If you’re a cyclist – casual or serious – you’ve hit jackpot in visiting East London. There’s an incredible number and variety of shops, workshops and cafes in this corner of London.
Our good friends at BikeWorks are evangelists for peddling two wheels, and the shop and workshop on Bethnal Green Road is something of a spiritual centre.
There are some bikes to buy, but it’s a great place to give a bike a quick tuning, and perhaps more usefully it offers some super courses to get a quick overview of riding safely in a city or even how to do your own repairs, so next time you get a puncture or something a little more advanced. Before you know it, you’ll be talking about sprockets and cranks like an expert.
138-140 Cambridge Heath Road (nearest tube: Whitechapel)
If it’s a straightforward fix of hipness you need, Tokyobike should be on your hit list. The company’s range of bikes are light and elegantly designed, providing a smooth but comfortable ride for people who ride in cities. The shop itself is a tastefully edited collection of bike and non-bike products. Yes, there are bike bags and saddles, but there are also things like magazines and speakers – neither of which we would encourage you to integrate into your commute.
87-89 Tabernacle Street, Shoreditch, EC2A 4BA (nearest tube: Old St)
Look Mum No Hands
Despite the demise of the East London hipster into a symbol of gentrification and pretension, coffees and bicycles have endured to become well and truly part of mainstream culture and they’re brought together under one roof at the friendly and unfussy LMNH. It serves solid portions of the kind of nourishing food one wants mid-way through a big bike ride, and is equally well suited for having a coffee while catching up on emails.
125–127 Mare Street, E8 3RH (nearest train: London Fields, from Liverpool st)
49 Old Street, EC1V 9HX (nearest tube: Barbican, from Aldgate East)
Brick Lane Bikes
East London is responsible for removing the brakes and unleashing the fixed-wheel bicycle onto the world. Over the last decade it’s evolved from a mode of transport to a subculture, and at its epicentre is Brick Lane Bikes – a small unassuming shop and workshop that is the spiritual home of the fixie. It’s worth a visit to see BLB in action, as well as its small clothing range.
118 Bethnal Green Rd, E2 6DG (nearest tube: Aldgate East)
Kennedy City Bikes
Most bikes today come off mass production lines, so it’s a refreshing contrast to see bicycles made by hand in a small workshop in East London. James Kennedy does just that, constructing bikes in Hackney, not far from Qbic. The bikes are pretty affordable (£505 or £590) given they are made by hand using quality materials including leather and wood. You can custom make your bike and get the satisfaction of seeing it coming together before riding off.
Unit D, 100 De Beauvoir Rd, N1 4EN (nearest train: Haggerston, on overground from Shoreditch High St)