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Eight ways to make the most of cycling in London this summer

Posted at 8:00 am, May 15, 2015 in Transport
Spin2014 - spin london

SPIN London took place last weekend in a blur of fixie polo, colourful caps and coffee cups. If the urban cycle show has left you itching to explore the capital on two wheels, here’s how to feed your excitement.

Celebrate cycling, love, beer and coffee at the Look Mum No Hands! South Bank pop-up

East London cycling café/workshop Look Mum No Hands! returns to the Southbank Centre this month for the Festival of Love. For their third year of the two-wheel themed pop-up you can join their Caravan of Love by the Thames. Watch the Tour de France live, get involved with their Cycle Speed Dating shenanigans, join a weekend party with Pig & Rig (hog roast and a nicely noisy sound system), of try some roller racing fun with LCC x Rollapaluza. They’ll be serving up LMNH meals from their wheels, Square Mile are providing coffee and local breweries will be taking over the taps. It all kicks off on May 23.

Discover the stories behind London’s best bike shops

There are loads of great bike shops in London, serving the needs of everyone from alpine hill-climbers to vintage-styled urban explorers. Start off reading their stories and you might just find yourself getting itchy to meet some new two-wheeled friends.

tokyo bikes

Watch midnight bike rides and penny-farthing races

Serious crit racing meets street party in the London Nocturne. Expect elite and amateur racing, kicking off with the Folding Bike Race and Penny Farthing Race, both of which are as strange to witness rolling past as you might expect. Things then turn a bit more serious as the male and female elite criteriums kick off, and in the late-night darkness Olympic champions and Tour de France stars battle it out for the title. The action begins on June 6.

penny farthing - jupiter nocturne

Go on a bike tour of London’s greatest hits

Whether you want to take your first tentative rolls, feel a bit rusty on the pedals or want to see a new side to the city, try a guided bike tour of London. Head off down London’s back streets and alleys and ride past landmarks including the London Eye, Westminster Abbey, the Royal Parks, Covent Garden and Dr Johnson’s literary cat, Hodge. There’s also an East End tour, which takes in Shakespeare’s Globe, the Clink Museum, Southwark Cathedral, Tower Bridge, St Katharine’s Docks and Brick Lane and Spitalfields markets.

Get yer kit off

Feel the wind in your chest hair and protest against oil dependency and the dominance of cars at the Naked Bike Ride 2015. Full nudity’s optional, so just come as bare as you dare. There are six starting points you can join the ride from around London. It’s taking place on June 13.

naked bike ride

Hit an exhibition

Take your cycling highbrow and explore the Beyond the Peloton exhibition, which combines work from cycling photographer Geoff Waugh and paintings of the greats by Vincent Kamp. See the greats of the British cycling world as up close as you’ll get before they come onto your screens for the Tour de France in July. The show runs June 15–21.

Join a Critical Mass

On the last Friday of every month thousands of cyclists meet under Waterloo Bridge to ride across London in a large, slow-moving procession. You’re likely to hear it before you see it – with sound systems playing music – and you’ll spot skateboarders, rollerbladers and other wheel-mounted folk as part of the mix. The rides started back in April 1994 and have their own peculiar history. Some feel it’s a political movement, some just love the community vibe. How you treat the ride is very much up to you. Critical Mass, with no strict leader, says: ‘Each individual comes with his or her own idea of what it’s about, and the sum of this makes up the Mass.’ It’s the closest to a party on two wheels that you’re likely to find. Much like London’s Tweed Run, it’s also been affected by London’s cuts to police support for two-wheeled activities. Find the latest details on the Facebook group. Roll to the BFI at 6pm every last Friday of the month for a 7pm start.

Explore London’s cycling cafés

Whether you’re a serious roadie, casual day rider or fixie advocate, there’s a London cycling café for you. If you’re a serious group rider who likes your Lycra smart and your coffee strong, head to Rapha Cycle Club where they’ve dedicated half of their flagship Soho store to the café.  They also run group rides from the store every week, for more speedy riders and a separate ride for ladies, too. At Cyclelab on Pitfield Street, you’ll find them serving up freshly squeezed fruit juices. Or try Peloton & Co for smart snacks and stews from Jamie Oliver alumni.

cycling cafe

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