Cycling has seen an astronomical increase during the Covid-19 lockdown. Bike shops are reporting a 500% increase in sales compared to this time last year and 68% of people who have taken up cycling during lockdown intend to keep it up as life gets back to normal.
Now, not all of those new cyclists will be MAMILS (middle-aged-men-in-Lycra) but it does mean that there’ll be an increase in cyclists looking for a nice café to stop in to refuel and take a breather.
Naturally, you want your café to be the go-to coffee stop for road cyclists on their Saturday or Sunday club spin. And you also want to appeal to leisure cyclists and families on bikes too.
But how do you cater for those customers and keep them coming back for more?
Here are 5 easy, low-cost ways to make your business more bike-friendly:
1. Install a bike rack
First things first. There are three main types of bike racks. The most common are tyre-locks or Sheffield-style stands which are perfect for people who aren’t too fussed about their bikes. For the purist who’s spent a grand or two on their bike, you’ll need hanging bike racks where the bike hangs from the saddle and is at less risk of damage. Passionate cyclists will love you for it. You can even build your own – we like the look of this one though we recommend putting dividers between each bike to prevent scratching.
Most of all, make sure the bike stands are in a safe place and visible from the café. We’ve all heard horror stories of bikes being stolen from outside a coffee shop and nobody wants that.
2. Be accommodating
As you know, warm and friendly service is the key to success for any service business (though delicious coffee does play a part!) and having a reputation of being friendly and accommodating to cyclists will go a long way towards winning you loyal customers.
3. Have bike repair supplies to hand
You don’t need a full mechanic’s kit behind the counter – a bike track pump, some tyre tubes, a puncture kit and First Aid supplies (which you’ll have already) are all you need and will make you very popular among cyclists. Imagine a cyclist has a puncture and needs to do a quick fix. Unluckily for them, it’s Sunday so the local bike shop is closed. But if that unfortunate cyclist can buy a new tube from you, they’ll be able to get home without sending the dreaded mayday message to their nearest and dearest!
And make sure people know you have those supplies: a sign at the bike rack and at the counter will do the job. Which brings us to our next point…
4. Shout it from the rooftops!
Want cyclists to know you’re bike-friendly? Tell them!
Pop a sign on the door saying you’re a cycling-friendly café and watch the cyclists flock to you. Make sure to share it on your social media too and word will spread.
5. Good coffee and great banoffee
Cyclists are coffee fiends (honestly, who isn’t?) and will search high and low for the best cup around. There’s nothing like a nice coffee and a cake after a long spin so make sure yours is the best it can be. Think about doing free coffee for cyclists, it’ll cost you next to nothing and they’ll buy a scone or soup & sandwich combo to go with it.
Worried about identifying the cyclists from the crowd? Don’t be – they’re the sweaty ones with helmet hair.
Photo: Coffee & The Bike by by Sandro Roth
Disclaimer: This article contains product links. Let’s Cycle Ireland is not affiliated with these products or providers and does not receive any share of sales or other compensation from these links. Products are in stock at the time of writing. Let’s Cycle Ireland does not accept any responsibility for any links, products or providers mentioned in this article.