London, According to Alec Briggs
Before arriving in London for the 2017 Red Hook Criterium race, Manual for Speed reached out to Specialized / Rocket Espresso’s Alec Briggs with some questions about his home. He got back to us with answers to form a dossier that’s half-education, half-guidebook, half-entertainment.
01 – Where’s the best place to get coffee, or is the best place Starbucks? If so, which Starbucks is the best Starbucks?
Nah, no Starbucks. Workshop coffee is pretty baller, they’ve got good banana bread. And anywhere that uses a Rocket Espresso machine, ya get me? Wink wink.
02 – Are there neighborhoods that should be avoided? Why not? Violence, banality, distance, etc., what’s the story?
I want everyone to go and hang out on Lewisham High Street and ask for a man called Fritz, he’s the original don. He’s a right mischief maker, harmless really. He’s just got some pretty jokes stories.
03 – Regarding English food: what has to be tried, what should be avoided?
Go have a roast dinner in a decent pub, there’s some aright ones in Greenwich I expect. Basically, the UK, in particular London, has got really good at cooking food that does not originate here. We do good burgers too, better than I’ve had anywhere else actually.
04 – Drive/ride on the left or right?
Haha, left. Sometimes right; depends on what sort of state you’re in, especially after the pre-party the night before the race.
05 – If we want to rub elbows/spray tans with the Beckhams where should we go?
Chelsea, Fulham—well posh. To be fair, London is gentrifying so fast you could go anywhere and do that.
06 – Is King Krule coming to the race?
Haha, what!? I didn’t know he was an attraction of South London, that’s amazing. I’m afraid I wouldn’t know. Maybe RHC have booked him for the afterparty, who knows?
07 – Top 10 S/SE London phrases / Jargon
Bruv, cuz, fam, geez, innit, rah, piff, peng, peak (I hate that word), lit, maud (dunno what that means but my bro says it) dog and bone, apples and pears, cun (yes without the T, it’s how you say it).
08 – Top Five S/SE London Heroes?
Well, King Krule apparently? But he isn’t above Fritz, no way. Fritz is Number One.
09 – Where is the best place to get breakfast?
10 – Where is the best place to get breakfast on the reg, or with at least a modicum of health in mind? You know, smoothies and granola and shit?
Marks & Spencers, their fresh juice and everything else is amazing.
11 – Where is the best place to ride? Give us a brief description and some ride stats.
Ride stats? Haha shut up. Richmond park is nice, but a bit far. You can try Regents Park in the morning.
12 – Where is the best place to watch England’s binge drinking epidemic play itself out?
Haha, any Wetherspoons pub.
13 – Should we go to Big Ben and Parliament?
Nah, just Google it.
14 – What is your favorite bike shop? Why?
Seabass Cycles in Peckham. The guys in there are sick, they’ve got a rad dog called Seabass, Charlie and Sam who run it are just top guys, music taste is on point. They have all these hipster vintage old bikes which they’ve done up so well it’s not even hipster any more, it’s just fucking cool. Go there. There are a few great record stores around too: Rye Wax, YAM, and there’s Bussey Building for dancing. AND A FUCKING ARCADE UP THE ROAD! Yeah man, play Time Crisis and shit.
15 – What’s the best place to eat fourth meal?
Moreley’s Fried chicken (don’t do it). Or any 24 hour Turkish supermarket.
16 – Where is the best Indian?
If you’re in Forest Hill, Dewaniam. Otherwise, Google that shit.
17 – Where is the best place/area to shop IRL? Also, we’re talking high-end and rad, not the Kappa store.
Shoreditch, Brick lane, Spitalfields. Got it all, from hipster vintage to brand new and baller.
18 – Where/what is the best hour long walk? Preferably a loop.
Haha, I don’t walk. It’s too hard.
19 – What’s English as fuck, and as such something to observe? The Gin bros in front of your white house, that’s basic shit right?
Go poke the Queen’s guards. That’s funny.
20 – Does England have salad bars?
How would I know? Burgers.
21 – What is the best place to eat dinner? A 20-30 pounds per plate type-a-joint.
Santa Maria Pizza (Fulham or Ealing) I also love Moro on Exmouth Market, which is the restaurant opposite where I worked and met all the RHC people for the first time.
22 – Where is the best place to get in a fight and why?
Just drive your car in London.
23 – Where is the best place to listen to Grime?
I dunno, any white middle class place these days. But SE is sick, go check RYE WAX in Peckham, same place where Seabass Cycles is.
24 – What Club should we go to? Is Ministry of Sound still a thing?
Haha, I’ve never actually been. Rye Wax, Bussey Building, XOYO, or you can go Fabric if you can hack all the long queuing and shit that comes with it. There’s so many good bars playing live music around too.
25 – What DJ is important right now? Why?
Maxwell Owin. That guy is great, lovely guy, amazingly talented, one day he’s gonna go BAM. and I can’t wait to see the day he does.
26 – What should we wear if we want to fit in, be on point, maybe turn a head or two, but without going over the top? How do we dress well?
Honestly, people wear some nut shit around here. You could wear a toga crossed with a thong and it would be cool. Londoners used to like black, but that seems to be dying out. Got swapped for grey probably. I wear orange and stuff, matches my hair.
27 – Where is the best food cart? What kinda food cart is it? Why is it the best? Do you have food carts? Do you park your food carts on the other side of the road?
Haha these questions man… the answer is STRICTLY BANGERS! They even do veggie bangers. It’s In Peckham, outside Seabass Cycles and Rye Wax. Get on it.
Speed! Chaos! Thrills! Real Cities! The RHC is an international series of highly specialized races which showcase and demonstrate the purest, rawest and most exciting exhibition of speed cycling has to offer. It’s part NASCAR, part Professional Rodeo, part Fight Club, part Friday Night lights, part modern-day gladiators, and ALL SPEED!
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28 – If you could lead a RHC London group ride (you know, four hundred so folks without brakes) where would you take us and why? And when would you take us, is it a day time thing? Tell us about this ride.
Probably to Greenwhich Observatory in the beautiful Greenwhich park. We can race down the fat hill to the bottom. ‘Nuff skids.
29 – What makes this Red Hook different from Brooklyn, apart from the geographical realities separating the two of course?
Less messengers in the corner heckling my teammates. HAHAHA, that was so funny.
30 – If you’re Aldo, where in London do you go?
An office. The guy doesn’t stop working, he’s such a boss.
31 – If you’re Eamon, who in London do you need to meet?
Barry Scott from the Cillit Bang advert, they’re both as loud as each other. HA!
32 – If you’re Stefan, what in London do you need to get done?
Santander Cycle hire dock, so we can accidentally spend another $700 like we did with Citi bikes in NYC. Did you know you have to dock those things every 30 mins, even with an all-day pass? Because we didn’t.
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Artwork by Michiel Schuurman.