On Track at the Bikery

Words David Wrigley
Images Ashlee DeCaires

The Bikery Café in Cambridge sits, as the name suggests, right at the heart of New Zealand’s cycling culture. Situated on the ground floor of the stunning Grassroots Trust Velodrome, where there is always a buzz of excitement, the café is an oasis of calm. The beautiful outdoor area is surrounded by planter boxes filled with flowers and aromatic herbs. It’s a great place to relax and watch the medal winning Olympians on their way to training, the amateurs taking a break from the nearby Te Awa River Trail, and families enjoying the nearby bike skills park. A variety of groups, who use the Velodrome’s world-class facilities to keep fit, count The Bikery as their local café. The staff greet them by name and make sure they have their regular post-workout treats ready and waiting.

New owners Jana and Rob Hart took over the already thriving café in March this year and are gradually bringing their own vision and style to bear on the café’s culture and offerings. Jana studied hospitality management after leaving school and worked in the sector for a few years before forging a successful career in accountancy. Rob comes from a business and banking background. The couple moved to New Zealand from the UK with the dream of owning and running their own café, a dream that is finally coming to fruition.


“I wanted to get involved in hospitality again and we both wanted to have an active, outdoors lifestyle, so when the Bikery came up for sale we jumped at the opportunity,” Jana says as she keeps an eye on the team gearing up for the lunch rush. “It was also really important to us to bring what we’d learnt in the corporate world about work culture and for that to inform the way we ran the business.”

Jana and Rob have worked hard to build an environment that nurtures staff and gives them the skills necessary to succeed, not just in the hospitality industry, but also the wider world. They also believe that a happy team will make for happy customers. This means fostering a collaborative spirit within the team and encouraging them to make suggestions and try new ways of doing things.

That spirit of collaboration is apparent in the café’s food offering. The cabinet is packed with delicious and clever twists on kiwi classics. The cheese and pesto scones are fresh out of the oven, homemade and bursting with flavour. The roulade with salmon or sticky Thai pork are perennial customer favourites, as are the excellent custard slices.

A lot of the ideas and recipes come straight from the young, dedicated team of chefs. The kitchen staff also go out of their way to make sure they are catering to their customers’ dietary needs, with both the cabinet and the eclectic menu providing a range of vegetarian, dairy-free, and gluten-free options.


The team also supplies Jana and Rob’s catering company, Fresh Balance, with delicious platters, sandwiches, dinners, lunches, and canapés. They cater to a range of local businesses and individuals as well as servicing the many meeting and conference rooms inside the Velodrome itself. They even make delicious care packages that customers can order as gifts for friends who need a little pampering. They have been especially popular with new parents, to help them get through those first, gruelling weeks.

The café also boasts a freezer-full of lovingly prepared ready-meals for busy families to take home with them. It’s a testament to the hard work and dedication of the owners and the team that they manage to produce such an incredible and exciting range of offerings so consistently, seven days a week.

Of course, as with any Kiwi café, all the wonderful food would count for nothing without first class coffee to wash it down. The beans come from Morrinsville’s Essenza Coffee. Rob says, “We’re so happy to have such great coffee roasted so close by. It’s great to keep things local, especially when the product is so good.”

Quality milk comes from Kaipaki Dairies, just down the road. Jana and Rob have had a tap installed next to the coffee machine to cut down on packaging waste. The front of house team knock out beautifully executed flat whites and long blacks that more than do justice to the excellent beans and the delicious Waikato milk.

The Bikery is so much more than a great café. It’s the hub of the Cambridge cycling community, the heart of a first-class catering business, and a home away from home for a hard-working team. Jana and Rob’s dream of running a successful Kiwi café has become a thriving reality.

The Bikery
15 Hanlin Road, Avantidrome, Cambridge

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