Coffee Coalition: Cycling Cafés

Image courtesy of Lock 7

For those who love coffee you would know that the best coffee you’re going to find is at one of many independent cafe’s around London, and they would probably be on your daily agenda.  A while ago we saw larger coffee corporations starting to look to the independent’s for design and coffee-making tips in an attempt to reach back out to those choosing independent coffee shops over larger corporations.

With a selection of independent coffee shops achieving what many corporations can only hope to achieve with regards to coffee and design, people are now looking for the next new and exciting offer when it comes to coffee. With the new bike sharing scheme starting this month London’s Cycle Cafe’s are becoming even more popular as the hangout of choice for café and coffee lovers with two wheels.

Rapha Cycling Club

146-148 Clerkenwell Road, EC1R 5DG

Rapha is a brand of luxury cycle clothing created in London, normally sold online or via Condor Cycles. It has been building its profile for the last six years through clever marketing such as the excellent coffee table magazine of retro cycle racing, Rouleur; by sponsoring various cycle races; and even sponsoring a professional cycling team (in collaboration with Condor).

This pop-up exhibition space and café is its latest endeavour, only open until the end of July. It looks like an art gallery, with its old-time cycling shirts hanging in the windows, flat-screen TVs showing the Giro d’Italia on Eurosport and a black-and-white slideshow of beautiful stills from Rouleur. Fancy road bikes are there to be gawped at – some belonging to customers, some display models. Rapha Club has an extensive range of Rapha products including a limited edition collection of Cycle Club items, as well as food and drink. The store allows cyclists to get their bikes fine tuned whilst enjoying the perks of the café culture.

Lock 7

129 Pritchard’s Road, Hackney, E2 9AP

Lock 7 is located at the junction of three cycle lanes, on the 7th Lock of the Regents Canal, at the end of Broadway Market. The venue includes a cafe serving food and drinks and also provides cycle repair services and a selection of cycle accessories or second-hand cycles.

The shop opened in 2008 and was inspired by services in Copenhagen. The space and the perfect location of this venue with the view of the canal with cyclists passing is a great place for breakfast or as a pitstop on your journey along the Regents Canal. Lock 7 are interested in ways to get people cycling and having fun whilst providing good coffee and cafe services.

The cafe’s interior is bright with huge windows and white and concrete. The simple wooden offerings of furniture work perfectly with the workshop surroundings. With bikes hanging form the ceilings and wheels attached the walls Lock 7 has a lively feel to it fitting its purpose as a bike shop café.

Look Mum No Hands

49 Old Street, EC1V 9HX

Look Mum No Hands has become a popular destination for cyclists to meet, drink and work on their bikes. A bike focused venue with cafe and garden areas for people who just come to relax and a bike shop to fix up their bikes.

The cycling café provides events and entertainment such as weekly route planning sessions, bicycle film nights, exhibitions, and legal advice. They also screen live cycling events and are currently screening the Tour de France. The cafe itself serves home-made food, coffee and hot drinks as well as a variety of belgian beers, wines, and juices. The interior of the cafe is light and airy with an interesting mix of vintage bikes and furniture such as vintage desks and benches and bold graphic window vinyls advertising events and showing off vintage and customised bikes.

Towpath Cafe & Route Canal

36 De Beauvoir Crescent, Hackney, N1 5‎

A new café venture from Italian-American food writer Lori De Mori (author of ‘The Real Flavour of Tuscany’) and her husband food photographer Jason Lowe. This is a stunning stop off and destination along Regents Canal. The cafe is inset into two open units that line the Canals towpath, looking over the canal. The natural style and design of this cafe stands out from the usual offerings of this area, transporting you away from the chaos of Kingsland Road. The location serves as a great place to watch joggers and cyclists go by, many parking up for a coffee to have in (they don’t do takeaway).

The coffee is up there with some of the best independent offerings and the food is delicious and unique. Weather permitting the Towpath has tables along the edge of the path, but failing that one of the units holds a long wooden sharing table and bench with indoor heaters creating a cosy seating booth.

Next to the cafe is another unit taken over by a bike shop ‘Route Canal’. Located on one of the busiest cycle routes in North London the bike shop acts as a workshop to the Towpath Cafe and its many cycling customers.

7 responses to “Coffee Coalition: Cycling Cafés

  1. some great places there…south east london needs a similar cafe place…i wonder what the set up costs are ?

  2. Go for it Dave! Set it up close to a popular cycling path like Towpath Cafe and Lock 7 did or by a very busy route-to-work street as ‘look mum no hands!’ and Rapha have done. Please let us know if you guys know of any nice cyclist cafes out there we are always on the lookout!

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  7. There’s a really nice shop a bit further north in the beautiful area of Stockbridge in Edinburgh, called Ronde.

    Really nice staff and coffee!

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