In my opinion, any good bicycle ride begins and ends with coffee. I am not alone; poke around in the bicycle industry and you’ll quickly find that there is a caffeinated cycling obsession. We could spend this entire article analyzing what it is about coffee and bicycles that make for a special connection, but when you boil it down to the essentials the answer is pretty simple. “Coffee is social and when you ride a bike it makes you happy,” says David Richter.
Richter should know; he’s the co-founder of Métier, a cafe/cycling store/training space, located in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. It’s fitting that Métier is situated on a street with a bike lane; here cycling is life, and life is cycling. With coffee, of course.
You don’t even have to open the door to Métier to understand that this is a universe devoted to bicycles and coffee. “Racing & Coffee” is boldly painted at the top of the building. One of the parking spots in front is reserved for bicycles only. If that weren’t enough to tempt you, the paint on the window will: “Coffee. Waffles. Beer.” Who doesn’t love those three things?
Don’t be fooled, however, into thinking that this is just another bike cafe. Instead, Métier is a combination of bike store, gym, and hub for endurance athletes. You can sip an espresso and debate which pair of bike commuter jeans or neon-colored Sidi bike shoes you want to invest in, or you can sign up for a personal training session followed by a sports massage. The idea for this multi-faceted space has been percolating for a long time, the brainchild of Richter and co-founder Todd Herriott. “It’s the evolution of our business and really just a place where you can get what you need as an athlete, an enthusiast, and a connoisseur,” says Richter, “a lifestyle place.”
Métier’s founders are no newcomers to the world of endurance sports. Herriott comes with over 15 years of coaching and teaching experience and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, he has also done some bike racing in his day. Richter comes from the BMX world, which eventually led to professional racing in mountain biking, cyclocross, and road cycling. All to say, these are not just your average cyclists.
Not that this should hold anyone back; it’s thanks to the variety of elements that Métier is a space that anyone on the spectrum of coffee or bicycles can enjoy. “Bikes are transportation, but also [competitive] and social,” says Richter, “and they’re awesome pieces of machinery and art.” That’s clear from the use of bicycles not only as sale items but decoration as well. With its vintage bike posters and frames, Métier feels more like a shrine to the almighty bicycle than it does a mere bike store. A large screen hangs from the ceiling, a chance for bike enthusiasts to watch all the bicycle races, both big and small.
But let’s get back to the coffee. “Most serious bike riders are serious coffee drinkers (us, for sure),” says Richter. “Coffee is a very social drink and we wanted a great social scene. If you do something great, it attracts great people.” Which is exactly why the Métier has put an effort into building a strong coffee program. They feature a variety of roasters including local Seattle companies Elm Coffee Roasters and Slate Coffee, as well as Temple Coffee Roasters and Sightglass Coffee, and espressos are made on a Victoria Arduino Athena Leva. “We spent months tasting coffee specifically to serve at Métier,” says Richter. “We didn’t want to serve just one, but didn’t want things to get lost serving 20… so we chose four to five great ones.”
Coffee is not only a great way to attract those caffeine-loving cyclists, it’s also the chance to branch out beyond the endurance athlete community, and in that sense, the cafe is an essential part of the Métier business model. “The cafe is the bonding agent for the other components; gym, retail, service, coaching, testing, etc.” says Richter. “It brings it together and without it, it’s sort of hard to swallow. It’s less intimidating with the cafe.”
But once you’re in, whether you’re interested in racing or not, it’s easy to get hooked by the Métier attitude. There’s a poster on the wall next to the door that says “Stab the Beast,” the Métier motto. Their version of saying “good luck,” the beast can be any challenge that you want to attack head on: a hill, a workout, a race. Hell, even a slow morning when the beast is your level of drowsiness. No surprise that the house espresso blend—developed by Slate Coffee—is named “Beast Blend“. And if coffee alone isn’t going to help you to attack your morning, or recuperate after a long ride, the savory waffles certainly will. Kimchi and smoked salmon might sound like an odd combo, but trust me, you want to live dangerously.
If coffee is a gateway drug to getting more people on two wheels, Richter is all for it, and ultimately, that’s what Métier is bringing to the neighborhood. “For now, we’re just blowing people’s minds on what a bike shop experience is,” says Richter. “It’s an experience. It’s our take on it and I think it will help people to get into bikes more.”
Anna Brones (@annabrones) is a Sprudge.com staff writer based in the American Pacific Northwest, the founder of Foodie Underground, and the co-author of Fika: The Art Of The Swedish Coffee Break. Read more Anna Brones on Sprudge.