No doubt about it, cycling is hotter than ever right now in London. With everyone – from plummy politicians to fixie-hipsters – all keen to be seen pushing pro pedal-power agendas, bikes look set to become even more central to life in the city. And hooray for that.
It means a boom in sales, although that doesn’t always translate to the highly-trained specialists on the high street. With more price pressure than ever coming from online retailers, it can be tough out there.
Aside from the fact we’d be fools to abandon our local shops at this exciting time for cycling in the capital, consider too that you probably wouldn’t buy a self-assembly car-in-a-box from Amazon, or an SUV knocked together by someone who usually builds toys. Right?
Camden is rich in cycle stores, workshops and specialist operators, meaning it’s painless to deal direct with the experts. So put down that mouse or mobile, get on your proverbial and check out these ten local gems:
Cloud 9 Previously a cherished ‘secret’ under the arches opposite Camden’s one-time motobike pub the Hawley Arms, Cloud 9 have moved deeper into town with a glossy shop front on lovely, leafy Store Street. As well as all kinds of repairs, they also make and sell custom bikes, building the frames to measure in-house and right before your eyes. 38 Store Street, WC21E
Camden Cycles Tagging themselves as the “only green bicycle shop in London” is bold in this already eco-friendly area of transport, but a solid recycling policy, including buying any used bikes or parts for reuse, certainly ticks all the right boxes. New, used and reconditioned models for sale plus, as you’d expect, a wealth of hard-to-find accessories. 251 Eversholt Street
Giant Camden (formerly Chamberlaine) Kentish Town’s classic family-run shop has been rebranded, but the same team are present to attend to your two-wheeled needs. They’ve just got a swanky new interior including high-tech fitting machines these days as well. Owner Nick has been there over two decades, read his story plus 12 top cycling tips here. 75-77 Kentish Town Road
London Green Cycles Looking to carry a gaggle of six children by pedal-power alone? This is the spot for an impressive array of such family-friendly and heavy cargo bikes. Great for eco-conscious courier use and pedal-powered streetfood vehicles too. The repairs workshop specialises in fitting electric assist motors (for ‘cheating’), plus a traffic-free test area. 4 Chester Court, Albany St, NW1
Simpson’s This family run affair on Malden Road has been around for decades. Feeling the pressure from the internet, late last year they reduced their operation to a smaller, still friendly outlet at the same spot. Although the stock seems to be just as comprehensive. 114-116 Malden Road
Lunar Cycles Tucked away near Talacre Gardens, and right next door to Camden Town Brewery for all your refreshment needs, this hip under-the-arches outlet is the place to go for repairs, accessories, friendly advice – and a quality MOT. Arch 66, Wilkin Street Mews
Bicycle Gallery Right opposite Kentish Town West station is this highly rummageable secondhand arch. Expect to find everything from 1970s hipster shoppers to racers and mountain bikes. They now also operate from within an antiques shop on Chalk Farm’s main drag. Prince of Wales Road
Bike House Another long-standing central K-Town outlet. You’ll find loads of accessories, expert on-hand advice and a neat sideline in skateboards too. 10 Fortess Road
Evans It might be a chain retailer, so not to everyone’s taste, but a visit to this large showroom opposite the Roundhouse still remains preferable to the faceless online option. A big range an some real life experts too. 86 Chalk Farm Road
Cycle Surgery Another chain (insert bike-related joke here), but one that manages to keep the local shop vibe, due to its diminutive size and passionate staff. 44 Chalk Farm Road