The pause that refuels

14 05 2012

The snack stop is a key component of any good ride.

Sometimes it’s nothing more than a pause at a scenic vista to enjoy an energy bar and some water. Sometimes it’s a sweet treat and coffee at a favorite café. Sometimes it’s a full-on lunch on an outdoor patio.

It’s a well-earned break; after all four or five hours in the saddle can burn 2-3,000 calories.

Cyclists in Vancouver now have a destination pit stop they can call their own, the Musette Café. In the middle of the busy downtown, it’s a bit of a roadie-geek refuge.

The Musette Café isn’t easy to find; it’s located in a back lane amidst a car dealership lot (ironically enough).

The walls are decorated with displays of the colourful cloth feed bags used by pro teams, vintage jerseys suspended on towel racks, a mishmash of signage from various Euro races, all lorded over by a beautiful classic Bianchi hanging on a set of deer antlers. Display cabinets are filled with other cycling paraphaneliia like Tour de France figurines, trophies, water bottles. Magazines like Rouleur are available for reading. The cash drawer is even mounted on a set of curved handlebars.

The Musette Café is roadie geek heaven.

Wood wheel blocks on the floor inside the front door accommodate  riders who want to bring their bikes inside, but there’s also a hanging rack with heavy chain locks outside, as well as benches if it’s just too nice a day to snack inside.

While I can’t vouch for the coffee because I don’t drink the stuff, all the warm beverages are served in pretty celeste cups from Parallel, the café’s bean supplier. There’s also a selection of Italian sodas and nectars, and water is always on tap.

Finally, a place to call our own!

I haven’t yet tried the panini sandwiches, but I’ve heard compliments. The banana bread is tasty. There’s also muffins, pastries, cookies and homemade raw energy bars. In other words, everything a cyclist needs to fuel the second half of a ride.

Riding routes have been adjusted to include a stop at The Musette.

With the latest Euro races always playing on the two flat screen televisions and the cycling chitchat ongoing, it’s little wonder many roadies, including some of the pros who happen to be in the area, have adjusted their ride routes accordingly to include the Musette for their snack break.