Cycloffee is a challenge that will benefit both cyclists, and coffee shops. As is commonly known, cycling and coffee is a match made in heaven!
The idea is to visit as many of the coffee shops as possible, and get your Caffeine Card stamped. Rules are simple: a visit to a coffee shop only counts if you cycled there, and obviously you can only get a single stamp per café.
For the national Cycloffee challenge, as well as for the London-based there will be a total of only 36 coffee shops per Caffeine Card. Each coffee shop will have a unique stamp, which you should carefully apply in the correct square of your Caffeine Card. Each stamp will form part of a puzzle, and you’re encouraged to proudly display your Caffeine Card once you completed it.
What’s in it for me as a cyclist?
What’s in it for you? Well, great coffee, of course, plus an incentive to go cycling in places you may not have cycled before. Due to the deliberately distributed nature of the UK-wide Cycloffee challenge, this may take you many years to complete, or just a few weeks. It all depends on you and your appetite for seeing the UK. As an added bonus, you’ll get 5% discount from participating coffee shops.
There will (eventually) be a number of these challenges. The main challenge will always be the national one, but there will be more localised challenges, in some cases with all the coffee shops being in the same city.
What’s in it for me as a coffee shop?
The benefits should be very obvious to you, from the outset. For starters, you’ll get more business, as your coffee shop will become a destination, even for out-of-area cyclists. Cycling, coffee and cake go hand in hand (so much so, I even have a T-shirt showing this). Cycling is booming, and with the urgently-needed steps to reduce driving, will grow significantly in the near future.
In a competitive world, where COVID severely harmed so many businesses, you should grab every advantage you can get. Being a cyclist-friendly café is a big advantage. Remember, drivers may pop in just because they’re nearby, but cyclists are usually the only customers who will deliberately travel miles out of their way just to visit a good café.
Consider having a track pump for customers to use, and perhaps stock a few inner tubes, in popular sizes, as well as some energy gels, and perhaps some CO2 cartridges. Have decent cycle parking available (not those dreadful wheel-benders!) and ensure the parking is in a safe, visible area, not hidden away at the back, with extra kudos if the cycle parking is covered by visible CCTV.
Please note: Coffee shops who sign up agree to give a discount of at least 5%, ideally 10% on any coffee (or tea) ordered by cyclists who are participating in the game, and have their Caffeine Cards to hand. That discount is only required for the first order, and only if your coffee shop’s square on the Caffeine Card is still to be stamped. Also, coffee shops will need to purchase the unique stamp for their establishment. I will have these 3D-printed, and they will be available at cost, but you will need to cover that cost. Also, only independent coffee shops may participate and Cycloffee will deliberately exclude large chains.
What’s in it for me as the person starting this?
“So Will, what’s in it for you? Do you make money from this? There must be a catch!”
Well, no – there’s no catch, and I stand to make no money from it at all. Well, to be fair, I’d like to think participating coffee shops will at very least offer me a free coffee when I eventually get around to visiting their establishment, but they’re free to choose not to do so.
What do I get out of this then? Simple: the satisfaction of having started something good and positive. After all, not all payment can be measured in monetary terms.
What’s happening next?
Glad you asked, as I need YOUR help! Specifically, I need the names (and ideally contact details) for independent coffee shops from around the UK. To be included (other than the shop agreeing, of course) I’d expect a number of things:
1) It must be an independent shop. No really – no retail-chains, owned by conglomerates.
2) The coffee must be good! No brown-coloured, supermarket dishwater!
3) The coffee shop must be cyclist-friendly, and that includes offering decent, safe cycle parking.
4) Though not essential at all, bonus kudos for coffee shops in scenic, or unusual settings.
5) Perceived cyclist safety along routes to the coffee shop will be very important – please don’t nominate shops along lethal roads, unless there’s a safe and (hopefully) pleasant route.
Once you have supplied me with a long list of coffee shops that meet the criteria, I will filter through the list, then contact them to see which want to sign up. Once we have our 36 national coffee shops and our 36 Greater London(ish) coffee shops, I can finalise the artwork that will be used to 3D-print the unique stamps for each coffee shop. Each stamp will be a piece of a larger picture, but will also show the shop’s name or logo.
At that stage, I will make the Caffeine Cards available as a PDF download. All you need to do then is download and print yours, then cycle to each coffee shop on the list, over whatever timescale you please, using whatever route you prefer.
Are you with me? Shall we make Cycloffee happen? I hope so, as I’m reliant on your local knowledge of the UK. Just bear in mind that I will have to try and ensure the final list of 26 UK-wide coffee shops are geographically dispersed. After all, it’d make no sense if they’re all clustered together – this is meant to be a challenge that helps you see more of the UK!
The small print
I reserve copyright on the Cycloffee and Caffeine Card names.