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Bikes and Coffee Mix Well at These Two NKY Cafes

In a small Florence business strip, there’s a quaint coffee shop where you can enjoy a cup of coffee with quiet conversation surrounded by warm yellow and muted teal walls and bicycles. 

Mark Ball, 53, of Walton, opened Velocity Bike and Bean in 2011. During high school and college Ball worked at a bike shop and always had it in his heart to some day operate his own. Life called. He answered and ended up working in a more traditional job role. The dream, however, never left him.

“I love the technical aspects of bikes and working on them,” Ball said. “I enjoy the challenge of the mechanics and I enjoy cycling as well. It’s an economical way to have transportation and it’s a challenge physically.”

Ball also enjoyed coffee and thought it’d be good to partner with a coffee shop. 

“I like the complexity of coffee from the business to the actual bean,” he said.

The partnership with a coffee shop didn’t pan out, but that didn’t stop Ball. He decided that’d he’d just open his own coffee and bike shop. He researched his idea and saw where others existed throughout the U.S.

And here he sits, eleven years later, coffee grinders behind the counter to his left and bikes hanging from the ceiling behind him. 

“The community here is my favorite thing about this venture,” he said. “From the beginning this has been a place of community and that’s what has drawn people in. We are welcoming to all and we make you feel at home. We get to experience little things and amazing things with our customers from marriages to babies to business deals. Life happens here.”

Velocity Bike & Bean is found at 7560 Burlington Pike in Florence.

Grab a cup while on the go

As bikers pedal to Reser Bicycle Outfitters on Monmouth Street in Newport for a repair, conversation or to check out new bikes, they can also sip a cup of Joe. Trailhead Coffee operates inside of Reser. Just outside the building, you can perch on your bike seat or a stool for a rest and refreshments.

“We’re a community focused coffee shop,” said Trailhead Manager Jimmy Rice, 29. of Covington. “We’re small and offer a more focused menu. We’re a great place to hang out; we’re the local watering hole.”

Rice loves the social aspect of working the coffee side of things. “You make a lot of friends,” he said. 

“I also enjoy the coffee. I like the entire process of it from grinding to boiling… doing everything methodically. It’s a ritual and mindful way to start the day.”

Trailhead Coffee is found inside Reser Bicycle Outfitters at 648 Monmouth Street in Newport.

Written by Melissa Reinert, RCN Contributor