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Island Impressions: Uniform Collection SS24

Island Impressions: Uniform Collection SS24

Words: Max Davis

Mallorca, Spain is the perfect setting to launch our new UNIFORM Collection. Designed for uniting with friends on the bike, day in and day out while expressing personality through color and silhouette. It’s made for riders who appreciate elevated performance and individual style.

There are 6,312 kilometers separating Mallorca from our brand headquarters in NYC. The waves of the Mediterranean washing along the shores here are a change of scenery from the Hudson River. There is however one striking similarity that bonds these two locales together in a way I haven’t quite experienced anywhere else: cultural and national diversity.

As you stroll through the streets of Palma, or sit outside one of the hundreds of restaurants enjoying tapas and Spanish wine, you will surely hear countless languages being spoken, a myriad of accents and attitudes, and of course, fashion sensibilities. This reminds me so much of New York, where I was born, raised, and live in.

The island is ripe with cultural nuances, for better or worse. On one hand, cultural diversity leads to a wider variety of knowledge to be gained from friends of all sorts of backgrounds. On the other hand, asked about their perception of expats relocating to Mallorca, some locals have expressed their challenges of maintaining their cultural identity, one that is very rich in heritage, in this place filled with outsiders. It’s a delicate balance, and one that is inherent to most places whose economy is driven by tourism. As a New Yorker, being frustrated by sluggish tourists is a true characteristic of our culture.

When you add cycling to the equation, of course you have some of the most incredible riding in the entire world. Moreover, you meet and build friendships with people from across the world. It’s not uncommon to have no more than one person on a group ride from a particular nation. You experience the nuances, the personalities and the attitudes firsthand before your eyes, and in that sense, Palma feels like home. 

Our latest campaign for the new Uniform Collection was shot just beyond Palma’s city limits. It features a group of friends that I’ve had the privilege to become connected with on the island over the past few weeks. 

Sebas, a Chilean entrepreneur, is one of the most likable and recognized riders on the island. Go for a ride with Sebas and cyclists constantly call out to him to say hi, sometimes in the least expected places. I met Sebas a year ago during a century ride across the island to Cap de Formentor, the island’s famed lighthouse. Sebas always brings a positive attitude and good vibes all around. I refer to Sebas as the Mayor of Palma.

I met our next rider nearly a year later on a very challenging ride through the Tramuntana Mountains to Sa Calobra during my first ride back on the island. Nicolò was born in Italy, grew up in France, and now lives on the Spanish island with his family, who together operate one of the best Italian restaurants in Palma (Bastian Contrari in Santa Catalina). He speaks no less than four languages fluently, and his youthful positive energy is infectious. Even when he and everyone around him suffers deeply on the bike, he has an immensely positive spirit that lifts the group. 

Sebas introduced me to Femke, a Dutch-born banker who recently relocated to Mallorca from Emmen, a city in the northeastern corner of Holland. She’s one of the kindest people you’ll meet on the island, though her soft spoken disposition doesn’t reflect her ambitions of racing some of the grittiest and most demanding gravel races in Europe. 

Lastly, Charlie, my friend from NYC who recently moved back to his native London and brings with him a British swagger that keeps us all grounded, balanced and focused. I was gutted to learn he was moving back to London, but happy we could be reunited on the island.

The campaign wouldn’t feel right without enlisting two of our camera friends, Mallorquin photographers, Josito and Tony, who brought their passion, experience and commitment to help us express the UNIFORM Collection's focus on friendships through personal expression.

In March of 2022, friends of the brand volunteered together in NYC to facilitate an aid initiative to support the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. In a tiny room in NYC, eight people, each from a different country, organized, packed and shipped hundreds of Ride Bikes Not Tanks t-shirts to raise funds for The Red Cross, Ukraine Initiative. 

This experience for me personally is unforgettable, because it embodied the international spirit of New York City, cycling, and of RUBBER N’ ROAD. I experience this same feeling ever present while riding in Mallorca, and it’s perhaps my favorite aspect of the sport of cycling. As my RUBBER N’ ROAD co-founder Gil Lavi once said, “It doesn’t matter what’s your national identity, or your cultural background, the aesthetics of the sport are spectacular because they transcend all borders...” 

The RUBBER N’ ROAD Uniform Collection explores global friendship through personal expression on two wheels, and goes live globally Wednesday, April 10th at 9:00am EST.

Photography: Josito Gomez