By Nicole Bayne
“The Tour de France always starts with an espresso,” says Nicole Davison, owner of the Purcellville bicycle and coffee shop Veloville USA. “Coffee and biking go together. This is a secret cyclists have known for generations and it is finally becoming mainstream.”
Though the movement is just beginning in Northern Virginia, the initial concept is far from new. These dual bike and coffee stores are popping up all over the western United States in areas like California, Colorado, Oregon, Minnesota— and even Massachusetts and North Carolina. Even in the early days of cycling caffeine was considered a great way to fuel yourself before a ride because it is an all-natural stimulant.
“The first coffee and bike shop started because owners of bicycle stores noticed their customers always hanging out down the street at the local coffee house,” says Davison. “They began offering cups of coffee to their customers as an incentive to stay longer.”
This became a pragmatic solution to constitute a well-rounded business. When you have both coffee and bikes, you can bring in customers during cold-weather months. She noticed the integration of drinking coffee and biking while living in Portland.
“You’re going to see it permeate this area,” she says. “Whether you’re a cyclist or a racer or you just want to get out and enjoy the nice weather, you’ll be drawn to this lifestyle.”
Veloville’s coffee shop is a classic espresso bar offering macchiatos, chai teas, cappuccinos and seasonal lattes. They have traditional and European muffins, scones and granola-based Awesome Bars.
“I wanted to have some options, something pre-packaged you can grab-and-go that’s real food and also vegan,” says Davison, who opened the shop in April. “All are small, handmade products 99 percent of which you can’t find in any grocery store.”
Veloville gets all their coffee from Portland native and coffee mogul R.C. Gartrell’s Hopscotch Coffee Roasters, originally in Winchester and now also in Leesburg. It currently offers the complex Hopscotch House Blend (a medium roast from Mexico this week but rotated often with beans from other parts of South America); the smoky and strong Bonnie Blue dark roast; the silky Ethiopian Gelana Abaya; and the lighter Panama Kotowa Estate.
Davison also plans for a third component: beer.
“You would have your pre-race drink, the bike shop and the post-race drink,” she says. “It just seems like the next logical step.” / Veloville USA, 609 E Main St, Purcellville
Green Lizard Cycling
Others in the area have tapped into this trend. David and Beth Meyer’s opened their shop Green Lizard Cycling in Herndon in March 2013.
“David noticed a need for two things in the area,” says Beth Meyer. “A small coffee shop that wasn’t Starbucks and a bicycle store located right on the W&OD trail.”
Green Lizard gets coffee from the fair-trade and certified organic roaster Kaladi Brothers from Anchorage, a tribute to the 15 years they lived in Alaska while getting into cycling. Meyer orders once a week to keep the coffee fresh and stays consistent each time with Kaladi Brothers’ famous espresso Trieste, the medium-bodied Red Goat and the very dark Sumatran roast. These are all Arabica beans and are also sold ground or whole.
For a jolt of energy, Meyer recommends the doppio ($2). This double-shot of Trieste is pure espresso extracted using a double filter to wake you right up. “Cyclists tend to shy away from the milk drinks, but other customers will order this as well,” says Meyer. The store also sells baked goods from Herndon’s Boutique Bakeshop. Meyer says “the muffins are amazing.” / Green Lizard Cycling, 718 Lynn St, Herndon
The benefits of coffee and bicycle junctions are quickly becoming more appealing. Manager Mark Werner of Bicycle Outfitters in Leesburg says the operation will soon begin expanding into a coffee shop. / Bicycle Outfitters, 34-D Catoctin Circle, Leesburg