With the great cycling weather we’ve been having, I stopped by my bike shop of choice – Greenbelt-owned Proteus Bicycles in College Park – and discovered something new – their Proteus Brews coffee shop is now open, and Proteus has expanded winter hours.
There will be indoor seating after the pandemic but in the meantime, the outdoor tables are under an overhang, so can be used even in the rain. Customers can order online or by phone for delivery to the sidewalk.
The menu includes espresso drinks, homemade chai, cold brew, pour-overs, green and black tea and fresh scones and cookies from Hyattsville’s Shortcake Bakery – a popular rest stop for cyclists in the area. Whole beans to grind at home are also available.
Owner Laurie Lemieux emailed me about the coffee shop:
Our business is doing well, we have a great staff, and we have our coffee shop “Proteus Brews” open now. We are so happy to see so many new riders out there. Once the pandemic eases, we’ll start up group rides and activities again. We want Proteus to be a community space not just for bicyclists, but for all of our neighbors in the Greenbelt-College Park area, and beyond.
Proteus Brews is a dream come true for me as a person who rides to eat! We’re hoping it can be a destination for cyclists in the entire DMV area. We believe in the power of local business so we’re sourcing our fantastic coffee from Open Seas Coffee Roasters, a small roastery in Stevensville, MD that sources from sustainable farmers and gives back 10% of their profits to the farmers. Our delicious fresh pastries come from Shortcake Bakery, a black-woman-owned business in Hyattsville, and from Hawthorne Fine Pastries, a woman-owned business in Severna Park, MD,
Above, Proteus owner/Greenbelt resident Laurie Lemieux with Shortcake Bakery owner Cheryl Harrington. Pastry pickups from Shortcake bakery are now done by bike! (So far no spills!)
Above, coffee shop manager Annie Lemieux, also of Greenbelt.
Proteus Update re: New Location, and Pandemic Times
I asked Laurie how the business had been affected by the move in December of 2018 and then by the pandemic. She wrote:
It felt like a big risk to move from the old Baltimore Ave location to the new spot on Rhode Island Ave in the Hollywood Shopping Center, but I’m so glad we made the leap. The new space is roomy and bright, accessible (no stairs or ramps), and has a huge parking lot for visitors as well as bicycle test rides. We’re also more accessible by bike from the Trolley Trail/Rhode Island Ave bike lanes and Greenbelt via the tunnel at the Greenbelt Metro station. We were thrilled to see a big increase in business in the first year.
In our second year here business increased tremendously, mostly due to the pandemic, which seemed to get everyone out on a bike. We are fortunate to be considered an essential business, so we’ve been operating continuously throughout. In June we started closing on Mondays to give staff a breather, and to work on our coffee shop.
We sold out of our less expensive hybrids and all of our mountain bikes by May, then sold all the road bikes. We’ve never totally run out of bikes but we’ve gotten pretty low at times. We’ve been able to restock bikes, so we have a pretty healthy supply right now of kids’ bikes, hybrids, pedal assist e-bikes, mountain bikes, gravel bikes, and road bikes. Supply is still short, so some parts that we need to fix bikes aren’t available.
Our 2-year anniversary in the new space is December 15. We’re redecorating and hope to have some sort of very socially distanced celebration – it may have to be virtual! We can’t wait to show everyone the new displays and the coffee shop but we’re keeping things strictly covid-safe by doing as much business curbside and online as possible. We do allow folks in for shopping appointments one at a time with a sales associate.
Expanded Bike Trail
A new bike path in our area has been completed, per the county’s announcement:
The College Park Woods Connector is a half-mile connector across the University of Maryland land between the neighborhood of College Park Woods and the Paint Branch Trail. This trail project will link a residential community in the City of College Park with the University of Maryland campus and the Anacostia Tributaries Trail System. It will increase bicycle safety by providing a car-free bicycling and walking alternative to busy Metzerott Road and an at-grade crossing of University Boulevard.
The project scope includes easements across public institutions and private property, a boardwalk across wetlands, wayfinding signs, and advanced-practice shared roadway markings.