Image: Astonishme – Flickr
Part of the joy of going for a long ride is that you can stop off and get a kick of energy with a shot of caffeine to keep your brain alert (good for spotting potholes). Cycling and coffee seem to have natural cultural partnership aside from the research studies that claim coffee can help your body refuel quicker after a long ride.
There are a number of London coffee shops that are particularly cyclist-friendly and cater for those of us who arrive head to toe in Lycra with their helmets still on. I’ve selected a few of my favourites:
Rapha Cycling Club Cafe, Brewer Street, Piccadilly, London
Rapha is a natural hangout for cyclists because it has fast-become one of the world’s most coveted cycling brands with gorgeous but pricey kit that tempts you from the hanger just beyond their cake arrangement. This place is as dangerous as it is cool because there is the strongest temptation to blow all your money on sexy Rapha kit, accessories and cake. Despite this it has a friendly vibe especially when a cycling race is on and everyone is perched on their stools sipping cappucino’s and musing with one another about what the outcome will be. There is also somewhere to hang your bike but, if like me, you’re on the shorter side, you might need to enlist the help of one of the Rapha guys to get it down! They also win brownie points from me for organizing women’s training rides at points throughout the week in preparation for the Women’s Rapha 100 in July. Make sure you sign up!
The Grind, Lower Richmond Road, Putney, London
You’ll spot the Grind from the number of bikes parked out the front. On warmer days cyclists will prop up on the few tables outside and chat about how their ride has gone. This isn’t technically a cycling cafe in the same vain as Rapha but it is on the route back from Richmond Park and it’s hard to cycle past it without popping in for a coffee. They also do great breakfasts and cakes to get those calories back in after some grueling training. The atmosphere is pretty “cool” with ambient house music in the background and I’ve also discovered that they now also serve wine and cheese, which, in my book, is an added bonus provided you’re done with your riding that day.
Look Mum No Hands, Old Street, London
Although the name of this cafe annoys me because I have never mastered the art of riding a bike with no hands, it is a popular cafe for cyclists and for good reason. Not only do they show films and cycling events on the big screen, they also have two onsite mechanics who can sort out your bike issues whilst you drink your coffee and absorb the chatter of the cycling community. LMNH design their own kit along with some excellent gift bundles of cycling accessories so it’s worth a browse. They also serve beer, again, for when you have finished your riding for the day.
Tried and True, Upper Richmond Road, Putney, London
Conscious that this is my second mention of a Putney café but for those who live in the Southwest of London, Tried and True, like the Grind is also on the route back from popular routes to Richmond or Surrey. Aside from great coffee they also serve THE BEST BAGEL known to the area. It is a very laid back, spacious coffee shop with really friendly staff and plenty of bike racks out the front to tie up your trusty steed. It deserves a mention because it saved me once after a particularly brutal ride during the winter where I was in desperate need of some warmth!
Written by Lorna North of www.queenofthemile.com