Credit: Alex Davis

Cycling UK announces winners of 2020 Cyclist Café of the Year Awards

Cycling UK has announced the winners of the 2020 Cyclist Café of the Year Awards.

A shortlist was drawn up from more than 2,000 nominations by cyclists across the UK, and one winner from each of the four nations, along with a Lifetime Achievement Award, was selected by a panel of judges, including Guardian food columnist Felicity Cloake.

“I can think of no other sport in which coffee and cake plays such a central role – café stops are at least half the reason I love cycling, and a warm welcome makes such a difference,” said Cloake. “In what has been an unbelievably tricky year for the hospitality industry, I’d like to congratulate all of those shortlisted on continuing to go the extra mile for their two-wheeled customers, whether that’s with maps, mechanical support, or just a great macchiato. Special congratulations to our winners who fought off some very stiff competition: on behalf of all of us who turn up muddy, tired and sometimes in stupid outfits, thank you – you’re the people who make a good ride into a great one.”

The winners are:

– England: Look mum no hands!, London EC1
– Northern Ireland: Picnic Delicatessen, Killyleagh, Co Down
– Scotland: Velocity Café and Bicycle Workshop, Inverness
– Wales: plan2ride Bicycle Café, Tongwynlais, Caridff
– Lifetime achievement: Capheaton Tea Room, Capheaton, Northumberland

Hannah Duncan, Cycling UK’s chief coffee and cake connoisseur, said: “While many of us have been able to continue cycling through the pandemic, the importance of a good café was really brought home to us when they were forced to close. The public voted in record numbers this year to show their support for the cafés that have battled through to carry on offering fuel, support and a friendly welcome.”

England: Look mum no hands!
Sam Humpheson, co-owner of Look mum no hands!, said: “We’re pleased and surprised to receive this award, there has not been much good news in 2020 so it’s a great way to end the year.

“We share Cycling UK’s belief that cycling is for all, and we do our best to make everybody feel welcome. In normal times we host so many different events and gatherings and this is what we’ve really missed this year. Hopefully we can all get some kind or normality back in 2021.

“The pandemic has been really hard for everyone in hospitality. The cafe is closed right now and we have been takeaway-only for much of the year. However, our mechanics have been as busy as ever fixing bicycles and it’s been great to see people getting on their bikes in response to the situation. Bikes are (always) part of the solution!”

Northern Ireland: Picnic Delicatessen
Sophie Anstey, who owns Picnic Delicatessen with her sister Mollie, said: “We are truly honoured to win this award. It has been a very tough year for the hospitality industry and we are very thankful for the continuous support from all of our fabulous cyclists.

“Picnic has been a well-established brand for 18 years and Mollie and I bought the café in July 2020, right in the middle of a global pandemic. Some may say we were crazy but it was an opportunity that we couldn’t have missed out on.

“Since we were children we have always sat round the family dinner table with dreams of someday owning a coffee shop and that dream came true. We are so thankful to all of our incredibly supportive customers and wonderful team of staff who have carried us through the unusual circumstances of 2020, and we are very excited about what lies ahead.”

Scotland: Velocity Café and Bicycle Workshop
Graeme Ross, general manager of Velocity, said: “we’re absolutely delighted to win this award and receiving it for the second time makes it extra special. A massive thank you to everyone who voted for us and also to the hard-working team at Velocity who have managed to remain positive and upbeat throughout this challenging time.

“Since its inception back in 2012, Velocity’s ethos has always been to bring people together through a love of cycling, along with providing healthy, nutritious food and great coffee, something which we continue with to this day. As well as the café, our workshop team have been working tirelessly throughout lockdown making sure everyone can keep their bikes maintained to the highest level, and behind the scenes, we have an awesome projects team who deliver a range of projects promoting health and wellbeing.”

Wales: plan2ride Bicycle Café
Raoul Tufnell, co-owner of plan2ride, said: “We’re so chuffed to receive this award and want to thank everyone who voted. It is proof that the more you stay strong to your values the larger your customer base gets: we want to keep our suppliers local, our impact eco and to always keep the standard of service tiptop.

“We like to think we’re pretty inclusive to all types of riders and we’re very welcoming of the broader outdoor community too! The cafe was designed to create a space to help grow the cycling community, a place to share rides and discuss or make bike upgrades. We also like to think we can make a pretty decent cup of coffee!

“During lockdown, we set up ‘Bakery by Bike’ offering people a weekly delivery to door bakery supplies across the community. We ended up having around 100 local homes regularly ordering. We were so apprehensive at the start of it all but it really pushed us to turn what’s been such a tough period into something positive for the business and the wider community.”

Lifetime Achievement Award: Capheaton Tea Room
Ellie Patterson, tea room manager, said: “We are completely blown away to receive this award. Week in week out we just want to provide for our customers. A fantastic community of cyclists, walkers, locals and friends has been built over the last 25 years.

“We first opened as a way to raise funds to maintain our village hall and for many years our tea room was a perfect stop to replenish while on a ride, but now we are very proud to have become a “destination” with a thriving community of cyclists covering all abilities.

“No matter what, we try to be open, ready to serve any cyclist who has battled the hills and Northumbrian weather!”

Read the December issue of BikeBiz below:

In other news...

Growing number of battery fires caused by ‘botched conversions’ could slow sector, fears cycling expert

The managing director of a UK bike brand is concerned that ‘botched conversions’ are one …