Business

Former British cycling champion Russ Downing launches Cycle Espresso network

Former British cycling champion Russ Downing has created a new brand, Cycle Espresso, to help fuel the growing demand for cycle cafes.

Cycle Espresso is a cycle cafe network, featuring the best cycle stores, cafes, and events across the country, and will cater to both cyclists and cycle store owners alike. An online Cycle Espresso map allows cyclists to plan routes around registered Cycle Espresso cafes and stores serving speciality coffees.

Alongside Downing, the brand’s co-founder is Tim Hammond, retail entrepreneur and owner of Pro Espresso, the official UK distributor of Rocket espresso machines. The duo has brought onboard performance brand OTE nutrition and chamois cream brand Veloskin as partners.

Cycle Espresso also offers bolt-on dealership packages to cycle cafes so they can earn new revenue streams from sales of home Rocket Espresso machines and cycle product lines without them having to hold stock or handle fulfilment.

Cycle Espresso already has 57 cycle cafes on its map from Brighton to Edinburgh, with 12 of these displaying Rocket Espresso machines in store for cyclists to see before they buy.

The brand has ambitious plans for 2022 with mobile vehicles due to be added to the Cycle Espresso network in 2022. A Land Rover Defender and trailer is ready to be used as a Cycle Espresso cafe stop for the forthcoming Tour of the Cotswolds event in conjunction with partner store, Ride 247 in June. Additionally, plans for Cycle Espresso events called ‘Rocket Rides’ are in the pipeline for this spring 2022, allowing cyclists to ride between different café pop-ups.

Discussing the launch and rapid growth, Downing said: “Over the past few months I’ve been doing a lot of travelling across the UK, visiting cycle shops, cycle cafes and cycle clubs. On my travels, I’ve seen how the ‘cycle shop’ is reinventing itself. How cycling, coffee and most importantly community is coming together to emerge into a new breed of bike shop. No longer are they just selling bikes, but offering bike fits, serving great coffee and organising vibrant events for their customers.

“Our mission for Cycle Espresso is to be the driving force behind this new breed of cycle store, which has ‘customer experience’ at its heart and uniquely blends cycling, coffee and community. By creating a UK-wide network of Cycle Espresso Cafes and an online hub that lists all the Cycle Cafes in the UK, cyclists can use it as a resource tool and plan their route to take in cafes and refuel for those long journeys.”

Discussing the partnership with Cycle Espresso, Mitch Evans founder of Ride 247 added “Ride247 are really excited to join Cycle Espresso and have already earned revenue from sales of several Rocket machines which our customers have bought when visiting our Cycle store in Cirencester.

“Cycle Espresso is also supporting our 247km Tour of the Cotswolds event on 26 June by helping us promote this event to more cyclists via their online directory and their RWRD loyalty app. We look forward to ‘fuelling our ride’ with Cycle Espresso.”

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Cycle Espresso announced a partnership with RWRD, a mobile application focused within the coffee industry that connects independent outlets with a growing audience of coffee customers in December 2021. The partnership focuses on enabling independent cycling shops across the UK to reach a wider audience through speciality coffee, encouraging people to get out on their bikes across leading cycle routes and discover small businesses while they’re at it.

Cycle Espresso stores and cafes receive a free listing on the Cycle Espresso directory and map, and 60 days’ free use of the loyalty reward app, which is designed to drive more customers to stores by promoting to the app’s 55,000 existing users.

Rebecca Morley

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