HELEN GILDERSLEEVE discovers the wide range of cycle-friendly cafés available across Newcastle and its surrounding areas.
What better way to enjoy the sun and our beautiful region than by having a tootle on a bike with some well-deserved cake at the end.
A decade or more ago, budding cyclists would struggle to find anywhere suitable for a mid-cycle pit stop. Now, the region’s cycle ways and popular routes are brimming with cafes full of lycra-clad riders and curious passers-by.
One of Newcastle’ s most central and well known cafés, The Cycle Hub has gone from strength to strength since it opened its doors a few years ago on Route 72 of Hadrian’s Cycleway.
With a large outdoor terrace and spectacular views of the Quayside, it isn’t hard to see why it’s so popular. As well as serving delicious locally sourced food and drinks, the Hub also boats a merchandise shop, bike hire, maintenance workshops, film nights and breakfast clubs. Regular social bike rides take place on a weekly basis and are suitable for those new to cycling right through to professional riders.
Another city centre bike café opened its doors in June 2015. Part-funded by the Government in a bid to revolutionise cycling in the region, The Journey, located next to the Laing Gallery in the city centre is proving just as popular. Developed by travel charity Sustrans, in partnership with Newcastle City Council, its aim is to put city cycling back on the map to improve health and wellbeing.
Its cafe is run by Colour Coffee, which runs Pink Lane Coffee, and Recyke y’Bike who sell second hand bikes and carry out repairs across the North East.
Newcastle had £10.6m pledged to it by the Government as part of their Cycle City Ambition Fund which will go on schemes in the city’s West End, the Ouseburn, Heaton and the Coast Road.
Some £5.7m handed over in an earlier round of funding will go towards the John Dobson Street upgrade, part of Cowgate roundabout and Elswick and Benwell cycle lanes.
Across the Tyne in Swalwell is another contender for best bike café in the region, and some would even argue the country. Pedalling Squares is a family owned coffee bar and shop selling affordable replica and retro team cycling apparel. Since opening in March 2014, Pedalling Squares was voted in the top five cycling cafés in the UK by the Financial Times for 2016 and was in the top ten cycling cafés in the UK by cycling website, Road.cc for 2015.
The café is located on the Coast to Coast route, close to Derwent Walk and Chopwell Woods. Cyclists, runners and visitors alike can enjoy a coffee, cake and burger in unique, retro surroundings. Even dogs are welcome too.
For riders wanting to enjoy a more rural setting away from it all, Parkhead Station , near Stanhope on the Coast to Coast route provides beautiful scenery from all angles of Stanhope Moor.
Named after the railway stations that existed along the original railway line to Consett, Parkhead Station offers a bed and breakfast service as well as a rustic and inviting café for cyclists passing by.
Owners, Terry and Lorraine Turnbull decided for their millennium project to do something very different and Parkhead certainly was that.
The project was to restore and rebuild the derelict Station Master’s house into a B&B and team rooms. It has been specifically designed with cyclists and walkers in mind, renowned within the cycling fraternity and certainly the place to be on the famous Coast to Coast. It is frequently and affectionately referred to as the sanctuary, haven and oasis to many a weary, distressed traveller.
Coast loving cyclists can enjoy a brew at the Cullercoats Bike & Kayak. This venue hires out bikes, kayaks and stand up paddleboards for those feeling particularly adventurous. The team there are specialists in tours, lessons and repairs.
Cullercoats Bike & Kayak is a perfect retreat for aching legs and has converted a loft space into a cosy, snug café where guests can enjoy some homemade cake and locally roasted coffee.
On yer bike, you say? Yes please!