The northwest rim of Los Angeles proper is bound by the Hollywood Hills and the Santa Monica Mountains. Beyond this expanse of wilderness lies “The Valley”, home of Encino Man, The Kardashians, and more to our concern: an outpost of fine food, coffee, and cycling gear-heads known as Pedalers Fork. Under a rustic truss-and-beam roof, Pedalers Fork houses a full bar and restaurant, the 10 Speed Coffee roastery, and a flagship bike store. The restaurant rotates seasonal fare and a nice selection of California wines. The coffee shop is sectioned off for quick pit stops, but equally available to dining patrons. Lofted overhead is a 5-kilogram Probat roaster utilized daily to keep up with retail and wholesale orders, while outside along an intermittent river, the bike shop borders a patio with ample seating. I stopped in to see how this compatible collection of coffee, food, and bikes is getting along.
In 2013, founders Robbie Schaeffer and Tim Rettele opened the doors for the first time. Operations manager Gideon Kleinman runs the day-to-day and I sat down with him to run through the details of the space. For anyone not familiar with the area, Calabasas is a hotbed for cycling, popular with both mountain bikers and “roadies” for its proximity to the famous roads of the Santa Monica Mountains and the Malibu Coast. The back-of-house coffee shop is frequented by both amateurs and professional riders as a mid-ride pick-me-up. The shop supplies a wall of bike racks and locks to stash your ride, and Tour de France Yellow Jersey wearer Dave Zabriskie is known to frequent the shop's mountain bike rides.
For Oregon natives, the name 10 Speed Coffee may ring a bell. The coffee brand originated (from Bryan McGeeney) in the Hood River Valley of northern Oregon and was purchased by Pedalers Fork as the new restaurant made plans to open. McGeeney’s Probat roaster and brand logistics were incorporated into the new space. The original 10 Speed Coffee remains in operation in Oregon servicing local shops and wholesale accounts. Michael Garcia now leads the operation out of the Calabasas shop managing a team of baristas friendly enough to educate the locals about Third Wave coffee, or in their modest words, “two and a half wave coffee.”
The customer base is largely converts from Starbucks, says Kleinman. “We have people coming up to us saying: ‘There’s really no good coffee out here!’ and we’re like ‘We know!’” The Valley has no shortage of Peet’s Coffee, Starbucks, and the like, but the guys behind the 10 Speed Coffee bar seem happy to bring a bit of novelty to their customers.
The Kickstand house blend is the shop’s main staple used for espresso, filter coffee, and cold brew. (A La Marzocco Strada is used in the shop.) In addition to the in-house coffee bar, wholesale accounts, including bike companies Cannondale and SRAM, receive shipments of 25 pounds a week from the cycling-themed roaster. Inter-industry partnerships are growing—Rapha Cycling Wear’s Santa Monica flagship store as well as JRA Bikes & Brew in Agoura Hills will be stocking 10 Speed Coffee.
The shop always seems to have a community event on the calendar. Every Thursday, a local cycling club rides over from Malibu for the fresh-baked donuts only served on Thursdays and Fridays. The cafe has also hosted latte art throwdowns, with more in the works. Up next is an ice cream social.
The bike shop, a separately managed entity, is relatively small. Nevertheless, it's packed with top-notch bike components and even its own beer tap. The mechanic team is prepared for the full gambit of bike repairs from full custom builds to your average flat change. They carry Moots bikes, regarded as some of the best titanium bikes available, handcrafted in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The shop also happily supports a handful of local racers (amateur and pro) with service and race equipment.
The mainstay of the establishment—the full-service bar and restaurant—is, to most visitors, the primary draw. The menu rotates seasonally with farm-to-table fresh fare, California-inspired staples as well as originals. Fried avocado tacos are a unique vegan option. Breakfast and lunch options include burritos, sandwiches, fried chicken, and salads. For dinner, the menu expands with more entrees: steaks, fish, flat breads, and cocktails.
Given the challenges associated with housing several different entities under one roof, the sense of cohesion here is impressive. Kleinman emphasized Pedalers' focus on quality and I imagine it is just that which has given the place such endurance. The coffee shop is self-sufficient, baristas are specific to the shop and don’t share duties with the restaurant. The bike shop runs independently and is staffed by true bike enthusiasts. The restaurant is the work of executive chef Dan Murray, who brings a passion for food above all. Each leg of the triumvirate is exceptional in its own regard, and they’ve come to operate in a sort of symbiosis. Whether you’re there for coffee, food, or a new bike, all of the above, or just a few, Pedalers Fork will surely impress.
Mackenzie Champlin is a Sprudge contributor based in Los Angeles. Read more Mackenzie Champlin on Sprudge.