On your bike, Melbourne. We just found a super-cute cycling cafe in Abbotsford. It’s called Rouleur Espresso, and you’ll find it out the back of Johnson Bicycles on Victoria St. Yep, that’s right: bike shop and espresso bar, all in one.
Rouleur is owned and run by former pro cyclist Ben Johnson. The space used to be a lamp shop, which for one reason or another didn’t survive (how often do you buy a lamp, really?) Johnson gutted it, installed a transparent, weather-proof awning, decked the space out in white subway tiles, chunky timber and enough plants to fill a greenhouse, then started slinging coffees. The result is exactly the sort of venue you want ‘round the corner: friendly, casual and unpretentious.
The menu at Rouleur is pretty tight. You can get toast, granola or chia puds, with toasties, cakes and home-baked brownies available over the counter. The guys are offering takeaway (for the cyclist on the go), or you can pull up a chair and flip through the cycling magazines and books on display (mostly Tour de France page-turners, or photo collections of funky cycling jerseys). Pro tip? Go the smashed av' with feta, lemon, beetroot and alphalpha sprouts. Simple and bloody delish.
Coffee-wise, Ben and the crew are serving a house blend from Flying West Roasters, based out of Noosa. They’re the only ones stocking it in Melbourne, apparently. The mod-black La Marzocco espresso machine pumps out a seriously good cup, which tastes even better with a cheeky almond croissant. And dog lovers? You'll be happy to know Ben keeps a puppy (Ollie) on-site most days. Word on the street is he's in line for Employee Of The Month...
Obviously you don’t have to go full lycra to eat at Rouleur. Ben is a cycling nut, but if you don’t know a cleat from a spoke, you’ll still be welcome. And hey, if you want to check out the latest road frames, just wander through Johnson Bicycles. Their selection is always on point.
Image credit: Jenna Fahey-White