2014 is shaping up to be a historic and exciting year for women’s cycling. Tomorrow sees the first day of racing in the inaugural Women’s Tour, which is Britain’s first international level stage race for women and in July, the inaugural edition of La Course by le Tour de France will be held, a one day race on the Champs-Elysées in Paris on the final day of the Tour de France. This first Women’s Tour of Britain and La Course is another sign of progress and recognition for women’s cycling. If the figures are anything to go by, women’s participation and interest in cycling is also growing. I’ve always had a passion for cycling and in recent years I’ve noticed more women out on my local road loops and trails. All these positive changes for women’s cycling has led to an ever increasing range of good looking and functional women’s cycling clothing and accessories.
Clothing maker Rapha has long made well-regarded women’s clothing and is a premium brand established to “celebrate road riding and develop the best performing and most stylish cycling clothes and accessories in the world”. I own some Rapha clothing items and have been impressed with their functionality, fit and style. My Rapha winter gloves and merino base layer have been getting plenty of use in my first winter season of cycling in Canberra! The women’s range is expanding every year and I’m told Rapha are developing women’s race clothing for launch in 2015.
Rapha sees itself as more than just a product company and has established Rapha Cycle Clubs in key cycling cities to inspire its passion for cycling. These ‘Clubs’ offer access to the latest Rapha products, big screen live racing, exclusive exhibitions and events and a café serving coffee and food. The latter being a good enticement to encourage CFJ into yet “another cycling store”. The first permanent home of Rapha in Australia is the Rapha Cycle Club Sydney, located in the heart of Surry Hills, close to the Sydney CBD.
The Club Café is conveniently located at the entrance of the store, with doors wide open on to the street allowing for a reassuring view of the cycle racks. When CFJ and I arrived, the café was bustling with cyclists decked out in the latest Rapha gear enjoying a coffee after a Sunday morning bunch ride. We were warmly greeted by the resident female barista and offered a table upstairs, amongst the Rapha clothing range. Bliss!
The Club Café offers a breakfast/lunch menu made fresh on-site daily and is designed to refuel after a ride or to simply start the day off on the right foot. The toasties and muesli appeared popular amongst the bunch riders, but I opted for fruit toast with Pepe Saya butter and CFJ ordered the more daring avocado and feta toast with chilli, lime and coriander – a “good choice” asserted by our waitress. I have to confess that by the time I had finished being distracted by the store apparel and accessories, I returned to our table to slightly cold coffee and toast. None the less, I thoroughly enjoyed the fruit toast which was cut thick and laden with plump raisons, still warm enough to melt the layer of Pepe Saya’s butter I smothered on. The butter was the highlight for me, being creamy and lush to taste. Pepe Saya’s is made from Australian cream sourced from Country Valley Dairy in Picton, Australia.
CFJ tried an interesting take on avocado and feta on toast and was delightfully pleased with the morning ‘zing’ of the chili, lime and coriander added to a breakfast classic. Coffee is a make and break deal for us and I am pleased to report the coffee was made expertly with a bold blend of coffee roasted by Allpress Espresso, an old favourite of mine. In addition to the items offered on the café’s menu, fresh pastries from Penny Fours of Leichhardt are available daily.
Rapha Club Cycle is open from pre-dawn for your first shot of espresso through to late evening. For readers wanting to experience some spectacular scenic Sydney rides, Rapha Cycle Club have a number of Club Rides which leave the Cycle Club every week. Definitely worth a detour for.
CFJ would like to say a very special thank you to special guest blogger (and lovely girlfriend), A. xx