East Lothian café named best for Scotland’s cyclists

Carlos Sastre (centre) 2008 Tour de France winner with two Lanterne Rouge customers.
A café in Gifford, East Lothian is Scotland’s top cycling café according to Cycling UK’s annual Cyclist Café of the Year awards.
  • Lanterne Rouge in Gifford chosen as Cycling UK’s Cyclist Café of the Year in Scotland
  • Panel of expert judges including Angellica Bell select inclusive cycling café as Scottish favourite.

The Lanterne Rouge, based on Main Street stood out among its competition not just for its fresh coffee, homemade bakes, and bacon and haggis rolls, but for the positive impact it’s had on the local community.

It is a favoured haunt on the weekends of cyclists of all ages and pedigrees, from seasoned ex-pros to the next generation of Scottish pedallers in their first cycling forays.

The café is named after the award given to the last placed cyclist in the Tour de France, referencing how a red lantern used to hang on the back of passenger trains. In the case of this East Lothian café it can be seen as a name to be proud of.

Out of the many favourite refreshment stops nominated by Scotland’s cyclists, Lanterne Rouge, stood out as the clear winner for Cycling UK’s judges, which included Celebrity Masterchef winner, Angellica Bell.

Angellica Bell said:

“This vibrant, friendly café is a real haven for cyclists – it’s decked out in cycling memorabilia, supplies tools and spare tubes, and serves up the tastiest homemade scones and soup.”

Lanterne Rouge owner Cameron McVean was over the moon with news of his cake, coffee and venue standing in such high regard among his cycling clientele. He said:

“Winning this wonderful award is recognition of the respect held between my great team and our lycra-clad customers. It's heartening to learn that a number of them made the time and took the effort to nominate us. Everything we sell is made on the premises by my marvellous kitchen team and at this time of year we can't bake the scones and make the soup fast enough.”

“Our cycling regulars bring an incredible vibrancy and atmosphere to the cafe, and on Sunday mornings create a beautiful buzz around the place. We provide a haven for cyclists who have had a serious 'mechanical' or indeed a crash. Minor faults are often fixed using our tools and spare tubes and the First Aid Kit.”

It's not just cyclists who have found in the Lanterne Rouge shelter from the storm - the café also played an essential role in helping Cameron and his family recover from the loss of his wife.

“Almost four years ago I lost my wife to cancer.  In 10 weeks I went from family man to widower and single parent. I bought the cafe to bring focus to my life,” he said. “Every year we have a big fund raiser for St Columba's Hospice in Edinburgh in memory of Julia. My cycling customers have been amazing with their generosity and support and their humour and banter has helped me through some tough times.”

One regular customer of the Lanterne Rouge is Cycling UK’s Head of Development, Suzanne Forup. Living in East Lothian, she regularly heads over most weekends to meet up with one of her cycling friends from Edinburgh.

Suzanne said, “Cameron’s a lovely bloke and you really get that community feel when you enter his café. It’s easy to see why it’s the cycling hub in East Lothian and why so many people make the journey from Edinburgh too by bike. I’m so pleased that he’s won this award, as it gives me another great reason to ride over!”

Notes to editors

  1. Cycling UK, the national cycling charity, inspires and helps people to cycle and keep cycling, whatever kind of cycling they do or would like to do. Over a century’s experience tells us that cycling is more than useful transport; it makes you feel good, gives you a sense of freedom and creates a better environment for everyone. www.cyclinguk.org
  2. For more information on the Cyclist Café of the Year, see https://cyclinguk.org/cyclist-cafe-year-2019
  3. Lanterne Rouge is based on 1 Main St, Gifford, Haddington, East Lothian, EH41 4QH and further information is available at: https://www.facebook.com/Lanterne-Rouge-623129234465091/
  4. Photos are available of the café at: https://www.skyfish.com/p/cyclinguk/1623910
  5. For further information on St Columba’s Hospice see: https://www.stcolumbashospice.org.uk/
  6. The full list of winners for Cyclist Café of the Year 2019 are as follows: Lanterne Rouge, Scotland; The Feed Station, England; Pedal Power, Wales; The Auction Room, Northern Ireland; Bank View, Lifetime Achievement; Velolife, People’s Choice.

Press contact information

For more information contact the national Cycling UK Press Office on 01483 238 315, 07786 320 713 or email publicity@cyclinguk.org