Cup of coffee a must for cyclists, says Xu

Xu Gang, a Jiading native and retired professional cyclist, is recommending a lifestyle that combines cycling with drinking coffee.
Ti Gong

Xu Gang serves coffee at the recent Skoda HEROS Cycling Series China 2018 in Shanghai.

Xu Gang, a Jiading native and retired professional cyclist, served coffee at Dishui Lake to competitors at the recent Skoda HEROS Cycling Series China 2018 in Shanghai. Xu was recommending a lifestyle that combined cycling with drinking coffee.

Xu spent four years undergoing tough training at Jading’s adolescent sports school. A combination of athleticism and strong will, he reaped the benefits at the national cycling championships from 2008 to 2012.

He signed up with Italy’s Lampre Team in 2013, becoming China’s first cyclist to join a world top professional road cycling team and also China’s first member of the Union Cycliste Internationale.

Now retired, Xu opened his Pro XG Cafe and Cycles in Jiading. A place for both sports and leisure, the bike lounge serves customers coffee, as well as selling bike-related products.

Xu’s reputation as a cyclist makes his coffee store on Xincheng Road stand out among other cafes with a cycling theme.

Xu’s interest in coffee can be traced back to his career with the Italian cycling team.

The team would stop to drink a cup of espresso when passing a cafe and resume their training afterward. Xu had never expected training to halt for a cup of coffee.

But it was during their coffee breaks that he and his teammates built trust in each other. Their coffee break might last from minutes to several hours, becoming an essential part of their daily life.

“In Italy, people stop chatting when they stop drinking coffee,” said Xu.

He added: “Italians judge whether you are a local or not by how you master knowledge and skill of coffee making. Generally speaking, it’s OK to drink espresso at any time of a day. But if you drink cappuccino after 10:30am, you are telling Italians that you are a foreigner.”

Xu has spent hundreds of thousands of yuan on coffee machines. He selects the beans, roasting, griding and brewing by hand. Every day he drinks a cup of espresso before doing anything else. He turned himself into a vender selling coffee during cycling or triathlon competitions.

“Young cyclists in China are also willing to socialize during their coffee drinking. I made quite a few friends after I opened the coffee store,” said Xu.

Ti Gong

Xu Gang at his cafe shop

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