Bikes are a pretty common site around the streets of Covent Garden & Soho, but the number of lycra clad street warriors may be a little higher than usual over the coming week as not only does the Tour of Britain culminate in London’s West End on Sunday 11th September, but cyclists hit the streets in force for the return of National Cycle to Work Day on 14th September.
Now in its fifth year, the event sees tens of thousands of commuters across the country ditch the tube/bus/train/car in lieu of the freedom afforded by the humble bicycle, and clock up over a million miles on the day.
With the Tour of Britain climaxing on Sunday with 16 laps of a route around the West End taking in Trafalgar Square, Whitehall, Aldwych and Regent Street, it’s sure to be a thrilling end to the event featuring top names including Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish.
Cycling continues to grow as a sport in the UK, and this year’s triumphs both at the Tour de France and in the Olympic Velodrome (and as we write, by our amazing Paralympians as well!) this trend is sure to continue.
The West End may not seem everyone’s idea of a cycling nirvana, but it does offer some of the best cycling outlets in London, if not the country.
We rather like the Brooks b1866 Concept store on Earlham Street in Covent Garden, offering not only Brooks famous saddles to keep your botty in tip top condition when on the bike, but a plethora of other wonderful leather goods and bike accessories from these world famous innovators in cycling.
Although not quite in the West End, Condor Cycles on Grays Inn Road is a London cycling institution, supplying bespoke bikes to the discerning rider since 1948. This family run business is famous the world over for producing some truly outstanding bikes in-house, as well as fielding its own pro-team (JLT Condor). If you’re in any way interested in cycling, its well worth a visit.
Another name thats become rather synonymous with cycling in the last few years is Rapha, purveyors of some of the finest cycling attire available and sponsors of the all conquering Team Sky. If their kit can help Froomey win The Tour, then surely some of that magic has got to rub off on some of us mere mortals? Not only do they sell the full range of cycling apparel from their London ‘Clubhouse’ on Brewer Street, but they do a very fine coffee and some excellent food in the renowned Rapha cafe, where you can catch the final stage of the tour of Britain on the big screen if you don’t fancy battling the crowds or get there early enough for a chance to meet the members of Team Wiggins from 10.30am
TB_HQ isn’t immune to the lure of lycra either, with our own bike-nut Jamie Read often seen pounding the tarmac in search of his next KOM. And he’s putting his effort to good use too, currently 2/3 of the way through a nigh-on 300 mile challenge to raise money for Macmillan. Keep track of his efforts so far on all the usual social channels with #fuseridesagain or via his JustGiving and Strava pages where he’ll be posting regular updates.