Business

Cycling and caffeine make for a good combo at new cafe

Andrew Francis works on a bike while his wife, Kim Strang, looks on at their new business Cafe Velo in downtown Bellingham on Thursday. Cafe Velo serves espresso, food, beer and bike repairs.
Andrew Francis works on a bike while his wife, Kim Strang, looks on at their new business Cafe Velo in downtown Bellingham on Thursday. Cafe Velo serves espresso, food, beer and bike repairs. pdwyer@bhamherald.com

Getting a bike repaired can be a drag when you just want to ride, but at least now you can enjoy a cup of coffee or a beer while you wait for it to be fixed.

Andrew Francis and Kim Strang opened Cafe Velo full-time earlier this month near the corner of Prospect and Flora streets, near the Whatcom Museum. On one side of the 1,000-square-foot cafe, you can order coffee, tea, beer, wine and sandwiches, while on the other side you can sit and relax while Francis repairs bicycles.

Francis and Strang met in Seattle, bonding over the idea of opening a cafe/bike repair place. Seattle already had a couple of similar concepts, but while visiting friends in Bellingham they thought it might work in the area. Francis was already familiar with Bellingham, having attended Western Washington University and working at a variety of downtown restaurants, including Casa Que Pasa and the Horseshoe Cafe.

While there is a bicycle theme to the cafe, it’s also a place for non-cyclists to hang out as well as a place workers downtown can get good food and drinks to go, Strang said. They also want the business to be a place for the family cyclists and those who use bikes to commute to work. They are working with Smart Trips to resurrect the Summer Rides series, which include short family-friendly trips as well as for new cyclists. They also plan to show cycling races, including the Tour de France, and movies.

On the cafe side the espresso comes from Ristretto Roasters out of Portland, Ore. The menu includes cold sandwiches and platters, with both vegan and gluten-free options.

Francis said he’s impressed with how other business owners, even potential competitors, have reacted to a new business opening.

“People have been so encouraging,” Francis said, adding that the community in general seems very supportive about having a new business.

Cafe Velo is open every day in the morning into the evening. For details and updates, visit the cafe’s Facebook page or website.

OTHER TIDBITS

The Bureau of Historical Investigation gift shop at 217 W. Holly St. had its last day of business on Dec. 31. The Good Time Girls tours are expected to keep going, however; on its website is a schedule to have walking tours from April through August. ... The Market, a convenience store at Bakerview Square, has closed, as well as the clothing store PacSun at Bellis Fair. A sign at the former PacSun space indicates another Bellis Fair tenant, Blooming, will move into that spot near the Food Court. ... A Bellingham building permit application was submitted to put Best Buds Gaming Lounge at 1121 McKenzie Ave. ... Chuckanut Brewery is offering tours of its Bellingham and Burlington breweries from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 25. The tours will focus on the brewing process. For details and updates, visit chuckanutbreweryandkitchen.com.

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