This is it. The perfect synthesis of coffee and cycling: the Rapha Cycle Club. The Club can be found in Soho, surrounded by many great coffee shops and it has a job on its hands to keep up. It has only been open for a few weeks, and I made this a must see on my stay in London. Coming off Piccadilly, and it’s so easy to find, I was thoroughly prepared to be disappointed. Or I should have been prepared, but ideas of Le Tour and espressos clouded my judgement, and I walked in prepared to be amazed.
In reality, I wasn’t disappointed, which surprised me more than anything. The Rapha Cycle Club feels as passionate about its coffee as it does about its calipers, cares as much about macchiatos as merino. On walking in, you’re greeted by bicycles (not for sale!) hanging from the walls, and set up on plinths. Two large screens and one HUGE screen adorn the walls showing the cycling, it would have been impressive when the Brad was cycling to his gold!
Rapha clothing is among the best in the world for cycling. It’s incredibly pricy, but it is used by the best. Newspaper cuttings from years ago are framed, showing Rapha-clad adonises from years ago. The clothing is beautifully presented, and, appropriately, quite separate from the coffee area. It’s pleasant just to have a walk round before your coffee, just so you can feel like a pro.
Naturally, you have to have an espresso. And it’s not cheap, but what did you expect? The coffee is wonderfully rounded and bold. My cup had complex overtones and a slightly oaky after taste. The espresso is served with a glass of water to cleanse. This is the type of espresso that just slips down the throat, not making an overpowering impact, just calmly invigorating. Oh, and it’s Square Mile coffee, nuff said.
This coffee and cycling clothes house is brilliant. It has been designed as a hub for cyclists to gather, and I think it has everything it needs to achieve that. The atmosphere is great too, because everybody there is united under common interests.