Eco-friendly tuk-tuk gives Cardiff an outdoor caffeine hit for lockdown

Handlebar Barista to operate a solar-powered mobile café in Bute Park

A CATERING company has been given the go ahead from Cardiff Council to serve customers in Bute Park from a solar-powered tuk-tuk.

Handlebar Barista will sell their artisan coffee from vintage, pedal-powered trikes and a refurbished tuk-tuk, which is the first in Cardiff to run solely on solar power.

“We can’t wait to bring our coffee to Bute Park. Our eco-friendly vehicles and company ethos of sustainability fit perfectly with its wildlife and natural setting, and it’s going to be a real honour to be able to serve our customers right in the green heart of the city,” said Chris Garrett, co-owner of Handlebar Barista.

Founded in 2015, Handlebar Barista now has a fleet of vehicles. There are two pedal-powered trikes and a sustainable tuk-tuk, making them the “most eco-friendly coffee company” in Cardiff. 

The electric tuk-tuk is the latest addition and was rescued from a west Wales farm then transformed to provide sustainable power via a rooftop solar panel. 

Local artist, Jack Skivens, decorated the tuk-tuk with original artwork. 

The solar-powered tuk-tuk with artwork by Jack Skivens.

Covid-19 has provided some challenges for the refurbishment of the tuk-tuk. With many places shut, it was difficult to get welding done and the back interior built.

However, lockdown has also presented a good opportunity for the mobile coffee company. 

“It is indeed the perfect time to open an outside coffee bar – it is a perfect way for people to get their coffee in a Covid-safe way,” said Mr Garrett. 

The baristas wear masks during service and hand sanitiser is available while you get a caffeine fix as part of your daily exercise. 

Open seven days a week, you can find the cart at one of three spots: Blackweir footbridge, Blackweir Changing Rooms, and on the Taff Trail near to Talybont student accommodation.

Find Handlebar Barista at one of these three locations.

They serve breakfast and lunch menus as well as pastries, ice creams, hot chocolate, teas, and cold drinks.

“Bute Park is such an important part of our city, perhaps more so than ever, so it was always our intention to find an operator who would manage their business in the most environmentally conscious way.

“Working with Handlebar Barista means we’re providing a fantastic opportunity for a growing local business, improving the offer for visitors to the park, and importantly, generating extra funds to help us continue to maintain and improve this world-class green space,” said cabinet member for culture and leisure, Coun Peter Bradbury.

Everything is served from the tuk-tuk.

“We know how important Bute Park is to the people of Cardiff, and are committed to making sure that our presence here adds to everyone’s experience when they visit,” said co-owner, Mr Garrett.

  • Handlebar Barista begins work this week in Bute Park. Go to for opening hours and full details on when they will be at each location.