For many enthusiastic biker, they love a good old ride out, with or without riding buddies, to a local bike meeting place…be that a cafe or bar. In the UK, the biker cafe became synonymous with the mods and rockers counter culture scene and is still a draw for those seeking to find somewhere to go on their two wheels.
There are of course some really cool biker cafes or transport cafes littered around the country which some even supporting regular bike nights, but dare I say it…sometimes it’s just a bit too much of the same thing and the appeal of trundling half way across the county just to stand shoulder to shoulder with other riders whilst trying to slurp a mediocre mug of tea or frothy coffee…has diminished over the years. Yes I know, I really should be shot for thinking such a thing, but there you have it.
The problem with any regular meeting place for me, unless you’re meeting friends for a good ole natter, is that it is not a new experience which I thrive upon and the ‘in place with the in crowd’ isn’t necessarily where I like to hang out. This is why I tend to find myself hooning about the countryside building up a library of cool cafes that have nothing to do with biker culture but are a great place to ride out to and offer something different…and I’m not just talking about the quality of coffee or the portion size of cake either…although that does help!
A couple of years ago I came across a cafe that’s not too far from where I live in Berkshire UK but it might as well have been a million miles away from a motorcycle scene that I had been used to. Located in Warren Row in between Maidenhead and Reading, to the West of London, VeloLife is a cross between a village cafe in a converted period building, a cafe targeting cycling…yes those of the lycra persuasions…and a bicycle workshop.
It’s usually serenely quiet but not devoid of customers and the staff all seem to be friendly and welcoming…plus the selection of cakes are superb, but don’t let that persuade you either way. It simply is a cool cafe with a great vibe with a tranquil atmosphere which is slightly off the beaten track…perfect! As an added bonus, the backroads in the surrounding area are really great too…lots of twisties and some stunning scenery too, so all in all a great place to ride to, chill out and experience something a little different.
So if you’re stuck for somewhere to ride to on a weekend, then you could find a lot worse places to go to and certainly more mundane. However, one of the best things about riding bikes is that you can go and discover these places for yourself, either with friends or by yourself…you never know what you’ll find and it just might turn out to be the next best biking hangout for your area…or it simply will be your very own go-to destination when you decide to take a ride out on a sunny day!