Cafe + Velo peddles one stop shop to cyclists

Photo by Monica Jamison

In Atlanta’s saturated market of coffee shops, finding a niche is key to a newcomer’s survival. By adding a focus on bicycles to the typical craft coffee, Benjamin Boisson and Jeff Demetriou’s Cafe + Velo has differentiated itself from other third wave coffee shops.

Despite its location on Edgewood Avenue in the Sweet Auburn neighborhood downtown, Cafe + Velo, with its spacious two stories of patio space, feels removed from the bustle of the city.

The crisp, minimalist interior draws attention to the two-wheel theme with a gallery wall of black and white portraits of cyclists, artists and activists; bikes hanging above the windows; and projected videos of cycling.

With a straightforward coffee menu, the helpful staff does the Octane beans justice. The French inspired kitchen offers breakfast and lunch “crandwiches” — croissant-based sandwiches — in addition to the usual pastries. For customers with dietary preferences or allergies, gluten-free food and almond milk are available.

The bicycle theme goes beyond décor: the coffee shop aims to be a hub for the cycling community. Over a dozen bikes can fit on the bike rack outside, or cyclists can keep their bikes beside them on the patio.

A vending machine offers spare parts and energy bars. For those without their own wheels, Cafe + Velo rents bikes for $35 per day or $200 per week.

Cyclists can easily pick up the southern end of the Beltline nearby on Irwin Street. Alternatively, Cafe + Velo is along the Atlanta Streetcar route, easily accessible via the stop a block away on
Hilliard Street.

For MARTA riders, the King Memorial station is closest. Despite the encouragement of biking, car parking is also available.

Unlike some other specialty coffee shops, Cafe + Velo is an ideal place to study. With reasonably quiet music and an unpretentious atmosphere, focusing is easy in the well-lit interior. Unfortunately, the hours do not accommodate late night studying.

While there could be more power outlets, this is not a large problem, considering that the café is not usually overcrowded. For a break from working, check out the bocce court outside.

Due to its unique appeal to cyclists and solid drink offerings in a beautiful space, Cafe + Velo seems destined to stay in the race. Open since late September, the young shop intends to add events like yoga, movies and group rides to its offerings.