Monday, November 14, 2011


I've always been a keen cyclist, but I never really took a serious interest in the particulars of the sport, that is until I moved to London and discovered the whole community & subculture which surrounds it. All I had known of cycle culture from Christchurch, was the flocks of lycra-clad, carbon frame straddling battlers, who bust their guts out on climbing the painfully steep port hills (not my kinda fun). Other than that, being an urban cyclist in New Zealand exposes you to the usual abuse of boyracers, who would literally try to run you off the road, usually before throwing an empty beer bottle in your direction and shouting "FAGGOT!" or "HOMO". London is quite different, there is a different kind of appreciation here, as England has a richer cycling history. Getting your hands on a piece of cycling heritage is still very possible, as bikes from older independent frame builders & workshops are still floating around the market. Aside from history & tradition, the sheer population allows for a much deeper strata of appreciation groups, whether they be for touring clubs, collectors, track racers, or mountain bikers.

One of the keystones of London's cycling community is the L.F.G.S.S, or London Fixed Gear & Single Speed community, whose online forum is the perfect meeting place for cyclists who are interested in mechanics, bike building, social rides, events or just open discussions. Last Saturday I met up with a group of 30-odd members from the forum for the first time to partake in a group ride/event called the Udon Run. Basically, think of a pub crawl, but on bikes, and in addition to beer, add Japanese food. Sound like a good idea? You can bet your left one it was. Not only was I getting the chance to experience a slew of Japanese cuisine, but also riding through parts of the city I'd never seen, all while taking over the road as a juggernaut of cyclists. Aside from the amazing food, I really enjoyed the feeling of community, the conviviality of people sharing a hobbie (you think I'm talking about cycling, but I'm actually talking about food!). I'm not going to waffle on about the what everyone ate & which restaurant was the best, this was more a more a milestone of meeting new people & breaking the old stereotype of Londoners being a cold & unfriendly breed. Thanks L.F.G.S.S, & see you soon!

Our itinerary for the day was:

  1. Ryo, Soho
  2. Fujiyama, Brixton
  3. Kyoto Garden, Holland Park (origami competition)
  4. Bento Cafe, Parkway
  5. Swain's Hill
  6. The Flask, Highgate (Hype Haiku Workshop)
  7. Akari, Angel

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