There’s a new bikeshop café in town.
Well, actually there are several, but I’ve been diligently ignoring them, out of loyalty to Fullcity – where you should go, by the way, and have a coffee, and buy a bike, and eat some of my cake if I ever work out a way of transporting it in one piece from East Dulwich. So, let’s see…
Heading east from Fullcity, we have:
Café Rapha on Clerkenwell Road. Except it looks like that’s closed now. Ah well. All the more custom for Fullcity.
Look Mum No Hands on Old Street. I’ve only been here briefly, to see how it compared to Fullcity, and quickly left when I discovered that their coffee costs something like £2.50, and realized that they probably weren’t going to give it to me for free. But I reluctantly admit that it looks like a really nice place to hang out. They have cakes and things, and beer, and outdoor space, and lovely friendly mechanics and baristas, and a projector. Perhaps when I’m a management conslutant.
CycleLab on Pitfield Street. This is my new discovery. It’s just round the corner from the Foundry, and seems to be on one of the main transport arteries into the city – at least where bicycles are concerned. I spent half an hour sitting outside the other morning with Charlie Roadkill (pictured above, pretending he didn’t know I was taking a photo), and must have seen hundreds of cyclists merrily whizzing down the cycle lane from Dalston. And I thought of that H. G. Wells quote everyone keeps pulling out:
“When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the human race.”
Somehow it’s true. I get an irrational surge of joy when I see so many people riding bikes just to get to work, or to the shops or the pub. Maybe the world’s getting the point after all. This even happens in the mornings, when there are regularly 30 or more cyclists waiting at certain junctions. I’m only slightly less overwhelmed when I have to fight my way through them.
But I was meant to be singing the praises of CycleLab.
They do coffee and juice, making them the ideal hangover hangout, and they’ve got a friendly system whereby they don’t actually give couriers free coffee, but instead ask you to donate whatever you think it’s worth (or whatever you have in your pocket). So the day before payday, or the day after you’ve had to replace your entire drivetrain, they probably won’t mind if you just give them 10p and a bit of fluff. And they sent me to pick up some parts from CycleSurgery in Spitalfields the other day, and paid me in juice. And if you life in north-east London, like the majority of couriers seem to, it’s a very handy spot to spend the first two hours of the day waiting for your first job, and ideally placed to check out the talent, laugh at the nodders, and wave cheerily at your courier friends who are already on their fifth docket.
(Oh, and if you head even further east, there’s Lock 7 on Broadway Market, but I haven’t been there, and I don’t know anyone else who has. I’m sure it’s lovely though.
Are there any more?)