Monday, February 14, 2011


It hit me this Sunday while meeting up for a ride with Dave Chiu and the newly formed Ride Studio Cafe race team that the Ride Studio has become like Cheers. Not the lame tourist attraction but the show. Granted this is now dating me. And the kids will be like Cheers what? I loved that show. But this isn't about a trip down memory lane of pop culture its more about the concept of Cheers. A place where you feel at home and welcomed. Where you are all the same. Pubs can be like this. That's why regulars are regulars. But why was the theme song to Cheers running through my head as I was getting ready to ride outside in 20 degree weather with 4 foot high snow banks and the possibility of certain death or at the very least laying it down on the pave nagging at the back of my head?
I have talked about my love of the Ride Studio Cafe and the parties and gatherings that occur there on a regular basis. But what's beginning to reveal itself to me is the pure genius of the RSC. Is it a high-end bike store/fit studio? Yes it really is that and a mighty fine one at that. Is it a Cafe with a real flavor for celebrating the finest coffee in the world? Oh yes it is that and more. They really go deep to find new blends and roasters. Since partaking of their pour over coffee I literally cannot drink Starbucks. And that is saying a lot as I am a total coffee addict. But now I am an addict with taste. So it is both those things and clearly outpaces any bike shop or coffee shop in its respective discipline. But what they have done that in my mind has never been done before is create a space for cyclists and coffee lovers to just be themselves and to feel at home. And that is why the Cheers theme song kept playing in my head all Sunday.
I'd made a ride date with Dave Chiu to meet his new team and learn about the Cervelo bikes they will be riding. Dave and Rob Vandermark had given me some insights into what they were putting together. A solid squad with some Rapha like qualities. They are a strong group of road racers and will be very competitive on the road racing scene but they are more than just a road team pumped up on adrenaline and testosterone. Hence my Rapha reference. They will also celebrate the riding, they will bring that same culture we love in cross to the road scene, they will put energy into endurance rides and just spread the love of riding road bikes and being ambassadors for the RSC.

But as I was sitting in the Studio Cafe pulling my shoe covers over my sidis. Biker after biker kept rolling in for a coffee post ride or were getting a ham and cheese croissant before heading out. Richard Fries rolled in, Jeff Bramhall and Katherine Snell were there. In talking with my Hup teammate Michele Smith she said she had bumped into Rosey and Mike Wissell on the way to Lexington. It is a hub and its a place for us. Bikers who love to ride and love good coffee. I mean it was 20 degrees out and at least 40 riders where in the studio talking about how great their ride was and chatting and enjoying having a space that is our own. We don't have to feel like we are grossing out the general public in a cafe or restaurant. Gone are the stares of annoyance from patrons at a coffee shop of all our gear being strewn across a bench. What occupies the space at the RSC is total celebration of the ride and rider.
There are so many layers to this story and I will try and dig into them to better communicate it both for the reader and myself as I am still digesting it all and its meaning. A couple of things really put an exclamation point on this feeling I had Sunday. The Ride Studio Cafe does feel like a second home. Rob is so welcoming. Andrea is the coolest bike mechanic in the world. And she is nice enough to not mock me even though I am the most hamfisted biker on the planet. But what I loved about it was just the total and utter bike geeking that was going on. I met a guy with a beautiful DeSalvo. We talked about steel bikes. He checked out my Sycip. We connected the dots back to Yash. We all kitted up and headed out for a really nice winter ride. I met friends out on the road and we all came back to the RSC.

After our ride as we were all hanging around I was in a group talking about the ride and catching up with some friends. The door opened and someone came in with the pimpest Look race bike you have ever seen. Totally over the top. Lightweight wheels etc. No expense spared. The conversation stopped. All eyes locked on the bike. Heads turned. Hushed whispers about the bike. Then the cacophony of voices and conversations kicked back in, the rider was welcomed into the hub and we once again reveled in this amazing culture and the space that now has become a haven for us on a cold day.

Spring will be here soon. What was a 6 foot high snowbank is now a 4 foot high snowbank. Lots of really cool stuff percolating at the Ride Studio Cafe. Before the RSC we used to have to wait all year until Fall to get that same feeling we get from cross season where we have this big sense of a community. Not anymore. And we get to check out really fantastic bikes and great coffee at the same time.

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