We arrived to Madrid just in time to visit the very first cycling café in the city, La Bicicleta, which opened its doors to the public just two weeks ago. Madrid has seen a slow increase in bike ridership these last few years, and sights of cyclists peppering the heavy car traffic in the city centre are no longer as rare as they used to be. Plans to bring a bike sharing program and expand the surrounding network of bike paths accross the city got stalled with the first signs of the economic downturn. But this hasn’t deterred many enthusiastic madrileños from embracing the bike as a means of transportation. Tamara and Quique, the friendly owners of La Bicicleta Cycling Café, are among the new generation of bike-loving Spaniards, who see cycling not only as a sport or a sunny Sunday afternoon distraction, but rather as a viable solution for Madrid’s constant traffic congestion, an enjoyable lifestyle and an opportunity of building healthier and greener communities.
Their concept has been more than a year in process, with many bureaucratic delays and a great amount of work to restore the beautiful two storey space. Their street level and basement cafe, housed in a 18th century building, is located in Malasaña and had been closed down for more than 30 years before they moved in. Their hard work has resulted in a luminous, eclectic environment, where their eye for design and their love for bikes show in many details, both big and small. Their unique coffee blend, selected exclusively for La Bicicleta, and the small but well executed menu of sandwiches, salads and pastries, contribute to make coffee lovers and cyclists alike feel right at home.
The gallery in the basement floor, which is currently hosting a type and graphic exhibition based on bike parts, will also be used for cycling related workshops and events, and will provide a space for cycling activists, planners and city dwellers to meet, discuss and learn in a friendly atmosphere. Artisans, crafters and builders with a love for all things cycling will also find a space here, with small seasonal markets being scheduled regularly, and a selection of bike goodies soon to be showcased permanently.
Whether you are from the city or just visiting, check it out at Plaza de San Ildefonso, 9 in Malasaña (metro Tribunal). And, while there, don’t forget to ask for a Cima Coppi shot: a silky combination of honey rum, cream and cinnamon. We highly recommend it!