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Paris — France
The screen flashes with power output and pedal stroke efficiency. There’s a hushed sense of urgency as the riders look down, grimacing, eyes focused on the handlebars in front of them. Jimmy, the coach, roams the row of bikes, nodding and murmuring encouragement. It was 9 a.m. when we first started pedaling in this light-flooded room in central Paris, and now the intensity of the training session has really kicked in. The full room of female athletes radiates with the sort of adrenaline that only comes from the satisfaction of going all-out in a training session.
At a time when some say brick-and-mortar stores are at risk of becoming an endangered species, it’s refreshing to see how Paris’ Kilomètre0 projects such confidence about the French capital’s cycling scene and its position within it.
As you cross the threshold of 20 Rue des Acacias, just a stone’s throw from the Champs Elysees, we wouldn’t bet against a shallow intake of breath. This is a shop where a cursory glance around won’t suffice; it’s one of those hallowed boudoirs of cycling that’s married impeccable design with authenticity to make a successful break from the peloton.
Catering to all disciplines of cycling, it’s clear that Guillaume De La Hosseraye, the founder of Kilomètre0 and long-term cycling industry stalwart, has the bigger picture and devoutly celebrates cycling in all its glorious accessibility. Guillaume nods empathically: “Exactly. For us, urban mobility is just as important as road riding.”
It’s been just 16 months since Kilomètre0 opened, but as we chat, the steady flow of customers shows that this store has become a reference point for demanding cyclists in the French capital. Guillaume continues, “Our aim here is to provide the full service and approach, meaning we won’t just sell you a bike but also ensure you’re making a considered, educated decision and that you get the best fit possible. Whether it’s a fixie for commuting, a road or a mountain bike, we’re here to create those experiences around cycling and make sure we can provide everything for before the ride, during the ride, and after it too.”
High quality riding goods and faultless service aside; for many Parisians, the bigger story with Kilomètre0 takes place upstairs where the shop has ushered in a new era of indoor training for the city. From 7 a.m. until way into the evening, the shop offers access to their BONK Training Centre, watt bikes, high-end indoor trainers, and premium gym equipment for use on a whim, in group sessions, or for one-on-one training. These are all overseen by experienced coaches Christoph Gouyon and Jimmy Reza, who impart one-to-one advice, encouragement, and bespoke tips for on and off the bike.
On the eve of our visit, Kilomètre0 hosted a packed #ASSOSwomen event, opening its first floor up to an impassioned panel of policymakers, journalists, event organisers, and cyclists on the topic of progressing women’s cycling. “What we learned yesterday,” continues Guillaume, “confirmed not only that there are more and more women active in cycling, but also that we need to keep at the top of our game — both in terms of products, but more importantly in terms of our expertise.”
It could be easy to argue that Paris has always had a cycling culture, but it is one that has largely been reserved for the more hardcore category of rider and centred around a certain Sunday in July. Right now, from our vantage point on the first floor with its airy windows as we recover from the sweat-inducing training session, it’s heartening to see how Kilomètre0 is able to forge a pivotal role in Paris’ flourishing cycling movement, and it seems like it’s well on its way to becoming the city’s reference point.
The insider’s guide to Paris by Kilomètre0
Where to ride:
32km route —
67km route —
100km route —
Grab a drink—At the five-star Hôtel Parister, tucked away in the 9e, this top hotel is the ideal place to grab a drink, taking in its modern aesthetic. Don’t be worried about the thought of a five-star hotel in Paris, the drinks are reasonably priced, and we’d also recommend checking out their gym.
Chill out on two wheels—Why not take your bike and explore some of the lesser-known areas of Paris, heading off into the woods that are found within this capital city. Here is an 18km route that passes numerous top cafes and interesting shops. We’d argue it’s the perfect way to while away an afternoon in this great city.
Grab a little culture—Paris is a city full of culture, so we’d recommend hitting some of the top locations—you might just learn a thing or two!
And of course the Louvre