by David McPherson
Coffee and cycling share a long love affair. Java is part of the sport’s culture. Across Canada, there are cafés that build on this crankarms-and-caffeine connection. But they do more than hang a few bikes on their walls (although many do just that). Some are part museum – showcasing vintage machines and other memorabilia. Others sell cycling gear and offer repairs while you enjoy a cortado. Some have been around for decades, others are just a few years old. All of these places are hubs that foster the passion of the riders in their communities. So, grab a coffee – espresso, cappuccino, latte, drip, americano, whatever you like – and take a tour of the best cycling cafés in the country.
Le Club Espresso Bar
Owners Laurent St-Cyr, Alex Godbout-Simard, Jean-Simon Bouchard, Guillaume Drouin Garneau, Élie Proulx-Chantal, manager
What is your favourite coffee drink?
Proulx-Chantal Just a classic latte because we make it the best. In the summer, another favourite is our coffee lemonade, or koffeelemonade. The lemonade we mix into our cold brew is homemade. We add simple syrup and put it all on ice.
Describe the café.
Proulx-Chantal We just celebrated our two-year anniversary this past July. We are located in the heart of Le Plateau in Montreal, close to the metro and many bike paths. Le Club is a cycling café with an espresso bar, a bike repair shop and a boutique. The café is a meeting place for both coffee lovers and cyclists. We try to be a club for everybody, that’s why we call it Le Club.
What’s the local cycling scene like?
Proulx-Chantal Cycling is a big thing in Montreal. There are a lot of people who bike 24/7, 365 days of the year. From the roadies who train to the city hosting the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal and other cycling events, it’s really a vibrant and growing community.
What’s a favourite local ride?
Drouin Garneau Our weekly morning ride, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, which is basically a loop starting at the bottom of Camillien-Houde at 6:30 a.m. It passes on some of the best and quietest roads in the city.
What’s ahead in 2020 and beyond for the café?
Drouin Garneau More Le Club custom gear. Our kit launch was extremely successful. We will also offer more activities for the cycling and coffee com- munities. Oh, and maybe another Le Club.
Any notable cyclists who have stopped by your café?
Drouin Garneau We currently support local rider James Piccoli. During the Grand Prix Cycliste, we get a yearly visit from some of the best teams and riders in the world. In the past two years, we had the following teams visit: EF Education First, Deceuninck – Quick-Step, Team Sunweb, Astana, TrekSegafredo, Katusha Alpecin and Bora-Hansgrohe. The Saturday before the Montreal race, there are about 50 of the best riders in the world – Arnaud Démare, Tom Dumoulin, Zdeněk Štybar, Hugo Houle, Michael Matthews, Jakob Fuglsang, Michael Valgren, John Degenkolb, Marcus Burghardt and more – enjoying a cup of coffee and some pastries at our place.
Michael Matthews and Jakob Fuglsang are two of our clients, who live in Monaco, to whom we send coffee.