Before setting out to research this article I had no idea that the cycle lover’s sphere was so wide and so exciting! Everything from bikeoke to cycle speed dating takes place all over London, headed up by phenomenally atypical places called cycle cafes. All this exploration began from a recurring trend in the request for bike storage and shower facilities from our Londonoffices clients.
It seems that, perhaps with the addition of the Boris Bikes to London in recent years, the city’s residence have ditched the tubes and busses in favour of the trusted bicycle. Not only is it a much healthier way to travel but many people simply just love to cycle and this is the perfect way to combine leisure and practicality as well as, and most importantly, preventing symptoms of hair loss from waiting in traffic or suffering delays on public transport. In 2015 London even saw its first cycle in office in Finsbury Square, The Alphabeta Building. The office, as part of its redevelopment, has incorporated a cycle ramp that leads from the lobby straight to the bicycle racks on the ground floor meaning there is no need to stand around in the wet and cold securing your bike in outdoor stands or having to go the long way round to enter the building with your bike.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan announced on the 5th December 2016 the news that a staggering £154 million per year will be spent on the cycling culture within London over the next five years accumulating to a total of £770 million by 2022. The investment is intended to both improve the safety of cyclists and pedestrians alike through the addition of many new pedestrian crossings and more pavement space. Khan also hopes the plans will encourage the shift towards more healthy and active travel amongst Londoners as he invests in promotional initiatives. The plans ultimately aim to help people get about quickly without having to use a car, benefiting people’s health and improving air quality.
Whilst this is a record figure in terms of the cycling budget, we can’t see that much outrage will occur over this investment. Cycling has slowly become more and more popular throughout recent years and has even sparked the trend for a new style of pit stop. Look Mum No Hands was the pioneer of the cycle cafe combining a cafe, a bicycle workshop, a bar and exhibition space all within one inspiring building which opened in 2010. Alexandra Davis from Look Mum no Hands tells Londonoffices, ‘We’re all about bikes, coffee, food and beer. It’s what we’re passionate about, it’s what we do well. I think we’re popular because we’re a business built up of lots of different aspects, we don’t exclude people who don’t ride – or even like bikes. We’re a warm and inviting cafe space open from 7:30am – 10pm, a bar in the evening, or simply a place to drop off your bike. The café is often host to cycle inspired fundraisers as well as community based activities including drop-in knitting workshops, bike maintenance courses and Massif Central art exhibitions, meaning that as well as the practicality of these shops /cafés /bars, the social benefits are also fantastic. Alexandra explains the reason she chooses the bike as her preferred mode of transport, ‘There’s something to be said about the financial benefits to cycling. You don’t have to queue up and pay for the tube. You usually arrive on time, if not earlier. Most importantly for me it gets you outside and it’s fun.’ In the current climate everyone can benefit from saving a few pounds by hopping on a bike for the daily commute. This issue was also discussed by Look Mum No hands mechanic Josh Lane in his article Generation Lost. He believes that the rapid increase in people cycling to work has developed through financial necessity rather than personal choice and he suggests that investment in to the production of ‘cheap, low-maintenance bikes that can get people around both safely and with a smile on their faces’ is much needed.
Crowds of like-minded people regularly gather around the big screen TVs to watch live cycle events whilst enjoying an ice cold beer within these cycle cafes and word is spreading amongst the biking community. Rapha London, opened in 2012 is another such delightful retreat for the cycle lover which regularly hosts events as well as bringing in riders and experts to help you get the most out of your biking experience and to spread the love and knowledge of cycling. This particular café is also the home of the first cycling club of its kind; comprised of a global community of passionate racers and riders alike.
The appeal of this new and developing trend is clear to see and there are many benefits for cyclists of all calibres as well as those who just enjoy a bit of fun and a good coffee. Office buildings throughout London are also becoming more and more aware of the demand for bike racks onsite as well as the change in lifestyle of the modern day business men and women; many centres have begun to make this a necessity when creating or redeveloping a London office. Beaumont’s office at City Tower for example offers a brilliant storage solution for bike lovers and The Space’s office on Old Street is just opposite Look Mum no Hands, offering extra appeal to this on-trend work space for those keen cyclists.
If you need help finding yourself an office with suitable bike-friendly facilities call us on 020 7166 7981.