I’ve become a bit keen on cycling recently and one of the benefits of it is that cycling seems to be linked to coffee and cake. So I figured it was time to combine my two best hobbies, and create a list of cycle/cyclist friendly cafes/restaurants in Birmingham, Solihull and beyond.
Cycle cafes – we’re lucky to have a few of these in the area
GORILLA COFFEE CAFE, KINGS HEATH
1 Drayton Road, Kings Heath B14 7LP
This place makes me happy. It’s the sort of local cafe that I like: everyone is friendly, they sell local produce, the cake and coffee are good. But it’s also dedicated to cycling with an Eddy Merckx quote on the wall, a bike that I had a good chat about its storage solution, and a bike workshop. There is also a kids play area which ordinarily I’d be a bit worried about the noise, but dinosaurs and my little pony were coexisting when I walked past and therefore it’s absolutely fine.
CRANKED CYCLE CAFE, DIGBETH
The Custard Factory, Gibb Street, Digbeth, Birmingham B9 4AA
I’ve only been here once before and that was actually before I started cycling, but I was sufficiently versed in bike talk (thanks mum) that I managed to have an interesting conversation with someone about cycling in France. I also tried out their coffee and cake, because all good cycle cafes should have great coffee and cafe…these guys do.
DYNAMIC RIDES, SOLIHULL
2364 Stratford Road, Hockley Heath, Solihull B94 6QT
Turns out I’ve cycled past this place but not actually been in. But it apparently has a cafe, so it’s on the list.
3CJ CYCLE CENTRE, LONGBRIDGE
89-91 Longbridge Lane, Longbridge, Birmingham B31 2UT
Another one of the ones I’ve cycled passed but not been in. It sells bikes, it has a bike workshop, but more importantly it has a cafe. I’ll be in to visit soon and report back.
Other good places in Birmingham and beyond to cycle to and eat stuff
MAC AT CANNON HILL PARK, EDGBASTON
Cannon Hill Park, Queen’s Ride, Birmingham B12 9QH
The Rea Valley Cycle Route weaves through Cannon Hill Park, so it would probably be a nice idea to stop at the mac, have a coffee and a snack, use the facilities and look at some of the exhibitions on display, pick up some stuff from the regular markets, or maybe even take in a show or film screening. The mac is ace.
7 Commercial St, Birmingham B1 1RS
This isn’t one of your typical cycle-friendly places, I’ll grant you, but it’s the place I re-learnt to cycle to. If you’re in south Birmingham then the Worcester & Birmingham Canal towpath is a lovely route into town from Stirchley/Cotteridge, Selly Oak and the University, and takes you right to the Mailbox. Naughtily I chain my bike up to the frame (security are yet to tell me off) and stop for a coffee or lunch.
My top recommendation would be Gas Street Social for their outdoor space, where you can keep an eye on your bike, not feel too self-conscious about your attire, and they have a downstairs loo if you’re struggling to get up the stairs.
THE WINDMILL CAFÉ AT WASELEY HILLS
Waseley Hills Country Park, Rubery B45 9AT
National Cycle Route 5 up to Waseley Hills Country Park was the first of my non-town cycles, when my mother conveniently ‘forgot’ about a big bloody hill up Tessall Lane. Don’t let that put you off though, it makes for great fun cycling down it on the way home. The Windmill Café at Waseley Hills Country Park is exactly the kind of well-run café you want to find in a park: lovely staff and an array of comfort food, from Sunday lunch through to ice creams and all day breakfasts. Personally I’m partial to a fish finger sandwich, a bottle of something cold from the fridge and then a walk up the hills for a moment of peace, overlooking Brum. Bring cash though, there’s no card facilities.
CANEAT CAFÉ, STIRCHLEY
1397 Pershore Rd, Birmingham B30 2JR
Not far from both National Cycle Route 5 and the Worcester & Birmingham Canal towpath, the food is delicious and they let me leave my bike in the back whilst I scoffed down some of those delicious eggs on toast. It’s also near the Birmingham Bike Foundry and Venture Bikes, if you need to get your bike fixed (which I do, often).
HENLEY ICE CREAM, HENLEY-IN-ARDEN
52 High St, Henley-in-Arden B95 5BS
I’ve not actually cycled here but my mum has many times; for a woman who usually shuns dessert and ‘helps’ me eat mine, to mention stopping for ice cream means it’s probably worth a go.
MANOR HOUSE TEAM ROOMS, EARLSWOOD
Earlswood Lakes Craft Centre Wood Lane, Solihull, B94 5JH
It always surprises me how serene Earlswood Lakes are, considering how close they are to the city, but this is a nice gentle cycle and whilst the craft centre probably won’t occupy a whole day of exploring, the cafe is a great spot off point.
Some other suggestions…
- Yew Tree Cafe, Pettiford Lane, Wootton Wawen, B95 6BY
- The Jinney Ring Craft Centre, Hanbury, Worcestershire B60 4BU
- Under Pressure Espresso in Sutton Coldfield
- Bake 180 Coffee at Middleton Hall
- Packington Moor Farm
- The Dog @ Whittington
- The Warehouse Cafe, Digbeth – next door to Sprockets bike shop, and has bike stand and a bike pump outside
- Priory Cafe, Stoke Prior – http://www.thepriorycafe.co.uk/
- Cafe Ort, Balsall Heath – fifteen cycle stands outside and a pump. And very cheap tea, and usually some good cakes about