News / Toronto

A coffee house, bike repair shop and art gallery — all under one roof

Toronto urban planner introduces business model already common in European cycling cities.

All Fred Sztabinski wanted was to combine three interests under one roof while enhancing active transportation.

His new cycling café at the Gladstone does just that.

Having worked as an urban planner with a focus on cycling advocacy for the past 10 years, Sztabinski had always been attracted to the idea of marrying shopping for a bike and coffee culture.

The concept may not be all that common in North America, but it’s ubiquitous in cities like Copenhagen, Barcelona and Amsterdam, where he lived for a year.

“I really liked that idea of bringing those two appreciations together,” he said.

At Fix Coffee + Bikes, which opened two weeks ago, there’s section where people can have their bike fixed, buy a new one or buy accessories (think magnetic lights, retractable fenders or even a wine holder that attaches to your ride). There’s an art gallery that features cycling-focused pieces from a rotating group of artists. And, of course, there’s coffee.

Sztabinski’s goal is to see people share a cup of coffee and mingle while their bike is getting a tune-up.

“I think it brings together that feeling of a true neighbourhood,” he said.

More than anything, however, he wants to help people realize that “you can live your whole life without needing a car.”

“I really want to see more people on bikes,” he said. “It’s going to take a while, but, hopefully, we can reach that level where nobody is labeled as a cyclist; when it’s part of everyone’s life.”