Peloton — cafe, bar, bike shop — ready to ride on E Jefferson

IMG_7144IMG_7054IMG_7018 IMG_7028There is still some fine-tuning required but it’s roadworthy. Peloton the scrappy, gritty contender in a small pack of bike-related ventures starting around Capitol Hill and Central Seattle — will officially open for the New Year on January 2nd.

CHS stopped by the E Jefferson cafe, bike, and repair shop over the weekend as it hosted the after-ride party from the latest Back Alley Bike Repair time trial.

Peloton is a project from a group of riding friends who came together in Seattle’s bike polo scene and is part of a small trend of new ventures that combine bicycling with cafe culture. “Many cyclists kind of pick up the sport and it leads to a rabbit hole,” co-owner Dustin Riggs told CHS earlier this year. “There is a lot of culture around it.” “The coffee and the beer and the bikes. It’s just a lifestyle kind of thing,” he said. Business partners include mechanics Paul Dano and Aaron Grant, and bicycling cook Mckenzie Hart, formerly of the London Plane. Riggs said to expect the food and drink elements of Peloton to come into racing shape latest in the project as the first-time owners were up against their biggest challenges building out kitchen space in the former Ethiopian grocery.

The opening is part of a changing area around 12th Ave. Here’s how Dano addressed a question about “gentrification” in the CHS comments:

don’t think that we haven’t thought about the elephant in every conscious seattleite’s mind – what does gentrification look like and how much of it is acceptable in our neighborhoods? let me tell you what i’ve learned and what i know about our situation specifically: the space that we now occupy was previously an ethiopian restaurant/bar since the 90s. since we’ve moved in, i’ve been able to meet and chat with the previous tenant about her business and the reasons why she gave it up. i asked her personal questions because i was curious why someone would end their business in such a great location after so many years. she told me that she was done working that hard, her kids were grown, and her husband also owns his own business, so there was no more need for her to continue operating her own business. she essentially retired. that was a great relief to me because i did not want to feel like i was the reason that a 20 year old business had to close their doors. this is not the case.

“we are the gentrifiers.” this thought weighed heavy on my conscious and was a topic of conversation amongst my partners and our close friends/consultants. then we put things into context. we – dustin, mckenzie, aaron, and i – are all low income citizens in this city. we have all existed on ~20k a year incomes for the majority of our years here in seattle. this will not change – we cannot afford to give ourselves raises beyond what we are accustomed to making. so, if you consider a small group of people just getting by doing what they are passionate about and doing it outside of working for someone else – i don’t know what to tell you that would make you feel better about what we are doing. i guess you’re going to have to visit and make a final judgement for yourself, which i invite you to do even before we’re open for business. we will be working 9-9 every day until we open. we’d love to chat with you or anyone curious about what we’re doing face to face. we’re confident that after meeting us and hanging out in our space that you will feel good about giving us your business. and we will greatly appreciate it.

Peloton now shares a block with the Central District home of Nate’s Wings and Waffles while “whole cow” steakhouse Seven Beef opened nearby in October. The area is also home to island-flavored Taste of the Caribbean. In 2012, Capitol Hill Housing opened the six-story affordable apartment building The Jefferson on the corner at 12th. The area on the edge of the Squire Park neighborhood is also home to the Blue Nile and Zobel Ethiopian restaurants. Meanwhile, the Art Inn a 15-room boutique hotel and bakery — is also planned for the neighborhood.

In biking parlance, the peloton is “the main field or group of cyclists in a race.” Middle of the pack? Sure. But also where you find your riding everyman and everywoman. You can compare and contrast the Peloton approach to bike culture with the massive, 12,500 square-foot gym, cafe, cycling shop, and company HQ from Metier now open on E Union. Meanwhile, a third bike shop + cafe project being planned for the area is back to starting line after running into difficulties with the Pike/Pine alley space it had targeted.

Peloton is at 1220 E Jefferson. You can learn more on the Peloton Facebook page.

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6 thoughts on “Peloton — cafe, bar, bike shop — ready to ride on E Jefferson

  1. I wish the owners of Peloton all good luck in getting their business off the ground. But I have to wonder if our neighborhood can support it and also two other similar new ventures.

    • Why does it have to be like that? How about just “I wish the owners of Peloton all good luck in getting their business off the ground.”

      They have a small space, lower rent, they did the work themselves. They are hardworking, don’t expect extreme salaries. They have a good business mix. They don’t just sell beer, or coffee, or cider, of lunch or fix bikes. They do it all. They’re right off of 12th Ave, a popular cycle route. Also the 12th Ave corridor is exploding right now. 7-story buildings are the new norm. Older sites Jefferson, Epic are meeting newer additions Decible, Rebel, Anthem and more. The youth Jail will site will be revamped and a boutique hotel will open across the street from them in a couple years. The revenue stream growth potential for this little cafe is fantastic. As for competition, I think Metier is in a completely different class, they won’t have to worry about getting wiped out by the big guy because their target market is someone who wouldn’t go to Metier anyway.

      Great job finding a niche, guys! You’ve done great and wish you the best!

    • Agreed! With the move of Velo downtown, this area sorely needed another bike shop (20/20 is wonderful, but they can’t keep up with the demand.) Having another shop in the area is great, as more and more people get on bikes. I’m excited to see a different type of shop open up and happy to support them!

    • I apologize for my somewhat-negative comment, because I agree that the guys behind this business sound sincerely well-intentioned. But I would guess they are asking themselves the same thing I brought up. Hopefully there will be enough customers for all three of these new bike businesses.

  2. As someone who lives in the neighborhood, I definitely worry about gentrification. However, the Ethiopian restaurant referred to in the article was far from an innocent family business. They gave my wife, and two other people, E. Coli in 2013 because of disgusting food safety practices that were a consistent problem for the restaurant (http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2013/03/third-e-coli-victim-tied-to-seattle-restaurant-outbreak/). They also had no insurance, and therefore could provide no compensation for hospital time. Very glad to see them go!