7 Of The World's Coolest Bike Shops

Where to get a coffee, a tan or even a date with your new set of wheels

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Without wanting to come over all Swiss Tony, as it were, a good bike shop is like a good woman (bear with us) — it knows how to multitask.

OK, so there are some very good bike shops that only know how to sell and/or fix bikes, and they know that so well that there’s no need for them to know anything else. (There’s also some pretty single-minded women out there, but hey.)

But if you’re looking to get more than a transaction for a bike, here are seven establishments to drop in to (including one that you might even ride out of with a woman).

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1 | The best bike shop to get a coffee in

Kinoko, London
Formerly Tokyo Fixed, this shop has changed its name, moved into bigger premises and now serves up a damn fine cup of coffee to boot. But what is it about cyclists and coffee?

“At a guess, I would say it goes back to the rich history of both things in Italy,” says Carter Donnell, barista of the Daily Goods coffee stand in Kinoko (and Carter the Unstoppable Caffeine Machine to his friends, or so we'd like to imagine).

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“The caffeine hit before a ride or race. Both pastimes are very social and having an espresso before and after a ride is a perfect way to gear up or wind down with a group of friends. And let's not forget coffee is amazing – even on your own.”

Unsurprisingly, Donnell says espressos are the order of the day here, with flat whites drafting just behind.

kinokocycles.com


2 | The best bike shop to get a coffee and watch the Tour de France in

Rapha Cycle Club, London
So it turns out men can multitask, too. Around the corner from Kinoko, Rapha’s flagship Soho store may not sell bikes, but it does sell the brand’s impressive high-end cycling gear. And there’s also a café rustling up cake and coffee (spotted a pattern yet?).

Throw in a big TV, which they have, and you have yourself the perfect environment for taking in the Tour.

rapha.cc


3 | The best bike shop to get a coffee, watch the Tour de France and maybe even get a date in


Look Mum No Hands!, London
Consider the two branches of Look Mum No Hands! – on Old Street and Hackney’s Mare Street – rather aptly to be the hubs around which the east London cycling scene rotates. 

Great hangouts for the bike-minded, they make a mean breakfast (whether it’s cinnamon porridge or hair of the dog, although head mechanic Nik Hamilton recommends the black pudding and the “killer” coffee). They also host all manner of social events – from art sales to, ahem, knitting classes and obviously they show the Tour.

“Mental, lary and awesome!” is how Hamilton describes it. “I've never really seen people cheer on cycling like a bunch of football hooligans – it's amazing!”

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They even have their own line of Tour-inspired pants.

And – speaking of getting into pants – on 4 December, the Mare Street branch is running a speed-dating night for single cyclists.

“Sweaty cycling gear is part of being a cyclist and might be a turn off for non-cycling folks,” event organiser Margriet Schuring says. “It won’t be an issue during this no-fuzz Cycle Speed Dating event. We do recommend taking your helmet off, though.”

lookmumnohands.com


4 | The best bike shop for bikes that are a bit different


Bikefix, London

“We sell machines that are at the cutting edge of cycling technology,” says Bikefix owner Stuart Dennison, “city bikes with hub gears, folding bikes for small spaces and recumbent bikes for long distances and high speeds.”

Recumbent bikes are the squat bikes that cyclists ride almost horizontal, belly-up, with seemingly scant regard for their own personal safety. Actually, not so.

“Recumbents are faster, safer and more comfortable, with a seat that supports your entire body, an aerodynamic riding position and brakes that will stop you on a sixpence,” Dennison notes. “There is no danger of you going over the handlebars. In the unlikely event of a crash you are unlikely to bash your head or break your collar bone. And other road users really notice you!

“It’s usually quite difficult to persuade conventional bike riders to try out a recumbent. Once they do though, they usually become complete converts – its the combination of speed and comfort that makes it such fun.

“Three wheelers have been really popular this year,” he adds.

bikefix.co.uk


5 | The best bike shop where you could get a suntan



Mud Dock, Bristol

This one is pretty weather-dependent, but Mud Dock’s impressive roof terrace is a great place to take in views of Bristol’s harbour – an intake a monstrous Mud Dock burger from the sterling on-site café.

It’s also available for private hire for (usually bike-related) events, including Rollapaluza (think of a one-on-one, gladitorial spin class).

“The terrace is open all year round to those who can handle the drizzle in Brizzle,” assistant manager James Noyce says.

The shop also offers bike storage and showers for commuters. “We are aware of some employers who cater for cyclists but it could certainly be more widespread to encourage more commuting,” Noyce adds. “Simply having secure storage may encourage more employees to ditch the car and use pedal power to commute.”

mud-dock.co.uk


6 | The best mountain bike shop (that’s handily next to some mountains)

Bike Treks, Ambleside
Bike Treks was founded in 1991, catching the first wave of interest in mountain biking. But while the then-fledgling branch of cycling has lost ground in recent years to road cycling, there’s no better time to run for the hills.

“First there were disc brakes, the improvements in suspension technology, followed by widespread use of carbon fibre, which has given us lighter bikes,” Andy Stephenson, owner of Bike Treks says of the modern-day mountain bike. “These days, bikes have got performance we could only dream of 10 years ago, and bikes for every possible use – a bit like chefs’ knives.”

Stephenson’s shop is well placed to comment on the market, being in the heart of the Lake District, among the best sites for mountain biking in the country.

And the most popular mountain bike at the shop? The Santa Cruz Bronson. “We have a waiting list,” Stephenson says.

bike-treks.co.uk


7 | The best bike shop that’s more like an art gallery

Pavé, Barcelona
This bike shop is a bit more of a schlep, but it's worth it. (Load up the panniers: you could even ride a pilgrimage here.)

“Like you say, all the bikes are works of art,” says Javier Maya, owner of the glorious Pavé in El Prat de Llobregat, just outside Barcelona. “It doesn't matter the price, they are all exposed exactly the same way. Each object has its place and importance.”

Not that everything about this Catalan cycling institution is so high minded — they also run regular “moustache” rides, where ownership of a titular facial appendage is mandatory.

pave.cc


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