If there’s a greater match than coffee and cycling, we haven’t found it yet. It’s a chance to rest weary legs, get a well-needed caffeine boost and maybe indulge in a blood-sugar-spiking slab of cake.
There’s been an upsurge in the number of cycling cafes over the last few years, especially in the capital. We’ve picked out four of London’s favourites.
Look Mum, No Hands! – 49 Old Street, EC1V 9HX
Look Mum, No Hands! is a quirky little haven for cyclists in the achingly cool Shoreditch, so there’s always a fixie or three chained up outside. While it may have all the hallmarks of hipster snobbery, it’s anything but. There’s a great emphasis on community and inclusion, and they make it known that everyone is welcome, from beginner to pro. Their extensive menu reads like a gastropub, and these guys really know their coffee. Baristas are knowledgeable, friendly and more than willing to recommend something to your liking. And if you fancy something a little stronger, there’s an extensive range of craft ales.
When they’re not brewing coffee, there are plenty of cycling workshops, panels and events to get involved in – beginner’s maintenance, art exhibitions, bike jumble sales amongst many others – an eclectic mix indeed.
Rapha CCLDN – 85 Brewer Street, W1F 9ZN
Situated inside the shop premises of high-end cycle gear makers, Rapha, the café is an equally high-end place to regain some energy after a hard ride. The carefully thought-out menu is split into pre-ride, on-the-bike and post-ride options, and uses ingredients sourced from some of the world’s best cycling locations. On race days, the café gets packed with punters staying to watch the action on the numerous big screens, and the menu changes according to the race’s country.
It’s not the cheapest place in the world, but if your wallet can handle the dent (and resist the lure of new clothing), it’s a fabulous place to stop for a brew.
CyclePS – 41 Camberwell Church Street, SE5 8TR
A welcome addition for those south of the river, CyclePS is part-shop, part-repair workshop and part-café. The menu is slim (offering stone-baked pizzas, and little else), but the coffee is reasonably priced and the cake is plentiful. It was always designed as a place to grab a bite to eat and drink while you wait for your bike to be fixed rather than a go-to hang-out, but it certainly deserves a spot on our list. Staff know their stuff, and custom builds are really their thing – they stock all manner of frames and components, and can give you some really solid advice on building your perfect ride.
Cadence Performance – 2A Anerley Hill, SE19 2AA
If you’re serious about cycling, Cadence is the place to be. Much more than a place to stop for tea, the aim of the game at Cadence is to improve your performance. Dubbed as a ‘gym for cyclists’, there’s a real mish-mash of events here, from yoga classes to fitness testing to bike repairs.
There are tight jerseys ahoy in the café, largely frequented by fitness buffs celebrating new personal bests with a cup of the strong stuff, or recharging with a protein-packed energy bar. It’s become a favoured haunt amongst cyclists, and is now a meeting point for many of London’s larger cycling clubs, despite being a bit out of the way in Crystal Palace. Don’t be surprised to find yourself striking up conversation with a stranger to compare your bike specs – there’s a real sense of community here.
Whether you prefer coffee or tea, there’s a place to recharge in the capital for every cyclist.