Image: Henry Westcott
March 04 2011
As a keen urban cyclist and devotee of all things two-wheeled, I find that any new development in London’s cycling culture is an exciting one. Especially when it’s one that I come upon purely by chance, such as Look Mum No Hands! on Old Street.
On a scorching day last summer I was slogging it out towards deepest Hackney and, desperately in need of a drink, noticed a group of cyclists enjoying refreshing beverages outside a café. Not being familiar with the place (and being close to collapse), I stopped, locked up and slipped inside. I was greeted with a jolly plethora of cycle-related memorabilia and paraphernalia; also, much to my delight, they were serving locally-based Square Mile coffee, which they turn into an excellent flat white.
I discovered from a friendly staff member that Look Mum No Hands!, as well as serving drinks, snacks and hot favourites such as a mean three-bean chili, also functions as a workshop, allowing cyclists to have their gears serviced while sipping on a Vedett, a crisp Belgian pilsner which I’ve never seen anywhere else. Additionally, and rather helpfully, they’ll let you borrow a pump, spanner or Allen key should you need to complete some minor repair work on the move.
I’m now a regular, and I find that the best times to visit are in the morning as a prelude to my cycle-journey to work, when a coffee sets me up perfectly for the day ahead; and on Saturday afternoons, when members of various cycling clubs, including some bearing Look Mum No Hands! jerseys, converge and swap tales of bravery and heroism on two wheels.
Look Mum No Hands! cycle jersey, £95. Vedett beer, £3.70.