by David McPherson

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Photo: Holly Schnider

Graham Roe understands the special relationship between the caffeine rush coffee provides and the rush one gets while pedalling two wheels. He took his passion for both coffee and bikes and created the Berlin Bicycle Café in Kitchener, Ont., which opened in January 2016.

“I had the same daydream of anybody who has ever ridden a bike,” Roe explained, “to open a store where I could play with stuff I can’t afford!” Roe brought in several European brands including Achielle, Brompton, Babboe and U.S. brand Velo Orange. Canada is represented, too, with SGC Bikes and Simcoe Bicycles. With the new shop, Roe and business partner Kerri Krawec plan to take advantage of a budding cycling culture in the Waterloo Region. In the café’s basement is a full-service bike tune-up and repair area.

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What’s with the name? Before the First World War, Kitchener was called
Berlin as a large number of German immigrants settled in that area of southwestern Ontario. In researching the business, Roe travelled to shops that inspired him, such as Heritage Bicycles, in Chicago, and tapped into their experiences.

While Roe looks after the bike shop, Krawec is in charge of creating the menu. Besides cappuccinos, americanos and lattes, the shop offers a variety of gourmet sandwiches and scones. This past fall, they launched a new menu. Krawec is an avid cyclist. Following her first year of university, she biked from New Brunswick home to Ontario. Later, the entrepreneur rode the Pacific Coast Highway from Canada to Mexico. It was during this ride when Roe presented her with his “crazy idea” to open a bike and coffee shop; she was all in.

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Photo: Holly Schnider

During high school, Roe lived with his family in the Netherlands; that’s where the bike bug bit him. The teenager stood out riding the Dutch streets on his Raleigh Big Horn mountain bike. “I was 14 years old and living the cycling lifestyle even though I didn’t appreciate it,” Roe recalled.

In 2009, Roe was cycling to his IT job in Kitchener-Waterloo. He didn’t like the cycling infrastructure available in his hometown, so he decided to start a blog and also get his views out via social media. By luck, the CBC discovered his site. Suddenly, he became an expert. This discovery led to more advocacy work, which he continues today – to make cycling more accessible in urban areas. His main interest is sharing and spreading the utilitarian nature of cycling.

“I wanted to show people you can get from Point A to Point B by bicycle,” Roe said. “You can use your bike for anything from picking up your kids from daycare to buying groceries and running other errands.”

Smoky Barbecue Black Bean Burgers Recipe

Food Gripped 21 OCT 201611971
Photo: Holly Schnider


¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup maple syrup
2 ½ tbsp molasses
1 ½ tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp onion powder
6 oz. can tomato paste
1 ½ cups of chopped tomatoes
1 ½ tbsp liquid smoke
1 cup water
½ cup onion
3 garlic cloves
4 cups cooked black beans
2 cups quick oats, dry hamburger buns


1. For the sauce, mix apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, molasses, Dijon mustard, onion powder, tomato paste, tomatoes, liquid smoke and water in a sauce pan.
2. Add pepper and some salt to taste.
3. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for 30 minutes.
4. Add more liquid smoke if needed.
5. For the burgers, sauté onions and garlic until translucent.
6. Mash the cooked black beans and the oats together to form a mashed paste. Make sure the paste isn’t too creamy. If you have trouble forming burger patties, add more oats.
7. Add onions and garlic to bean and-oat mixture. Then add a dash of salt and pepper.
8. Add smoky barbecue sauce.
9. Form patties by hand.
10. Spray a pan with with cooking spray.
11. Cook each patty until brown on each side.
12. Put burgers in buns and add more barbecue sauce, havarti, lettuce, jalapeno, tomatoes and avocado.

Serves 12

Nutritional Information

For one serving
Calories 443
Carbs 83 g
Saturated Fat 0.9 g
Fibre 13.2 g
Protein 20.9 g

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