By Teresa Madeline
The sound of grinding beans blends rhythmically with the tick tick of bicycle spokes…music to a cycling coffee-lovers ears. What makes Look Mum No Hands! the place that every two wheeler should know about? The numerous bike parks that dot around the exterior are decorated with a diversity of bicycle species from trendy fixies, to hardcore mountain and roadies, to basket adorned classic hybrids. Every kind of cycle thought possible is at home here.
Look Mum No Hands! has had it’s doors open for two years, and what a phenomenally successful two years it has been. Perched slap-bang in the middle of Old Street, Clerkenwell, Look Mum enjoys a perfect location that seems to act as a vacuum to bike lovers from all over London.
The chilled out atmosphere is immediately obvious from the first foot in through the door. As is the diversity of the crowd, there are as many different kinds of people inside as there are different types of cycles outside. Students, city types and beardos – Look Mum seems to bring people together with one thing in common, for the love of the bicycle. The staff are as equally laid back, a few of them can be spotted casually enjoying drinks after work in the bar.
The obvious key to LMNH’s popularity is it’s unique concept. Blending a bike workshop with a cafe/bar/restaurant. The venue’s co-owner Matt regards it as a mixture of everything the three owners are passionate about: good bikes, coffee, beer and pies. The idea came when Matt and co simply wanted somewhere they could watch live Tour De France. Matt now describes the space as an extension of their childhood youth club for ‘beardy blokes’.
The menu, a hearty English/Kiwi fusion, boasts fresh, daily ingredients prepared with quality in mind. And it seems to work, even mid-afternoon between the lunch/after-work rush, every table is decorated with a person, either working away on their laptops or enjoying a post-lunch sip and a bite.
The interior is spacious, the oak wood and natural light helps evoke the chill-axed vibe. Illustrious cycle-related posters dangle by the windows giving the space an arty edge. There is bicycle paraphernalia everywhere, whether it’s classic bike objects used as decoration, or shiny new cycling merchandise for sale in the Look Mum No Hands! shop.
Usually open until midnight LMNH caters for the after work drinkers as well as the weekend crowd as a popular tipple spot and offers a host of varied events, from film screenings to the opportunity to boogie around the LMNH disco ball.
All in all, Look Mum No Hands! has a friendly, inclusive, laid-back vibe. The unique ability to bring together cyclists of all walks of life makes it well worth a visit. If not a cyclist upon entry, it’s more than likely that visitors may well want to be by the time they leave!