I don’t ride bikes very much. The last time I can recall riding a bike was during the Democratic National Convention in 2008. I was working for a newspaper at the time and was fully credentialed, my job to take in the DNC and blog it about it. And take it in I did. Day and night for a week straight. Denver was amazing that week, so bustling and alive. It felt like New York City except everyone was happy all the time and there were no wafts of overpowering funk that drift up from the hobo corpses in the subway tunnels like there are in New York, hobo-wafts of funk that drift up through the grates in the sidewalk straight into your nostrils, where they rape your olfactory senses to death.
Denver doesn’t have those.
Those press credentials got me into some pretty fancy parties and those pretty fancy parties had some pretty fancy booze and so night after night I got pretty fancy shit-faced. One such night, I partied at a bar called the Rock Bar until four in the morning. After alienating a few members of the cast of West Wing and striking out with Anne Hathaway, not once, not twice, but thrice, I decided it was high time I dragged my credentialed carcass home. Only problem was cabs were impossible that week. The whole world was in Denver and while I was shitfaced and needed to get home, the cabs seemed to think toting Kanye West and Larry King around was more important. Punk bitches. The cabbies, not Larry and Kanye. Golden gods both. So I walked. And walked. And fucking walked. Block after bleary, blottoed block, weaving and wondering when oh when would I ever be anywhere even near my house? And that’s when I spotted a bike, illuminated beneath a single street-light, as if God had put it there specifically for me. Was it someone’s bike who lived in the adjoining apartment building? Undoubtedly. Did I care at the time? Not at all. So I stole that bike. And I rode it gloriously downhill, across the city, speeding through intersections, laughing like a hyena at my good fortune. And then the next morning, when I opened my front door to face the sun that hit my hungover face like a shotgun blast, I saw it there on the porch and realized, “Oh shit. I stole a bike.”
I sheepishly took the bike to the alley, leaving it there in the hopes that the gods of stolen bicycles would find my drunken vessel a new, proper home and then I went about feeling like a pretty big son-of-a-bitch for about three weeks. That was the last time I rode a bike. Because I’m a piece of shit.
But you know who aren’t pieces of shit? Um, almost everybody in Denver. At least by non-thieving/bike-riding standards, that is. This city is bike-crazy! We have one of the largest bike sharing systems in the world and the full spectra of bicyclists imaginable are here, from pant-rolling messengers to Moab-worshipping mountain bikers. Which is why I think the Denver Bicycle Cafe is going to work. And why I’m straight-the-fuck-up endorsing it here. Kid tested, Adam Cayton-Holland approved. Like Kix, but with bikes.
“But Adam, why would you write about a bike cafe if you don’t even ride bikes? If in fact you deprive other people of the experience of riding them through your petty theft?” That’s simple. Because my good friend Jessica Caouette is one of the proprietors.
“Oh so you’re just shilling for your friend on your blog? Is that what’s going on? God, you are such a whore! Besides, this blog has a readership of, like, eight, you really think this is going to have any effect?”
Jury’s out on that question, dickhead reader. But I in no way feel like a whore because I went to Jessica’s bar for a soft opening this weekend, took in ye olde Denver Bicycle Cafe first hand, and I can say with no hesitation that I love the place. The overall vibe was quite pleasant and in mere minutes I realized it’s the type of place I can see myself plopping down with my laptop during the day and fulfilling the coffee shop cliche that I have become. I loves me a good coffee shop and Denver Bicycle Cafe is no exception. And I love how Denver the place is. For starters there’s the name but they offer a bountiful cornucopia of some of my city’s best treats. They’ve got coffee from Pablo’s Coffee (a.k.a the shit), bagels from Moe’s Bagels (a.k.a the jam), baked goods from Watercourse (a.k.a. smoke cloves) and tamales from La Casita (a.k.a. chido, guey!). And their beer is from the new-to-the-scene Denver Beer Company, which brews it’s own beer and is offering it up to the Denver Bicycle Cafe as the only other place in town where you can get it. Some love from one Denver-based proprietor to another! Jessica told me that they worked really hard trying to find a staff that’s not only knowledgeable about the coffee and the beer, but that fit into the experience that Jess and her partner Peter Roper (good guy, bowled with him a few times, he can curve the shit out of the ball) are going for.
And even if you’re not a super bike-nut, like myself, the place doesn’t feel over-poweringly bikey. There is a little work space in the corner where people can get their bikes tuned but it’s not dominating. All in all the Denver Bicycle Cafe just feels like a nice new addition to the Denver scene to grab some coffee and read. Or stool up at the bar and have a few beers. And then a few more. Because you have a problem.
So check it out if you get the chance (6 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday, 6 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursday-Saturday). Odds are you’ll see me there, drinking a beer from the Denver Beer Company. For free. Or at the very least at a discount.
“Why?” the confused barista/bartender will ask me.
“Haha, you must be new,” I’ll say. “Talk to my friend Jess.”