Originally published 12/07/2010, updated 22/05/2017
The number of cyclists in London is rising and these happy pedal pushers need fuel. More specifically, they need to find this fuel at a caffeine and sugar tainted watering hole. This helps explain the simultaneous rise of cycling cafes, something that Time Magazine recognised soon after the popular Look Mum No Hands opened.
But these cafes are so much more than coffee and cake. They bring cyclists together in a social environment, inviting people to workshops and events. Those who don’t even own a bike can enjoy relaxing in positive surroundings, ready to be inspired by the Lycra-clad pro sat next to them.
Whether you live north or south of the river, there are plenty of cycling cafes to call in at in your area. Take a look at our guide to see what’s near you.
North London Cycle cafes
Look Mum No Hands Cycle Café
Probably London’s most established bike and beverage meetup spot. Look Mum No Hands Cafes can be found at two locations but it’s the Old Street site that doubles up as a fully functioning workshop. Friendly, knowledgeable staff are on hand to fix up your bike or train you up on one of their courses. Events take place throughout the year too, from documentary screenings to book launches to wine tasting. The LMNH burger is a must try and there’s plenty for the veggies out there! Closes at 10pm.
CycleLab Juice Bar
Located in the heart of Shoreditch, Cycle Juice Bar is as trendy as you’d expect it to be. Time Out named it one of the Top 100 Shops in London for its Square Mile coffees, rejuvenating smoothies and colourful juices. Enjoy sipping on one while perusing the selection of bikes and cycling attire on show. The workshop offers reasonably priced services and they offer support for you to ‘do it yourself’. And it doesn’t just stop at bike repairs and coffee; you can take part in a yoga class for cyclists too (told you it was trendy!).
A bike shop with a café or a café with a bike shop? Either way, they do both very well. Based in the heart of Soho (the name might have already given that away), it’s a great central spot. The café specialises in a bespoke coffee blend with equipment that’s so snazzy, they show the bikes up. The open plan workshop offers a full range of services and there are bikes of all ranges on sale.
Rapha Cycle Club
Globally renowned as a higher-end cycling retailer, Rapha also specialises in events and trips. Very fancy! This flagship store sits in the West End and is home to a huge cafe area where cyclists can meet and greet. The staff take their coffee just as seriously as the bikes, and will happily talk you through their blends. You might even be inspired to take part in one of the many major events that Rapha are involved with. If you in the east, there is a club house in Spitalfields Market too.
MachineSouth London Cycle Cafes
Bermondsey’s first cycling cafe, serving up Monmouth coffee. The attention to detail here doesn’t go unappreciated, from the saddle stools to the bike wheel tables. Treat yourself to cake while waiting for your bike to be repaired in the workshop or take a look at the products on sale. Staff will happily help you pick out a bike or construct a bespoke one. The handy location is just a five minute cycle from Tower Bridge.
Found along the Super Cyclehighway in Camberwell, this is a contemporary concept for bike cafes. It offers the full shebang: a services workshop, custom builds, pool tables and an N64. They also serve up great pizza in their fully licensed bar, which is open until late every night. Whether you have cycling needs or just fancy a cool hangout spot for the evening – this is the place to go. Look out for the site in Battersea too.
Ok, we’re getting seriously cool now. They’ve got Brick Lane bagels on the menu, resident DJs for the events space and bike art for sale. It’s very veggie friendly and the coffee used is Union Coffee. You can also sign up to be in the London Velo Cafe Cycle club and join in on Sunday social rides. Membership also gives you perks including a discount card and a club tee shirt. The full service workshop aims to cater your every (bike related) needs within 24 hours. Check out the green garden too – it’s an excellent spot on a sunny day.
Every level of cyclist is warmly welcomed to Cadence. It boasts a cycling studio where you can join in yoga and Pilates classes, or you can book in to get some physio or sports therapy. Otherwise, stick to the highly-recommended cake in the busy café, which is operated by Tandem Ciclo Café. As well as services in the workshop, Cadence also offers events such as ride-outs and seminars. Oh, and it has a large selection of bikes and gear in its shop too. Is that all enough for you?
If it’s a quick fix you’re after and you happen to be in the south west, pop into Pearson for a service and a damn fine cup of coffee. Named the ‘World’s oldest bicycle shop’ by Guinness World Records, you can enjoy a bit of history too.
What’s your favourite cycling café in London? Have you visited any featured in this article? Got any cake recommendations? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.