Monday, 04 July 2022

Cycle cafe opens at marina (but you don’t need bike)

Cycle cafe opens at marina (but you don’t need bike)

A NEW branch of cycle café Velolife has opened in Wargrave — but it’s not just for cyclists.

Based at Willow Marina in Willow Lane, it is run but Lee Goodwin who says he will cater for a wider clientele that reflects the café’s riverside location.

He opened his original Velolife in Warren Row when he expanded his bicycle repair business to include a fully functioning café by taking over an empty pub.

Mr Goodwin said he couldn’t resist the opportunity to take over the former Cwtch café, adding: “It’s such a beautiful location.”

The café will cater for cyclists by having bike racks, somewhere to fill up water bottles and offering the types of energy foods that cyclists look for.

Mr Goodwin said: “Often cyclists don’t have much time, so we have streamlined how we serve people to make it as quick as possible.

“It’s about keeping both the quality and speed of service as high as possible.

“But the café will not just be for cyclists. We want to do something just a bit different as we are at a marina and on the river.”

All the bread and cakes are made by Mr Goodwin’s brother Tim, an award-winning baker in Old Basing, and delivered fresh daily.

Mr Goodwin said: “From sourdough bread and toasties to eight to 10 different sorts of cakes and a variety of pastries, we don’t freeze anything.

“We hope to have a team of up to 11 full- and part-time staff and are still recruiting and, like with Warren Row, we hope to find largely local staff.

“We are really hoping to establish ourselves as part of the community here too.”

Originally from South Africa, Mr Goodwin has spent most of his working life in the hospitality industry but decided to try something new when his first child was born.

He said: “When we had our first daughter, we decided to do something for ourselves. I started a cycle repair business. I love bicycles and enjoy riding, so it was a natural move for me and the café was just a natural extension.”

Mr Goodwin and wife Sarah now have three children, Madison, 12, Noah, nine, and Elijah, seven, and the family lives in Ascot.

The Cwtch café — named after the Welsh word for hug or cuddle — ceased trading in December, with the owners blaming the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

It had opened in 2019 and was run by Gemma Naughton, a former detective from Wales, and Lisa Anacora, who owns Val Wyatt Marine at the marina. The café is in what were once the company’s offices and then the Local Larder.

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