The Cycling Café

The Cycling Café

The Cycling Café

By Kirby Adams

I might have thought I was sitting in a café near Hood River in Oregon except there was no river, just a creek named Beargrass. It reminded me a bit of a hangout I frequented one summer while racing out of Breckenridge , Colorado , except the closest thing to a mountain was Berringer Hill. Instead, the café/bicycle store/repair shop called The Cycling Café sits between Beargrass Creek and Cherokee Park on Lexington Road . It''s a cozy place with a hip atmosphere, but not too hip - not intimidating, more exhilarating. While you enjoy your tuna sandwich under the umbrella on the outdoor patio, you start to consider the rides still ahead and the good ones behind. Lined up on a rack are the bicycles of other customers.

"We hope people will ride by and stop for lunch," says Joe Sohms who opened The Cycling Café in May. Some are here for lunch; others are picking up a spare or a new pair of shades. Or if they drove to the café for lunch and find themselves inspired, Sohms also sells off- and on-road bicycles, including K2, Felt, Dean, Santa Cruz and Kona. There is also a full line of Pearlizumi clothes and accessories. You can also pick up a helmet.

Sohms is a cyclist himself, which immediately makes a difference. This is a cycling- friendly place where the sound of cleats clacking on the floor isn''t as odd as it is in other places. "We completely renovated the old August Moon restaurant," says Sohms. And that includes the floor where cyclists are welcome to walk in their cleats or ride in on their bikes. "We stripped the floor and laid new concrete. It''s bullet proof; you can''t hurt it." On the walls there are photographs of local cyclists and races.

The café offers a great selection of sandwich lunch plates all named after local parks. Sohms'' wife, Denise, insisted on offering "really great iced tea." And for those in the know, there are Carvel ice cream sandwiches and smoothies. I was not in the know when I dropped by the Cycling Café but now I am. Carvel ice cream comes from New York . Once you taste it you''ll know why they fly it in all the way from the east coast. And for those of you who love a frosty cold beer after a long hot ride - or a short one, for that matter - you''ll find a wide variety.

Cycling is Sohms'' avocation, not his profession. He used to be the director of technology for Fort Knox National - in other words, a techie. Three years ago while eating with Denise at the new August Moon he looked out at the old restaurant building and was inspired to turn it into a bike store. From there the idea grew to include sales, service (they can do it all from fixing a flat to building a wheel) and something to eat.

Starting in June there will be Louisville Bicycle Club rides originating from the café, located at 2295 Lexington Road . Tuesday''s rides will meet at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday''s rides at 2 p.m. According to Sohms, you''ll be able to find out more on the LBC website (www.louisvillebicycleclub.org). As for the café, it''s open 7 a.m. -9 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. For more information call 451-5152 or just ride on by.

Kirby Adams is the noon anchor and consumer reporter for Kentuckiana''s News Channel WHAS-11 and a sports and fitness buff. You can e-mail Kirby at kirby.adams@whas11.com. Kirby is also a member of Kentuckiana HealthFitness'' editorial advisory board.

If you know of a little "GEM" or a story you would like to share with our readers, drop me a note about it.

Kirby Adams
C/o WHAS-11 TV
P.O. Box 2588
Louisville , KY 40201

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