At first glance, you could think Look Mum No Hands! is just another creative/arty/environmental friendly type café; one of many in London and the world. However, its specific niche – bikes and riding – makes it original, charming and attractive not only for cyclists but for everyone else too.
Located in Islington, the new hip neighbourhood of London, Look Mum No Hands! is a trendy café and a great space to just relax, read the paper and have some coffee. It is especially pleasant during the spring and the summer, as it has a small but nice terrace where you can enjoy your drinks and food under the sunny weather.
However, the inside is smartly decorated too, mixing a modern “cantine-arty” style with cycling-related items, of course. Look Mum (as it is often called) also hosts parties and events, shows films and cycle sport for anyone who is interested and employs mechanics to fix your bikes. Finally, the café sells a range of merchandise you can choose from, which includes t-shirts, caps, books and badges, among others.
I found Look Mum the very first week I moved to London and have been a faithful client since. It offers light meals but all are clearly very carefully prepared, fresh and more importantly, seasonal. At first I thought – and feared – that the café was only about appearances, feeling content by serving mediocre coffee and a couple of average muffins, distracting clients with the originality of the decoration. But after having had breakfast and lunch there, I can tell that they care about the quality of what they serve, and what’s best: there is something for everyone’s taste.
What also fascinates me about this place is that it is very versatile. Of course it is first and foremost a coffee place, but it offers a lot of services for its clients, especially cyclists, which is only fair.
The Rider, a journal for riders and/or people interested in cycling, launched its fifth issue at Look Mum No Hands! only a month ago. “We know that most people who share our obsession with bikes don’t want to be pigeon-holed as roadies, freeriders, track racers, BMXers, XC riders or even commuters”, the Rider website says. “They are just ‘riders’. So we wanted to create something for them, […] something that crosses both cycling and international borders.” The Rider is a journal of personal stories; the goal is not to give reviews or race reports but to “expose the passion that flows through riders’ veins”. Profits from the journal go to a variety of charities.
Coming up on Look Mum’s event calendar is an evening with Helen Wyman and Ian Field, UK’s two topped international ranked riders, on March the 3rd (find out more about them here). The evening will hold a Q&A session, offering fans the chance to ask the two Belgium based riders questions about racing, living in Belgium, their preparation and their cross insights. There will also be an auction of items from both cyclists’ sponsors as well as Cross-Crazy.com, and all money raised will go to Bikes for Africa.