London is best explored on a bike, preferably wearing full lycra. The community spirit among devotees is pretty strong too. The best way to get in on it is at one of the capital’s niche cycle cafés – pit-stops where cyclists can get repairs done while downing a top-notch coffee and loading up on pie for the audax ahead.
Whether you own a bike, or you’re just in it for the espressos – this is your ultimate guide to cycle cafés in London.
The best cycle cafés in London
This cycle shop on Hoxton Street refurbishes old bikes and sells bikes remade from old and new parts. It also serves cake and local Dark Arts coffee (with a punchy two shots as standard).
Popular with City cycle couriers, this friendly little shop combines knowledgeable service, a few bikes and accessories, and a very healthy little café. Freshly squeezed fruit juices and smoothies are the speciality (and they’ll even rent you a smoothie-making bicycle if you’re so inclined) – but there’s also Square Mile coffee, tea and a few cakes for a little indulgence. Seating is limited to a few stools in the window or a bench outside next to the cycle path.
Lycra. For. Days. Slightly more edge is to be found in the Balham branch than the Putney one. Bikes hang from every bit of wall and ceiling space in both branches. The woodfired pizza oven is open from noon with combos of rustic ingredients named after famous European cycling climbs.
ITV’s Tour de France coverage is filmed over the road in Ealing Studiosso expect to see the crew heading over for their morning coffee. There has never been a more bouncing food baby than that provided by the Hungry Box: grilled chicken, baked aubergine in tomato sauce and spicy potatoes.
This is the more bohemian Richmond set who have justified brunch with a short pedal along the river. The menu has a distinct country tea rooms vibe. The quiches and pies are great.
A high-quality bike café on Deptford High Street, serving simple but good food and drink.
Here you'll find people having relaxed meetings, digital nomads on their laptops, and a staff member wearing a ‘brexshit’ T-shirt. Cycling talks are regularly hosted here, cementing it in London’s scene. It looks like a place where you’d order avocado toast so you should really go ahead and order the avocado toast. Add a poached egg for £2.
A happy-go-lucky, grease-free (their words) cycle café in Borough. Work your way through the menu of Monmouth coffee, sandwiches, cakes and a hearty ‘stew of the day’ when you’ve had your fill of tires, headsets, crank tools and the like.
On a side road between Essex Road and Liverpool Road, this repair shop and café has the bonus of a leafy little garden in which to sip your coffee while your bike gets serviced. The menu’s very limited, so best stick to the cappuccino.
DJs play from 2pm on Saturdays and we’re pretty sure you’re not allowed to sit on the upper deck without a pair of designer sunglasses. Arrive midmorning to make sure you get a spot. Food-wise you can get any of its locally made ice creams as a milkshake and the brownies also slap.
A flagship for the eponymous bicycle brand, this East Sheen shop has a natty café attached, as well as a TV for screening the year’s big races. There’s good coffee to boot: a blend sourced from Jersey coffee shop/cycle shop Big Maggy’s, created by former Paris Roubaix winning cyclist Magnus Backstedt. Just FYI.
Rapha is now the coffee shop and store of choice for the discerning (read: moneyed) cyclist. Besides stacks of beautiful cycle clothing at eye-popping prices, there’s a gorgeous café with chummy service. It’s the venue of choice for cycle teams to celebrate (including Team Sky, back when Rapha used to provide the kit).
Expect good-looking couples in their thirties enjoying the airy vibe. The cool aesthetic is like Instagram IRL. Breakfast is served until 3pm so go on a big loop and then order the full english. You can even reward yourself with a tipple (if you’ve not planned an epic ride home).