?Filled as they are with old warehouses, brick factories, and hundreds of creative industries, the neighborhoods of East London at rush hour can feel a bit like a bearded, tatted-up Tour de France. The young, trendy, and increasingly gay population of bike enthusiasts spawned a seemingly overnight demand for caf?s catering almost exclusively to cyclists, like Look Mum No Hands! (49 Old St.), a bar and bike repair shop that opened in 2010.
Weekend rides, though, are much more relaxed. Start your immersion via a loose network of flower and craft markets, public parks, and bike-friendly canals that have further encouraged the growth of London?s rich cycling culture. One such unmarked route begins at Old Street, connects to Rivington Street (awash with men?s boutiques), and ends at Arnold Circus, a leafy roundabout. Peddle to nearby Columbia Road, a village-esque street, home to a massive Sunday flower market, with rows of quaint brown brick townhouses where dozens of design shops and eateries live.
At this menswear hipster depot and pop-up coffee shop, find the latest John Chapman man purses, Comme des Gar?ons Converse shoes, and remakes of vintage wool blankets, bowties, and pocket scarves.
In Shoreditch, this is every gay boy?s local. Come for the DJs and reasonably priced drinks; stay for the d?cor: taxidermy, garish paintings, and kitsch knickknacks, plus the once-a-month White Cubicle exhibit, where art installations overtake the unisex toilets.
2-4 Hackney Rd.
Steak tartare and cabaret shows for scruffy boys plugged in to fashion. An award-winning fulcrum of the East London gay scene.
Lazily loop around its ponds, pavilions, and great green expanses.
360 Victoria Park Rd.
A teeming hub of crafts, artisan food stalls, and shops on Saturdays. Pour over the vast selection of retro and vintage furniture and impressive fine wines at Mac Black & Vine.
10 Croston St.
An impossibly tony, tree-speckled stomping grounds?a fops playground as it were -- where all the boys sunbathe, drink cans of beer, and smoke pot all afternoon.
London Fields West Side
>LABOUR & WAIT
The go-to shop for kitchen, household, and garden products. Nab vintage remakes, like enamel pots and light fixtures, plaid wool throws, khaki fishing bags, and old-fashioned shaving brushes. 85 Redchurch St.
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