Urban Cycling

Coffee and Cyclists: Why It’s More Than Just a Drink to Us

Cyclists having coffee

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For many cyclists, coffee is more than just a drink to fuel their rides. It’s a ritual, a social activity, and a way of life. 

There’s something about the combination of caffeine and cycling that just works. But what are the reasons why coffee and cycling are so intertwined?

Sip, down, and chug your way through our litany of cycling and coffee-related chit-chat – just be sure to make it near to the end, as we discuss the latest no-no in coffee and cycling-related etiquette. 

Coffee Offers a Performance Benefit

Whether you’re using it to get through the day – like Ben, who was out late last night and can’t face another eight hours of work, or it’s simply the first thing you do when you start your day – coffee, thanks to its generous hit of caffeine is something that gets us all, not just cyclists, up and moving.

Of course, there are practical reasons why coffee is such a popular drink among cyclists. It’s a low-calorie beverage that provides a quick energy boost without weighing riders down. It’s also a diuretic that can help to prevent dehydration, which is especially important on longer rides. 

The Tadej PogaÄŤar’s and Wout Van Aert’s of this world are sipping a cup of coffee before a ride to help sharpen the senses and give them the edge they need to perform at their best – us? Not so much. Just something of a pre-ride ritual. Something that gives us a boost to head out of the door, even if it is cold and raining – because getting out for a bike ride is never, never a bad idea.

Cyclists at coffee shop

Coffee – The Bike Rider’s Social Lubricant

But coffee is more than just a performance booster. It’s also a social lubricant that brings people together. Coffee shops are places where cyclists tend to congregate. Whether after their rides to chat, swap stories, and connect with like-minded individuals – during a long bike ride when extra energy is required, or even before the ride has even begun – the coffee shop is the bike ride’s social lubricant. 

There’s a sense of community that comes from sharing a love of cycling and coffee, and it’s something that can be hard to find elsewhere – weirdly, no other place seems to have the same effect.

Cyclist outside cafe

Coffee Shop or Bike Shop?

As we’ve seen, coffee shops have become a hub for cycling culture, with many establishments catering specifically to cyclists. Outside sit bike racks ready and waiting to take the next arrivals. Repair kits or bike pumps are available to a cyclist’s aid. Sometimes, there’s even cycling-themed decor to create a welcoming environment for riders. 

But these days, it can be tricky to discern the difference between a coffee shop welcoming cyclists and a bike shop with a coffee machine! Right? As some coffee shops start hosting group rides and events, they are just one bike stand and a pegboard full of bike tools away from becoming an actual bike shop!

coffee on the go

Coffee on The Go

But it’s not just about the coffee shops. Coffee – fuelled by the rise of bikepacking and adventure cycling – has become a staple of the actual cycling experience, with many riders carrying their portable coffee makers stowed in their bottle cages, ready to brew up a fresh cup on the road at a moment’s notice. 

With products like the Aeropress Go, cyclists can make a damn good coffee wherever they find themselves.

If you haven’t done it yourself, there’s something special about sipping a hot cup of coffee while taking in the scenery.

Black coffee

The Etiquette and Rules

Cycling and coffee also share something else. Something that some coffee lovers and cyclists may scoff at, but something that’s irrefutably part of both of their circles. It’s a love (and/or) respect for etiquette and rules to which they are linked. Here are some examples:

Cyclists: never wear bike shorts that aren’t black. Coffee aficionados: cappuccino’s can only be drunk before 11 am. Cyclists: eyewear should be placed over the straps over your helmet, not under. Coffee aficionados: water with coffee, always.

These so-called rules that govern both coffee and cycling have perhaps drawn the two tribes closer together.

coffee cycling

The Lifestyle

But beyond the material (and sometimes rule-questioning) relationship between cyclists and coffee, there’s something much, much deeper at play. Coffee and cycling are both rituals that have been passed down through generations of riders. The weighing of the beans, the grinding, the temperature of the water – all these facets of coffee drinking could be seen to play out in aspects of cycling, too. The pumping of tires, the squeezing of your bike’s brake levers, the gentle pedal down your street before heading out onto the main road. 

Modern life is hectic, confusing, all-consuming and sometimes downright scary. But both cycling and coffee can encourage us to take time over something, take time to enjoy the process, and take time to do the simple things – well. 

Whether that’s warming your cup whilst watching a cafetière brew with inky black goodness or frothing some milk to the perfect consistency. It could be indexing your gears so they shift seamlessly or cleaning your bike after a long bike ride. Coffee and cycling: an exercise in, dare we say it, mindfulness.

Ultimately, coffee and cycling are more than just a drink and a hobby. They’re a way of life that brings people together, creates a sense of community, and provides a connection to the past. For many cyclists, coffee is an essential part of the riding experience, and it’s hard to imagine one without the other. 

Coffee and cycling are traditions that have stood the test of time, and they’re a reminder of the simple pleasures in life. There’s a sense of comfort that comes from sipping an espresso, a cortado, a flat white, a cappuccino; or any coffee before a ride – something that can’t be replicated by any other drink. Likewise, the feeling of riding a bike – is there any other simple activity that can bring you freedom, fun, and fitness all in just a few short pedal strokes?

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