Welcome to Rat Race Cycles


Rat Race Cycles is a bike shop and workshop in Nunhead, South East London.

We offer bicycle repairs and servicing as well as bike, parts and accessories sales.  We also hand build quality wheels and custom bikes.

The owner, Pete, is a Cytech 3 mechanic and a qualified CycleFit bike fitter, and is therefore able to tailor each and every aspect of the bike to you from the ground up, whatever your cycling discipline.  This helps you to find the best bike set up to suit your body and your riding style, and can help you avoid injury or pain in your hips, knees, legs, and back as well other joints including your shoulders and wrists.

Find out more about who we are, take a look at what we do, have a look at our price list, and be sure to check back here for updates on what’s going on in Nunhead, and in the wider world of cycling!

Desert Island Disc Brakes…

…and caliper brakes, and v-brakes, and pretty much every other part on your bike probably looks like it’s been recently excavated from somewhere near the pyramids.

The truth is, while you’re battling through all this Saharan sand, your lungs, skin and will to live may not be the only things suffering…

Airborne dirt gets into your bike’s workings, clogging them up, making brakes less responsive, gears clunky and everything generally just a little bit gross. Bring your bike in for a general service from Rat Race Cycles and we can help restore your machine to its former glory (yes, there was a time before all this smog). For £85, a general service will not only make sure your bike stays on the road and stays safe, but will give it the love it’s been needing so badly since the desert winds blew in.

Alternatively, if you just want it given a once over to make sure it’s still roadworthy and – better – safe, come and take advantage of our checkover service for only £45.

Call us on 020 7732 1933 and book before 18 April with the codeword ‘Sahara’ and we’ll knock 10% off these prices, making them £76.50 and £40.50 respectively.

Because your bike’s worth it.

6 is the magic number.

Exciting times here at Rat Race Cycles, Nunhead. We are very pleased to announce that as of this week, the shop will be open 6 days: Monday to Saturday.

Our new opening hours are:
Monday: 8 – 6
Tuesday: 8 – 6
Wednesday: 8 – 6
Thursday: 8 – 6
Friday: 8 – 6
Saturday: 9 – 5

So, to all of you who have stood outside our door on a Wednesday with a flat tyre, bitterly disappointed, fret no more. Your time has come.

Merry Christmas… see you in the New Year!

As I type, the shop door keeps being blown open by the high winds and I’m watching rain-lashed people hurry past, holding up collars and hoods or wrestling with umbrellas. It’s horrible out there and if you have to travel in this weather, please take care and make yourself as visible as possible – and be kind to all the other poor souls who just want to be at home in the warm.

It’s been a great year and I want to thank all our customers for supporting Rat Race Cycles. We wish you all a joyful Christmas and a New Year filled with adventure, challenges, achievements and laughter.

We’re going to be closed from Christmas Eve through to January 3rd; we’ll re-open with our normal hours from Saturday 4th January. Happy riding, and happy Christmas.

It’s our birthday!

Garry Parsons' window decoration for our first birthday

Rat Race Cycles opened our shop one year ago this weekend and, to celebrate, we’re having a bit of a sale. We’ve got 25% off lots of things including all Garmins, all inner tubes, selected locks, tyres, pumps and other accessories.

Inconveniently we have no shop sign at the moment as the shop front is being renovated, but we’ve got a brilliant window illustration by Garry Parsons, a local artist and illustrator.

You may be pleased to hear that we’ve just got some new gloves in – they’re waterproof, windproof, warm and comfortable and only £22 (in black or high-vis yellow). They’re opposite the range of powerful little Knog lights.

We’re also proud to have started stocking Lumicycle lights. If you don’t know Lumicycle, they’re a British company who have been making excellent quality bike lights since 1997. They’re superbly built and immensely durable, made in the UK, with excellent versatility and customer service backup. If you’re heading out on dark roads this winter, light your way with the best lights around! For more information, see www.lumicycle.com/why-buy-lumies/

…and of course we have plenty of other great stuff, including stocking-fillers and gift ideas. Pop in and say hello!

Don’t shred the streets.

“Sprint for the lights: how to make the most of your commute!”
“Top 10 training hacks for cycle commuters!”
“Shred the streets! Hammer it to work and nail your competitors!”

I hate these articles.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate commuting, I don’t hate training, I don’t hate the people who write articles like this and I don’t hate people who are pressed for training time and want another opportunity to get fitter, faster or stronger. The thing I hate about these articles is the way they endanger cyclists.

Peter Walker wrote a superb piece in the Guardian about how easily the media are generalising cyclists as a “minority outgroup” and how this socially-acceptable minority-hating endangers cyclists and cycling as a whole. Articles like the ones at the top may be well-intentioned, but they further reinforce the view that cyclists only see the roads as their gym, and that the rules of the road don’t apply to them when they’re hitting that training zone.

More dangerous than this, though, is the articles’ advice to cyclists. There are plenty of inconsiderate cyclists on London’s streets already without encouraging any more. I’m not talking about those who are wilfully inconsiderate, the red-light-jumpers and “bike salmon” who break one-way street laws. I mean the many naive and unaware commuters who already endanger themselves by not fully considering the many hazards around them.

Commuting on London’s streets mostly requires your full attention. As well as cycling as though other road users haven’t seen you, the growing irritation with “lycra louts” now means that sometimes you need to cycle as though other road users are actually trying to harm you, or at least impede you. Cycling assertively and attentively while being considerate to other road users can be hard work, and that’s as well as having to actually propel yourself along. Starting to focus on training goals or Strava segments while you’re doing this takes focus away from careful cycling, and that’s dangerous.

Of course these articles are worth reading, and their advice is interesting if taken lightly. But if you need to train more, then you need to make more time to train. Pothole-riven, junction- and traffic-light-filled roads are not the places to be getting “in the zone”, especially when surrounded by other road users.