Atelier de Velo
Cycle, caffeinate, repeat at the CBD’s stylie new bike shop
No-one loves Clover Moore’s bike lanes as much as we do, but even so, cycling in the CBD can still be a pain in your pedal-pushing gluteus. You need to be fluent at hurling urban-dictionary expletives at aggro cab drivers, adept at slaloming around clueless pedestrians in your path (brain-sucked into a digital devise, no doubt), and prepared to get pissed on by God at any moment he chooses.
But we salute those of you doing your part to combat global warming and freeing up an extra parking space for some suit’s luxury Hummer. So pat yourself on your lycra-clad back and treat yourself: commute to the city’s most cycle-friendly avenue, Clarence Street, turn down that obscure lane next to No. 156, and pull up for a killer cup of Mecca espresso in a back-alley respite from the city buzz. Ahhhh.
Yes, this is two-wheeler heaven, and it gets even better when you realise you’ve arrived at Atelier de Velo, Sydney’s most exciting new bike shop. Not only does it sport a full-time barista who knows his crema from his ristretto, A-de-V also stocks high-end Italian and German road, mountain and city bikes (Wilier, Bianchi and Pivot), with the clothes and accessories to match.
The sweeping, airy space is especially stellar. There are 4.8-meter-high ceilings with the original pressed tin, massive columns, and an unmissable mural featuring King Kong and Lady Luck, pained by top graffiti artist Kerupt, whose work recently featured at the Banksy exhibit on Cockatoo Island.
Atelier, French for ‘workshop’, is the love child of veterans from that other CBD bike destination, Clarence Street Cyclery: a partnering of ex-store manager (and professional mountain biking photographer) Michael Shaw and marketing manager Chris Herron. They’ve also absconded with head mechanic Julian Pellegrini. “He’s one of the best bike mechanics in Australia,” Shaw tells us.
And maybe the city’s first celebrity bike wonk, as Atelier gives the workshop the star treatment by putting it in front-and-centre along its large street-view window. It’s a far cry from the usual M.O. of grease monkeys locked away in the basement or back room. “It’s an art form,” says Shaw. “Why hide it?”
As for that back lane, it’s also the secret entrance to the city’s hottest new bar, Baxter Inn. So maybe on your commute home, you can come back, drop the tri bike off for a tune-up, then crawl down the steps in your bike cleats for a happy-hour Scotch. And, well, take a cab home.
Where: 156 Clarence St, Sydney CBD
Phone: (02) 9045 1204
Hours: Mon-Wed Fri 8am-6pm | Thu 8am-8pm | Sat 9am-4pm