The first of its kind in Bangalore, the cafe-cum-store was started recently by Mohammed and his business partner Sundaram R, in collaboration with international bicycle brand TI Cycles. (Photo: Vinod Kumar T)
It started off with the idea of opening a coffee shop and then our passion for cycling came in, so we thought, let’s have a nice little marriage of both,” says entrepreneur Zameer Mohammed.
Take a look around the spacious cafe he is comfortably settled in and you’ll see that it is exactly so, a union of sorts between coffee and cycles. So, it is no surprise that the cafe is aptly named Track and Trail: Coffee and Cycles.
The first of its kind in Bangalore, the cafe-cum-store was started recently by Mohammed and his business partner Sundaram R, in collaboration with international bicycle brand TI Cycles.
While Mohammed runs his own architecture and design firm, Sundaram owns coffee estates in Coorg which is where the eatery gets its brew from. So this isn’t their day job, “It happens to be more of a passion than anything else,” he tells us.
The cafe plays host to several cycling enthusiasts across the city, for it has everything from a servicing section, biking magazines of international repute, high-end cycles from brands like TI, Cannondale and Bianchi for sale — all of course, in addition to a small menu highlighting quick nibbles.
“The idea of setting up a cafe like this was just to bring in the entire cycling culture, and create a space not just for the cycling community, but others as well. We have about six different brands of high-end cycles. The coffee shop aspect is just for people to hang out. They can come in, bring in their bikes for servicing, and have a cup of coffee while waiting,” Mohammad explains, adding, “Basically, this space pertains to everything cycle-related.”
He couldn’t be more on the right track. Two blackboards compete for attention, one giving you the specials of the day, and the other giving you special offers on bikes. The servicing station is in a slightly cordoned off area, while the walls are replete with biking pictures and quotes (“Get a bicycle. You will not regret it if you live”—Mark Twain).
Magazines like Bike India line the racks, while books like Jeff Connor’s Wide-Eyed and Legless: Inside the Tour de France, lie on the tables.
That’s not all. The cafe also converts into a workshop space sometimes, when technicians come in and teach customers about bike maintenance, or a training area, when professional cyclists set up trainers (stationary bikes) on the premises.
“We’re glad we can use this space to drive so many events. Every alternate Sunday morning, we even have a short trail ride, open to anyone, even non-cyclists. If you don’t have a bike, you could just borrow one from the store. The idea is essentially to let the cycling community grow,” says Mohammed.
The response so far, he tells us, has been fantastic. So how does a venture like this work in Bangalore? “Well, there’s the most clichéd factor, which is the weather,” he says, laughing.
“But other than that, cycling is on the surge in Bangalore. It’s not just casual cycling, but more people are now using it as a mode of transport,” he adds.
Mohammed notes that factors like fuel hikes and traffic also matter. “When fuel prices went up, we noticed there was a sudden increase in customers, curious about cycles. I remember one customer who drove a BMW. He came in here and bought a Cannondale bike and he told me that he hit so many pockets of traffic on his way home that sometimes he just gets out and cycles back and the driver brings the car. You can have the best car, but you can’t beat the traffic,” he elaborates.