The top cafés for cyclists across the UK were unveiled yesterday, 27th November, by Cycling UK as it announced the winners of its annual Cyclist Café of the Year Awards.
The awards, now in the second-year, invite cyclists in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to choose their favourite haunts for their (pre, mid and post-ride) coffee and cake. Cafes which have been serving cyclists for longer than 20 years are also considered for a lifetime achievement award.
The nominations are then judged by a panel of cake critics, which this year included Angellica Bell. This year, a new category was also introduced: the People’s Choice.
Hannah Duncan said: “There was some pretty stiff competition this year across all the home nations for the top café choices for cyclists in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and all the winners are well worth making a detour for. Particular mention should go to Bank View Café in South Yorks, which received the Lifetime Achievement award for delivering more than 100 years of service to Britain’s cyclists.
“When it came to the People’s Choice award though, there could be only one: Velolife! The owner Lee has been through hell and back over the last two years, so it’s heartwarming to see the cycling community get behind his amazing café and recognise the great café Maidenhead is very lucky to have.”
Velolife in Maidenhead received 20% of all nominations for its award. Coffee drinking cyclists voiced their support for the owner Lee Goodwin who until earlier in the month had been threatened with closure by the council if he allowed cyclists to gather on the premises.
“It is so awesome to be chosen for the ‘People’s Choice Award’,” Goodwin said. “We have been through a lot this year and to be a part of such an amazing community, that is so much bigger than us, is amazing! It’s an honour to serve such an incredible community and we are very proud to be chosen for the People’s Choice Award! Thank you.”
Bell said: “Velolife received a staggering amount of votes – and it’s great news that coffee drinking cyclists can now return to their favourite haunt making it a real people’s choice winner. A well-deserved award!”
Other winning cafés include:
– The Feed Station (Somerset) – England
– The Auction Room (Derry Londonderry) – Northern Ireland
– Lanterne Rouge (East Lothian) – Scotland
– Pedal Power (Cardiff) – Wales
– Bank View Café (South Yorkshire) – Lifetime Achievement
The Bank View Café has served cyclists for more than 100 years, since it was founded in 1900 to provide provisions for the nearby reservoir’s workers. The café is located at one end of the Strines, a route which skirts the edge of open moorland that connects the Woohead Pass (and Holme Moss) to Derbyshire’s Snake Pass and is popular with both roadies and mountain bikers.
Bank View café owner Pete Sparks said: “It’s a space where everyone can relax. We’re a little bit scruffy around the edges because we do get dogs shaking themselves off in the doorway, cyclists coming in the middle of winter draping their clothes on the radiators to dry, and it’s the countryside so we do get muddy boots!
“We don’t turn anyone around. We’re not fussy like that. We try to make it a warm, welcoming space. I think it’s great we get so many cyclists coming out no matter the weather.”