Last spring, (ok, it is late but I’ve only just discovered it!), Lance Armstrong opened a commuter bike/cafe shop:-
He opened a commuting center, training facility and cafe in a 1950s-era building at the northwest corner of Fourth and Nueces streets.
From the Austin Stateman: (why not Person?!, getting all feminist here):-
He said “This city is exploding downtown. Are all these people in high rises going to drive everywhere? We have to promote (bike) commuting,”
Mellow Johnny’s, named for the nickname Armstrong earned while wearing the Tour de France leader’s “maillot jaune,” or yellow jersey, will be housed in a yellow- and red-brick building next to the music venue La Zona Rosa. It is a block north of the Lance Armstrong Bikeway, a path that will cut east-west through downtown Austin.
Armstrong said he’d like to see Austin evolve into a place like Portland, Ore., where biking is part of the culture and people pedal to work, to restaurants and to run errands. “Walk outside, and the streets are lined with bikes — because they have a safe place to ride,” Armstrong said of the city long known for its bicycle-friendly amenities and policies.
So how does Austin get to that point?
“The (Lance Armstrong Bikeway) is a big start,” he said. Armstrong and his general partner in the project, Bart Knaggs, said they’d like to see Austin create bike lanes separated from vehicle traffic and a system like a new one in Paris where people can use a credit card to rent a bicycle from a bike rack station and return it at any of the dozens of other stations around the city.
“There are times I ride in Austin, and I’m afraid of cars,” Armstrong said. “Imagine what the beginner cyclist must feel like? I think (Mayor) Will Wynn’s dream was this whole revitalization of downtown, which we’re getting, but it’s going to make it a lot easier if people can get around on bikes.”
The shop will celebrate the culture of biking, from the historic memorabilia hanging on the walls to a counter where customers can sip coffee and ask questions as they watch bike mechanics at work”
It’s lovely isn’t it? Another idea of a dual purpose bike shop. I particularly like the balcony where you can have a nice coffee. Don’t you envy all that Texas sunshine too? It’s also convivial for men and women, not just a place for blokes.
I often find going to British bike shops a very ‘souless experience’. It’s all about ‘sell, sell, sell’. The customer is ‘just a number’ and it shows. There is nothing ‘personal’ about it. And, it is not exactly ‘fun’ being in a bike shop. It always feels over ‘formal’ too. I just tend to wander around, get what I want. I never like hanging around there. I think the longest I have spent in a bike shop was half an hour but I am usually out in 15 minutes flat. I never know why they have such an old stuffy atmosphere. Many of the bike shops I go to are often devoid of customers and you would have thought the bike shop owners would wonder why that is so. It is stuffy and boring (and often doesn’t have what you want but that is another thing).
I think we ought get some bike cafes in London. Cyclists rarely talk to each other whilst commuting etc so a social atmosphere such as in a bike cafe is a great place to meet and chat. It could have a good notice board too.