Founded in October 2014, cycling enthusiast and owner Dan Armstrong, Velo Domestique began life as a pop up. Situated on Christchurch Road, it was a collaboration project with the Boscanova gang. We ran it as a four month trial, we made new friends, lifelong customers and when it came to an end we vowed to return.
Our new home at 176-180 Seabourne Road, on the edge of Southbourne’s bustling and prominently independent high street, was previously Gibb Menswear; a men’s clothing shop which had been there for over a century, some of the wiring looked like it had been there since it opened. For six weeks we stripped wallpaper, removed the ceiling and fitted most of what you see before you now with the help so many people. Some we knew, like the KYCU Velo crew, and some were new, like Stewart who painted our whole backroom without the need for a ladder. Due to planning delays we decided to run our Kickstarter campaign, which turned out to be a great success. We gained support from the local Southbourne community as well as the worldwide cycling community and 100 people backed our campaign. Thank you to everyone who backed us as well as those who helped to spread the word.
Since opening, we have organised a well attended Fixed Criterium Series with riders from all over the country and even a couple from the Southern Hemisphere participating. The finale of the series will be in March this year; spectators and new riders are more than welcome. Stay tuned for details. We are looking forward to this year during which we will be organising a wider range of events, including a collaboration with the guys at Brother Cycles.
Last year we participated in our first ever Gridiron, a hugely enjoyable autumnal randonnée around the New Forest organised by Wessex CTC, thanks to an invite from Mike Walsh. We look forward to taking part again this year, hopefully joined by even more of our fellow Velo Domestique cyclists. 2016 brought with it the 2nd Annual Bournemouth Cranksgiving event, essentially a cycling scavenger hunt in which riders collect food that we then give to the local food bank. We also sent the three Mateus brothers on their way, cycling from Velo Domestique to Lisbon (over 2200km) in 22 days. We look forward to exploring more by bike this year and hearing about all of your adventures in 2017.
In our first year the Velo Domestique crew has grown massively. We have the addition of Teddy Hammer who has been smashing his way through bike servicing and custom builds since starting last year. We are hugely happy to have been joined by Sarah, our new head chef, whose latest winter menu is a treat for the senses.
The KYCU Velo team continue to be the core part of Velo Domestique’s cycling family and when they’re not here serving coffee, they’ve been travelling the world, taking part in fixed gear criteriums with a huge amount of success in races such as the Red Hook Criterium series and Rad Race events. A particular highlight for us was being able to screen Jacob Smith and Daniel Mateus as they took part in Berlin based Fixed 42, the world’s largest fixed gear race, live here at the cafe. We look forward to seeing what 2017 will bring from the most successful fixed gear squad outside of London. We are also joined by Teddy’s better half Niamh and their always smiling little boy Oisin, otherwise known as Oshi or the O-Dawg.
There’s so many people without whom we could not achieve what we have so far: all of our customers who have enabled us to grow, the guys at South Coast Roast who not only roast our own blend of delicious coffee but have also helped us to get the best possible foothold on our exciting new journey, Heather Anderson for roasting all of the aforementioned coffee, all of the sponsors and riders who make our race events possible, the guys at Jimmy’s Iced Coffee whose enthusiasm and support has helped us in so many ways, Brother Cycles who we look forward to working with increasingly this year, the Southbourne community that has embraced us, Stewart from Live.Work.Visit who made an amazing video that introduces us to the world through moving image, the Cocking family, most notably Maurice and Pauline who have continually gone above and beyond to make this place what it is today, every single volunteer who has helped us this year with the cafe fit, race events and at the cafe, Mike Walsh and the Wessex CTC who have helped us dip our toes into the world of cycle touring, Jacob Smith, Ben Ramshaw and Felix Speller for their tireless video making and photography to help us spread the word of Velo Domestique, Daniel and Cesar Mateus Bakehouse 24 for their delicious sourdough, all those who have participated in our weekly group rides, Nick Waring of Dead Raven, Robert, Kendall, Mike, Elliott Trent, Darcy, Rachel, Paul, Lisa, Joel, Jason Falconer, Big Wave Dave, Luke, Toby Mulvey, Sandi Hammer (Teddy’s Mum), Max Baker of Patas Arriba, Mum (Margot Armstrong), The Wight Bear team, BigxTop, Muc Off, Factory 5, Conker Gin, Southbourne Ales, the Sovereign Centre, Maurice and Pauline Cocking, Jenny Cocking who never seems to stop thinking, helping and working to help me realise my dream of making this place as incredible as possible. We would like to thank everyone who has supported us in any way, believed in us, recomended us, advised us and created opportunities for us.
Bring on 2017, here’s to drinking more coffee, eating more delicious food and shredding more miles on bikes. See you out there.
Photos: Jacob Smith