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Coined as a haven of women’s cycling, Barcelona’s Doménica is close to celebrating its first anniversary with a string of very cool events — something at which this young shop is already a dab hand.
“Usually women that come here are really surprised–particularly at the variety. Often they just haven’t realised that so much exists.”
On a fairly innocuous street lined with Barcelona’s typically extravagent stone facades, there’s a neon sign for Doménica that catches your eye. It’s written in an optimistic-looking font on the stone wall, and the bikes that are stood proudly in the window are illuminated with equally as enticing bright lights. Barcelona’s Doménica is a demonstration of how to create a bike shop, and, more specifically, how to cater for the ever-growing number of female riders.
Although Doménica has a charm that makes you think it’s a one-off boutique, it’s actually the third in a series of shops run by Tomas Domingo. Marta, the store’s exuberant Marketing Manager, talks us through the aesthetic: “We decided to break away from the Tomas Domingo branding and hired Marcel Batlle to be the architect and designer of the brand image. We realised we’d be better off introducing a new concept and name. The name Doménica shows the ties to Domingo and obviously relates to the Italian word for Sunday–everyone’s best day for a ride.”
“We haven’t actually changed much over the past year. All along we knew we needed to build a community, so right from the outset we hired marketing staff with the clear goal to do just that and break down the misconception that cycling is hard and inaccessible,” Marta pauses. “Just a few rides in after opening the shop we already had 50 women turning up each week, so we knew we were on the right path. Everyone’s encouraged to share images from the rides and this sort of shareability then empowers more people to come here.”
Right now we’re training 30 women to ride the notorious mountain bike stage race, the Titan Desert in May. “It will most likely be the hardest challenge I’ve ever undertaken,” laughs Marta, “but I’m excited. None of us really know what we’re letting ourselves in for.” In the run-up to the epic bike race, the women will be carrying out group training sessions and learning about nutrition and fuelling for such an arduous event.
As a store, Doménica is thoughtfully curated and welcoming without any sign of the shortsighted ‘shrink-it-and-pink-it’ mentality, a current fault within the cycling industry when they turn their hands to women’s cycling. It’s an exciting sign that times are changing.
They hold two rides a month, catering to both road riders and mountain bikers. Mid-week events fill the shop with women for various events based broadly around cycling, be it yoga, product launches or nutrition, and they also include weekly mechanical courses with Andrea, the shop’s in-house mechanic and mad-keen rider who runs the course with just six women each week to ensure each get their due share of attention.
When it comes to events Doménica reserves the right to pick and choose which brands and which individuals they collaborate with, and they were the obvious choice for ASSOS when we launched our Laalalai jersey back in the spring of 2017. “If we think it’s something that our clients will be interested in then we’ll collaborate. We like to go beyond simply cycling, so recently we had a nutritionist in and we made rice bars, and tonight we’ve got a yoga session. We’ve also created a Strava group so that women can independently use it as a place to arrange their own rides but it does seem like they’re all just happier coming here to meet,” Marta smiles broadly, gesturing at the sofas and free supply of beer and coffee for customers.
From everything we’ve seen at Doménica and the rides we’ve been on with the store’s highly dedicated and vibrant staff, it’s clear that they’d rather make a lifelong cyclist out of a customer than just a quick buck.
We asked if they thought the shop would work in other places and the question was met with emphatic nodding: for sure, in other cities outside of Spain. “The women’s market is small but it is growing rapidly,” Marta continued.
Doménica is able to draw on the expertise and genuine passion for cycling from its diverse team, ensuring that each customer — whether they’re a roadie or mountain biker, a complete newbie or a seasoned pro fixie rider — gets the sort of advice and recommendations that suit the individual.
But don’t take our word and their word for it: ask the 1,000s of women who’ve made Doménica their regular haunt already.
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Here are Domenica’s tips for getting away from the hordes of tourists and enjoying a quieter, more local side of their great city.
Have A Good Ride! #ASSOSWomen