Rene Herrera

Rene Herrera, better known around Rapha New York as Junior, is the Clubhouse’s expert-in-residence. With his experience as a courier and elite racer, and familial ties to the Colombian racing scene, his knowledge encompasses everything from world class racing, to how best to get across Manhattan in morning traffic.


Rene's Ride

My Bear Mountain route avoids most of Route 9W by taking you on the back roads of Rockland. On the way back you ride past the Croton Dam, which connects onto the old aqueduct trail - these are some great views that should not be missed.

Download the GPX route

How did you get your start in cycling?

I worked as a bike messenger using a track bike like everyone else did. After a few years I saved enough money to purchase my first road bike and joined my local cycling club, Kissena Cycling Club.

Who were the first people you rode with? How did they influence you?

When I first started I would go out with my uncle and his friends. They were in their fifties, and they always had great stories from their pasts and cycling in Colombia. I learned proper road etiquette from riding with them as they were seasoned cyclists. They rode with George Hincapie’s dad – my uncle and George’s dad were both Colombian immigrants that moved to Queens. Hearing stories of George’s career inspired me to race.

Who is your cycling role model?

Rigoberto Uran is a role model to me – he tragically lost his father when he was a teen and worked hard to succeed as a pro cyclist and support his family. He’s a great role model off the bike as well, he is involved with many different charities in Colombia that support young cyclists who can’t afford proper gear.

What’s the one story from the history of cycling that we should know?

During Bernard Hinault’s final season, he traveled to Colombia for the Clásico RCN stage race. The organizers and press hyped up the race in favor of Luis ‘Lucho’ Herrera, although he had a poor Tour de France that year. There was a cheesy commercial for the race that depicted “the dual between two titans,” Hinault and Herrera. In the end, Herrera came through and defeated Hinault to the delight of the Colombian fans. The following year Herrera went on to win the Vuelta de España, becoming the first Colombian to win a Grand Tour.

What would you tell someone just starting out in the sport?

Joining a cycling club is a great way to meet people who share the passion as you. They offer clinics for training and group riding to help improve your cycling skills.

Coffee ride, paceline, or three-day epic?

Every ride must have a coffee stop, or it wouldn’t be a proper ride. The café stop is a great way to regroup and talk about what you’ve ridden and what’s to come up the road.