Firstly, how are you doing?
I am doing well. Just came back from Italy visiting the Columbus / Cinelli people in Milano. This place is from the dream world of every bike enthusiast. No wonder why they call Columbus the soul of cycling.
Tell us a little bit about 3 Mills and how the brand started.
I used to be a skier and became a cyclist later out of therapeutic reasons. After 20 years in the film industry and another five years in sport management, traveling the world and spending a lot of time in countries with a lot of cycling culture I became homesick. And Munich and its surrounding being one of the best cycling spots in Europe with a huge number of riders I thought it lacks a place which goes beyond a shop or workshop. A place for cycling culture with an open mind. A living room for the community. And after some years of thinking, networking and planning we found this amazing location in the perfect region. And when Cinelli, our main brand and 19 Grams, one of the best coffee roasters in Europe were on board, things went their way.
How long has 3Mills been running?
We opened doors in fall 2021. But than the virus hit us hard and we had to wait out the winter period. Since March 2022 we are really alive.
How does 3Mills fit into the local cycling scene/community?
Within the few months I am confident to say the we became the spot we dreamed of. We have a huge community, even though we are still in our baby shoes. We do a lot of rides for road and gravel. And on regular Tuesdays or Thursdays between a 50 and 80 people show up in the evening. We have a female only Wednesday. But also many people meet to go or come from rides. We are very thrilled to se people coming in here as beginners and in a very short time become avid riders. Also some professionel athletes trust our work shop skills. But we welcome everybody and try not to develop any attitude. Pretty much the claim of Cinelli: "Happy to make another rider happy".
Talk us through an average day at 3Mills.
Coming to the shop around 9am, preparing everything, open doors at 10am. First people, mostly locals or early riders come to have great coffee, croissant or whatever. First clients needing their bikes fixed. Magic Marcus (our bike mechanic) having his first Doppio. And then, depending on the weather the mayhem starts. Since we are a little understaffed, everybody does more than one job. A real structure is pretty difficult, since we all help each other on short notice.
On days with rides the place gets really full from 5pm on. 6pm, when rides leave, it is "loco". Then we get some moments to breath. Last minute clients.
We close doors normally at 7 pm. But this almost never happens. By law we have to close at 8pm. This is when we try to catch up mails and paper work. But sometimes we just chill with a beer or a glass of wine and enjoy or little garden we started growing and chatting with neighbours in this fantastic neighborhood.
But when rides come back…many people stay long to chat with each other. And we just can’t leave. The smiles on the faces just give us the energy to put in all we have.
Are there any high profile riders that are regulars at your store?
As I mentioned above we do maintain some bikes of pros, when they are in home training. For example an American pro riding for a dutch team, some pro triathletes from Iron man to short distance (I know… the thing with short socks and food all over and inside the bike), Will Vousden who rides with Restrap and just did the TCR is also part of our family. Also from Britain is Helen Wyman, 10 times UK-champion and 2 x European champion in CX is always part of our Tuesday rides. Jörg Jaksche, ex pro in the days of Lance and Jan, 6 times Tour de France participant is our next door neighbour.
Also all the qualifiers for the Paris-Brest-Paris, the Brevets start at our place. You have no idea how the place looks, when a 100 randonneurs have breakfast before the ride…
And when the European Championships were in Munich the Dutch track team spend hours here before heading back to the track to do their semi-final.
What made you want to stock Restrap?
Will Vousden asked specifically for the bags. Pretty much the same day, Einhard from Traffic asked me if we would be interested in Restrap. And after knowing that you guys produce in England it fitted our concept to carry european local products as much as possible. We just carry goods we believe in and go along our ethics. And after meeting Restrap at Eurobike in Frankfurt there were no more questions from our side. What great gear you manufacture…all my respect.
What's the most interesting bike you've seen dropped into the shop?
Of course I have to say my CINELLI XCR, lightest steel on the planet and rides like a carbon rocket. We do see a lot of high end Carbon rockets. Rotem, an Iron Man pro from Israel has this black triathlon bike which looks like a stealth bomber. But also Will’s long distance bike, a totally different story. We had a Carbon bike weighing under 6 kg in the shop.
With the shift in the cycling industry catering towards gravel riding, bikepacking and ultra endurance racing, how does 3Mills plan to tap into this new style of riding?
It is already part of our story. As I mentioned all the Brevets start here. We do have Gravel group rides every Tuesday and on Wednesday for the ladies. We only carry road and cross bikes. This includes endurance and gravel in all its colours. It has been part of us from day one.
Do your mechanics and bike builders specialise in anything in particular?
As long as the bike doesn’t have a motor or a suspension…they appreciate clean bikes. But we are specialized on road and gravel. We do not see any cargo or regular city bikes. There are other shops for those needs. Marcus is part of our reputation in doing super clean work on high end bikes but also you can trust us with your beloved vintage steel horse as long as it has a drop bar.
What are 3 Mill's plans for the future?
A lot. First to finally get our website ready. Many plans… some surprises. Keep being unconventional and sticking to our beliefs. Soon for winter we have something special coming up. But this will be announced very soon, when things are worked out.
A big thank you to Jens at 3Mills. You can check out 3Mills in Munich:
3Mills Cycling & Coffee GmbH
Address : Dreimühlenstraße 40, 80469 München, Germany