Wash Perk unveils the "Perk Cycle," Colorado's first coffee shop on two wheels

There's a new coffee shop in town, and it's unlike any that's come before. For one thing, it has no walls, no roof, no doors, no windows -- just a couple of wheels, a handlebar and two pedals.

Introducing the Perk Cycle, Wash Perk Coffee Shop's free-wheeling new venture, one equipped to serve coffee and pastries all around Washington Park -- and anywhere else its barista chooses to pedal it.

The idea for the Perk Cycle came from Wash Perk regular and Denver Bicycle Advisory Committee member Andy Duvall, who convinced coffee shop owners Teri Meehan and Debbi Main that it was time to take their operation on the road. He pointed to a custom cycle he'd spotted in Portland, Oregon: a "mobile party" beer bike developed by Hopworks Urban Brewery, which features two beer kegs with taps, 25 pounds of ice, a sound system and pizza.

While no Denver brewery has yet followed suit (which, we have to say, is a downright shame, but then our liquor laws are not as enlightened as those of Portland), Meehan and Main agreed that such a contraption was a great way to spread the word about their coffeeshop at 853 East Ohio Avenue café. "It was appealing because we often donate coffee to the races and other events in Washington Park, and we had to haul the stuff to and from the park," says Meehan. "This was a more sustainable way for us to deliver our coffee, and also have a mobile advertisement once we are there."

And so the Perk Cycle Cargo Bike was born: a 100-pound, eight foot-long, green, red and orange bicycle custom-designed by the Portland bike shop Metrofiets. A version of the "long john," a front-loading bike with a wooden box that originated in Holland eighty years ago, the ride features a lighted pastry case, an umbrella, detachable sandwich chalkboards and even a hand-washing sink powered by a CO2-fueled steel keg.

It's just the most recent example of Wash Perk's expansion efforts. In January, the three-year-old cafe took over a vacant storefront next door, and Meehan reports business has been good -- and free from any of the neighborhood complaints that marked the brief tenure of the previous coffeeshop in this location.

Folks may have already spotted the Perk Cycle at its debut run -- dispersing coffee and treats to the 250 B-cyclers at the St. Patrick's Day Parade. And now the Perk Cycle is open for rolling business around Washington Park, including a regular stop at the park's Dos Chappell Bathhouse. And who knows: The Perk Cycle may soon be rolling over to other events around town, an innovatino that joins this city's love of bikes and baristas.

"It's a really, really fun adventure," says Meehan. One that's also downright delicious.

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