This roving bike café in Manila is a shared business by cyclist friends

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  • Manila Cyclist Café, currently in Intramuros, is a pandemic business put up by a couple of cyclist friends

All these new coffee shop concepts are giving “coffee on the go” a new meaning. Now, you can literally get your fill of joe anywhere on the roadside. Most times, it’s not even a full-fledge air-conditioned or even enclosed space, but that’s the beauty of these pop-ups. It’s the ingenuity that ups your coffee drinking experience.

[READ: 7 roadside coffee shops to look out for when you’re on the road]

In Intramuros, a literal café on (two) wheels is making the rounds. Manila Cyclist Café started earlier this month with just a wooden plank counter propped up on a bicycle on a stand. 

Manila Cyclist Café can be found in Intramuros. Photo by Manila Cyclist Café

The pop-up prides itself on coffee that’s affordable but not skimped-on, using Arabica and Robusta beans from Benguet, Kalinga and Sagada. It is currently stationed at Manila Cathedral on Tuesdays and Thursdays and at the Philippine International Convention Center on weekends, where every morning joggers and cyclists stop by to get coffee for as low as P25. Occasionally, they also visit the Mall of Asia grounds, a popular jogging and cycling destination.

The set-up was conceptualized by a former barista and friends whom he met while biking in quarantine. Photo by Manila Cyclist Café
Other than straight-up brewed coffee, Manila Cyclist Café’s menu includes a selection of flavored coffee, tea and café blends such as a latte, cappuccino and macchiato. Photo by Manila Cyclist Café

Mark Anthony Patrimonio, the 23-year-old barista/co-owner of this café on wheels, is a self-proclaimed coffee enthusiast who has worked as a barista before while also studying. He juggles between his studies and his small coffee business at the moment. And if it isn’t obvious yet, he’s also into cycling.

Mark Anthony Patrimonio, the 23-year-old barista/co-owner of Manila Cyclist Café. Photo by Manila Cyclist Café

“Naisip ko din, total hilig po namin ang bike then passion ko ang pagba-barista, why not pagsabayin ko siya?” Patrimonio told Nolisoli.ph.

(I thought, since cycling is our hobby and being a barista is my passion, then why not do them both?)

He also shared that the capital for his mobile coffee shop is a group effort organized between cycling friends he met online. “Para sa akin ’yung kapehan na ito hindi po siya basta business lang, kumbaga, simbolo ng samahan namin sa bike.”

(For me, this café is more than just a business, it is also a symbol of our community as cyclists.)

Patrimonio and his cyclist friends who helped him put up his small business, Albert, Mikaii, Haydee, Charlene and Balong. Photo by Manila Cyclist Café

Patrimonio’s cycling group goes on out-of-city trips frequently but for this concept, he said he wanted to specifically just center on Manila to target like-minded casual cyclists and to show them the possibilities of a two-wheeled bicycle, “na hindi lang po siya basta hobby kung paano mo siya titignan, marami ka pa pong magagawa sa bike (that it’s not just a hobby; depending on how you look at it, you can do many things with a bike.)

Patrimonio’s café on two wheels is stationed at Manila Cathedral on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Photo by Manila Cyclist Café

On selling his coffee blends at an approachable price of P25 with a maximum price of P65, Patrimonio said it is to encourage more cyclists and joggers to want to try it—and so far it is working.

“So far, nakakatuwa po dahil maraming nagagandahan sa idea na ginawa ko sa kapehan. Na-inspire sila kung paano dumiskarte ang mga Pilipino kahit may pandemic, na hindi nagiging hadlang ’yun [kung may] sipag at tiyaga.”

(So far, it’s made me happy that many liked my mobile café idea. They are inspired by how resourceful Filipinos can be even in a pandemic, that it will not stop us as long as we have hard work and perseverance.)

Nolisoli.ph © 2020. Hinge Inquirer Publications, Inc.

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