Walking down to Station Square in the charming Deeside village of Aboyne, I couldn’t help but think back to my university days – of sitting in a lecture theatre at the University of Glasgow and being posed with this simple task: do not think of a pink elephant. Good one, Wegner. As if by magic, my minds eye saw exactly that.
And as we reached the Square and looked up to the bright Spider on a Bicycle sign, I was compelled to picture a large black cartoon creature, with shoes on, and his too many legs making for a clumsy attempt to pedal the wheels.
We soon learned that it was the misremembering of the title of a collection of children’s poems that gave the cafe its name but rather cleverly, its ability to make your mind conjure such strong imagery, makes it all the more memorable – even before you enter through the doors.
Once through, it was clear that Spider on a Bicycle is a home from home. A creative space. And an ethical place.
With its welcoming staff, the warmth from the wood burning stove and eclectic decor – from its painted furniture to clashing textiles – it immediately makes an impression on you. And once again I was transported back to my old city. Its quirkiness would not be out of place on Bryes Road – serving up its speciality teas and coffees and good, local food to a mix of excitable students, trendy retirees, young mums and professionals seeking a different sort of desk.
We took a seat and browsed the menu – beautifully simplistic. Two mexican bean soups with soft bread and butter it was. I always think a simple menu is a sign of good things to come. And it was. The food, all locally and ethically sourced (the majority coming from small producers in Aberdeenshire who they support with a passion), is handmade on site and was just what we needed for a cool day. The subtle spices warmed us from the inside out.
After we had enjoyed our soup and browsed the selection of cakes (we chose a banana loaf and a pecan brownie for afters – yum!), Lindsay got busy capturing the spirit of the place and I sat back and looked up to enjoy the architectural details preserved during the renovation. It was full of character and it was obvious that the cafe’s code of ethics had not just been applied to the food served here. The contents of Spider on a Bicycle has all been acquired second hand, salvaged or discovered in a charity shop. The strong belief in ‘doing as much as we can to reduce wastage, re-using, and ‘up-cycling wherever we can’ is something any business should celebrate but what struck me as even more impressive was that the cafe owners were two environmentally-minded young ladies (also sisters). From traditional tartan to 70s upholstery, vintage china tea cups, retro glass lampshades and an industrial inspired counter – the juxtaposed decor somehow worked.
And so, we raised our tea cups to Spider on a Bicycle and two young female entrepreneurs creating something to be proud of in rural Scotland.
P.S Spider on a Bicycle also welcomes your four-legged friend. We’ll be back soon for more good food and drinks with our faithful friends in tow.