Sunday, June 26, 2011

A visit to the Rapha store in Wüleur style

Steel Wüleur Sean Co did a hop skip and a pedal from the east bay to get us the low down on Rapha's SF digs.

On any given weekend morning in San Francisco there are dozens of cyclists meeting up at the Golden Gate Bridge, Philz Coffee, Zeitgeist and other popular spots. Centered as a temporary hub of cycling culture is the Rapha Cycle Club located 10 minutes from the Golden Gate Bridge in the Marina. The "store" exterior is adored with larger than life size pictures of riders and minimal Rapha garments highlighted with the diffuse bay light. The club offers itself as a meet-up for riders departing for rides to Mt. Tam and beyond. Generous indoor bike parking with each rear wheel holder labeled with the name of famous grand tour climbs and excellent coffee and treats await the rider. Cycling memorabilia juxtaposed with minimal Rapha displays
dress the walls which gave me plenty to gaze at while sitting at the central table sipping my cappuccino.

I tried to explain to my brother what Rapha was and could only explain it was similar to free skiers or surfing's soul riders, with nods to the tradition and heritage cycling has to offer. Is it cleaver marketing where the wary and overstimulated consumer is tired of product information but responds well to positive emotion or a true love for the sport? Probably a bit of both but they generally offered a place to celebrate road culture and I was happy to enjoy the vibe. I would have loved to touch the $200 jerseys but we had our own ride to
get to.


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