San Francisco is full of surprises. Although it’s a small city (just 7 miles by 7 miles), every nook and cranny brims with quirky people, places and things.
PBHQ is lucky to call this city our home, and we love to share our favorite finds with others. Our newest love? The Rapha Cycle Club’s Parklet.
What’s a parklet? As part of San Francisco’s Pavement to Parks program, certain portions of the street outside restaurants, cafes and shops can be transformed into small seating areas called parklets.
The parklet outside Rapha Cycle Club is made up of a Citroën H Van, built in the early part of the 20th century. Often, these vans would serve as sweeper vans at the end of early bicycle races. “If you got caught by one of these vans, you were out of the race,” says Dante Campanile of Rapha’s San Francisco Cycle Club.
Rapha’s team found this particular van on a farm in France. Its years of hard work had left it gutted — it had no engine or working parts. But the team still loved it, and shipped it back to the US where they could decide what to do with it. After a few events and experiments, they partnered with San Francisco design firm ReBar to build a custom parklet outside the shop.
The H Van was shipped out to Treasure Island, cut in half and carefully sealed and sanded to get rid of sharp edges and loose ends. Each half came back to Rapha’s Marina location to be put together once again — this time, with a custom deck, benches, planters and tables in the middle.
“I’d say that this parklet really helps blend the cultural history of road racing with a contemporary cycling scene in San Francisco,” says Campanile. “It’s great to see it become a gathering place for group rides, cyclists passing by, and just people who live in the neighborhood.”
Visit Rapha Cycle Club and its parklet at 2198 Filbert Street, San Francisco, CA 94123.