Rapha’s flagship Clubhouse in London’s Soho reopens today, with the upmarket cycle clothing firm taking the opportunity of its closure during lockdown to completely refurbish and expand the premises, including a larger café area, as well as a new events and exhibition space.
Open from 8am-7pm Monday to Saturday and from 11am-5pm, due to current restrictions, there are limits for now on the numbers of people allowed inside, and takeaway coffee only is available.
As well as showcasing the company’s range of clothing and accessories, the Clubhouse will, as before, act as a focal point for Rapha Cycling Club rides, with rides taking place daily, including beginners’ laps, women-only rides, and high-tempo sessions, as well as annual challenge rides.
A full programme of exhibitions and events is also planned for the coming months, starting with the opening today of Stitches In Time, a retrospective tracing the Rapha jersey from its creation in 2014 through the brand’s relationship with Team Sky and Sir Paul Smith to last year’s collaboration with Palace Skate for the EF Pro Cycling’s one-off Giro d’Italia kit.
Details of all rides as well as forthcoming exhibitions and events at the Clubhouse can be found in a dedicated section of the Rapha website.
Rapha Founder and CEO, Simon Mottram, said: "While the news recently has been all about shops closing I’m really excited that Rapha is bucking the trend and expanding our London Clubhouse.
“Rapha was launched in London in 2004 and the Clubhouse in Soho was one of our first physical spaces, so it’s always been special for us. For many of our customers buying Rapha products is just part of their relationship with us.
“Rapha Clubhouses exist for them to find the products they want but also to help them get closer to the cycling community and closer to the sport itself. So it’s great that we will now have more space to host exhibitions and events and a better appointed cafe for London’s cyclists to enjoy, along with room to show our entire product range.
“Weekly rides will head out from the Clubhouse again – we are delighted to have them back after recent lock-downs!
“Our hope is that Brewer Street will become a home from home for experienced riders as well as offering a warm welcome to people who are considering cycling for the first time.”
He added: “The most satisfying thing about our growing business for me is that Rapha often plays a part in creating wonderful memories and friendships for our cycling community. I’m confident that the new London Clubhouse will help us to do that even more effectively.”
Caroline Crosswell, Rapha’s Chief Retail and Development Officer, commented: “Although the traditional high street has been under threat for many years and particularly so in the last year, we are more confident than ever that the right kind of physical brand presence still has a powerful role to play in delighting customers and building long lasting brand relationships.
“We have rarely chosen the easiest path and none more so than with our retail concept journey. We have strived to place community at the heart, confident that commerce would follow if we truly engaged with our customers. We knew that if we prioritised our passion for the sport and our community, we were ensuring that the Clubhouse would be a true home for our customers.
“Investing in our location in the heart of Soho was an easy business decision to make and we are son proud of our newly expanded Clubhouse which will connect our founding RCC members with the newer cyclists who have fallen in love with the sport during the pandemic,” she added.
“We can't wait to extend a warm welcome to all cyclists with a more inviting space than ever before.”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.