Munich: Bicycle cafés are trendy – Munich

In other countries they have been around for a long time: bicycle shops that are also cafés. Especially in Italy, the cycling and coffee nation par excellence, the two traditionally belong together. But also in Austin, Texas, for example, the former racing cyclist Lance Armstrong runs a bike shop called “Mellow Johnny’s” with associated restaurants. In Nice, the operators of the fashion label “Café du Cycliste” also serve coffee. This combination of bike shop and café is now also available in Munich. The SZ visited three of them.

“Monaco Velo Club”: A double under Jan Ullrich’s racing bike

Jan Ullrich once pedaled on this racing bike, now it hangs in “bike dress”.

(Photo: Robert Haas)

Heiko Wild describes himself as a cycling fanatic. In fact, it takes a certain passion for a non-professional to pedal up the Stelvio Pass in northern Italy three times in one day and thus cover almost 4300 meters in altitude. But Wild is by no means the only one: After he launched a challenge called “Gran Stelvio”, a whole range of other cycling enthusiasts have already taken part.

Wild rides up to 10,000 kilometers a year on his racing bike. Mountains, even challenging ones, are often part of tours. He used to run a bike clothing shop in Erlangen, but in 2011 he moved to Munich with his “Bikedress” shop.

At first there were only the outfits, later high-quality bikes, such as those from Pinarello, were added. Finally, in 2016, Wild opened Munich’s first bicycle café “Monaco Velo Club” right next to his shop at Ohlmüllerstraße 7. It is the meeting place for a community of enthusiastic cyclists who regularly go on excursions.

The community is not a club in the sense of a registered association. Anyone who buys equipment from the label for cycling clothing he founded, “Monaco Velo Club” at Wild, becomes a member. Anyone who then turns up in the café in the outfit gets an Illy espresso for free. Which brings us to coffee: For game, cycling and coffee simply belong together, be it because of the caffeine kick before a tour, be it simply because of the sociability – after a strenuous ride you can also refresh yourself with a wheat beer on Ohlmüllerstraße. Incidentally, the café is not only open to cyclists, but to anyone who wants to have a drink here – although the bicycle community is the main clientele.

Cycling dominates – of course – the otherwise classic appearance of a coffee bar. A bike hangs in the shop window above the ice cream display case (Ballabeni ice cream is available here in summer, as well as cakes and focacce), in the rear area hangs a racing bike, with which the later fallen cycling hero Jan Ullrich competed in the 1998 Tour de France which he finished second. He is friends with Ullrich, says Wild. In the shop he has an original yellow jersey from the racing driver from 1997 on display, and Ullrich himself was even present at the opening ceremony of the café.

New trend: A yellow jersey by Jan Ullrich from 1997.

A yellow jersey worn by Jan Ullrich in 1997.

(Photo: Robert Haas)

The espresso machine is a Faema E61 from 1968 – the year Belgian Eddy Merckx won the Giro d’Italia with Team Faema. One notices immediately that cycling history plays a role alongside high-tech equipment on Ohlmüllerstrasse.

Tours of the “Monaco Velo Club” usually start and end here. This summer we will be on tour again, also uphill again – exertion or not. “With every pass I drive, I think to myself, what am I doing for a shit,” says Wild. “But when I’m up there, it’s epic.”

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“Bici Bavarese”: Radl, Radler and Leberkäse

New trend: Talking shop while drinking coffee: Florian Merhart von Bernegg (blue cap) with a customer.

Talking shop while drinking coffee: Florian Merhart von Bernegg (blue cap) with a customer.

(Photo: Robert Haas)

At some point, Maximilian Reiß and Florian Merhart von Bernegg thought they could turn a time-consuming hobby into a real job. Both have been friends for a long time, both have worked in the film industry. But they really had fun cycling – and tinkering with old racing bikes.

It all started with tours through Tuscany, from which they brought back parts from Campagnolo, a traditional manufacturer of high-quality bicycle components. They then used them to assemble vintage racing bikes at home, which they resold to enthusiasts. They got the parts from a wide variety of sources, for example from older people who didn’t want to just throw the once expensive bike into the scrap heap. Because many sellers had no idea how much their old bike was still worth, many a bargain for the hobbyists would have been urgent, “but we always want to pay a fair price,” says Merhart von Bernegg.

Five years ago they opened their own shop “Bici Bavarese” in Haidhausen. Two years ago, they moved to Türkenstrasse 26 in Maxvorstadt, to a building that used to be an oven and electronics store. And because the two company founders also wanted to do something with gastronomy and wanted to create a meeting place for cyclists, the “Bici Bavarese” became a real café, which, in addition to good coffee from the Herrmannsdorf organic roastery Merchant and Friends (prepared with a La Marzocco) also offers meat loaf rolls – self-confidently dubbed “probably one of the best meat loaf rolls in the region”. It consists of Herrmannsdorfer organic liver cheese, a roll from Julius Brantner, is served with a combination of a sweet mustard sauce, horseradish and gherkin – and it actually tastes exceptionally delicious. If you prefer a beer instead of a cappuccino, you can also get that on Türkenstraße.

New trend: This "Bici Bavarese" at Türkenstrasse 26.

The “Bici Bavarese” at Türkenstrasse 26.

(Photo: Robert Haas)

The shop is spacious, there are a few tables and chairs in a small area next to all sorts of bicycle paraphernalia, through the large shop window the guests have a nice view of the colorful facade of the Brandhorst Museum – but unfortunately also of the Türkenstrasse, which is not particularly bicycle-friendly. The two entrepreneurs hope that something will change here at some point. “Only then will this be a really nice meeting point,” says Merhart von Bernegg.

The “Bici Bavarese” also has its own jersey label and meanwhile also its own bike model, which bears the name “Servus Corsa” and is made to measure in northern Italy. Otherwise, in addition to modern bikes, for example from the premium brand Stelbel, there are also a lot of vintage bikes assembled in the company’s own workshop. Reiß and Merhart von Bernegg have collected a whole range of treasures here, including those from local racing bike builders such as Anton Redl, Edi Strobl and Sigi Renz.

New trend: At "Giro Bavarese" at the Tegernsee only those who ride on an old bike are allowed to participate.

At the “Giro Bavarese” at Tegernsee only those who ride on an old bike are allowed to participate.

(Photo: private)

Anyone who wants to take part in the “Giro Bavarese” organized by the Bici-Bavarese team in June also needs an old bike, a trip on Lake Tegernsee, to which only bikes are admitted “that still have a D-Mark, Schilling, Lire or francs were paid,” says Reiss.

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“3 Mills Cycling & Coffee”: First espresso – then off to the surrounding area

New trend: Jens Hoffmann

Jens Hoffman

(Photo: Robert Haas)

Jens Hoffmann has traveled a lot in the world. He was a sports journalist, worked for a long time as an author, cameraman and director and shot documentaries about Brazilian football talents (“Mata Mata – Game of Life”) or the US porn industry (“9to5 – Days in Porn”). But at some point he wanted something else. And because he is a passionate racing cyclist and coffee lover at the same time, he also took up the idea of ​​opening a bike shop where you can get good coffee.

After an extensive search for a suitable location, he found what he was looking for at Dreimühlenstraße 40. For Hoffmann, the proximity to the Isar offered the perfect location for excursions into the surrounding area, “one of the most beautiful cycling areas in Europe”, as he says. Actually, Hoffmann does not want to speak of a “shop” with an attached workshop. Rather, the “3 Mills Cycling & Coffee” is intended to be a “cycling hub”, a meeting place where cyclists can exchange ideas or dope with an espresso and a small snack before a tour.

The shop, which used to be a tavern, apartment, furniture store and fitness studio, is now modern and stylish. The guest sits at a small counter in front of a very elegant machine by Kees van der Westen, the coffee comes from the Berlin roastery 19 grams.

Large format photographs by Olaf Unverzart with scenes from the Giro d’Italia or the Tour de France hang on the wall. Books about cycling are for sale on a shelf at the back of the store. Of course, the main focus is on bikes, which you can also rent here. And in the workshop they also accept bicycles that were not bought here – unlike many other bike shops in Munich. Hoffmann has many a background story to tell about his goods. One learns, for example, that the Cinelli “Pressure” racing bike was inspired by the famous cover of the “London Calling” record by the clash inspired by bassist Paul Simonon smashing his instrument. There is a “Pressure” sticker on the bass, a replica of which can be found on the frame of the bike. This is storytelling at its finest, as befits a former filmmaker’s business. “We wanted to make a bike shop like the one we missed in Munich,” he says.

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