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“This domestique doesn’t vacuum” – Street Beat, Hamilton Spectator, October 6

By October 7, 2010No Comments
Krys Hines and Domestique Cafe Cyclo Sportif in Dundas

Krys Hines and Domestique Cafe Cyclo Sportif in Dundas

Quoted from Paul Wilson’s Street Beat, Hamilton Spectator, Wednesday, October 6.

This world has about 17,000 Starbucks. There is but one Domestique-Café Cyclo Sportif, and you have to go looking for it.

It’s on a runt of a street called Miller’s Lane, just off the Dundas main drag. Domestique is in an old brick house, porch out front, hardwood floors inside, prize bikes on the wall.

There’s a blackboard by the front steps that says, “We may not be a Starbucks, but we’re OK with that.”

That’s Krys Hines talking, the man who opened Domestique on the first day of spring. He actually likes Starbucks, says they do a nice job roasting the beans and presenting the product. And he knows his coffee, has even judged barista competitions.

It looks as though he will have the chain for a neighbour next summer. The old sub shop on King would come down, and in its place a shiny new Starbucks would rise, just steps from Domestique.

Like the men of the brutal Tour de France, Hines is not afraid of competition. “It’ll keep my feet to the fire, make me do my best,” he says.

The Domestique in his café’s name does not refer to somebody who does the vacuuming, though Hines’s place does have a homey feel.

Domestique — French for servant — is the term used in cycling to describe racers who help the designated leaders on their team, even at the expense of their own performance.

Hines says he’s a domestique. He may not be at the head of the pack, but he is still a man of passion, ready to work hard. “And I’ve never worked harder than at this place,” he says.

He is 37, grew up in Toronto, Yonge and Eglinton. His parents divorced when he was four. Dad went off to Europe and Hines spent every summer there until he was 15. “We would always get in the car and go down the French coast. That’s where I caught the bug for cycling.”

In high school, he says, “I was bike nerdy. I should have been smoking pot and having a good time. But I was shaving my legs and trying to read French and Italian magazines to find out what happened in a race.”

He got his first bike-shop job while in Grade 9, pumping up tires and installing toe clips at Pedlar Cycle. Still in school, he and a friend started Ripe Pipe Bicycles in their basement, sold about 25 of them.

He eventually ended up working with Mike Barry, whose son Michael rode the Tour de France this past summer — as a domestique.

Barry opened a storied shop called Bicyclesport in downtown Toronto 40 years ago, the dawn of the quality 10-speed in Canada. (The tourer I bought from him in 1975 is still on the road.)

Barry gave birth to the Mariposa bike, and for several years Hines was building those frames. He remembers it too well, working in a sweaty basement shop on Front Street. His uniform — apron, bikini briefs, goggles and Birkenstocks.

Hines does ride. “When I’m fit, I can go pretty fast. I have the muscle memory to do 200 k.”

Coffee’s been his other big kick, ever since working at the Coffee Tree in Forest Hill in his 20s. He became a roaster, later creating his own blends.”

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