The Best Bike-Friendly Cafes in NYC

For many New Yorkers, the joys of cycling—keeping fit, saving money and sailing past traffic jams—are an all-season proposition. Whether you’re stepping off on a weekday morning commute in Manhattan, looping around Prospect Park or cruising through Astoria on a relaxed weekend afternoon, there’s a bike-friendly hangout where you can unstrap your helmet, peel off your gloves and wrap your palms around a hot coffee or a quenching brew. (Go ahead, you’ve earned a carbo indulgence!)

The following seven cafes, shops and bars welcome and appreciate the ever-growing population that chooses two wheels for travel and recreation:


Rapha Cycle Club NYC | 64 Gansevoort St. |
bikeeeeNearest Bike Share Station: Washington St. & Gansevoort St.
This rad new Rapha shop has something for every casual and serious cyclist, whether you want to peruse the latest Rapha products, watch a live road race with a Gypsy Donut and a La Colombe cappuccino or enjoy a post-ride meal made by The Cannibal. Rapha leads regular weekend rides for women that start with a cup of coffee before pedaling out across George Washington Bridge to do 40-60 miles. Check the calendar for upcoming weekend rides. Seasoned cyclists are welcome to join training rides on Thursday mornings at 5:40am at Columbus Circle.

The Cannibal | 114 East 29th St. |
Nearest Bike Share Station: South side of East 30th St. near Park Avenue South
The more casual little brother of the Belgian boite Resto next door, The Cannibal is a cozy café during the day and a lively watering hole after dark, with charcuterie, cheeses and small plates, an enclosed garden, plus 450 beers on the menu. It’s named for Belgian cycling legend and five-time Tour de France champion Eddie Merckx, who was known as “The Cannibal.”

Richard Bravo, a New York-based journalist and a member of the Rapha Continental Cycling Team, says the bar has developed a reputation within the NYC cycling community and beyond. Regulars gather to watch televised bike races, and related events, including Lance Armstrong’s confessional about doping to Oprah Winfrey.

“Not only do you regularly run across local racers there, but I’ve seen [British pro cyclist] Roger Hammond and even Patrick Dempsey hanging out,” says Bravo.

Brooklyn Roasting Company | 25 Jay St. |
Nearest Bike Share Station: West side of Pearl St. near Water St.
Just a block from the East River in DUMBO, Brooklyn Roasting Company, a supporter of local cycling advocacy, offers Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance and organic certified and sustainable coffees, which it roasts in small batches for packaging and café service. Choose from a full range of coffee beverages (limited-release Ka’u Hawaiian recently was in the spotlight) plus donuts from Dough, sandwiches from Margo Patisserie of Williamsburg and other Brooklyn-made treats. It’s an ideal place to pause on a visit to nearby Recycle-A-Bicycle or the new Red Beard Bikes. Check out the BRC-logo bicycle caps, too.

8453542448_04a5899273_zThe City Bakery | 3 West 18th St. |
Nearest Bike Share Station: North side of East 16th St. near 5th Ave.
It doesn’t get any more bike friendly than City Bakery. CEO Maury Rubin, known for his long-standing eco-friendly business ethos, uses cargo and regular bikes to transport goods between City Bakery and his Birdbath Neighborhood Green Bakeries.

“Cycling crystallizes that vision of green,” Rubin says. “Everything about it is good.”

Cyclists get 15 percent off on their purchases, which is a good thing to know right now as the 21st Annual Hot Chocolate Festival offers a different flavor every day for the month of February. Think spicy caramel and dark rum—pillowy handmade marshmallow optional, but recommended. Pair these with toothsome baked goods, like the signature pretzel croissant, or a wide array of freshly prepared foods to eat in or take out.

Red Lantern | 345 Myrtle Ave. |
Nearest Bike Share Station: East side of Adelphi St. near Myrtle Avenue
This laid-back café and bike shop, with its exposed brick, red-painted walls and cycling memorabilia, offers coffee, pastries and fresh nut milks by day, and beer and wine in the evening from a counter up front. Bicycle sales and service are located at the back. Specialists in bikes for commuting and cargo hauling, Red Lantern is the departure point for morning BikeTrain group rides into Manhattan. The shop also teaches maintenance and repair classes and hosts cycling and other community events, all presided over by owner Brian Gluck and the shop cat Landshark.

The Queens Kickshaw | 40-17 Broadway |
Nearest Bike Share Station: Coming soon to Sunnyside
This bustling Astoria enclave serves up specialty coffees, fancy grilled cheese sandwiches (Manchego and ricotta with minted eggplant and capers on multigrain bread) and an impressive list of craft ales, cider and wine in an airy setting with rustic touches. On Friday nights, there’s live music. Noting that many of their customers, as well as employees, arrive by bicycle, owners Ben Sandler and Jennifer Lim have applied to the City for a bike corral, which replaces a single automobile parking space with a cluster of bicycle parking.

Bunbury’s Coffee Shop | 460 Piermont Ave., Piermont, NY |
Situated in the heart of the picturesque Hudson River town of Piermont, Bunbury’s is a popular stop for road cyclists who stream cross the George Washington Bridge on weekends for points north along Route 9W. It’s not unusual to see the bike racks filled with high-end, carbon-fiber hardware on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Inside, the Spandex clad and local regulars savor their caffeine fixes (including the house Dog’s Bollix blend), teas and freshly made pastries and wraps. Lance Armstrong (see The Cannibal above) famously stopped by in 2009 to snack on a cinnamon scone.

Susi Wunsch is the founder of Velojoy, a blog about the fun of bicycling. Visit the site for hints, happenings and fabulous finds from the bike lanes of New York City. Read the Winter Cycling Guide for great tips on riding through winter.

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Photos:Jack Lyons, The Queens Kickshaw by Noah Deveraux, The Cannibal by Thread & Salt

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