Neighborhood

Spotlight Series:

Laurie Winston

Spoke Bicycle Cafe

 

Hello Neighbor!

 

I have many fond memories growing up (pre-kindergarten) and lying on the carpet in front of the TV in my childhood home, my unicorn (“Uni”) in one hand and an apple juice in the other, watching Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood as my mom was in the kitchen either cooking or tidying up the house and my sister was at school. I LOVED everything about that show. Being that I was a very hyperactive kid there was always a certain calm that came over me while watching it. I loved how Mr. Rogers would get frequent visits from the postman and other folks in his neighborhood. At a young age this small detail instilled in me the belief that being part of a strong community is so important.

 

Flash forward to today, we are now lucky enough to have our office in sunny Los Angeles, which is such a treat! There’s so much talent bubbling in our own close-knit neighborhood, and in the spirit of Mr. Rogers’ spotlighting everyday standouts I thought it would be fun to introduce you to some of the friends in our Los Angeles neighborhood and give you a peek inside their creative worlds. We hope you are as inspired by these incredible women as we are!

-Laura ODell

Get to know Laurie:

1. Tell us a little about Spoke, when it was founded and how you came up with the idea to do a cafe/bike shop combo? We think it's a brilliant concept, btw :-)

 

Well, thank you! We opened an early version of the bike shop and a pop up coffee cart in May 2015 right after I went to bike repair school in Oregon to get an overview on that. My partner and I spent a lot of time riding our bikes around the city stopping at places to eat and drink things. We lived in Atwater Village and would ride on the bike path a lot. We always said there should be someplace there for people to stop. When we rode by our spot one day we noticed a graffiti covered for lease sign on an equally graffiti covered prison-like structure, we decided to call and see what was behind the wall. It was a bit of a process from there, but the idea was built from the space, our interests, and some zoning/city requirements. I grew up in the restaurant industry, but had never run anything myself before, my partner had a coffee background, we found a bicycle genius who is still with us today, and we did a lot of learning as we went along. We started out with a bike repair stand and some tools along with a table and a coffee maker and a cardboard sign. We gradually added things, improved the bike shop, got the restaurant open, and our customers got to watch as we slowly evolved into what we are today. It's been a wild ride and we're still constantly improving and adapting and changing.

2. What's the most popular food item on the menu?

 

Currently it's the breakfast burrito and draft beer. During the pandemic everyone was all about those things and it kind of stuck. Can't blame them!

3. If you could ride your bike anywhere in the world right this very moment where would it be and why?

 

Wow, big question! I'd love to explore the coast of Mexico and Central America as a pipe dream that I don't have any logistics on. More realistically, I'd like to check out the epic bike path in Ojai.

4. If there is a song that you feel embodies the energy, spirit and dynamic of Spoke, what is it?

 

This was a really hard one for me! We're big Deadheads over here, so I spent way too much time scouring their songs for something I loved that also described us and musically fits our vibe. I settled on "Help on the Way."

 

5. If you could have a superpower what would it be?

 

How about the power to pause time so I can have longer days? There's just so much I love about life and so much I am excited about doing that one lifetime is definitely not going to be enough to fit it all in.