What do you call a combination of fashion boutique, gallery, and cafe for cyclists? Answer: The Rapha Cycling Club. This experiment opens in London tomorrow, on May 8, and soon in New York City.
Including a tiny Citroen H Van, which you may recognize from the early days of the Tour De France (they carried brooms to sweep the roads), the first shop will be open seven days a week, screen road races live, and sell food and drink. The store will sell Rapha gear and also display cycling-specific art exhibitions.
Rapha’s new “club” is essentially a pop-up store, a temporary shop that offers limited edition garb and is open in locations from a weekend to a few months, depending on the city. The London location is slated to close at the end of July.
Restaurants and bars with cycling themes are nothing new, and domestically you can find them everywhere from Chicago (Handlebar), Pittsburgh (Over the Bar Bicycle Cafe), and even Hailey, Idaho (Powerhouse). But, the primary twist here is that many bike-themed bars and restaurants are dive bars or mid-priced eateries. The Rapha experiment is a high-end or luxury deal, more Pinot Noir than PBR. http://www.rapha.cc/cycle-club