I'm so glad there's not a camera positioned on my handle bars, filming my facial expressions as I ride around London.
I'm not a natural born cyclist. I'm a foot on solid ground girl. (Don't even get me started on swimming. Although I like floating - especially on the salty Mediterranean where it's easy, and preferably with a cocktail waiting for me on a nearby banana lounge. But I digress). Although exploring London's hidden depths with the wind blowing through my helmet brings me much joy, I know my brow is furrowed like a maniac every time I hear a car advancing at the rear, my teeth clench over every grate and pot hole, my knuckles white with fear every time I whizz past a row of parked cars, just waiting for the day a door will open and 2 hard years of metal braces and bad school photos will come to nothing.
I have a lot of sympathy for my friend who can't make right turns on a bike so gets around entire cities by always spiralling left.
So any chance I get to cruise off the main drag in the name of "exploration" is always a secret relief.
Today, it brought me to a sunny strip of Regent's Canal off Kingsland Road where The Peanut Gallery and I discovered Towpath - an open cafe right on the edge of the canal path.
It serves coffee and simple breakfast and brunch items (toast, porridge, granola, quiches, toasties, olive oil cake). The coffee's not a world beater - it's a bit watery and lacks depth and kick. But still enjoyable if it's not a Monday morning coffee on which your life depends. The toast was nice and came with some home made (slightly runny) marmalade and rhubarb jam.
Its foodie creators - Lori De Mori (food writer) and Jason Lowe (food photographer) - suggest there might be more here to delight the palate than we discovered, as does the enticing smell of grilled cheese sandwiches wafting over to our table. But it's such a fun and friendly spot to sit outdoors in the sunshine, read the papers and watch cyclists crash into runners against a backdrop of graffiti clad warehouses and passing boats. There's also a bit of cover with a long communal table for those not so summery London moments.
Worth a look if you're cycling by, and need an excuse to rest your clenched jaw.
Towpath, 42 De Beauvoir Cresent, (Hoxton, Shoreditch, Hackney or one of those places, London, N1 5SB