Amsterdam’s very first cycling café opens


Every cafe in Amsterdam is a cycling cafe – after all, most, if not most, customers will arrive by bike. But it wasn’t until now that the city’s very first ‘cycle cafe’, in the sense that we in the UK would know it opened.

Confuses? Well, unlike English, the Dutch language has specific words to distinguish someone who uses a bicycle to commute to work or run errands, from a sporty cyclist – respectively, party and carrier. And it is the latter that the newly opened En Route is aiming for, because it becomes the first place of this type there.

The business was started by a group of cyclists who came together through their passion for the sport, who recognize the risks of openness at a time when the coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on the hospitality industry of the city, but point to a growing interest in cycling for sport or exercise, especially among young people and women.

The idea took root during a trip from Milan to Amsterdam for the charity Bike for Balls, launched by one of the co-founders, the French Yann Quintin, diagnosed with testicular cancer at the age of 27 years.

His compatriot Clement Batut, Dan Shaw from the UK and two Dutch nationals, Derek van Tilburg and Alan van Tuyl, who is also the owner of the Apex Bikes brand, join him in the team behind En Route.

The founders were inspired by the bike cafes they visited on their bikepacking trips across Europe, realizing that while there are cafes dedicated to sports cyclists in cities like The Hague and Maastricht, there are no there were none in the capital.

Using their knowledge of the city and its cycling scene, analyzing data from Strava and talking to people in the industry, they realized there was a gap in the market – the result being what aims to to be an inclusive and accessible place where local cyclists of all abilities can come together, plan their adventures and create a road cycling community.

Besides coffee, En Route is also a store, selling bikes from Apex as well as the Berlin single-speed brand 8Bar, as well as parts, clothing and accessories such as Fizik, Kask, Assos, Oakley, and il There is also a workshop open five days a week for repairs, maintenance and bicycle rental.

In addition to Amsterdam’s Rum Baba roast specialty coffee, En Route has also partnered up with upscale local bakeries for these all-important munchies before, halfway or after the hike.

En Route’s first customer was former Dutch goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar (below), proving his former Manchester United brace Ben Foster doesn’t have a monopoly on combining road cycling with cycling of road.

“When you cycle, you’re always hungry and looking for the next cafe to recharge your batteries,” says Batut.

“Cycling cafes are an integral part of cycling culture, and when we realized that Amsterdam – the cycling capital of the world – didn’t have one yet, we knew there was an opportunity to create a base camp for cyclists. cyclists in and around the city.

One of the focal points of the site, which, once coronavirus restrictions are fully relaxed, will have a capacity of 25 people will be women and novice riders, with plans for workshops, group rides – including women only – as it aims to ‘give back’ to the community and build an inclusive crew of happy bikers, regardless of background, gender or ability. “

Shaw says, “Cycling in his mind is a team sport. The very heart of En Route is the journey we all take together. Fueling this feeling of conviviality is what will make En Route stand out.

“We buy into the idea that we all have our reasons to ride, and that’s what keeps us together. And by being part of En Route, we hope to establish real relationships and instill a sense of adventure, ”he added.

The café opened its doors two weeks ago, and when asked how it was going, we were told: “En Route is received with such enthusiasm! We’ve only been open for two weeks and have met so many cyclists from Amsterdam and the surrounding area (and from abroad).

“The community is growing, and since you can also rent bikes from En Route, we see many newbies coming to try the sport – that was one of our goals, to be accessible to all and to grow the love of cycling.

Open six days a week, En Route is located at 69 Bilderdijkstraat, west of the city center.

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