I'm surprised at all the positive feedback for the London Bicycle Repair Co. on Hatfields. Three out of the four times I've used them, I've had problems with my bike afterwards and either had to go back to get them to sort it out or go to another repair shop to get them to put right what LBRC had got wrong.
I kept giving them the benefit of the doubt and going back to give them 'one last chance', but no more.
Plus - good luck getting a smile out of the Lithuanian guy.
Ive also had the ignored in Evans London Bridge experience more than once so wheeld acxross to On Your Bike and been very happy with them although you do have to phone to book your bike in for a service in advance, they were really surprised at the workshop the first time I tried to just walk in off the street and drop my (beloved) bike off for a service but they do a grand job. The fact they have are even more spacious with thier recent expansion is a bonus, Evans is so cramped.
I've used Recycle beside Elephant & Castle train station for puncture repair & happy with them too, even though they make Evans look spacious but its not annoying.
Also if you want the mountain to come to Mohammed, I found a company that will come to your home or work and puncture repair or service your bike there www.cycle2job.co.uk but, disclaimer, I havent used them yet.
This thread is a little old, but more and more people are bicycling these days, so perhaps it's worth a post.
I live close to two branches of Evans and the The London Bicycle Repair Shop. I *really* want to support a small local shop instead of a big chain, and the staff are friendly, but I have used them twice and had bad experiences both times, so will not use them again.
The first time, they fitted the wrong brake-cable (which could have been dangerous); the second time they charged me £12 for a particular rear sprocket (not including labour) and I later discovered that exactly the same part costs only £8 in Evans and even less elsewhere. I'm sad to say it, but I feel ripped-off.
Also when I went in for the rear sprocket I said that I would be changing the chain at the same time, and that I had already bought a new chain -- despite this I got a sales pitch and was persuaded to buy another, much more expensive chain. Of course you could say that this is my own silly fault, but surely an honest bike repair guy would not not try to sell you something that you really do not need?
On Your Bike - I agree, very friendly and polite service, checking the bike with you and agreeing what needs to be done there and then and what it is likely to cost. They don't recommend unecessary work. By contrast, Evans' always seems to end up costing a lot more than you expect; there isnt much of an assessment face to face and they tend to call you later to tell you what needs to be done, at which point it is not so easy to have a discussion. Also they do not seem to appreciate that the cost can seem really disproportionate to the value an old and cheap bike (like mine).
Decathlon is much better value and also has friendly service. Best of all, though not SE1, is Brixton cycles.
I've used the The London Bicycle Repair Shop for several puncture repairs and a full service, and been happy every time. Currently they are my preferred shop because they are the closest to my place of work.
I've also used On Your Bike for servicing, no complaints there.
I've been to Druid Cycles too for puncture and other minor repairs. Good work, keen prices, a bit less organised than the other two, deserving of support especially given their recent misfortune.
Sandgrown Dave: what do they charge for a puncture repair? Bear in mind that this is the simplest possible repair to do, which takes about 5 minutes of "work" from beginning to end (plus 5 minutes waiting for the glue to vulcanise the rubber, while you do something else), and uses materials which cost about 5 pence). If they charge £5, for example, that's the equivalent to £60/hour for an unskilled task.
I'm not saying that they charge more than other places for a puncture repair, just that this is a bad example on which to base an opinion of a shop's abilities and prices. (You really ought to learn to do it yourself, for the satisfaction, even if not for the money-saving!)