Renowned London-based cycling apparel and accessories purveyor Rapha is known not only for their style-meets-technical-performance gear and collaborations, but also for fostering a rich community based on a lust for pure speed. The newest chapter of the Rapha Cycle Club opens today, 20 September 2013, in the Meatpacking District at the foot of the famed High Line, and will serve as both a one-stop-shop for all your Rapha needs as well as a hub for the road-cycling community. Their Cycle Clubs in London, Osaka, Sydney and San Francisco are meeting spots for urban riders and, come major races like the recently finished Vuelta a España (this crowd watches more than just the Tour de France), turn into rowdy party venues packed with like-minded fans.
"We chose this location, not only because it's a vibrant shopping area and exposes us to a new audience, but also because it's a great starting point for a lot of the best rides in the area," says communications director Chris DiStefano. The west side location makes the store an easy jump-off point to trade the gridlock on Manhattan for rolling country roads. Rapha as a brand—and indeed everyone involved with it—are dedicated road-cyclists first and foremost. The brand plans to run weekly group rides out of its Cycle Club every Saturday, starting with a La Colombe coffee from the in-house café at 8:30 A.M., with pedals turning half an hour later. Veteran cyclists and newcomers to the sport will feel equally at home with the Rapha crew, who exude both a great respect for the sport and a sincere friendliness.
In addition to the latest Rapha gear, organizing group rides and a full service café with prepared food from bike-friendly butcher The Cannibal NYC (with beer and wine in the near future), the Cycle Club's atmosphere lives up to its name. As much club as it is retail store and café, it's the sort of place that is easy to simply hang out and soak up cycling culture. "Cycle clubs are a big part of British cycling," says DiStefano, "We're big fans of emporiums, where we put all things related to cycling under one roof." The club stocks rare cycling periodicals from around the world and houses vintage steel frames, along with signed jerseys from world's pros.
Stop by the latest Rapha Cycle Club at 64 Gansevoort in New York's Meatpacking District for the latest from the finest name in cycling and some of the best coffee in the neighborhood. If you're feeling ambitious, show up for a ride Saturday morning. If you can't make it to a Cycle Club, visit Rapha online and don't miss their ongoing Continental video series, which creatively documents unique rides by the Rapha team around the world.
Images by Hans Aschim