Rapha Cycle Club to Open in NYC

There’s good news for New York City fans of British cycling apparel maker Rapha who pine for a permanent version in Manhattan of the pop-up retail shop, coffee bar and hang-out that took root on the Bowery for three months in 2010. The company’s announcement at the start of 2013 of a return to the Big Apple seems to be coming to more imminent fruition.

Twitter posts this week linked to job listings, including a club assistant, a front of the house person and a head barista/assistant café manager, for a Rapha Cycle Club “coming soon to NYC.”

Clubs feature the company’s clothing and accessories for road and city cycling, as well as themed merchandise. Moreover, they offer a cafe and a place for enthusiasts to gather to watch televised events such as the Tour de France; attend cycling-related films, book signings and art exhibits; and otherwise celebrate cycling culture and tradition.

“The idea wasn’t to be a store, it’s a whole cultural surrounding, mixing content, events, food and drink, all for the person who likes road cycling,” Rapha founder Simon Mottram said of the club concept this week on the British website The Business of Fashion.

In the U.S., Rapha sells its lines for men and women exclusively through its own website, via 14 bicycle shop partners including Signature Cycles in New York City and Greenwich, Conn., and at the San Francisco Rapha Cycle Club, which opened in 2011.

As part of its announced retail expansion, the company has launched clubs internationally in Sydney, London, Tokyo and Osaka, with more in the works. A permanent NYC venue has been discussed since the company tested the waters here with the pop-up in the summer of 2010.

The pairing of coffee bars with cycling retailing, already popular in Europe, is gaining momentum in the U.S., as well. Public Bicycles in San Francisco this week announced addition of coffee service at its South Park store.

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