Look Mum No Hands – a new pit stop for London’s bizarre cycle tribes

by timchester

So Boris’ Bikes are doing well then. While I haven’t had the pleasure of lugging one of his Playmobil pushbikes from one broken docking station to the next, by all accounts the mop-topped faux-fop’s scheme has Got London Active.

And he’s added several thousand new puffing faces to the capital’s quiet nation of pedallers, who join overcrowded streets full of various distinct tribes. King of the road (in their own eyes at least) are the couriers, those skinny-limbed and usually white dreadlock-headed kamikazes that wear Kryptonite cable locks as belts and eat pedestrians for breakfast. You’ll see them jumping lights and smacking bus wing mirrors across the capital, trying to shave six seconds off the delivery of that all-important spreadsheet.

Next, the neon nerds, those overly cautious two wheelers that think an orange jacket, fluoro bike clips and a flashing light on both bike and helmet will save them from a bendy bus mauling. All these types can recite their cycle proficiency code backwards and following them is like headbutting a mobile disco. Keep an eye out; we’re about to enter their prime season as darkness falls on the commute and those 1,000 watt cateyes come into their own.

Fixed wheelers may be the worst; they turn an object of beauty into a Shoreditch twat acoutrement. Although it’s not so much true hipsters that bother me – I have a quiet awe for their relentless pursuit of laughable fashions – more the Danny Wallace Is A Man type geeks who want to be hipsters. I prefer the Bromptonites, those sensible cyclists with such an utter dedication to ‘cleverly designed’ things (“I can take it on the tube, see?”) they turn a blind eye to the fact they have to work five times harder and look like they’re on a midget’s exercise bike. Their abject adherence to substance over style is a welcome antidote to the wannabe Hoxtonites.

Then you’ve got your tree trunk-legged Serious Cyclists, your Lycra worshippers (whose sinewy rumps would make the proprietors of our Aberdeen Angus Steak Houses water) and your common garden (they barely get much further) Pashley devotees.

The streets are getting swamped, and purveyors of carbs and drinks are taking notice. Cycle shops-cum-cafés are sprouting all over, and the latest pitstop is the brilliantly-named Look Mum No Hands.

Pic: thechocolateconsultantblog

Pic: thechocolateconsultantblog

We arrived for breakfast (served til 11.30) at 11.45. But before I had a chance to regress into full Falling Down freakout mode, the lovely lady promised whatever we wanted. The morning menu is sparse (toast, muesli, not much more) but we customised and it satisfied. Cream cheese bagels were just that. Nothing less nothing more. The lunch food was various salad bits in bowls and some mean looking pies one of which, the sausage and mash pie, was a complete carb overload, although most of our fellow diners didn’t seem to want to stretch the skintight suits. Keeping wind resistance down for that twenty minute spin home presumably.

Flat Whites were perfectly bitter but lacked the creamy texture of the best places while the decor was all high school furniture, old school coffee machines, cycling porn, and lots and lots of bikes. They repair bikes, screen big cycle races and serve beer too. The rumble of the main road kind of ruined the relaxed reggae vibe they were aiming for in the courtyard but all in all it’s a worthy caff to wait while that fixed wheel’s getting fixed.


Been there? What did you think? And did I miss any cycle tribes? Oh, and this popped up on the Londonist today:

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cher October 14, 2010 at 7:27 pm

I’ve got two bikes! ~My own and a key for a barclays bike. I love it!!!!!!!!!!

A bike cafe sounds fun- thanks for the hawt tip.


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