You’re in Glasgow on your bike and need a good cup of coffee and some healthy victuals, but don’t need the stares; you like good sounds and you want to talk bicycles, not fitba’ and maybe you’re looking for the latest in ‘fixie’ street cred hardware and kit? Look no further – 162 Dumbarton Road, Partick and Siempre Bicycle Café should be your destination.
Siempre Bicycle Café is the name of this oasis in the desert of bad coffee and ‘I’m too sexy for my job’ bicycle shop staff.
‘Siempre’ is Spanish for ‘always’ and there are two versions of how the establishment gained the Latino handle.
We’ll take co-owner and ex-rock drummer, Callan Dickson’s male perspective first;
“The word has a good sound to it and features in some of Che Guevara’s greatest speeches, “Hasta la Victoria Siempre.”
“And it fits, always fun, always coffee, always bikes . . .”
His partner, Kirsten Caldow has a slightly different version;
“When I was working at a Bank I used to travel a lot and Callan would make me music CDs to take with me; he’d write on them; ‘always’.”
Call us sentimental fools, but we like that one better.
To emphasise the urban credentials, Siempre Bicycle Café is sited right next to the entrance to the Kelvinhall stop on Glasgow’s famous ‘Clockwork Orange’ metro.
We asked Callan if Partick was the preferred location for setting up shop;
“We looked at a few places, but it was always going to be the West End of Glasgow, it’s ‘student land’ and has that Bohemian feel to it.”
Ironically, it was one of the negatives sides of cycling – falling off your bike – which was the catalyst in the Siempre Bicycle Café project. Kirsteen explains;
“It was something I’d thought about for years, I love cycling, coffee, cakes, good food – I’ve always wanted to put those elements together.
“But there has to be a trigger; I fell off my bike and broke my pelvis. I couldn’t walk for three months – and during that time I put the business plan together.”
Despite Kirsteen’s background in finance, her tale on funding the venture is a familiar one;
“The banks and building societies gave us no help whatsoever, we had to sell things, borrow and use savings. The upside is that we have no big debts hanging over us.”