It's not just that you can feel self-righteous about your eco-friendly transport not polluting the planet; it's not just that you can feel smug about getting in a spot of exercise to burn off last night's curry; it's not just that it's a completely free way to get around... it's more that there's something inimitably civilised about riding around a city on a bicycle. (Unless, of course, you're clad in lycra with a neon document bag lashed to your back peddling hell-for-leather on the world's scariest courier route. Decidedly less civilised.)
Whatever your reasons for taking to two wheels, you'll need a bike (unless you hop on one of Boris')... so take a look a our list of hand-picked bike shops in London. Whether it's the calibre of bikes, level of service, quirkiness of the shop or darned-right awesomeness of the staff - they've earned their place in our list of London's Best Bike Shops.
Lock 7 Cycle Cafe
5 Broadway Market Mews Shoreditch E8 4TSRegion:
Haggerston (0.3 miles)
This tiny cafť and repair shop has recently undergone some refurbishment thatís taken it to the next level. The level of Ďyes, Iíd definitely take my bike there!í Plonked next to the canal at the bottom of Broadway Market, one of its greatest successes has been to remain free; free from an attitude that such a desirable location could inspire. Bravo! And bravo for the quick drop in jobs you do, your reasonable prices and your appreciation of beautiful old bikes.
- CAFES, SNACK SHOPS & TEA ROOMS
- OUR REVIEW 8/10
- USERS 8/10
145 Stockwell Road Stockwell SW9 9TQRegion:
Stockwell (0.3 miles)
This one has history. Set up in the eighties with the idea of providing Brixton with some community cycle care, Brixton Cycles is a workers co-op that offers some of the best service south of the river. Buy anything from commuter bikes to racers, as well as skateboards and long boards and never look back Ė unless your cycling of course, then always look back, and right, and left, and forwards.
93 Great Portland St. Fitzrovia W1W 7NXRegion:
Oxford Circus (0.2 miles)
The Velorution will not be televised! It will be out on the radlands of London and Velorution will be the ones providing the two-wheeled chariots. The biggest stockist of town bikes and folding bikes in the UK, so expect plenty of Pashleys, Bromptons and Gazelles. Whatís more, they offer great service and have a showroom so big youíll not have to worry about the nightmare scenario of launching a domino rally of bikes. Yes, weíve done it before.
1 King's Bench Street Southwark SE1 0QXRegion:
Waterloo East (0.2 miles)
Another community choice now because thatís just the way I get down. Squeaky Chains is different to most businesses in that itís completely non-profit, itís aim to provide for the community around it and offer the less fortunate a little fortune. An excellent team of mechanics keeps the Southwark store ticking over and if youíre in the market for a second hand bike and donít fancy supporting bike theft (NEVER support bike theft!) then this is the place.
Look Mum No Hands
49 Old Street The City EC1V 9AQRegion:
The CityNearest Station:
Barbican (0.2 miles)
Part cafť, part workshop, part social hub, it seems Look Mum No Hands can do no wrong. Itís the best place in London to watch the Tour de France and other Classics and they serve some mighty fine beers. Youíll also find a range of bike accessories and components, plus customer-borrowed bikes displayed to make you drool.
Brick Lane Bikes
118 Bethnal Green Road Bethnal Green E2 0EARegion:
Bethnal GreenNearest Station:
Bethnal Green (0.1 miles)
According to the rumour mill, the service at Brick Lane Bikes is up and down, but having offered my patronage a number of times I can only say good things. The collection of vintage racing frames alone makes this one of Londonís best bike shops but add its ability to acquire specialist parts and accessories and weíve got us a doozy. Too cool for school? School sucks!
51 Gray's Inn Road Holborn WC1X 8PPRegion:
Chancery Lane (0.2 miles)
Not many stores have their own pro team, but then Condor is more than just a store. Despite the obvious style and finesse of their own range of bikes they never fail to make a beaten up old racer feel at home. Come for the repairs and stay for the array of Condor frames, displayed to get your mouth watering - they'll cost you more than some cars but who needs a car in London?
123 Essex Road Islington N1 2SNRegion:
Ever felt a tad uncomfortable on your bike? Mosquito Bikes will be pleased to hear it and even more pleased to fix that for you. Everything they sell, from Kuota road bikes to Demon Frameworks pistas is high quality. Head down, get sized up and say hello to the world of custom bikes where backs never ache and saddles never make sores. Bliss. They donít come cheap but what price can you put on comfort, durability and free lifetime servicing?