Cittec: Tokyo’s Coolest Cycling Gym With A Cafe And More

Train, Cycle And Relax At This Fully Equipped Cycling Gym-Cafe

Pedal away your daily stress at Cittec, Tokyo's coolest cycling gym and training center equipped with a cafe-restaurant for your casual breaks.

Are you looking for a comfortable place, away from the elements to pedal away your office stress? Or perhaps you are looking for a brief flirtation with cycling but not willing to put in the miles outdoors? Then, Cittec is for you!

Nestled in the cozy little shopping arcade of Minowa, Arakawa-ku, Cittec/Café Galibier is a modern cycling gym attached to a spacious café, complete with shower facilities. The concept here is simple: C in Cittec stands for “Cycling,” I for “Indoor,” T for “Training” and “Travel,” E for “Entertainment,” and C for “Centre.”

A mix of passions

Dutch owner, Jos Paques, moved to Japan in October 2016 after leaving his office job in Holland. He saw himself doing something he really loved as opposed to just going through the motions. He decided to combine the three things he loved the most — eating, drinking and cycling — into the concept that would later become Cittec/Café Galibier.

After struggling to find the right place for nearly a year, Jos finally found a quaint, but ancient bookstore that looked as if it’s popped out of the Meiji Era. While leaving some remains of the old bookshelves to carve out booths, Jos and his carpenter mate (who flew in especially from Holland) stripped the rest of the place and started building from scratch. After three months of finger-numbing hard work, they stood back to admire the transformation.

[…] You can literally walk in with no gear or kit, do your workout routine, shower, leave your sweaty kit, have some delicious food and a pint(s), then head back home.

Jos cleverly designed the venue to be a one-stop shop, where all your cycling needs will be taken care of. Now, you can literally walk in with no gear or kit (if you already have cycling clothes there), do your workout routine, shower, leave your sweaty kit (it has a laundry service for an extra ¥1,000 per month), have some delicious food and a pint(s), then head back home. You can even cycle in, train on your own bike and leave it overnight for a small fee (¥100 a day).

I first discovered Cittec through the Knights in White Lycra (KIWL), a cycling charity group that supports different NPO’s in Japan, and have been a regular user ever since.

The Gym

The gym is fitted with top of the line, high-tech equipment for maximum enjoyment. Complete with cycling machines Tacx Neo Smart (plus monitor and iPod Touch) and Wahoo Kickr Smart (plus monitor and iPod Touch) and software Zwift and FulGaz, as its copy says, the gym really is “your home for cycling.”  Users can rent road bikes (for indoor use) for a reasonable price of ¥1,000 per hour.

If you get thirsty (which you will) or in need of a boost halfway through, you can always purchase the gym’s drinks (¥50 for water, ¥100 for sports drink) or a power bar (¥300) on-site. Or if you take your water bottle with you, you can fill up from the water cooler — of course, for free.

The Facilities

After sweating your heart out, you can head upstairs to the third floor where the colorful doors and hardwood flooring brings about a homey atmosphere. Fitted with 41 lockers, six shower stalls, six changing rooms, separate lavatories (for both sexes) and two cozy rooms for drying your hair and reapplying your cosmetics (men and women separate).

After showering and donning the clothes you arrived in, you can sorely shuffle down to the second floor, where you’ll be relieved to know, serves rejuvenating power smoothies and other healthy foods.

The Café

Café Galibier is a warm, spacious open floor with a charming European atmosphere, stained glass windows featuring a multi-colored sunrise, giant sofas and an open kitchen that turns out simple, but gorgeous food.

Aussie head chef Bradley Callaghan, beams whenever he talks about food, especially his food. He will proudly fill you in about the health benefits of eating at Café Galibier — the menu, he says, is full of healthy food and drinks (minus the booze), reduced sugars in food, honey-rich, non-sugar smoothies, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice and homemade muesli (to name just a few).

If you’re a skeptic like me, you may think that “healthy” equals “not tasty,” but after sampling a few of the dishes over the course of my training, I feel as if I’ve been reborn. Some of the dishes you can taste at Café Galibier include a Quesadilla with juicy chicken, salsa and guacamole, Homemade hummus with pita bread and black tahini (black sesame paste), the famous Galibier burger made with a homemade bun, cheese and bacon (additional charge), grilled onion, fresh tomato, pickle, sauce remoulade with a side of Hokkaido potatoes, Panini,  Southern Indian curry with brown rice and mango pickle, pastas and more.

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While you’re having your warm food or a smoothie, spend a minute or two chatting with Jos and Bradley. They are both cycling enthusiasts who have brilliant stories to tell. On a Sunday morning, you can also find the duo awake and ready to hit the road as early as at 7 a.m. — the two lead a group along one of the rivers of Tokyo. After roughly 50-70kms round trip, they head back for a hearty, healthy breakfast.

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So swing by, and ask them all about it when you visit Cittec/Café Galibier. Maybe you’ll find it even more fun that cycling on the busy streets of Tokyo!

The Deets

Cittec/Café Galibier

Address: 1-15-16 Minami-Senju, Arakawa-ku, Tokyo
Access: Minowa (Hibiya line), Minowa-bashi (Tokyo Sakura Tram)
Open: Cittec: 7:30 a.m.-10 p.m. (Training from 6 a.m. possible if reservation is made before 5 p.m. the previous day), Café Galibier: 8 a.m. (Coffee) 11 a.m.-10 p.m.(Lunch and Dinner)

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