Bolt London, based in Stoke Newington, is more than just a store. Founded in 2013 by Andrew Almond, Bolt is now a hub for motorcyclists from around the world who come for the workshops, events, garage and strong sense of community.
We chat with Andrew about his passion for motorcycle culture, his inspiration for Bolt London and what the future holds.
Where did your love of motorcycles originate from?
My introduction to motorcycles came when I was working in Mozambique on an international development project. I had to travel from village to village and a dirt bike was the only form of transport I was given. It started as a means for mobility, but I soon realised that riding through the bush was the highlight of my day.
What do you ride now?
My day-to-day ride is a cafe racer built from a 2005 Triumph Thruxton. My Triumph perfectly combines the classic look and feel of a cafe racer with modern-day technology; it’s a joy to ride.
Triumph Thruxton :
Cafe racer perfectionSee the range
Where did the idea of Bolt London come from?
Bolt started as a social space with a store stocking the kind of custom bikes and goods that I wanted to see but couldn’t find elsewhere. We’re based in an old Victorian stable, which was used as a motorcycle garage from the 1950s to 1970s, in a part of north-east London that still has a strong sense of community. I loved the sense of heritage that came with the building and the thriving hub of art and creativity in the area.
Things have grown and progressed a lot since Bolt was started, but the principles I set out to achieve when I first opened are still driving everything forward: to champion creativity, workmanship and innovation within motorcycling.
How has Bolt, and its social side, evolved since you first opened?
We’ve expanded into running motorcycle mechanics courses, producing films, curating art exhibitions, launching our own product line and running events. The motorcycle garage makes sure our fingers stay oily and we offer courses so that everyone gets the chance to enjoy their bikes to their full potential. We like to ensure that we differ from everyone else in the market; if you are into motorcycles, there will be something for you here.
There’s a close-knit community at the heart of Bolt – good friends who hang out in the shop on a daily basis. We now also have a lot of customers from overseas who have read about us or seen us on social media, which is inspiring. There’s a strong social side to owning a motorcycle and there are more opportunities than ever before to meet people on two wheels.
What are your plans for the future?
I’m looking forward to watching Bolt continue to grow and to host another year of amazing events – we’re constantly adding new events to our calendar. Otherwise, my only plans are to carry on finding innovative new niches and progressing motorcycle culture into new areas.