Where café and bike culture collide
It was whilst traveling through Asia that Adele Procter and Martin Harman came up with the concept of running a cycle café and repair workshop under one roof. The pair had come across the hugely successful Velodome whilst in Bangkok and knew it would be perfect for the York market. Ten months and £200k later Your Bike Shed, York opened to a very excited audience.
This unusual concept where cycle and café culture collide, is housed in a beautiful Georgian Grade 2 listed building located on Micklegate Bar just inside the historic City Walls of York. Two adjoining premises provide space for 100 covers in a 1000 sq ft café spread over two floors, with a cycle repair workshop next door. “ It’s about being able to get your bike fixed or serviced, order some spare parts, or hang out with likeminded people whilst enjoying a fantastic cup of coffee and great food,” explained Adele who manages the café. Martin, a keen cyclist himself and triathlete looks after the bike side of the business.
“Our customers include serious road cyclists who stop by to refuel and enjoy an energy boost with a speciality espresso and a cake mid race. With flat screens for showing races and events, urban wall art, bike frames and other cycling gear, the quiet seating area in our basement gallery has become a hub for riders to chill and relax pre and post race,” explained Adele.
Your Bike Shed also caters for the new breed of urban cyclist, a fast growing demographic which includes commuters who have turned to two wheels to avoid public transport costs and to do their bit to reduce environmental pollution.
In terms of the food offer, York is an affluent area and customers are quite sophisticated in their tastes. “We have a team of 12 including a chef and two cooks, and all our food is hand made on the premises using locally sourced ingredients wherever possible.” With fresh cakes, soups, quiches, salads, jacket potatoes, sandwiches and toasties available daily, just two months in and Your Bike Shed has already developed a bit of a reputation amongst the city’s non biking foodies.
“Of course it is not all about bikes. “ Mums love our healthy, nutritious food and older singles appreciate the all inclusive atmosphere that we foster here,” said Adele.
As far as the coffee is concerned, Your Bike Shed uses Cimbali equipment which Adele describes as “the Porsche of the coffee machine world.” Although Adela and Martin have run several successful businesses over the years, Your Bike Shed is their first foray into operating a coffee shop “We knew how important it would be to get the coffee just right and wanted something that we could count on to deliver the perfect coffee every time.”
“We are not trying to compete with the branded chains and we are on a par with the market in terms of pricing across the speciality coffee menu. We have our own unique espresso blend and only offer an 8oz and 12 oz cup. We wanted to serve great coffee in the way it should be served, full bodied and with masses of flavour. Although we do stock a limited range of flavoured syrups, it seems our customers appreciate our coffee in its natural form and we sell very few.”
“Consistency and quality is very important,” said Adele. Your Bike Shed has a Cimbali PGS, a traditional M39 espresso machine and Bluetooth on demand grinder because “I can rest assured that whoever is making the coffee that day, it will always be excellent quality.” The M39 machine and Blue tooth grinder ‘communicate with each other’ and the grind will adjust as required throughout the working day to guarantee a pre-determined in cup quality.
“We all have our own way of making coffee and in our environment, where customer expectations are very high it is crucial to maintain a consistently high quality. We know that the M39 can produce a delicious, fresh cup of coffee. The machine is configured precisely to produce a fantastic result from our house blend. It is one less thing for me to have to worry about and takes the guess work out of the whole process.”
Mike Abrams, area sales manager for Cimbali said that “York is considered to be one of the UK’s top cycling cities, so much so that it is hosting the 101st Tour de France Grand Départ Stage 2 in July 2014 and Your Bike Shed will be perfectly placed to take advantage of this.
According to Mike, “Given Adele and Martin’s experience, client base and volumes, the intended coffee menu and expectations for future growth of the business, the Cimbali PGS is an ideal choice.”
Using the Cimbali PGS has given Adele and Martin the confidence to step back from the front line operation, knowing that the coffee is taken care of, leaving them free to focus on developing the business.”In a spin at Your Bike Shed