Cycling in the Netherlands has recently undergone an image overhaul. Ten years ago, cycling was dutifully equipped as a means of getting to work or running errands in town. The only person watching the Tour de France was your dad. Cycling was not for fun, nor an exercise in mindfullness and your bike had better look like shit or it would be stolen.
These days, cycling is hip and hipsters need somewhere to meet. With great coffee and inspiring surroundings. With good lighting, funky music and exclusive looking gear. Here’s a shortlist of hotspots for the cycling hipster and everyone who has always loved bikes & coffee.
Every Dutch cyclist knows Lola serves the best coffee in town. Add a true passion for all things cycling and you’ve found your favorite hangout. Lola bikes & coffee opened up shop in April 2012 in a snug establishment on The Haque’s classy high-street, Noordeinde. Lola bikes & coffee doesn’t just serve great coffees. They support Oeganda based cycle club Kampala Cycling, you can sign up for the Lola fit program (for your body and your bike) and they organise fat bike trips along The Hague’s sandy coastline.
Have a look at their website (check top right for English) for the full scope of what they have to offer.
These guys know what they are talking about.
Mechanieker in de Nieuwe Stad (a small scale industrial zone revamped as a hip hangout) in Amersfoort is where you want to take your bike when something’s off. Mechanieker’s Anno does the bike fittings, Henk and Tom do the fixing. This team of three has top credentials and are super sympathetic too. They will look for the best solution to all your cycling issues, and never let you down.
Go to Mechanieker to get fixed and fitted, to check out beautiful bikes and for some bike talk with coffee on the house. It’s also a great spot to start your ride, with lots of parking just around the corner and the Utrechtse Heuvelrug at your feet.
Cyleworks in Utrecht share a large old garage and sunny courtyard with local bike couriers club, de Fietskoerier and the guys from Good Cycling.
Cycleworks doesn’t have a website, jut a landing page, but they keep their Facebook page up to date with events and specials deals and other things they get up to. They offer a nice range of cycling gear and accessories and serve a tasty coffee. With their central location and welcoming atmosphere Cycleworks is a popular starting point for cycle clubs and other organized rides.
The hippest cycle shop in the country is located in Amsterdam and call themselves Meesterknecht (super-domestique or second man). They brew and sell their own coffee beans, Gangmaker coffee, and boast an impressive collection of bikes and cycle paraphernalia on display. It’s obvious a good dose of effort was put into the interior design. On one side a wooden velodrome surface covers the wall from top to bottom. Bathroom tiles, a legacy from the days a butcher vacated the premises, fill the floor and leafy plants and vintage school chairs complete the picture. But don’t get too distracted by Meesterknecht’s hipness and barista skills. These guys expertly repair and fix road bikes, cyclocross bikes, track bikes, tour bikes and single-speed bikes and specialize in building custom bikes to meet the individual need.
Alley Cat bikes & coffee is more café than cycle store, but that doesn’t mean they don’t love bikes. Especially retro road bikes and stylish single speeds. Alley Cat is located in Maastricht’s city centre and opened in April last year. They have a small workshop for a quick bike fix, and an attractive collection of cycling gear. You’ll finds jerseys by Isadore Apparel, Mission Workshop bags and an exclusive selection of Giro shoes. Most of Alley Cat’s space is allocated to vintage style tables and chairs where you can consume a healthy pre-ride breakfast (i.e. yogurt with fresh fruits and nuts) and drink some chai latte.
Brand new on this list is LEV cycling café in Arnhem. There’s no picture to illustrate LEV because they haven’t opened their doors yet. Location-wise LEV cycling café is a great place to start when exploring National Park Hoge Veluwe and the famous Posbank climb. LEV cycling café promises apparel, drinks & food, bike care, seminars, expositions and of course, bikes. Curious to see what LEV has to offer? The official opening is this Friday (invites only) and it will open to the public on Saturday the 30th of January 2016.