Daytrippin’ with Val

‘All Journey’s Have Secret Destinations of Which the Traveler is Unaware’ Marten Buber

I can totally relate to the nature of this quote as I have pursued the art of breaking ritual and the routine of life by taking day trips to places I’ve never been. I will often get into my car without a planned destination and begin driving, with my favorite music playing and a hot drink and a few healthy snacks of course. Some of the villages and towns are within an hour of home, which gives me more time to explore the tastes, sights and sounds of the destination. We are spoiled for choice here in southern Ontario, from the Niagara region, Prince Edward County, Stratford- Elora-Fergus, Caledon, Collingwood and Tobermory to name a few. Recently I discovered The Bicycle Cafe on facebook suggested to me based on my profile. The name had me intrigued from the start, as I am an avid biker.

The journey to the small historical town of Flesherton is well worth the 90 minutes, passing many autumn sights including pumpkin patches, fruit farms, hay harvesting and mennonites in their horse drawn wagons, and not one big box strip mall in sight. The town has a museum, art galleries, antique shops, bakeries and many other creative shops. I’m told that the area is filled with artists and musicians who moved from Toronto for a slower pace of life.

The Bicycle Cafe was built in the 1800’s and has an old world feel the moment you approach the front deep blue glass door vestibule complete with cast iron handles. Once inside, you are greeted with a warm smiles and friendly staff . The cafe is filled with whimsical art, from a David Bowie poster to a hand painted canvas map of the world hung by carved wooden branches and twine. The handmade menus were created from recycled record covers. Speaking of records, while dining I had the pleasure of listening to an eclectic mixture of musical tastes from their record collection. I heard an Edith Piaf style French album and some Caribbean music. I love listening to all genres of music so this was perfect for me.

The description of the cafe on their Facebook page was unlike my pre-conceived idea of a meeting place for cyclists looking for a welcoming place to restore their batteries after a long journey. They describe the cafe as an alchemy of great food, music and art.

The choice for the name is explained in their menu as follows:

‘ The bicycle cafe is a tribute to playing cards, and the vehicle alike. They both represent the coming together of simple elements to create something greater than the sum of their parts. Playing cards kept soldiers alive in the trenches, transferred unspeakable wealth, instilled fundamental mathematics in young minds, and like laughter, served as a common language everywhere man has lived or travelled. Bicycles have liberated women, enabled families to eat, launched great men of industry, delivered books and medicine, pumped water, generated light, connected communities and all through the power of muscle fueled by determination. All fine examples of who we humans are and how little we need to be. Simple is always better. ‘

The owners are husband and wife team, Peter and Julie Reitzel ,who left busy Toronto life 3 years ago to live a quieter more relaxed vibe. Their first page of their menu greets you with their wish for you to take your time, relax, drink, play a game, talk to strangers and listen to music while visiting their cafe. They are dedicated to delivering fresh, local and seasonally sourced food. Their wonderfully creative menu provides a wide variety of choices for everyone including vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, and lactose free. The ‘Non-Meaty Eats’ menu serves a delicious bowl of Spicy African Stew which I throughly enjoyed that has just enough spice without masking the other tastes. The Cashew Rice Bowl is another tasty mixture of very fresh sunflower sprouts, avocado, cashews tzatziki, jasmine rice, hot chilis and tamari. The chickpea, spinach and cauliflower bowl was a creamy coconut curry served on jasmine rice was also delicious. The meal was topped off with a date, caradamon rice pudding served with sprinkled pistachios and ‘cream’ all washed down with a lovely hot chai tea. There are many more Non-Meaty eats options that I can’t wait to try.

The ingredients may be simple but the flavors and freshness of the dishes are elegantly combined to create the feeling that the creator of the dish truly cares about the end result. Attention to detail is evident in the presentation of the entrees.

Fall is the time of year live music really gets into swing at the cafe with independent musicians performing on weekends. For the current schedule check out the site at The Bicycle Cafe or call (519)-924-2920.

The cafe is open Thursday-Sunday from 11 am to 8 pm or later on live music nights. This will be a warm and welcoming destination during the long winter ahead here in Ontario. The local area is an outdoor haven for active people looking to get out of the city to ski or snowshoe with Beaver Valley, Collingwood and Duntroon close by the cafe. There are several beautiful Inns and Bed and Breakfasts to stay overnight if you have a little too much ‘Cider’ to drink.

As fall proceeds, we encourage you to break free from routines, take a loved one or close friend along to explore and let the journey awaken your spirit on the way to your destination. Who knows what you will discover along the way.

The Bicycle Cafe is located at 14 Sydenham Street in the town of Flesherton, Ontario.

Let us know if you visit!

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