On yer bike: our top 5 local cycling tips

Reader Anup Patel offers some advice for both established and wannabe cyclists in the manor

How times change. Only two days ago we were tweeting about the irritation of ping-pinging rush-hour bikes along the towpath – and now Mrs Kentishtowner is busy browsing pink lycra shorts on Amazon (and bemoaning the incessant rain).

Why the change of heart? “Two words,” she said last night, disgarding her knife and fork on the table. (We were revisiting Made In Camden, and rather impressed at the sophistication of its current menu.) “Yup, I’ve got just two words: pork and belly”.

Well, it is our little weakness. Especially if it’s ‘sticky’, and lounging on a bed of papaya, mango and cashew nut. And don’t even get us started on their seabass, dripping in sambuca butter, and the ox cheek with polenta-


“Shut up!” Suddenly she’s screaming, hands on ears, running out into the swerving traffic of the Chalk Farm Road. And it’s there that she has something of a Damascene moment: Evans Cycles, its windows boarded up, is still trading in the face of adversity.

She shakes her head, her face beatific. “Tomorrow,” she says, sighing, smiling, “tomorrow I’m changing my life.” As if to underline this, she grabs at her non-existant muffin top.

But before Mrs Kentishtowner coughs up her hard-earned cash on a fixed-gear Raleigh Vixon, she has wisely summoned the advice of reader Anup Patel, magnificently on hand with his Top 5 tips on the rather esoteric world of our local cycling shops (follow him on Twitter @youngdonkey).

Oh, and thanks for the responses to our tweets for feature ideas yesterday – keep em coming (want to write about anything NW1/5 related? Email us – kentishtowner@gmail.com).

Over to you, Anup.

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1. Consider sales advice vs quality of work. “I bought my beloved Brompton from Simpson’s on Malden Road, a family run affair that has been around for decades. It’s a great shop, but they can be very busy and sometimes the quality from their workshop isn’t comparable to their excellent sales advice.”

2. Be Careful of Buying Secondhand. “Some local shops boast a range of second hand numbers. And if service prices are scrawled on A3 paper they aren’t very reassuring.”

3. The bigger London chains are worth a peak. “I’ve never been a fan of either Evans or Cycle Surgery in London, but the ones in Chalk Farm do have a local spirit about them. And poor Evans needs everyone’s support.”

4. Don’t forget about the influence of the Tour de France on a nation! “I recently spent a morning in Chamberlaine’s on Kentish Town Road discussing the purchase of an audax bicycle with a very knowledgable Frenchman. But be warned: they charge £1 for air there.”

5. Forget the rest, go to Cloud 9. “Under the arches near the Hawley Arms is the best kept secret in cycling, Cloud 9 Cycles. Adam and Kris run a fabulous business, doing repair work and custom sales. I have had my bike regularly fixed/put back together by these guys, as have many of my cycling friends. I can’t recommend them enough, their prices are fair and their advice is honest. Go there for a second opinion on any work you need done.”

Anyone know any other little gems in the manor? Share your tips below.


  • Show Comments

  • Mitch Connor (@UhOhDaeSu)

    Lunar Cycles, Wilkin Mews, NW5. Some swish fixies if you want that just-popped-over-from-Hackney look but also a neat line in upcycled old frames.


    • Kentishtowner

      Yes, it always looks pretty cool in there. They should open a cafe next door, we think.

  • youngdonkey

    an update on this article.

    Cloud 9 no longer operate out of the locality, they in the process of moving to Angel or Bloomsbury – sad face.

    Lunar Cycles is the go to bike shop, my tip would be get it in for a service Saturday morning, have a few pints at Camden Brewery and then pick it up later in the afternoon!

    Another shop of sorts has opened directly opposite Kentish Town West station, look for the cardboard sign saying ‘bikes sold and repaired’ – I’ve not checked this out yet.

  • ollie, nw5

    not sure why the kentishtowner has a go at 2nd hand bikes. bit of a generalisation… BikeHouse on Fortress Rd always offers me great service. a traditional bike shop in the best sense of the word. everything from vintage steel to new kids bikes. not trendy, not a chain, just a local bike shop. recommended

    • Kentishtowner

      We’re not. This is merely a reader’s personal advice – as flagged up in our standfirst.

  • Bike House

    Local friendly bicycle shop, we have good range of bikes now stocking Trek bikes, Electra Bikes, Bicycle Service at Competitive Prices and Guanranteed §work