We can all get caught up from time to time trying to be the fastest rider possible, nose down focused solely on watts, PRs and KOMs. And while digital accolades are all well and good, a new club is here to remind us what the other side of cycling is all about: socializing and riding in cool places both familiar and fresh.
Words & Images by William Tracy
That’s the idea behind the PARI SOUPLESSE CLUB, the brainchild of world-renowned photographer Paul Ripke, who lends the first letters of his name, PA-RI, to the club. When he took up cycling early in 2020, he quickly got hooked. It didn’t take long for him to pick up on the elements that he liked about the sport, including connecting with people, exploring new areas and grabbing beers after rides—all while never worrying about maintaining a certain average speed. That philosophy, “look pro, go slow,” would lead him to log 10,000 kilometers by the year’s end.
With the PARI SOUPLESSE CLUB, Paul has teamed up with Schwalbe to share what riding means to him with more riders, reminding them to take things easy and enjoy themselves. If that means stopping for coffee in between, or at a picturesque vista or two for a photo op, then that’s what happens. “Getting to know people on the bike and having a beer after is the whole idea of PARI SOUPLESSE CLUB,” says Paul.
It’s a far cry from hammerfest club rides. Even for rides that proclaim to be “no drop,” that can often be more of a guideline than a strictly adhered to rule, with riders breaking into smaller groups, or the ride going fast then regrouping periodically. But the PARI SOUPLESSE CLUB is all about riding a truly social pace that everyone can enjoy. And Paul readily admits that he never even knows where Strava segments are on his rides, because why would he need to know?
Club rides in the United States begin in July, with three rides slated along the California coast. Things kick off in San Francisco on July 12 with a mixed terrain ride with celebrity chef Chris Cosentino. Two days later, July 14, the club rides out of Pismo Beach with world-renowned photographer Chris Burkard on a mixed terrain route into Los Padres National Forest. Then on July 16 a road ride takes off from the PARI CLUB HOUSE in Newport Beach, where Paul calls home. All you have to do is show up and come prepared to ride in a cool place at a social pace. Join the Strava club or website for info on the rides and to stay up to date on future events!