London's cooler than cool cycle kids descended on Clerkenwell last night for the launch of the Rapha Cycle Club.
The uber-stylish brand, known for its minimalist courier chic gear, retro racewear and cross over 'boardroom' bike kit, has taken over an old furniture store and transformed it into a haven for all things roadie.
Last night guests at the launch party drooled over signed pro jerseys, race memorabilia, and a range of Rapha gear, including the infamous bespoke cycling suit, created in collaboration with Saville Row tailor Timothy Everest.
Rapha founder Simon Mottram told BikeRadar.com: "The inspiration behind all of this is for someone like me who doesn't really have a place to go to watch the big races like you can with football matches. There's something really great about watching a stage with 30 or 40 people. I had a big desire to create a space where like-minded people could come together."
Visitors this summer will be able to watch all the top race on big screens, and refuel with Rapha's special own-blend of coffee and cake, or a specially created roadie-friendly fruit and nut bar. The Rapha Cycle Club will host coverage of the Giro d'Italia, Tour of California, Dauphine, Tour of Switzerland and Tour de France, plus events and talks about other races, including the Tour of Japan.
The space will also play host to a series of cycling exhibitions, celebrating Fausto Coppi in May and the centenary of the Col du Tourmalet – the highest climb on the Tour de France, in June. In July the main floor will be given over to the Tour de France, with an exhibition of ten rare vintage racing bikes from the last 100 years offering an insight into the technology that has carried riders to victory in the world's best known road race.
There will be a series of evening rides as well, starting from the Clerkenwell site, which has both indoor bike parking, and a voiture balai converted into a handy changing room. A Rapha Cycle Club will open later this summer in New York, with plans for more clubs in other cities worldwide next year.
The club will open to the public from this Saturday (May 8) for three months. There's no need to sign up for membership - all you need is a love of road riding. Find it at 146-148 Clerkenwell Road, London EC1.