The Handle Bar is a new pop-up cycling-orientated coffee shop in Cape Town. Since its launch, our rides have shifted start and end venues to include a stop at the Handle Bar. The vibe is cycling, the coffee is superb and the owners are passionate about the place. What more could you want?
We sat down and had a chat with Jason Lind and Nick Wright, the founders of the Handle Bar in Sea Point Main Road, Cape Town.
Jason’s first memories are of a bicycle shop. His family founded Olympic Cycles; and this is where he was handed a broom at about the age of ten, to keep me busy while hanging around the shop while everybody was trying to work. Nowadays, Jason can still be found at the shop, not sweeping the floor but providing people with vehicles to fuel their passion. The Don of DS29 (Dual-sus 29ers) is a long way from being done with cycling.
“The evolution of the bike shop as we know them today was happening around me as I was growing up with one as part of my everyday life. Cycling became my life & I am privileged to have had this upbringing.
Cycling as a commuter and a mode of transport has always been a part of my life. I know the way that the freedom of movement empowered me through my life, years before I could drive a vehicle. I always want to promote the bicycle as a means of freedom and empowerment through not being constrained by public transport of private transport. I look to Europe and see how integrated cycling is in some countries and ways of life and strive to help people understand the benefits of this integration.
For many years I have discussed with several people the potential of a café bicycle space, that lets people express this desire for bicycles to be part of their lives in a public space, that lets cyclists and non cyclists experience this first hand.
I am a big supporter of BEN – Bicycle Empowerment Network, whose main goals are bicycle advocacy and poverty alleviation via the promotion of bicycles as a low cost mobility and as an affordable means of transportation. My belief in this stems from having been given the pleasure of cycling freedom from a young age. Being born into a family of bicycles and a bicycle store, Olympic Cycles, bicycles have always been a part of all my life”.
Jason’s passion for the noble machine is infectious and he has been a key part in our Privateer events, opening the shop early, serving espresso’s to athletes weary with expectancy of a big day out all the way through to asking us to leave as we did our utmost best to drink two kegs of Jack Black Beer between 15 of us. We had just started riding his new bicycles around the shop, and an accident was not a possibility, but merely a moment waiting to strike!
If Jason is the hammer, Nick would be the sword. As day-to-day do-all-owner in the shop, Nick is responsible for how the Handle Bar looks & feels. Constantly obsessing over the order of bikes, the manner in which food is served and the consistency of the quality of the coffee, Nick is the motor which steers the boat.
“Coming from a background in interior design, I like to combine different elements to create new and innovative spaces. As a designer it’s not always easy to reinvent the wheel and in this case why try when there are already two great loves out there… Riding bicycles and drinking coffee.
My background in these two loves is new but it’s something I’m incredible passionate about. Creating a space for people to meet, drink coffee and lap up some good velotalk is what it’s all about for me.
We live in a beautiful city with incredibly scenic coastal roads and being located on Sea Point Main Road it all lends itself to a commuting friendly environment. Ride more, Drive less!”
There is no cyclist like a new “addict” to the freedom of riding bicycles. Nick has thrown himself head first down the rabbit hole and come out with a space that we can all enjoy, despite arriving in cleats and being a little smelly. Always a smile on the dial, he is a welcome new face to the cycling community of Cape Town.
So what do they stock in the shop, besides The Perfect Cortado?
Both the gents in question would describe them as “Euro style commuter bikes”. This is their specialty. In addition to this, you will also find lifestyle products like commuter helmets, clothing, accessories and magazines on their shelves.
Cape Town is commuter heaven in South Africa. There is nowhere else to ride in such beauty with such safety. The Handle Bar also has the “San Fran/Venice Beach” style bikes such as the beach cruisers and fixies for sale. In general they believe South Africa follows a very American bicycle culture, yet a lot of our other ways of life are very Euro-centric, sot their aim is to bring some long-overdue Euro styling to the cycling community in South Africa.
A last word from the guys:
“We are well on our way to achieving the goal of the Handle Bar, timing is right and we have had positive feedback from riders and the coffee consuming public. What we want to see is our bikes on the streets and people with smiles riding them.”
Privateer loves the Handle Bar, full stop. Pop in if you are in the area for something to eat, drink and have a gaze at the amazing bikes and accessories in the shop.
Written By: Raoul de Jongh (PRIVATEER)