Author Topic: happy in your work


happy in your work
« on: July 12, 2011 »
I could fit mudguards all day. It would be rewarding work, because people seem to hate doing it, but I don't mind.

For variety I'd offer to do their bottom bracket. Just take it out and put it in again — maybe even the same one! — to see if that was causing any unwanted noises. I'm very experienced at this.

If I opened a shop specializing in removing clicks and clacks and clunks I'd attract a clientele who have nowhere else to turn. Commercial rents and the retail imperative don't tend to allow for space appropriate for the critical diagnostics. I'd have a back room with special acoustics. 

There might also be a market for watching me wrestle with tyres without using levers, with graduated discounts should one or more become necessary. Each new variety of tyre and rim would be a fresh challenge.

As a custom service I could remove all the logos and decals on any bike brought in. There probably isn't much call for this, but it's a cause I believe in.

I'd hire an artisan to build sublime wheels in a sub-basement. He or she would type pi into a computer every 108 minutes, to stay sharp. Every day a number would be added.

it's only irrational if you think about it

All of which is prelude to plugging my favourite London bicycle workshop. It's called The London Bicycle Workshop. Disclaimer: I don't know where they stand on any of the above issues.

I've come a longish way.


objets d′velo
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2012 »
Velorution in London specializes in the kind of bikes that came out of the golden age of Detroit if Detroit had made bikes instead of cars: big, stylish, and practical, where the comparison starts to break down.

They do folders as well as stately European roadsters and HPHOVs — I got my museum bike from them.

It isn't my purpose today to plug Velorution per se, or to advertise that I don't speak French. I have come to praise their visionary decision to display cranks on a table.

This doesn't sound like much. But it is. I've never seen it done elsewhere, unless you count jumble sales, where presentation is usually a jostly affair. Here the open invitation is to handle the sculpted components after having first appreciated them as works of art, humble as some may be.

Other shops have cranks hanging in unappetizing racks, or under glass, thus either reducing them to grubby commodities or pointedly telling you that you're a security risk, which may be true, but one doesn't care to be reminded.

Unfortunately I neglected to take a picture of the Please Touch Me table on my last visit, though I did have the presence of mind to snap the girl with the Ohio tattoo.

The Christiania bike pictured is Danish, not Dutch, as the windmill and tulips might suggest. Note to self: do basic fact-checking before Photoshopping.

HPHOV = Human Powered High Occupancy Vehicle

The new Renaissance?

Velorution closed, then opened up again across the street. The table of cranks didn't survive the move.


London bike shops
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2012 »
Here are some other shops I've made the acquaintance of over the years:

Tokyo Fixed
Explored in more depth here.
Sensibly situated in Soho with all the other perversions. Their friendliness is a quality in surprisingly short supply in the bike biz.

Fitzrovia Bicycles
Also has a good vibe. Unfortunately, something about the Fitzrovia area always makes me lose my sense of direction, despite the awesome geographical situating potential of the BT tower. Haven't bumped into Ewan McGregor yet; maybe he also gets lost. 

Rapha Condor
Usefully stocked. Bonus points for ceding prime retail space to customer bike parking.

On Your Bike
What seems like an acre of showroom [on Tooley Street] helps make for a generally satisfying "I'm just looking" experience. Reassuringly secure parking! in the back for extended periods when you're off your bike, worth that exclamation point. Watch your head near the rack in the front of the store.

* This later closed and relocated right next to Southwark Cathedral, in what appears to be a cave. *

Brixton Cycles
Almost always helpful. The morning surgery is an institution. A co-op, so like eating roughage spending money here is good for you.

Middle-of-the-road family establishment which sports a heartwarming sign welcoming cyclists to bring their bike inside. This is turning into a list of places where I like to park. Pretty good selection of accessories, especially bags.

For people whose whole day is wrecked if their seatpost is a millimetre too high.


Folders, 'bents, customer service which is a prime example of YMMV. Nice they have a bulletin board though.

Brick Lane Bikes
High browseworthy status has been known to be hampered by paranoid staff.