Cyclists are eternally hungry. Long, Sunday club cycles and missions to cycle to Brighton and back in a day (check out The London Ditchling Devil) require sustenance. Or maybe it’s simply because it’s one of the few sports in which you can participate on a full stomach? (Take that, runners!) And if you’re anything like me, you’ll use being a cyclist as an excuse to eat more than anybody else at the table, whether you’ve been on your bike or not. So it was inevitable that cycling and café culture would become one. And now, as well as a cracking brownie and a coffee, you can get your bike fixed at London’s growing gaggle of cycling cafes. Or, what the heck, get a shiny new one! Here are five of our favourite cycling cafes in south London…
Words: Victoria Purcell
1 Cadence, Crystal Palace
Cadence is your pedalling rate – the number of revolutions of the crank per minute. I’d been cycling for four years before I even heard this term, so it’s a safe bet these guys know their bikes. This keen bunch of peddlers were the first to fathom that cyclists spend a lot of time in bike shops, bike workshops and cafes, so they decided to combine all three under one roof. They recently teamed up with Fee & Brown, who founded their first café in Beckenham and serve Caravan Coffee, homemade cakes and fresh produce. They’re located just in the right spot for cyclists returning from a strenuous Sunday out on the Kent hills, well, so long as you can get up that last hill to SE19!
Open daily at 2A Anerley Hill SE19 2AA; 020 8676 8825; cadenceperformance.com
2 Cycle PS, Camberwell
Cycle PS went and modernised the cycling café concept, plonking themselves conveniently on those newfangled Cycle Superhighway routes. The Camberwell store (there’s one in Battersea too) is on the CS5 cycle route, with a fully functioning workshop, new bikes, custom builds and accessory sales, as well as a licensed café and bar serving stone-baked pizzas – genius – as well as their own-blend coffee, homemade toasties and cakes. It also stays open late each night so you can enjoy a game of pool or play on the N64 cos, you know, that commute home is just toooo far without a little pit stop!
Open daily at 41 Camberwell Church Street SE5 8TR; 020 3719 5736; cycle-ps.co.uk
3 London Velo, Deptford
Trust the Deptford set to come along and up the cool factor by 70%. London Velo has good coffee, courtesy of East London-based Union Coffee Roasters, cooked breakfasts, bagels, cakes, veggie and vegan options, a garden and a dog! While you’re working your way through that lot leave your bike in the capable hands of the on-site mechanic, who will fix those pesky niggles (or consult the experienced race mechanic, for serious speed). But if you’re more of the evening kind, there’s also Meantime beer and pizza from The Big Red Bus round the corner. Cos local’s best! And if you rock up just for the eats and find yourself enamoured by it all, they also have bikes available to hire for £20 a day.
Open daily at 18 Deptford High Street SE8 4AF; ldnvelo.co.uk
4 Pedal Back Cafe, Tooting
As well as serving hearty cooked breakfasts, lunches full of goodness, cake (hello, Guinness and chocolate cake), homemade biscuits emblazoned with ‘pedal back café’, grab-n-go cycling energy treats by @thepedalbites and artfully decorated cappuccinos, this place in Tooting’s covered market offers walk-in and pre-booked bike repairs. They also run BYOB introduction to bike maintenance courses, which sound like a hoot (the next one is on Thursday 8 October from 6pm-9pm).
Closed Mondays. Unit 66-68, Tooting Broadway Market SW17 0RL; @PedalBackCafe
5 Machine, Bermondsey
All the gear – bikes, components, accessories, helmets, panniers, tools and even scooters – and plenty of ideas, this lil’ place loves bikes, Monmouth coffee, cake and good sandwiches. Even the tables, chairs and stools are made from upcycled bike bits. Founded as the Velodro bicycle shop in 2011, it morphed into Machine in 2014, when husband and wife owners Vitas and wife Victoria decided to do their part to make cycling in London a friendly, affordable way of life. Nice mission statement.
Open daily at 97 Tower Bridge Road, Bermondsey SE1 4TW; 020 7407 4287; machinelondon.cc