"Openly gay ex-Olympic fencers welcome," says bike shop and cafe as it references headline about "Enemy of the People" judge...

A photo of a chalkboard outside a bike shop in the heart of London’s West End that parodied a Daily Mail headline relating to yesterday’s High Court ruling that Parliament alone should debate whether to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to begin the formal process of the UK leaving the European Union has gone viral.

The newspaper, one of the chief cheerleaders of the Leave campaign ahead of June’s referendum and which has been campaigning for a swift Brexit ever since , has been heavily criticised for its front page splash today which had pictures of the three judges who rejected the government’s case that Article 50 could be initiated through the royal prerogative, branding them “Enemies of the people.”

In its initial online coverage after the decision was announced on Thursday morning, however, the Daily Mail described Master of the Rolls Sir Terrence Etherton in its headline as an “openly gay ex-Olympic fencer” (the sabre at Moscow in 1980 if you were wondering) – but promptly removed those words after a barrage of criticism.

Mail Online Article 50 case online headline.PNG

The internet does not forget, however, particularly when the image has been screengrabbed and shared wide and far. And this morning, the words on the blackboard outside Berwick Street bike shop and café Soho Bikes made it clear where they stood on the issue.

BBC Newsnight retweeted a picture of the chalkboard taken by its assistant editor Jess Brammar that has itself been retweeted more than 3,500 times, and the story was also featured on the Independent’s Indy 100.

Tristan Clark, manager of the store’s café, told road.cc: “Our shop owner Nick Hawker noticed the awful headline this morning and saw fit to take a stab at the media giant!

 “People stopped to take photos all day long, some even came in and made comment in support of the message.

“Mainly we received media attention, however a few customers did come down for a coffee just because they wanted to take a photo of the sign as well.

 “Topical signboard messages are a regular appearance here at Soho Bikes, however rarely do we get this much attention.

 “The shop has always held a Remain vote,” he added.

To borrow a word from one of our European neighbours, all we can say is, “Chapeau!”


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.