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Tokyo Cycle Club: Now Closed
Guest blogger, Lee Basford, describes and photographs the pop-up Tokyo Cycle Club which is now, unfortunately, closed for business.
I'm fortunate to work in a studio just across the street from Calm & Punk Gallery, run by the same team responsible for the superb Gasbook series of design books that have included Mike Mills, Tomato, Laurent Fetis and Nagi Noda. Things got even better when I was told in early June that the gallery would be transformed into the Rapha Cycle Club Tokyo for four weeks to coincide with the 100th Tour de France.
I watched excitedly over the course of a week as various boxes, furniture and fittings were delivered to the sparse gallery space which slowly emerged as a café and store, complete with bunting, Condor and Team Sky replica bikes, two special edition Rapha Giotto Rocket espresso machines from Milan and a complete exhibition of the recent La Centième prints by artists from across the globe including; Geoff McFetridge, Max Er-denberger, Jack Saunders and Yuji Yamada (who's original paintings were also being shown). The print catalogue, presented in a tricolour set, is a beautifully embossed ob-ject produced by Generation Press in East Sussex, the artisan printers responsible for the the more elaborate paper materials by Rapha.
It’s one thing to view Rapha products through their website, but it was an entirely different experience to be able to take your time looking through the complete range of jerseys, gloves and other cycling-related products, examining the materials and all of the small details that make Rapha, Rapha. There was a good selection of printed material available too if you decided to spend some time in the café; the weekly Doppio (In Japanese and English), back issues of Rouleur — all with the previous day's stage playing in the background.
Rapha have always had a serious commitment to coffee and in Japan its something people have a passion for. The coffee for the Tokyo store came from MiCT, a family business in Toyama prefecture run by Mr. Tomikawa, meticulous in his art and most importantly a very nice guy. As well as coffee, various food and pastries were supplied daily from a local bakery, along with good beer and Rapha labelled Haramo Wine from Katsunuma in Yamanashi.
The evening before the Grand Départ from Corsica the club held a special event where pro tour cycling photographer and television presenter, Kei Tsuji, gave a talk on the teams and their riders as they were being introduced on-screen in France. Live screening of the Tour meant the store usually stayed open late due to the time dif-ference with Europe, but it was actually quite nice to watch the stage live in the evening. The bike racks were full and always a good atmosphere inside, especially if there was a Japanese rider in a breakaway. Unfortunately, with the end of the Tour came the end of the pop-up Cycle Club. However, work is currently in progress for a permanent Rapha Cycle Club that is planned to open in Tokyo in 2014, the second in Japan after Osaka.
This post originally appeared on NowhereFast.cc
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