Jun 12, 2012

Movie Star In A Sweatsuit

A man with glasses and an apron walks toward the back of a bike shop, carrying a Specialized kids' bike.  He is followed by the boy who presumably owns the bike, and a man, perhaps the boy's father.  Minutes later, they return in reverse order, heading toward the front of the shop.  Must've been either a flat or simply air for the tire.

I go back to my reading.  I'm browsing  Privateer  magazine.  This is one of the few places on the East Coast to carry copies.  Maybe the only one.  No matter.  I take a sip of my Stumptown coffee.  From Portland. OR .  Also not available elsewhere nearby. Or on this coast, for that matter.

I look down at a cyclist standing nearby, and see NYC VELO socks.  Y'know who's really into that shop?  Kaiko Shimura, who's been interviewed here before.  My eyes rise from the socks and there she is, in the flesh.  Oh.  I say hello and introduce myself.

This is the Ride Studio Cafe experience, and it's a new one for me.  I look up to the ceiling a little later, and see a bike I think I recognize.  I ask the aproned shop employee who carried the bike earlier- is that one of the bikes from the Seven Cycles catalog?  Yes, indeed it is.  Different saddle, though (it had custom painted fenders...).  I'm starting to get the feeling that this place is special.  I pick up a copy of Embrocation Cycling Journal- another magazine that you can't just pick up at your local Barnes and Noble.

And yet RSC is unassuming.  Customers bring their own bikes in the front door and hang them up on the "parking lot" rack.  Each orders a coffee or espresso.  One person sitting at the bar near me overhears a conversation about a young cyclist heading to Europe in the summer with a tour group.  'Hey, I work for them,' she says.  And so it goes.

Its location in downtown Lexington certainly doesn't draw much attention to itself.  There's not even a large sign like the other establishments on either side.  As a matter of fact, the stickers on the window actually come together to say Ride Studio Cafe only once.  The door to get in says only "Ride Studio".

And as such, RSC becomes just the kind of 'people who know' center of culture that cafes have been throughout history:  In Paris, In cycling capitols like Boulder, Colorado, and here in Lexington.

Oh, and that shop employee helping the young boy with his bike?  He's Rob Vandermark, founder of Seven Cycles, firmly assured of his place in bike history, and he's interviewed in the elitist magazine sitting in front of me. 

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