East London Bicycle Fun Times

Stopped by my favorite bar/cafe/bike workshop/event space/art & cool shit shop/bunting gone wild establishment yesterday…

Look Mum No Hands is located on Old Street back near my old hood, and it’s a truly excellent example of integrated boundary-smashing bicycle excitement. Check it out.

You can get your tires fixed while you sip a Square Mile coffee or drink a beer and eat quiche and peruse pretty bike greeting cards or read a bike book. Plus, as I may have mentioned, they have bunting.

I covet these posters by Dynamo Works, particularly the one all the way on the right: ‘It is the unknown around the corner that turns my wheels.’ 

If that wasn’t exciting enough, I’ll be heading back on Saturday to peruse and do my best to only buy one poster at ARTCRANK: a bicycle art party! I love it when people combine my favorite things.

Even better, passing by Look Mum on the way to a meeting, I spied a new bicycle shop next door! So I went by after lunch. Hello Bicycle Man!

I puttered around looking at the cycles and had a great chat with Omar, who runs the place. I think he’s the bicycle man, but perhaps there are several? Anyway, Omar sells really interesting Dutch bikes – not just ‘Dutch style’ but really innovative and well-designed bikes that hadn’t been offered in the UK yet. They’re not all to my taste, but there are some fascinating and very insightful little tweaks on a lot of the bikes.

For example….ever forgotten your lights? Or lugged around a heavy, cumbersome, and annoying lock? Well, you won’t have to anymore with these crazy VANMOOF bikes.

See that unusual top bar? It’s got FRONT AND BACK LIGHTS AND A LOCK embedded inside. Even better, the lights are solar powered, so they charge whenever the sun hits them and you can charge with a USB cord if it’s dark! That is some serious design thinking there.

The chain lock pulls out of the top of the bar and clicks back in on the side of the bar, as you might be able to tell below.

Also, I quite like their explanatory sticker about the bike weighing about as much as a small pig. I’m a fan of those small amusing human touches.

This bike is innovative in another way: what better way to deter a thief than having a massive serial number staring them in their face? It’s probably no more than a slight deterrent, but apparently one of the main problems with London bike crime is not so much recovering stolen bikes, but more the difficulty of reuniting them with their owners. Pretty hard to forget to write down and register your serial number when it’s welded in big numbers to your bike.

I liked this more typical Dutch bike – if I were going just based on looks, I’d buy one of these guys. 

Perfect for tootling around in a pretty dress and sticking a basket full of flowers and cheese and wine and a tall baguette on the back. Hmm. I see an exciting bike picnic approaching.

This next bike is the only German to intrude on the room of Dutchies – apparently it has a carbon fibre chain which doesn’t need grease or oil, doesn’t stretch, and only weighs about 200 grams.  Nimble doubts the veracity of this statement. What is certainly true is the egregiously expensive price tag. But even if it’s not to my taste or anywhere close to my budget, it’s an interesting innovation anyway.

So, Bicyle Man. I like it. Sadly, I’m not in the market for a new bike at the moment, but it’s nice to have it right next door to Look Mum for perusing pleasure. After all, just about the only thing Look Mum doesn’t do is actually sell bicycles.

Bye Look Mum and Bicycle Man! I’m dreaming of the day when I can run my own bar/cafe/everything bicycley and awesome shop. Until then…


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