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9 types of cyclist you’ll find in London

Written by
Charlie Allenby

From Boris bike tourists to lycra-clad Mamils, London is home to all kinds of cyclists – but which one are you?

Brompton gents

Found whizzing around the City from Monday to Friday, these savvy cyclists bought Bromptons to make their commutes from the suburbs easier (some of them have just about cracked the folding and unfolding thing too). Suit and trouser clips are their exercise attire of choice, and a favourite pastime is leaving Lycra-clad lads for dust at the lights.


When not smashing Strava segments around Richmond Park at the weekend, the Mamils (Middle-Aged Men in Lycra) are likely to be found carving up the city streets in fluoro spandex. Their carbon-fibre racing bikes cost more than most people’s salary and every traffic light is a dash for the line.

Hippy bike parents

Making the switch from petrol to pedal power was tricky for the hippy bike parents. For a start, they now can’t go beyond a two-mile radius from their homes. It’s so worth it, though. They’re the epitome of cool at the school gates and their kids arrive in style everywhere they go. Having babies and toddlers in tow is a bit of a balancing act, literally, and they dream of owning cargo bikes, but they’re making it work (as long as it’s in N16).

All the gear, no idea

Helmet? Check. Blinding flashing lights? Of course. Knee and elbow pads? Well, you can never be too careful. This breed of cyclist use their phones’ GPS to get to work, despite taking the same route every day, and can’t leave the house without being shrouded in hi-vis. Other riders give them a wide berth; that’s if they can overtake the fold-out reflectors projecting from their handlebars.

Pashley princesses

After a trip to Amsterdam/Copenhagen/some other European city where looking cool on two wheels is the norm, Pashley princesses across the city fired up eBay and paid eye-watering amounts for really old Dutch bikes. Sure, they’re cumbersome (and secretly not that fun to ride around London), but they help keep their Insta feeds stocked with great #content. And those twee little baskets are the perfect spot for their pooches or a seriously good artisanal spelt loaf.

Modern Shoreditch twats

That whole peak hipster thing really passed the modern Shoreditch twats by. While everyone else moved on (and grew up), they stuck it out, living like it’s 2012, adding tats to their sleeves and riding fixies around the streets of ‘The East End’. When not slaloming and skidding their way through pedestrian crossings, they can be found scrolling through Shpock, looking for new garms after missing out on the latest Supreme drop.

Boris bike tourists

The tube network is confusing and the buses go to weird destinations (are overseas visitors really expected to believe there’s a place called ‘Tally Ho Corner’?). So this adventurous sub-tribe of London tourists decide their best option is jumping on a hire bike to explore a new city, obvs. After leaving a trail of shaken cab and van drivers on the roads, they head for Hyde Park and its traffic-free paths. When not on the bike, they’ll leave it lying on the grass rather than dock it – racking up a huge charge in the process – just in case they can’t find another one.

Cockney lobsters

The moment the first hint of summer breaks through London’s grey clouds, these fellas get their beaten-up bikes out of the shed and hit the canal towpaths around Hackney. Their destination? Always a pub beer garden, of course. To avoid bad tan lines, many opt for the topless look, while anyone following behind gets to take in the sight of the narrowboats and a not-so-narrow builder’s bum.

Bikelife kids

All they’re doing is having a laugh, pulling wheelies and weaving through traffic on a blinged-out, fat-wheeled mountain bike. Yet, for some reason, the killjoys have a problem with it. Sure, they get a bit close for comfort sometimes, and the crew’s row of upturned bikes blocks the pavement outside the local chicken shop, but they’ve got as much right to ride around London as anyone else. Right?

Read about the (wobbly) history of London’s rental bikes

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