Spin Burger mixes burgers, beer and bikes in Midtown Sacramento

There is no question about that fact that Sacramento has changed in the last couple of years. Bike culture is in full effect.  And every culture needs its patrons.

Fred Haines is doing his part to help with that patronage role.  Fred is President – and Executive Chef – of SRO Inc. SRO is responsible for dining establishments throughout the greater Sacramento area, including Bistro 33, Riverside Clubhouse, Suzie Burger and Side Bar.  There have been hints of Fred Haines’s interest in cycling before.  Riverside Clubhouse used to offer a special on Friday nights to folks that rode in on their bikes.  Many in the area have even ridden with him before.  However, his latest endeavor Spin Burger takes his cycling interests a step further.

Spin Burger strikes a balance between burger joint and bar.  In fact, the entire center of the dining area is a bar with not only cocktails and wine, but many great beers on tap.  The food is good, and priced very reasonably.  I sat down for an ostrich burger, fries and a drink for around $10.  And we’re not talking beef (or bird, in my case) encased in bread with some mayo and catchup.  The burgers offered at Spin Burger clearly show a fine dining influence, with tasty sauces that are just a tad unique.

However, it is not the food nor drink that will catch your attention when you walk in.  Instead, every decoration, every piece of art, every piece of decor screams out “cycling.”

As soon as you step in the door, the walls of the entry way are covered in cycling related decals.  Immediately in front of you as you stand in the entrance is the bar.  The ceiling above the bar sports a rotating collection of wheels of various sizes and styles – all perpetually spinning thanks to a series of belt drives.

The cycling-related decor doesn’t stop there.  One end of the dining area is decorated with a floor-to-ceiling Colnago banner.  Fully built bicycles hang from hooks in the ceiling in another area of the dining room.  A custom built “low-rider” style cruiser sits above the main entrance.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Fred and discuss his motivations, vision and history.  It quickly became clear to me that the “cycling schtick” was not a simple marketing gimmick for Fred Haines.  Instead, it was the utilization of a commercial venture to help promote a hobby, sport and lifestyle that he enjoys personally.

When Fred states that he is active in the cycling world, it is not simply as a guy going out and riding the American River bike trail on the weekends.  Fred and his organization have put real sponsorship dollars behind Davis Bicycle Club, Team Revolutions and other local bicycle interests.  I also have information from a couple of different sources that Spin Burger will be helping to back the Folsom Bike Masters team.

It quickly became clear to me during the interview that Fred was willing to put his proverbial money where his mouth was with respect to supporting the local cycling community.  He talked about getting a program in place where “…if you belong to a team, or you belong to a shop, you’ll have a 10% discount card at Spin.”  He went even further to state that “..if you’re active in cycling, you’ll be able to have a discount in this restaurant because of that activity.”

Fred’s cycling chops run deeper than that however.  Not only does he sometimes race himself, he as connections with pro cycling.  “I’m the chef for BMC when BMC comes into town,” Fred explained.  “I do all the cooking for the BMC training camps [in this area].”  He went on to talk about the possibility of Spin Burger becoming the “BMC hub” when they come to town for the next Amgen Tour of California.

He is working to make the facility even more bike friendly by augmenting the available bike parking.  All of midtown suffers from a lack of available parking, and Fred is working with the city to get ample spaces available at the restaurant.

One of the keys to Spin Burger that sets is apart from other loosely cycle “themed” business is the inclusion of GoldSprints equipment right in the establishment.  Fred told JustAnotherCyclist tht the original genesis of the cycling motif found an expression at Interbike, where he was introduced to stationary bike racing equipment.

The inaugural race will be this Saturday, December 11. After that “every Wednesday night will be spin sprints,” Fred explained.  “We’ll have bracket races.  Come challenge your friends.”  The sprints will be 50 meter events, on stationary bikes.  You’ll start with a 1 minute warm up, and then two racers will compete to be the fastest to finish the 50 meter “virtual” distance on a bike on rollers.  Video will show the event live on television monitors to make it easy for all to see.

Throughout the interview, Fred continually came back to his desire to “interlock with the cycling community.”  He spoke of plans to start rides from the restaurant, and even the possibility of hosting crits or other races in midtown.

There’s no question about it – cycling in midtown is on the upswing  Now there’s a restaurant to add to our list of hangouts.  And we’ve got Fred Haines – a true patron of cyclists of all styles.