It makes perfect sense that a French expression captures the style and singularity of French label, Café du Cycliste. Its sleek and sophisticated garments have a certain je ne sais quoi that makes them ideal for sporting on or off the bike – managing the transition between sport and leisure with ease. We spoke with Remi Clermont, co-founder and creative director of Café du Cycliste about designing with style and substance.
Tell us about yourself.
I was born and raised on the French border to Germany and spent my childhood and young adulthood racing wild-water kayaks in the mountains around the world. I studied business in Paris and worked for the Olympic Games and Football World Cup but also helped secure the web, working for a network security company. [Eventually, I started designing] cycling clothing and I have been doing that ever since. I love waves, mountains, fly-fishing and my bike – but despite being French, I don’t like Camembert.
When did you start cycling and what sort of cycling do you enjoy?
I have been riding a bike since I was a child. I raced for the French National Team in kayaking when I was in my early 20s and I used cycling as my winter training because it was a good way to keep fit. When I stopped kayaking, I continued to ride my bike with friends and family and still do; … it is a great way to hang out with friends, stay fit and go on adventures.
As much as I love travelling with my bike to countries like Morocco and exploring the Atlas Mountains with my dad, or climbing the highest paved roads in Europe on Col de Bonette with friends, I love to ride our local climbs. A friendly lunchtime race up Col de Eze with our Café du Cycliste team is fantastic and nothing beats a warm summer lunch ride with a view over the Mediterranean Sea.
What inspired you to start Café du Cycliste?
We had a small café in Grasse where a lot of cyclists would stop for a quick refuel. We always played with the idea of creating a line for the café that would represent our vision and anticipation of cycling. We decided that we should design a small line with just a few items for the café including one jersey, a pair of bibs and some bidons (water bottles). The small collection was a success and we got inspired to do more. Eventually, I quit my full-time job and invested all my time [in] Café du Cycliste to create the brand and a full collection. We moved from Grasse to Nice and started selling online. After a few years, we opened our first concept store in the harbour of Nice. We now have stores in Nice, London and Mallorca, with Nice and Mallorca being incredible riding destinations.
Café du Cycliste has a unique style. How would you describe it?
We want our products to channel a lifestyle-like spirit into cycling and our customers to feel natural and like they don’t have to “dress up” when going cycling. We take design inspiration from outside the cycling world and mainly from where we live and ride on the French Riviere, the mountain life and the French fashion heritage. The products are a translation of the way that we see cycling, and for us that is broader than just a sport.
There are many reasons to ride a bike and we are inspired by all of them. …Whether you race or commute to work by bike, ride with friends on the weekends, or go bikepacking on or off-road. We believe that it is all part of the same movement and we want our cycling kit to help our customers embrace every single one of those experiences.
What are you working on at the moment?
Lots of exciting products for next year including new lines such as women-specific gravel products and bags. We are also preparing to welcome the Tour de France in our hometown, Nice, [at] the end of August. Our café and store in Nice will be busy with a lot of activities and we are all really excited.
Pictures: Courtesy of Café du Cycliste. Image three by Matt Wragg