Monday, 28 February 2011

Rapha - Cycle Clothing Par Excellence!

After twenty years of cycling in whatever smelly old t-shirt was on top of the washing pile, something has changed...

The picture at the top of the blog sums it up (here's a close-up).

Old green (well, it was green originally, it's now a sun-bleached greeny-white) polo shirt, cycling shorts with loose shorts over the top and flimsy, cheapo long-sleeved top round my waste.

To be honest, I've always been suspicious of 'proper' cycling gear.  First off, it looks like you're trying too hard - you're not a pro and never will be - and cycling 5 miles along a canal tow-path at a pace a vicar's wife wouldn't find strenuous probably doesn't require the latest high-wicking racing jersey...

Second, if you're over-weight it looks awful!  No-one wants to see a middle-aged bloke squeezing his spare tyre into lycra like a over-stuffed sausage.

Not a good look.

Third, I don't actually like the pro gear: it's in garish colours, plastered with logos (shouldn't they be paying the rider to wear it?) and - after even the shortest ride - it smells!

But with me starting to take my cycling a little more, um, seriously and riding my road bike more, plus slimming down, I decided I had to buy some proper cycling clothes.

So I was delighted to discover Rapha.  Everything about Rapha is delightful (apart from, perhaps, the prices!).  The clothing is classic, mildly retro, but also performance wear - they have their own pro racing team in Rapha Condor.

Even their web site is a thing of beauty - there are some lovely stories on their about cycling Mont Ventoux and the Col du Tourmalet.

It's beautifully made and they also use sportswool, a blend of merino wool and man-made fibres which wicks away moisture and are itch and - just as importantly - odour-free.

Here's their classic jersey.

It's simple, beautiful and super-comfortable - perfect for all day in the saddle.  And I can imagine it lasting for years too.  Admittedly it does cost £125 (including free arm-warmers) so it will need to!

But I can't see it stopping there, before you know it I'll be head-to-toe Rapha and up to my ears in debt...


  1. I'll tell my wife what you said about vicars wives ;-) Actually, she falls off, so leaves the cycling to me. I'm looking forward to my new parish and joining a team with a new bike, so will be leaving her well behind. Great blog - looking forward to keeping up with you on here.

  2. you can also get bike jerseys at!