The Commute Independent Coffee And Bike Shop

Independent Coffee And Bike Shop The Commute

The world of cyclists and cycling, is a funny old microcosm of society, representing all that is good, and an equal amount of that which is bad about the world at large. At PARIA we aim to work with like minded individuals and groups to diffuse the elitism and cliquey nature of the two wheeled environment. No where is this more evident than the Commute, an Independent coffee shop and cycling hub located in IlkleyThe Commute opened in June 2016 and strives to deliver the best speciality coffee in Yorkshire working with some of the best up and coming independent local providers helping to fill the menu.

The independent coffee house stands out in Ilkley against the more traditional Betty’s style cafes which are are prevalent, and indeed against the more traditional style bike shops which are institutions on the local map. The aesthetics of the shop fit, with OSB board and reclaimed benches, nodding at the more urban and industrial style of Ilkley’s nearest and dearest neighbour Leeds, really set it apart as somewhere for the more forward thinking consumers to hang out. This is where we came in; with our range of cycling kit sitting firmly in the “not for the ordinary” category, the partnership between the two cycling businesses seemed natural from the start.

As with all young brands and businesses, there is a strong personal touch and face to the Commute. Gav is an affable guy who firmly embodies the friendly and welcoming environment of the coffee house. Together with his pet dog Syd and pet cycling mechanic, Hopey, there is a real community feel as well as a can do attitude to all your bike related quandaries. You don’t get the icey aloofness we have all experienced when you enter some velo based businesses.

Given this personal touch, we thought it would be great to have a chat with Gav, and understand the drivers behind setting up a cycling based business, as well as the pressures, highs and lows. So read on….

What made you want to set up a cycling cafe?

I was always wanting to ride my bike, looking for cool spots to hang out at, but in actual fact day to day reality for me was driving from meeting to meeting, in a hot stuffy car. At the end of the day I was often too tired to actually enjoy my cycling. After lots of research, second guessing, questions and quandaries I kept coming back to this one idea of The Commute; so I decided to go for it. I wanted to be part of something and help people feel more comfortable and happy to get into cycling and to have spot to start from. Key for me was the atmosphere, and it had to be friendly with no one judging you for being inexperienced. No elitism, no velominiati style set of rules, just down to earth good old fashioned cycling hospitality. This is where the interest in Paria came in. It felt, and feels like now more than ever that there is room for unique brands like Paria; a a new attitude to cycling and your standard boring bike shop. I wanted to create an experience where your eyes are taken round cool products from local brands, while enjoying great coffee and relaxing in this growing cycling culture in Yorkshire.


What’s been the biggest learning?

Setting up The Commute has certainly been a journey with huge learning curves. I’ve loved every moment and every challenge that we have faced. Cyclists get us straight away, and understand what we are doing, and the cycling culture we are tapping into.  A real learning has been to engage with the non-cyclist; looking to that element of the community who doesn’t necessarily ride or follow cycling but likes what we have to offer; attracting those customers who struggles to put us in a box of bike shop or café! Its been trying to reach them on a level that makes them feel easy about the fact we do both very well, and its cool for them to just hang out and enjoy something different.


What do you feel sets you apart from the other cafes and bike shops?

I like to think we do a lot differently; I always hated going into a bike shop and feeling the atmosphere in there. There is an elitist element to cycling which we totally resist. You can come into The Commute and always get a warm welcome, whether you ride for fun and photos, or you ride to race, we are all riding our bikes and all deserve the same respect.

We offer unique brands that you won’t find in your average bike shop, a maintenance serve that is well priced and offers honest advice without pushing products or parts you don’t need. Our events space works well for all kind of exciting things including our very own maintenance courses.

It’s so hard to find good coffee that people care about. There is so much bad or standard coffee out there we wanted to create a simple café menu that works well and our coffee set up with Origin Coffee roasters means we can passionately produce epic coffee, along with the bikes, accessories and maintenance coupled with a great atmosphere! Id say we do a lot differently in an awesome way


What do you love about cyclists?

We Cyclists are a funny but lovable bunch, don’t get in a cyclist way when he has a bonk going on! They need coffee, cake and anything else they want and want it fast!

We love the loyalty and the bond from cyclist to cyclist that we see. Two guys can meet in the shop riding alone and after a brew and a chat over the race showing on the big screen they go off two a breast with a new riding buddy. Love it!


What do you hate about them?

As I say cyclists are a funny bunch, we can get competitive and love nothing else than to beast their buddy on strava, its all about strava, or Garmin or Wahoo or the latest heart rate monitor or power meter! Riding is riding and can be forgotten, when we get caught up in that elitist obsessed world it gets a little hard to communicate anymore. When all I said and done, its just a ride. ‘’Be nice and say hi’’ (Paria!)


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