Susan Stokhof of Le Velo Cycling Boutique

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A self-proclaimed “food-person” and bicycling enthusiast, Susan Stokhof is the epitome of a dynamic Victoria local—by day working as a business analyst, and by night and weekend operating the elegant online cycling boutique, Le Vélo. When Stokhof heads out for a ride with a hand-painted wooden helmet, stylish pannier, and wearing a cute skirt (made possible by using the handmade cycling garter), her pedal-powered outing will surely culminate in a treat somewhere that takes its food and coffee very seriously.


Stokhof’s business sells bicycle-delivered cycling solutions (hand wrapped with charming little trinkets such as bicycle pins and beautiful gift bags).  Perusing Le Vélo’s store, you will see everything from gorgeous bike-friendly bags to attachments for carrying a bottle of wine to your favourite cycling destination. Stokhof aims to “bring sexy back to cycling,” refusing to join the unflattering spandex-clad masses while choosing a healthy and environmentally friendly form of transportation in this cycling-crazed city. Stokhof connects with the local movers and shakers (even exchanging tweets with the mayor) who aim to work with the city to expand the cycling infrastructure.


Susan Stokhof with her husband and dog

Susan Stokhof with her husband and dog

En route to Fol Epi or Café Fantastico, you’ll find Stokhof either on an upright Dutch cruiser in a skirt and maybe a rain cape, or on a touring bike, still with the skirt but with spandex hidden underneath. “Cycling allows you to see your community in a different way and engage in ways you can’t when trapped in a vehicle,” she says.


The best thing about riding around Victoria is the payoff of well-deserved epicurean eats! The aforementioned Fol Epi is a common stop for Stockhof, right off the Galloping Goose bike trail, and offering her favourite Albacore Tuna baguette sandwich on a fresh artisan baguette with a chaser of pastry, creating an experience that she describes as “like walking into a boulangerie in France.” Next door to the bakery is, of course, Café Fantastico, where Stokhof orders her favourite espresso. Stokhof also adores local cheeses and wine, evidenced by the French picnic-friendly accessories she has in Le Vélo’s shop.


A self-proclaimed pseudo-vegetarian (she can take or leave meat, but when she indulges she is choosy about its source), Stockhof enjoys local meats, liverwurst, and BBQ pork from places such as The Whole Beast, and celebrates humanely raised meats as an accompaniment to the organic diet that fuels her cycling jaunts. For a night out that she and her partner will, without fail, cycle to in their finest clothes, she favours Italian—naming Zambri’s and Pizzeria Prima Strada as preferred spots. And whether or not you have pedaled to dinner, Stokhof recommends everyone try the Marinara pizza with funghi at Pizzeria Prima Strada.


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Written By:

Gabrielle Pope is a freelance writer of plays, short/long fiction, young adult novels, creative non-fiction, and whimsical memoir. With an MFA in Creative Writing from UBC, a love of ice hockey, rescue animals, and fermentation, ...

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