Interview: Cafe Du Cycliste

The outdoor world and its exploration comes to us all at different times in out lives, either we are out there testing terrain at a young age, or we find it in later years when the kids have flown the coup. Whatever the reasoning for it, It’s out there and needs to be discovered. As we talk about living a certain ‘lifestyle’ and the bespoke elements that go with that depending on the individual, it reminds us that in today’s climate – and we all know the particulars – that ‘lifestyle’ and the outdoors are so much more prominent than before and most definitely much more appreciated.

Cafe Du Cycliste is a brand that you may or may not have heard of, but this French cycling motivated brand has its ‘lifestyle’ credentials well and truly sealed, all organically of course, in what is a beautifully natural, inspired-by-its surroundings, collection of cyclewear and leisure apparel. At the helm is co-founder Remi Clermont, a man that transitioned from World Champion kayaker to corporate hospitality marketing before landing on the CDC project in 2009 with business partner and former IT ‘lifer’ Andre Stewart. Starting life in the mountains on the outskirts of Nice as a coffee shop stop for passing cyclists – the part of the dream owned by Stewart – it was Clermont that had an itch to design and through rigorous research and prototypes he managed to create an initial set of cycling jerseys and shorts.

For me this isn’t a brand designed for cyclists chasing that extra second. It has not been created or designed to fit that performance only aesthetic like so many others

Clermont
Cafe Du Cycliste

I belong to the outdoor world, not to the bike.

Clermont

The truth is that Clermont uses many of the same technical-wear providers as his performance-focussed contemporaries, but adheres 100% to the rule that the product is carefully curated for a customer who buys into the lifestyle of the outdoors, where the bike is merely part of the bigger picture. “At the beginning I knew I wanted to create/design a product that had spirit and I must have asked a million questions to experts and factories along the way to get started,” says Clermont “I had no idea how to put a tech pack forward to the factories, I just had a vision for what I wanted it to be.”

Gravel Shirt

An outdoors soul from a young age, having grown up in the city of Colmar close to the German border, Clermont trained in kayaking from the age of 9 through to 28 reaching the pinnacle of his chosen sport, but jokingly admits he picked the wrong sport to live off financially. It was his father who cycled and even today they continue to do so together – his father a fit 74 year-old. “I’m not a good cyclist. I mean I can cycle and I enjoy it, but I enjoy it because of the journey, the whole experience of being out there. Enjoying time in the countryside or mountains with people I want to be with,” he says. And there lies the joy of Cafe du Cycliste – we can all be one and we don’t have to be the next Bernard Hinault or Chris Froome.

Remi Clermont

Initially creating product from two factories in Italy, Cafe Du Cycliste now works with partners across numerous territories including Portugal, Italy, France and Spain as well as Romania, Albania and Bulgaria. “Our philosophy is to design and make products that stand the test of time, that stand up to the price that customers are paying for them and that encourage and develop repeat purchasing,” says Clermont. As ethics and sustainability continue to be the front focus of story-tellers, Clermont admits that he finds it all quite subjective to what good practices actually mean and the fact that many brands are at different stage along the line of their sustainability programme.

Cafe Du Cycliste

“Look, we all try to do what we can to make sure that we are doing the best we can in terms of the environment. We promote cycling and a natural lifestyle outdoors, so of course it is within our DNA, but are we 100% sustainable? No we are not,” he says. “Ethically we trade within EU Regulations which safeguards the brand and with our factories based mainly in mainland Europe, our global footprint is healthy, but our mantra is to do something for the right reason and not for the sake of just doing it. We try to do what we think is best.” Driven by longevity and the quality of fabrics, Cafe Du Cycliste is precious about the fit of their garments and their functional capability. Products are tried and tested by cycling teams out on the mountains and there is no shirking of spending money to get the very best to serve the high end consumer, thus lessening the risk.

SS21 Cafe Du Cycliste

“The vision has always been to treat cycling as a lifestyle and not just a sport,” adds Clermont. “Cycling in France is a blue collar activity, a lot like boxing. It’s no shock that many of the most successful cyclists are sons of the working classes, but that has shifted in recent years with the rise in its popularity.” With stores now in Nice, London and Majorca, Cafe Du Cycliste has no plans to become a mass-store offer post pandemic and remains a niche brand in key destinations with a healthy on-line business. “We are growing in popularity and we are enjoying the reception the brand is receiving absolutely, but for now we are happy with the online platform and our three stores,” says Clermont. “We have had a slow reception in pro cycling countries who have been spoiled with brands built by performance, including France, Italy and Spain, but we are getting there. We were quicker to have an impact in countries including the UK, Germany, Denmark and the US.”

Cafe Du Cycliste

So for now Cafe Du Cycliste remains that ‘cool lifestyle’ offer for non-competitive two-wheeled action and we’re all for it. For more information visit www.cafeducycliste.com 

SSEAMS Newsletter

Sign up for our newsletter and receive regular updates.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.

X