Like the four or five horse-people of the apocalypse, the UB Bicycling Club, rides to the Handlebar Café—admittedly downhill and across flat terrain, at an easy pace.
But they keep going back, time after time.
Other bikers join them, converging there day after day, night after night, for breakfast, lunch and music. For dinner and drinks. Still other bikers are dying to go. They’ve been too busy but they’ve heard about the Handlebar Café and they’re chomping at the bit.
What’s so great about Baltimore’s biker bar that opened in 2017 and won “Best Restaurant-Shop Hybrid” in The Baltimore Sun’s “Best of Baltimore 2018: Dining and Nightlife?”
Is it the fried breakfast potatoes, the stellar egg whites, potent coffee and California cuisine? Is it the gluten-free pizza? Is it the beer?
Is it the bicycles hanging high up on the walls—for display and for sale?
Is it the bicycle parts incorporated into the furniture?
Is it the inner tube wrapped around my glass keeping my hand cool as I sip my steaming latte at an outdoor table near the bike rack on the first crisp, windy, day this fall?
Is it the indoor bicycle parking, ready for rain and snow?
Is it the tiny bike shop in the back behind the bar?
Is it the friendly staff, taking my order, charging my iPhone and keeping an eye on my unlocked bike as I wander around reading the posters on the bulletin board, learning about Yoga for Cyclist Classes and related events?
Is it the egg carton full of artistically designed bicycle bells I browse through in the bike shop?
Is it the Mountain Bike Hall-of-Famer, mom, former biochemist and Baltimore Native—Marla Streb—who at the age of 53, manages to keep reinventing herself—this time by opening Baltimore’s first biker bar with her husband, Mark Fitzgerald?
For me it’s all these things. Great food is my go-to—maybe that goes without saying. Creativity is Coffee & Breakfast for my Spirit. Recycling is right up my alley.
Friendly people free up my anxiety about Life, the Universe and Everything.
And Marla serves as inspiration for me.