Retired professional road cyclist Russ Downing has launched his own brand of coffee, aimed at bicycle shops.
Downing, a former British road racing champion who retired in 2019, has teamed up with tech entrepreneur Tim Hammond to launch Cycle Expresso, a program that encourages bike shops to create their own pop-up cafÃ© in store.
The new brand comes from Pro Espresso, the distributor of Rocket Espresso machines in the UK, as Downing and Hammond plan to create a network of stores that cyclists can find on the go, using a Cycle Espresso mobile app. .
Downing said: “Everyone knows I love a good cup of coffee, and with my cycling background I am really excited to be a part of this exciting new company to capitalize on the growth of cycling cafes.”
Hammond, owner of Pro Espresso, added: âAs the existing UK distributor of the leading brand, Rocket Espresso, we plan to capitalize on its unique identity within the cycling community by inviting cycle shops to have a pop- up Rocket in their store.
“Our mission is to bring more Rocket Espresso machines to bike shops across the UK.”
Cycle Expresso partner stores will be offering a commercial Rocket Espresso machine to serve customers and a consumer Rocket machine demonstration for anyone looking to try a Rocket machine at home.
Downing added: âThis is a great opportunity for bike shops as it really puts them on the map to take advantage of the bike cafe boom. It can also bring them new income through the sale of Rocket Espresso machines for the home, as it’s a brand that we know cyclists really love.
Cycle Espresso will soon invite stores to join the network and set up their pop-ups, with participating rides then joining Downing at a âRocket Rideâ social event, alongside other Cycle Espresso ambassadors.
The brand will be open to existing bike shops and cafes as well as new franchise retail stores and mobile outlets, as Cycle Espresso said that there is “significant potential growth in this industry through the advancement. cycling as the sport and hobby of choice for many and the love of better coffee.
Downing is a former GB and Team Sky racer during his 20-year racing career, while Hammond has been investing since establishing his first internet startup in 1996, ultimately selling it for a profit. of $ 18 million.
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Hammond founded Pro Expresso in 2018 to invest in the UK specialty coffee market.