It would seem that a Lycra-clad culture has altered the way, and the where, we caffeinate. In the country’s capital, where a very serious and buoyant cycling culture has even reached Capital Hill, coffee houses with a bent for bikes are on the rise; a trend that has spawned the beginnings of a new café culture.
Inspired by this synergy between good design, sustainable practices and daily life is Canberra’s Močan & Green Grout café. Run by Myles Chandler, David Alcorn and brothers Nectar and Jonathan Efkarpidis of Goodspeed Bicycle Company, Močan & Green Grout is a café with a conscience. Regularly inviting artists to reinterpret the space and its surrounds, the café not only serves good coffee and food, it also fosters a unique Australian art and design scene. And with reclaimed materials sitting alongside commissioned art, with found objects next to design classics, it has the warmth and familiarity of eating in a good friend’s kitchen.
A deep fryer, an oven, an electric stove, two chefs and an array of filled bowls are at a small bench in the centre of a room that feels more like the common room of a sharehouse. Led by chef Sean McConnell the dishes being put out from this quasi-kitchen are of impressive quality. His weekly changing menu takes cues from across the world while sourcing produce locally; serving eggs from a free-range farm near Temora, sustainable seafood from the NSW south coast, bacon from woodland-grazed pigs near Young, and fresh water trout from Tumut, Močan and Green Grout is certainly an ethical café.
But beyond these design and culinary aspects, Močan & Green Grout is a café that is, at its heart, all about cycling. As the home of Goodspeed Bicycle Company, an Australian manufacturer of Steel bicycle frames, it is clear that this café offers more to the cycling community than just a good cup of coffee.
“As keen cyclists with a strong design/manufacturing background,” says owner Myles Chandler, “my partners and I were always keen on the idea of an Australian based bicycle business.”
“We’ve been to great lengths to get the design and build quality right,” continues Chandler, “and we have been using quality materials and working with great craftsman like Luke Laffan to ensure a great result.” Chandler and his brother-in-law Alcorn first created Mocan Brothers in 2007 as a hobby – restoring and rebuilding vintage bicycles. Working together, the pair continues to grow the venture; organising races, building custom bicycles and producing handmade cycling clothing under the same label.
Locally designed, manufactured and assembled, the unique Goodspeed frame represents the penultimate goal of the Mocan Brothers – to build a bicycle company that showcases the talent and ability of local craftspeople. “I think it is fantastic that these frames are made in Australia,” says Chandler, “they stand tough and practical in an age where so many things are made impersonally and even designed to be disposable.”
Only recently established in 2012 under the now four Mocan Brothers (Chandler, Alcorn and the Efkarpidis brothers), the Goodspeed Bicycle Company only continues to grow as local craftspeople, fabricators and enthusiasts are drawn towards the New Acton precinct in Canberra, and more importantly, are drawn towards their hub at Močan & Green Grout. “One of my greatest hopes,” adds Chandler, “is that as these bikes spread out, they will reignite an appreciation for handmade products.”
Europe has for long embraced this form of sport, and Europe, of course, has always had a passion for coffee. But this affinity between coffee and cycling has only just started to reach fever pitch in Australia. And with a cyclist’s dream of wide roads and little car traffic, it is only fitting that Canberra is now putting its own spin on the tradition. A tradition, that for the Mocan Brothers is also paramount to a certain way of life.
Images: Lee Grant and OnceTwice
Močan & Green Grout