Some people do things for profit. Others, for passion. Now, the former (so-called business professionals) will tell you that the latter are busy fools, that their ideas amount to nought if not followed by many noughts on the balance sheet. While the dreamers would say, what? Nothing. The money men come from Mars, so how could they understand something done for its own sake?
Sadly, the cycling industry, of which we are well familiar, is currently suffering from a distinct lack of passion. Most things look the same, work the same, come from the same factory. Eager MBA grads go for growth as its own end. True identity and meaning have become lost.
But there are still some outliers (submissions welcome). Take VIA Atelier in London, a cycling showroom, retail space, hang-out space, event space, and Italiophile paradise.
“VIA is the result of a combination of ideas – part consumer-facing trade show mixed with a high-end fashion retailer, where brands sit inside a curated space and are given complete autonomy to tell their story. This creates an exciting space for visitors/consumers and brands and enables a retail experience that’s never been done before in the cycling world.”
So says Michael Sodeau, VIA’s co-founder, also co-founder of the Vermuteria cafe & bar. Also a brilliant industrial designer. Also a great chap (have evidence).
This weekend, VIA hosted a weekend of criterium races and community events. And despite the incessant rain and wind that marred Saturday’s schedule, it was a huge success. Perhaps a shorts-wearing, sky-gazing Michael, sodden and slightly bedraggled come Saturday afternoon, would disagree, but nevertheless, reduced schedule or not, VIA brought the magic of cycling to the masses. And it was wonderful. A frenetic theatre of two-wheeled majesty, all the better for the rain and the spirit of togetherness it awakened in its participants. This was actual life, not synthetic noise. It was fast-paced, confronting, amusing, and whimsical. A whole world rendered real in the heart of King’s Cross.
On behalf of this cycling fan and seeker of people of passion, I’d like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Michael and his team for creating an incredible event and experience for both visitors and racers.
All photos by Where Beagles Dare. If you’d like to use any for your publication or personal use, please do ask.