Cyclists in the capital who own an Apple iPhone can now find their closest bike shop with the help of the London Bike Shop app, which lists 212 dealers around the capital. The app, which costs £1.19 from the Apple App Store, has been developed by Andreas Kambanis of London Cyclist Blog in partnership with LDN Creative.
It’s not the first app that provides details of bike shops – the Bike Hub app, which is free, lists 2,500 of them around the UK and also acts as a “sat-nav for cyclists,” but it is the first London-specific one and helpfully also lets you know whether the shop is open or closed, helping save wasted time, not to mention frustration, in case of emergency.
The app can be navigated in two ways. Users can either browse a Google map of London which pinpoints the location of various bike shops, or else they can use the iPhone’s built-in GPS to identify nearby shops, sorted by distance.
Besides opening times, which have been checked online or by telephone, listings also include contact details – ideal for ringing ahead to check that the part you need is in stock, or to book your bike in for a service – as well as pictures of the shop. The app also lists bike cafés as well as mobile bike repair services.
Users are able to report any errors or suggest new venues for inclusion, and Andreas says that “this crowd sourcing combined with updates from developers should help make this one of the best and most complete sources of information on London's bike shops.” Depending on take-up of the iPhone version, an Android app may follow.
Feedback was positive during the beta testing phase, with one reviewer saying: "I was doing my 14 mile commute home the other day and this app really came into its own when a spoke broke on my front wheel. I quickly looked up the nearest bike shop. Found a good one that was open with a 5 star rating and on my route home. Gave them a quick ring with the number in the app and they said they can take a look at it right away. Problem solved in about 15 minutes and a great shop I plan to use in future."
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.