The Tour de France just wrapped up and was once again the biggest spectacle of the year in cycling, pulling in millions of viewers and delivering exposure for sponsors’ multi-million dollar investments. There’s no arguing that the Tour is the most widely known cycling event in the world, but if you asked a 25-year-old from Brooklyn what he thought was the biggest cycling race, he would likely give you a completely different answer. His response would surely be, “the Red Hook Crit”.
Red Hook races attract tens of thousands of fans who come out to watch the riders race around a technical urban circuit on track bikes that don’t have brakes. There are some obvious similarities between a Red Hook Crit and the Tour de France, such as they are both bike races; but at the same time, they are a world apart and that’s exactly the appeal for Team Specialized Rocket-Espresso, a team Topical Edge is proud to support.
Putting together a team with some of the fastest and most engaging men and women in the fixed gear scene, and the addition of a unique style thanks to a collaboration with muralist Michael Reeder, Team Specialized Rocket-Espresso has carved out a significant following. “The audience trends under 30, so we’re reaching a different group than what Specialized usually does”, said Chris Riekert of Specialized, who is responsible for getting the team off the ground. “The style and personalities that we’ve brought into Red Hook really make the spectators want to engage with the team.”
Through bright colored, unmistakable bike and apparel designs, the team can’t be missed when at one of the four Red Hook events held in Brooklyn, Milan, Barcelona, and London. “We make the team available to the spectators by setting up outside of the rider areas and putting them in with the public so anyone can come to interact with the guys and a kid can get an autograph”, said Riekert. It also doesn’t hurt when team co-sponsor Rocket Espresso has a mobile cafe and is serving up shots of espresso.
For next year, due to the team’s success, the overall focus will slightly shift. “Going into next year, the design aspect and art will be the lead, but we’ll expand beyond just fixed gear racing. The goal of the team is to be present at any event that has a lot of influence. There are so many great events that people want to do and get more out of, be it gravel, RAAM, or whatever”, said Riekert.
Look for Team Specialized-Rocket Espresso at a cycling event near you, and follow them on Instagram at @specializedrocketespresso.