The Velominati. You may not have heard of them until now, but they are out there. They are the dedicated hard-core cyclists that we see out on the road in increasing numbers. They take their cycling seriously. Very seriously. So much so, in fact, that they have their own set of rules about the sport they love. You can tell how seriously they take these rules by reading rule #1: “Obey the rules.” They are a great read, highly entertaining even if you are not in to cycling yourself. It governs everything to do with cycling: the clothes (colour, type, how to wear them), behaviour (etiquette is very important), and even what to drink. There is even a rule about coffee – rule #56 – which states which espresso-based coffee drinks are acceptable to be worn while in cycling gear. That rule in full: “When wearing cycling kit and enjoying a pre or post ride coffee, it is only appropriate to drink espresso or macchiato. If the word soy/skim latte is heard to be used by a member wearing cycling apparel, then that person must be ceremonially beaten with Co2 canisters or mini pumps by others within the community.”
As you can see, combining coffee and bikes is a serious business, but when done well, it is a pleasing thing. And that is exactly the theme at Veloton: a charming, small coffee and bike shop in Tetbury. At Veloton, the two go together like Ol’ Blue Eyes’ proverbial horse and (non pedal-powered) conveyance.
What’s attractive about Veloton? First off, I like the themed coffee shop thing – it adds interest. Although I am no professional cyclist (no cyclist at all, in fact), I find it interesting to marvel at the latest silhouettes, features and gadgets – watching the expert repairs going on in the workshop at the back.
What’s more, the coffee is gooooood, Eddy Merckx good in fact, and the healthy snacks – particularly the flapjacks – are the ideal refuel for the keen cyclist or, why not, for a busy shopper like me. The cakes are robust and tasty and served in generous portions. Seriously – what’s not to love?
The service deserves a special mention: it’s friendly, attentive and personal. It always comes with a smile – these guys really make you feel like you are part of their club, and I have not been near a bike in at least a decade. I have to say, I did like sitting at the bar, looking out over Tetbury’s town centre and watching my fellow Cotswoldians go by.
Afterwards, you may perhaps decide to pop into the Highgrove shop for a quick marvel at their exquisite (if pricey) gardening and homeware accessories. What is more likely, though, is that you’ll feel you were much more at home with a coffee and the cog-noscenti (no apologies for the pun). In doing so, you may decide to create your own new rule: “If you think you need to leave the cafe, don’t. Once you’ve found a good coffee shop, stay there as long as you can, and then a bit longer still.”