Anyway, once tempted into a cafe on a bike trip, I'm into a closed loop. Half an hour after that quadruple cappuccino I need the toilet. On a winter's night, secluded park shrubbery often does the trick; London has many conveniently well-foliated public spaces. (And if you're thinking, Is it safe?, the answer's yes of course; so long as you watch out for very tall nettles.)
Usually, though, the most convenient option is a coffee shop. And you can't just stride in and use their bogs without giving them a bit of custom. And that double Americano with clotted cream does look tempting. So half an hour later... you get the picture.
In a genuine bicycle cafe, you can browse and buy bikes and parts, and even get your machine fixed, while reading the papers, sipping a latte and leaving brownie crumbs all over the floor. We fondly remember the cool Mud Dock Cafe, in Bristol's central docks area, and so were pleased to see one appear in London. Lock 7 cafe (top two pics) is right on the lovely Regents Canal towpath, and recently impressed Copenhagenize blogger Mikael. More London bike cafes to come, we hope.
Standard cafes can still do their bit to encourage, and capitalise on, the current London bike boom.
Take Bermondsey Street Cafe (bottom three pics), for example. They recently moved from just south of Tower Bridge to a new home round the corner on a thoroughfare whose name you may be able to guess. It has retained its cheery window announcement that bicycles are welcome. They mean it, too: you can bring them inside if you want, and the menu invites you to 'pimp your ride'. Whatever that means.
This overt 'bicycles welcome' business is commonplace in Germany, of course, in cafes, restaurants, hotels and guesthouses. It makes touring the place a delight.
We hope that more cafes follow Bermondsey Street's lead. Given the upsurge of interest in cycling at the moment, and bladder capacities like mine, that can only be good for business.