5 February 2008

Wicked Workshops #2

‘COG’ Bike Café

Sometimes the simplest of ideas just fall together, and together they seem to work perfect with each other. What more do you need in a bike store, a well equipped workshop, a mechanic that knows his way around the bikes. A collection of parts and accessories to suit the most basic needs, some fruit bits locked up, and a phone to order those tricky parts you don’t carry. How about good coffee, it’s almost essential, if not one of the more necessary needs for both the staff, and customers alike. How about some nice quiet roads for the roadies, and some easy and expert, off road trails, right outside your front door. And how about some food, fresh muffins, baked while you wait, ohh and how about a nice smoothes as well. Well look no further, welcome to the COG, bike café.

we are here, and what a nice relaxing looking place.

The work shop, with the wall full of P&A, nice.

Sitting right on the Warburton Rail Trail, near Mt Evelyn in Melbourne, sits this wicked workshop. Surrounded by a load of native forest and a National Park, full to the brim with some pretty damn fine singletrack. We arrived early with bikes ready, to meet up with Damo, the part owner and resident do everything guy, for a ride. Damo was our guide for the morning, which was just perfect, as local knowledge in the forest is the only way to ride. Damo was helping to open up, positioning all the hire bikes and various other bikes for sale outside, when we arrived. We got a coffee, and checked out the place while we waited. The ‘COG’ was almost split in half, with one side devoted to the bikes, with workshop and P&A taking every possible spare spot. There was a pretty nice work stand, sitting right in the place of pride, right in the middle of the work shop floor. An old modified drafting stand, with an old cruiser frame mounted on top. This had the clamp on the head tube to hold the bikes, and in where the rear wheel sits, was a trueing stand, for wheel making. It even had some custom made flames added, to just add decoration, and to make it look even cooler than it was.

A double short espresso please, and a cable for my rear brake thanks.

The café side was just as cool, surrounding the beautiful coffee machine, was a whole load of yummy looking muffins, both savoury and sweet. Libby, Damo’s business and life partner, was busy with some baking, knocking out a few batches before she was off for a ride with a friend. There was an old stand up stove in the middle of the workspace, giving it the look of an old holiday home, kind of sweet. Down the wall was the overloaded notice board, full of good information. A few bike magazines, to waste the time away with your coffee, and a fantastic old gramophone case, adding to the homely look of the place. But as Damo reached to turn this old beauty on, I spied some modern sound equipment filling the insides, even better. The coffee was great, but the trails were beckoning, so we hit the road. Now right outside the door, the Warburton Rail Trail runs right past the front door. At about 50km long, and like most rail trails, some riding that suits even the most unfit riders. There were bikes passing almost constantly, all shapes and sizes riding them, and some large family looking groups by the looks.

I first met Damo at another World Singlespeed event. At almost 7 foot tall, he was wearing a tight fitting, purple jumpsuit, and large afro wig over his helmet. Not only did his costume make such a huge statement, but so did his bike, with faux tiger skin saddle, it was also fully wired for sound. A car audio system totally covering the front triangle, with two sets of speakers, one hanging off the front forks, and the others off the rear stays. Quadraphonic I think they call it. There was some very nice funk playing out load, and for some reason, it all worked together rather well, I was a fan. Since then I have met him at many events around the World, every time he has had the sound system with him on various bikes. With plans for another COG café, at the other end of the Rail Trail opening soon, I don’t think I will see him overseas so much this year. The mountainbiking was great, with the real riding starting, not ten minutes from the coffee machine. The trails were in perfect condition, a bit a rain a few days earlier, had managed to keep the dust away, and to pack the trail down a bit. The bush was full of natives, so the smell of eucalypts was intoxicating as we headed up to the summit for a look. We only had a few hours, being Sunday, Cog was going to be busy. So he showed us a few thrilling trails, so we could get a good idea of what was kicking around on his doorstep. And we were pleased he did show us, finding trails like this never happens while riding blind.

What more do you want to know.

Damo left us after a while, he had a café starting to fill up and some work to do unfortunately. Soon after him leaving us, we met Libby on the trail, just bike testing with a friend, and taking the dog for a run. Again, she was only leaving the café for a few hours, then back to work for her as well. We arrived almost in the front door of the café, after blasting down another nice bit of track, Righto, time for some more caffeine and a bit of solid sustenance. I couldn’t resist the fresh mango smoothes, and they were perfect finish to a fantastic morning. Time to head home to the city, and at only about 40km away, I thought I was in the middle of nowhere moments before. There were still punters riding past the door, most of them stopping for a look, and a purchase. I will be back soon, as the trails were too good to miss, and with coffee this close to the trailhead, why wouldn’t I.

And you can read more about the Cafe, and a few more pics here.


Frenchy aka Bike Boy said...

Great little insight into a few shops that seem to have the right idea...As always, thank you for the good read.

benny said...

Hey thanks, nice to get a bit of feedback every now and then. Cheers