What is claimed to be the UK’s “first cycling pub” has opened near Faversham, Kent. Formerly called the Four Horseshoes, and renamed The Freewheel, the hostelry in Graveney doubles up as a bicycle workshop.
The pub, which had been closed for a year, reopened last Monday with a party thrown by new licensee Adrian Oliver, who is the co-founder of cycle training company CycleAge.
He told the Kent Messenger: “When I went to view the property there were cyclists going past even then, so I saw the potential.
“The pub is ideally located two minutes from the national cycle route, which runs all the way through Kent, so there was no better opportunity for me here.
“On Monday, we had a barbecue serving the poshest sausages from a local farm just down the road and lots of local beer.
“We had loads of bikes on show and our seven-seat monster bike even made an appearance.
“We are really looking forward to welcoming in our new customers during the summer,” he added.
Whether or not The Freewheel is in fact “the UK’s first cycling pub” is perhaps a matter of interpretation.
The Y Talbot pub in Tregaron, Ceredigion, has a page on its website dedicated to cycling and specifically mentions facilities for cyclists including secure bike storage and a drying room.
Meanwhile, during the 2012 Tour of Britain, Team Sky – including the reigning world and Tour de France champions in Mark Cavendish and Sir Bradley Wiggins, respectively – visited the Strickland Arms in Cumbria.
A signed yellow jersey from Wiggins now hangs on the wall of the pub, which is located near Penrith.
In Brighton, The Cyclist – which on its website describes itself as a “refreshment room” rather than a pub – is as you’d expect from the name into all things two-wheeled.
And still in the South Coast city, Brighton Mitre Cycling Club was founded in 1894 in the former pub of the same name.
National cyclists’ charity CTC gave its official seal of approval to bike-friendly pubs and other establishments more than 125 years ago.
From 1887, cast-iron plaques – later replaced by enamel signs such as the one shown here on the outside wall of The Black Bear in Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire – appeared on establishments approved by the organisation.
They served as the forerunner to similar plaques later erected by motorists’ organisations such as the AA and RAC.
Do you know a pub that goes the extra mile to support cyclists? Somewhere that has secure bike parking, sells energy bars, or has a track pump and a supply of inner tubes behind the bar?
Let us know in the comments below.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.