When it comes to picking impactful partnerships, Patta and Rapha know where it’s at. Both have showcased an innate ability to execute discerning collaborations over the years – but now, the duo has joined forces to create something much more meaningful, together.
Patta and Rapha are kicking off a new chapter in cycling, forging an inclusive initiative that leaves previous limitations behind: the Patta Cycling Team. The new venture is inclusive for athletes of all experience levels; a community-led project that welcomes all who wish to join and encourages the next generation of cyclists to ride with an open mindset.
Patta and Rapha’s collaboration marks the launch of Patta Cycling Team’s first cycling kit, communicating the latter’s athletic experience through inclusive uniforms made from relaxed technical fabrics. Patta brand director and Patta Cycling Team member Lee Stuart is spearheading the new project. After joining Patta in 2018, Stuart has worked to place the brand on a global stage, taking pride in its Black-owned independent background. Over the past five years, Stuart has amplified Patta’s community-oriented mindset, which is now very much a core part of the Patta Cycling Team’s ethos.
“People looking to get into the sport can join our rides, challenges, and clinics. The goal is to expand the fleet of bikes so we can go into neighborhoods and invite people to have their first-ever racing experience with us,” says Lee Stuart. Patta and Rapha’s cycling teams collectively aim to expand the sport across global corners, guiding inexperienced riders to greatness by giving them the tools they need to succeed against all odds.
“Like with everything Patta does, diversity already starts with ourselves.”
“Besides wind tunnel bike fittings, challenges, and workshops with pros, we’ve recently done a circuit training session. The team — along with some friends and members of the Rapha Cycling Club — learned to ride in a big peloton, cornering, working with headwinds, and sprinting. It gets quite technical and very exciting,” Stuart mentions. It’s clear inclusion is at the forefront of The Patta Cycling Team: “Like with everything Patta does, diversity already starts with ourselves,” explains Stuart.
The cycling kit is an accessible offering of technical sportswear to aid riders on the road. The uniform consists of all-black tops, shorts, caps, and socks, featuring a cartoon gecko designed by Patta’s Creative Director, Vincent van de Waal. The reptile reflects speed and style, placed above the team’s motivational “one more road to cross” slogan in Sranan Tongo.
But why was it so important to tap Rapha for Patta’s two-wheel debut? “Rapha is a great partner in the sense that they have community at the heart as well, albeit a very different community to ours,” Stuart explains, “They are masters in cycling lifestyle apparel, and we are brand new, even to the sport.”
It’s clear that the collaboration has been truly symbiotic for both brands, when Stuart reveals the lengths Rapha have gone to allow the Patta team to reallt find their feet. “They’ve shared their knowledge, contacts, and resources and have welcomed us with open arms into a world that can feel intimidating and gate-kept,” Stuart says, “They opened the doors to their clubhouses, but also introduced us to sponsors and networks. In doing so, Rapha helped to amplify our message and facilitate the team as a whole. This was really a partnership for the books, and it showed in the success of the capsule collection.”
Patta and Rapha are directing their efforts toward creating a safe environment for newcomers. Anyone can join community rides in Amsterdam, offering a space to develop friendships to last a lifetime. “We have been playing with the idea for a long time, as some of us were looking for alternatives to running. We were introduced to Rapha and started talking. Luckily, their ambitions matched ours; we joined hands and talked to potential bike sponsors and groupset companies. We were welcomed with open arms as the brands we work with all feel strongly about the need for more diversity in the cycling world.”
“We’re coming from a lifestyle streetwear company angle and are very much rooted in the community. So whatever we do, we do for our community: to help them thrive and show them new things.”
The Patta Cycling Team has one goal in mind: to change the sport for good by “see(ing) how far we can take it.” Patta will take riders to sports championships worldwide – and while traditional cycling has antiquated constraints, the Patta Cycling Team breaks away from previous boundaries while having fun in the process.
With Patta coming from a lifestyle streetwear company angle, the brand are very much rooted to their the community. “Whatever we do, we do for our community: to help them thrive and show them new things,” Stuart says.
“As showcased with our first big ride, the Patta 150, which was done on the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the Netherlands’ former colonies Suriname and the former Dutch Antilles, we use our reach to speak out on things that matter to our community. So participating in sports is not the end goal but a means to spread awareness for ongoing global issues.”
Patta and Rapha are showing no signs of slowing down, either. The brands will continue promoting inclusivity in cycling, suggesting additional collaborations and future projects. “The future looks bright. Instead of a one-off commercial launch, we opted for a broader narrative, as sports is one of our pillars — the Patta Cycling Team is here to stay.”
“Going forward, we will continue to tell our story, we will continue to open doors for our people, and we will continue our goal to make the sport more accessible and inclusive,” Stuart asserts. “Our doors will stay open for our combined communities and whoever is curious to join us on community rides, have conversations, and make a change. Rapha is our cycling partner, and we will proudly continue this mission side by side.”