles can't go ie. on pavements and down one way streets the wrong way. Walk around at your own pace and take in the city freely and on foot. No need to think about where to lock your bicycle or if it will be safe.

AnonymousAugust 20th 2014.

It's not just city centre caffs though - plenty of the above are out of town and near places where people ride for leisure e.g. Longford Park.

AnonymousAugust 20th 2014.

There are no stands at the front of Sandbar.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 20th 2014.

But there are lots of railings opposite.

NazcaAugust 20th 2014.

Coffee Fix also has Bike Haus nearby for a service or fettle!

AnonymousSeptember 15th 2014.

I've cycled the roads of the Manchester area for just over 40 years and before these 'cycle cafes' arrived I never found it hard to find a café, tea shop or fast food place on the odd occasions I wanted one. I certainly wouldn't seek out a 'cycle café' just because I'm a keen cyclist. If anything I'd probably avoid them, as the modern breed of urban evangelical cyclists are often sanctimonious eco-types into artisan this, sustainable that and vegan the other while all I ever want is a decent mug of tea and either a snack or a fry up depending on how hungry I am.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
juiceSeptember 15th 2014.

Oh get over yourself. You sound like you have the same pathetic mentality of the sort of loser who gets upset when a band they like becomes popular. "It's MY thing, wah!" You want to keep cycling for yourself and only people like you, don't you? God forbid that anyone should celebrate cycling's increased popularity, or that cyclists might want to get together in places that specifically cater to them. Very, VERY sad and ignorant attitude of an obvious loner.

AnonymousSeptember 17th 2014.

What an odd reply. I don't mind anyone cycling or going to these cafes. Thousands of people have taken up cycling recently and that's great. But it is certainly true that a minority of new cyclists are people of the eco/vegan/stop the cuts/save Gaza persuasion and this mentality tends to be evident in cycle cafes and on things like the Critical Mass ride. For these people cycling has become a new part of a wider lifestyle, and they approach it with the same tiresome sanctimoniousness they have for other their other interests. Cycling is for everyone, not just the hipsters and trendies. It's a form of transport, and needn't form a part of a wider agenda. It doesn't really need special cafes, any more than we have special cafes for bus or train users, or pedestrians.

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