Cycling stop off venue advise

kasilof

New Member
Hi Folks.

I hope you might be able to help me. I have a friend who runs a local pub and we wanted to try to make the venue cyclist friendly. I won't mention the name or location as I am sure this would in breech of the forum rules. Briefly though, it is in a good location 18 miles from two large communities on the main road link between. There is good outdoor space and car parks etc.

The reason for the thread is to ask your advice as cyclists as to what facilities you feel would be of benefit to visiting riders. I know that basic security facilities and cycle parking area is a must, but you guys would know more about the other things you would like at a stop off venue. What type of menu? other facilities such as tools being available etc..

Any ideas would be much appreciated.
 
Menu: Good hearty and carbohydrate rich stuff. Generally cyclists are not particulary fussy with food, so good quality basic fare will do. Think pies, chillies, lasagna, home-made burgers, fish and chips. Also have some lighter stuff such as hearty soups and sandwiches as not everyone can face a big meal. NO CELERY! Good quality cakes is a must. Sponges, fruit cakes, fruit loaf, chocolate cake and moist flapjacks are all favourites. Avoid dry cakes and deserts - difficult to digest when your mouth is dry.

What would be special? If you have a good outside space, get cycle parking in good view of this, and preferably actually in the outside space. Firstly, its safer, and secondly, what do you think a bunch of people who share an interest in cycling are going to talk about?

For wet days, how about a cyclists room, or a snug which can be semi-permanently allocated to outdoor visitors. You'd need more damp-tolerant furniture (although padding would be nice), and an extra touch could be shelves for shoes. Proper road cycling shoes are difficult to walk in, so somewhere to put them whilst you are in the pub would be a help. Left field idea would be to provide hotel-like flip-flop slippers so that you could walk around the pub, but I wouldn't bother - just stroll around in stockinged feet.

Next - outside taps. I guess you would need the push/release types to avoid them being left on, but it helps cyclists fill up their bidons, and stops the hassle of your staff having to do this for them. Get a couple so that two can fill and chat at the same time.

Lastly, how about a copy of a few cycle magazines for browsing? Cycling Plus, Cycling Active and Cycling Weekly are probably the biggest titles for the road cyclists.
 

zizou

Veteran
Location is a key thing too.

Basically is it situated on part of a regular route / loop that cyclists will take? The main road link between two communities might not be the preferred route that cyclists take if the road is busy and their are quieter alternatives so it might be difficult to attract custom even with excellent cake!
 
OP
K

kasilof

New Member
Already some great ideas none of which seem to either something the pub doesn't already have or are necessarily difficult to add. I think its the simple touches, like the tap idea, cycle park in view etc that makes all the difference. That's the great thing about asking folks like yourselves for ideas because you know better than anyone.

I don't at this point want to mention the name of the venue until it is decided the idea will actually go ahead. It seems to be a great opportunity that's is being missed. I will keep you informed of progress but please keep the ideas coming in.
Do you think some kind of energy bars or drinks to take away would be worth while?

Regards Kas
 
My first thought is that a touring cyclist stopping off in a pub would prefer honest food to "over-manufactured and marketed rubbish"; however I can't imagine that giving it a go would harm the reputation, and you could improve/remove as the market advises.
 

srw

It's a bit more complicated than that...
The point zizou makes is an excellent one. You can offer the best parking, food and outside taps in the world, but if the only access is via a busy dual carriageway no-one's going to come.

The first thing I'd suggest would be a survey of the road outside. How many cyclists actually pass? How fast is the traffic going? Is it mainly cars, or are there a fair few lorries? Is road maintenance OK?

If you've got the holy grail of a ready-made clientele, or a quiet road onto which riders could be attracted you might be onto a winner.
 

DCLane

Found in the Yorkshire hills ...
Energy bars/drinks may be worthwhile for a few riders - the food/cake is probably more important though.

I'd echo the floor pump idea. Very useful.

Also, if you've got an outside room - a couple of blankets for cold days would also be sensible. That way, you can encourage winter riders.
 
In terms of marketing, I guess there is nothing better than a recommendation from CTC (not too sure how to go about this, but most cafés I end up stopping at have a CTC sticker in their window), and local cycling clubs or groups. Don't worry too much about immediate location - passing trade isn't going to get enough people through the door - recommendations are going to get people to make a detour specifically for good food and a good welcome. Invite representatives from groups/clubs in to comment, and hope they like it.

Then you get into post-opening work. All the staff must understand the importance of making cyclists feel welcome. They may well arrive tired, hungry and a little snappy and come across as rather self-important and awkward, but fed and watered well and quickly, and they will leave greatful and with a smile on their faces. ALWAYS ask them where they have come from and where they are going, and remember that winds are bad, rain isn't always a problem, and hills are tough but rewarding.
 
OP
K

kasilof

New Member
The main link road is an A road single carriage way situated between Stoke on Trent and Shrewsbury. The pub is actually off that main road about 1/4 mile on a good link road to the town of Market Drayton and the road outside has good viability and is a 30mph section. The location is good I think because not only is it situated close to the east west route of Shrewsbury to Stoke but also only a mile or so away from the north south route of Wolverhampton to Whitchurch/Chester. Both these routes get regular cycling traffic and there are many options for alternative country lane routes also. I think geographically it is a pretty good location.

The truth of the matter is that the public house industry has suffered in recent years through cheap beer at supermarkets etc.. Its a case of trying that little bit harder to attract new business and give value for money in return. The pub does great food and is already a real ale venue. The menu is totally home made also so sits really nicely with the comments above. I genuinely feel there is mileage in this idea. Thank you so much for your comments so far, please keep them coming as it is fantastic feedback.

regards Kas
 

gavintc

Guru
Location
Southsea
There is a cafe on the outskirts of Edinburgh that offers locks and a place to secure the bikes - very useful and in my opinion makes the difference with regard to choosing to stop there.
 

compo

Veteran
Location
Harlow
I don't know about licensing laws but most club runs that stop for a break and refreshments take place on Sunday mornings. While there are passing riders at other times once you get known as a good cycle friendly place the club runs are who to attract. Flyers to the various clubs (check online) and local bike shops may help.
 

deptfordmarmoset

Full time tea drinker
Location
Armonmy Way
Personally, I'd find it a real pleasure to be able to go out unencumbered by a lock. If it were possible to leave bikes in the same space as the drinking and eating - hell, there are even clean bike shops that let bikes in - then maybe there wouldn't need to be any locks provided because the space would be customer monitored. And for those out-of-view moments, ''would you keep an eye on my bike while I'm in the toilets?'' should be easy to ask.
 

summerdays

Cycling in the sun
Location
Bristol
Good lighting by the bikes - for both security and also to enable the cyclists to unlock their bikes - and as others have said in a position where the bikes are in view.

If there is a garden then the ability to take the bike into the garden with you - with some walls or other things to prop them up against.
 
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