....Not just a 'Gentleman's' cycle club, but a fully fledged brand that oozes style and exclusivity whilst somehow managing to steer clear of complete snootiness. Rapha's heart and soul is in cycling - for that is how they began, but now they are so much more.
It seems a brand is nothing nowadays unless you've had a pop up shop. Rapha's Cycle Club is their take on this theme, found on Clerkenwell Road, a huge cycling thoroughfare.
The space acts as a club house, in a way, for riders to use as a pit stop, but it is also a gallery, coffee shop, book shop and a place to watch Le Tour live.
Tonight was my first visit - the screening of Ben Ingham's 'D'acciaio', a documentary about Dario Pegoretti.
Firstly, I was able to form an opinion of the shop first and foremost - which I loved. I like the clothing, the huge Citroen H Van parked in the middle of the floor and that during this Private View they brought out incredible cheese platters and wine.
It is and feels classy. Yet homely. The film itself was lovely - a 14min abbreviated version of a forthcoming longer feature - the debut film of photographer Ingham. As you'd imagine, therefore, it was beautifully shot and edited, but what came across most is the warmth and passion of Pegoretti. It is a humorous and ultimately endearing piece and to have him standing right alongside us at the premiere made it all the more appealing.
Pegoretti at work
I am going to go back to Rapha Cycle Club as often as I can before it moves on. Sadly it is only temporary, but a good excuse to buy a piece of their lovely clothing, if only to serve as a memory!