WATCH: Rapha finds the answer in new brand campaign

The New Seekers probably had more of a chance of teaching the world to sing in perfect harmony than Rapha has of getting everybody to ride a bike, but that hasn't stopped them trying.

We've had the Rapha Cycling Club, whole calendars of initiatives and events all aimed at furthering founder Simon Mottram's mission of making cycling the biggest sport in the world. 

Today it has raised the bar and unveiled an advert. A bike ride offers a "solution to many of the personal and societal challenges of modern life," says Rapha. That it does - it's no secret to those of us who love cycling. 

Rapha continues, that cycling promotes "reduced carbon emissions and traffic congestion, and a pathway to a mentally and physically healthier population. We believe that cycling, more than any other sport, is unique in its ability to solve problems and help people improve their lives. We believe, in short, that cycling transforms lives."

They do have a point, and the location helps drive it home - the seething, congested, smog-choked metropolis that is LA. But all those tens of thousands of people out there riding bikes right now hardly need reminding. The converted don't need to be told, it's the donut-eating drivers that we've got to win over with this piece of filmmaking. 

This 90-second epiphany produced by LA-based advertising giant Mother follows a cyclist from the filthy, litter-strewn and gridlocked streets of downtown LA with its myriad distractions and dangers out of the city and up through the hills, where along the way he hooks up with some pals to climb way above the city so they can experience a few seconds of enlightenment together before descending back into hell.

It is a truly beautiful, inspiring film, and its release kickstarts a calendar of related events that will promote cycling to all. Rapha’s global Clubhouses will be increasing their riding
schedules and events over the summer to cover a variety of abilities and cycling-based interests. 

But it could raise more questions than it answers, namely: is that a DIY tie-dye Rapha jersey, how do you get that cool lid, and doesn't that bloke in the denim jacket know that he'll get really hot? (yes we know he's Gus Morton and that's his thing. FFS).



WATCH: Cyclist t-boned by a sheep on Mallorca descent

The cycling in Mallorca is regarded as some of the finest in the world, but even the most idyllic havens for riding can yield unexpected dangers.  

Nick Halifax was descending from Lluc towards Pollenca in April when a pair of sheep bounded into the road directly in front of him. With less than a split second to react and a car coming in the opposite direction, he was given no way out.

The resulting collision wrote off his Trek bike and resulted in a broken collarbone and three broken ribs for Nick. 

Nick, from Southend-on-Sea in Essex, said: "The sheep just came out of nowhere, I had no chance. I don't remember anything after that until I woke up in the hospital."

"If it wasn't for my Bontrager Mips helmet I don't think I would be here. It took the full impact of the fall and split in two. I reckon it saved my life."

Nick was riding as part of a Ciclos Uno cycling holiday and said his fellow cyclists notified emergency services to the accident. He was rushed by ambulance to the General Hospital in Palma, Mallorca. 

Nick added: "Never in a million years did I think this would happen to me, I'm now having recurring nightmares about killer sheep."

The sheep survived the collision unharmed.

Nuts weather in May: Rapha's Gavia '88 collection references a stinker

Rapha Gavia race cape.jpg

Think this has been a rubbish spring? You'd be right, but it is nowhere near as bad as the top of the Passo di Gavia one day in early May 30 years ago.

Stage 14 of the 1988 Giro was basically a whiteout, with driving blizzards on the Gavia which left the ill-prepared peloton in tatters. It proved a gift for those who had bothered to look at the weather forecast.

Rapha Gavia jersey, bib shorts and cap.jpg

Andy Hampsten was one of them. Already nudging pink before he went into the stage, his team's initiative to go out and get a ski jacket and neoprene gloves proved the marginal gain he needed to make impossible conditions simply unbearable. He ended that stage a legend wearing a pink jersey and went on to become the only American ever to win the Giro d'Italia.

Rapha has commemorated the 30th anniversary of this feat with a capsule collection of Andy Hampsten-inspired stuff that would make any ascent of a mountain in blizzard conditions infinitely more doable. As well as the standard limited edition jersey there is a race cape, neoprene gloves, winter cap, socks, bib shorts and baselayer. Each piece has clever nods to the kit Andy wore on the stage, from Gazetta prints on the baselayer to Team Seven-Eleven inspired graphics. 

This is a collection almost as limited as the Maglia Rosa itself, with a production run in double digits a lot of the time, and it's released, like, 10 minutes ago, so the race is on to grab some. 

Do it. 

Find it here.

(Note: The author of this article still works for Rapha).

It's happening! Again!

A year is a long time in anyone's book, but in terms of digital presence it's an eternity. Over here in the web-o-sphere entire civilisations have blossomed and been extinguished like ants before a tide of boiling water. 

So fast has the year gone in fact that I didn't even realise it had been that long since the last post. Work got in the way you see, and the conflicts of interest inherent with going deep in-brand. 

Now, I have resurfaced, reinvigorated and full of spunk just in time for another season of gripping grand tours that we will offer slightly more than a passing nod to.

What will happen with this site remains to be seen - it is truly a book of blank pages from here on in - but the fact I've kept paying the subscription to keep it going all this time should offer some hope for its future. 

It's nice to write what I like again, I realise. To be unchained from brand guidelines and tones of voice and other imagination-sapping mind bendery. 

Consider this a new dawn. Hope you enjoy the picture of a sunset. 

Rapha launches lookbook for sellout Coppi collection

By Graham Hutson

Back when Rapha was the only cycle brand out there selling stylish kit, it would sell the dream of effortlessly glorious riding in far flung locations, often with some hostile weather thrown in for good measure. 

While they might have been great bike riders, many Rapha customers were still probably a little shaky navigating the internet so Rapha would send out a catalogue of its products, which meant it was always on hand when you needed to do a little daydreaming over a coffee just before you headed out, or alternatively on the loo. 

Rapha has continued this tradition of drool-worthy photoshoots to this day but occasionally something comes along that puts all others in the shade. The shoot for the Coppi Collection is a case in point. 

The collection launched on Friday May 5, the same day that the 100th edition of the Giro d'Italia set off in Sardinia, and commemorates the great Fausto Coppi (1919-1960), who won Italy's grand tour five times. 

The Italian theme runs throughout the collection. As well as details such as embroidered slogans linked to Coppi, many of the garments were produced in a little factory about an hour out of Milan called Self Maglieria, which has been making knitwear in precious yarns since 1965.

The Coppi collection consists of three merino jerseys in black, pink and celeste, a merino tracksuit, all of which have sold out, a pink flyweight jersey, cap, scarf, pack jacket, sunglasses and socks. 

The location for the photoshoot was on the very roads ridden by Coppi, around his hometown of Castellania in Northern Italy and was shot by long time Rapha photographer, George Marshall.

Rapha have also launched a book to commemorate the 100th edition of the Giro, called Giro 100, by Herbie Sykes and released in a hardback with external box-sleeve. 

If there's anything left, grab it while you can. Failing that, look at the pics and dream. 

Read Rapha's Made in Italy feature here

Crowdfunding target in sight for à BLOC

What can really go down better after a hard day in the saddle than a nice chilly beer? The mere thought of it has inspired us to achieve things we could only dream of.

That's the power of a pint, and it's something à BLOC are looking to harness with their craft beer startup. They could be onto something, given the long association beer and cycling have together. That's the culture of cycling rather than drinking it whilst undertaking the pursuit.

That said, they might have overestimated the size of their market, given that every cyclist we know is basically hung out to dry after a couple of beers. They might enjoy a pint, but cyclists by and large don't tend to be very good at drinking.

One thing that hasn't deterred Daan Van Well and Martijn Snelder, an entrepreneur and business developer respectively, who both happen to like beer and cycling. They say à BLOC is a "refreshing, unfiltered blonde beer, rich in proteins and vitamins." 

There's not a lot of protein or vitamins in your average beer, even Guinness. You'd need three pints of that to get the same amount of iron as a single egg yolk. So to make à BLOC good for you, they've "added Alpine Minerals to improve rehydration and recovery."

But the real selling point for potential investors is à BLOC's business model. Instead of establishing a single brewery with all the additional overheads that would generate, they are filling the overcapacity in existing breweries in their preferred territories of the Netherlands, UK, Australia and Spain. 

"Once brewed, we sell to distributors and straight to bike channels whenever possible. But this is even bigger than selling beer. It’s about the friendships and stories that reflect why we enjoy cycling," said à BLOC.

To ram the community angle home, à BLOC have created a cycling club, along with kit. Depending on how much you invest you could receive a whole new kit every year, for free.

According to the founders, riding 'à bloc' means going flat out. In the riding sense rather than drinking, presumably. 

To find out more and invest, visit the Symbid page  


David Millar unfolds new Chpt:3 collection

His racing career might be over but it's clear David Millar has been keeping busy. Maybe a bit too busy, if you've been waiting for the latest instalment from his Chpt:3 brand, which has seemed a bit neglected of late.

Millar has had a lot on his plate; he's a regular fixture in the ITV4 commentary box on key races and is a mentor at the British Cycling Academy.  

Chpt:3 launched more than a year ago with a capsule collection of clothing that set a new bar for luxury cyclewear. A year later he's back, beefing up the initial wardrobe with a new waterproof jacket, named a K61, which was the number of Millar's apartment in Hong Kong, "which as you know has a monsoon season." There is also a technical three-ply jacket that feels as if it is made of neoprene and a couple of jerseys, including one inspired by his only Paris-Roubaix, when he stopped one lap short of the finish in the Roubaix velodrome to greet his family. He has named the jersey One More Lap.  

All of the garments continue Chpt:3's policy of using the most advanced fabrics available - whether they be in terms of lightness or breathability or protection - in as stylish a manner possible. Cost is not a consideration. 

But it is Millar's diversion into bicycles that has generated the most interest - not the ridiculously cool Factor Bikes collaboration that he has spread his fairy dust over but something far more utilitarian. The humble Brompton. 

"Brompton is a company based in London where they manufacture all their bikes. They train their own staff and it is almost artisan work on a massive scale and each bike is stamped by the frame builder. These are still handmade bikes and these are things I didn't even know about the Brompton," said Millar.

The Chpt:3 Brompton is enough to grab the attention of the most fervently non-folding bike rider, because this is no ordinary Brompton. The Chpt:3 version has disposed of mudguards, added a red Brooks C17 saddle, titanium forks and a sleek grey and red paint job. When the bike goes into full production next year it is even planned to be equipped with deep section carbon ribs. They've just got to find someone to make them. 

 "We're trying to turn the Brompton into more of a street bike. Many people will remember BMXing and how much fun they had doing that - I thought 'why should Brompton make you think about mudguards and tweeds when it could be more of a street thing?' As a tool it is incredible, it has changed my life. Ned Boulting and I rode parts of the Tour de France on them, we even did a ride over the Col de Valares and it was so much fun. You can wear normal clothes, you can go into a restaurant whenever you feel like it, go on a plane, go in a taxi, go in a car. They are different to normal bikes, which are about going places. This is about finding places, it is a whole different style of riding which many of us roadies have never done. We haven't used a bike as a tool, as something fun."

Chpt:3 is a joint project between Millar and his friend, the designer Richard Pearce, who has also created the new Team Sky Castelli kit, which was unveiled at the Rouleur Classic bike show in Victoria House, London on Thursday. Millar chose a bowling alley underneath Victoria House to launch the new Chpt:3. Other friends of Millar have also had a hand in the development of the brand, including the designer Timothy Everest, who added some of the more intricate sartorial details. 

The Brompton is more than just a frivolous excursion into the eccentricities of urban bike commuting. This is a definitive step into urban riding, and how convenient it can be. There's a city riding jacket that has its roots in the traditional Harrington coming soon, and further Chpt:3 releases in the future. 

Details of them, however, have yet to unfold.

Beam me up Scotty: Rapha releases the Peace Race jersey

It was a race across borders that was aimed at reuniting Eastern Bloc countries in the fragile years following the Second World War.

The Peace Race began in 1948 and ran through Czechoslovakia, East Germany and Poland, watched by millions, mainly because they got the day off work for it. 

What this has to do with Captain Kirk and the crew of the starship Enterprise is nothing ... and everything. Both the cyclists and the Enterprise were boldly going where no-one had gone before, both in terms of travel and politics. And now they're united by a common jersey. 

The Peace Race Jersey is a special edition piece from Rapha that commemorates one of the greatest sporting events of the 20th century you've never heard of. It is also remarkably similar to standard issue Starfleet kit. 

But Kirk and co weren't issued with a limited edition board game, so Rapha have the edge there. Or a silk scarf. And the Peace Jersey colours are better.

Get it here before you miss the teleportation window. 

TICCC tackle the Galibier in new film

Daphne Kaufhold is no stranger to mountains, either geographical metaphorical. On her most recent trip up the Galibier she took a film crew and the above video is the result.

A ride up the Galibier is an apt metaphor for the TICCC brand. At 35km and an average of 6 per cent, it is one of the longest and toughest  climbs to feature on the Tour de France. 

If a mountain could reflect Daphne's personal struggle with the chronic pain she has had to deal with after suffering severe whiplash in a car accident, this is it. 

The film is as much about TICCC, though - a showcase for the brand's growing collection of garments, which has grown from custom-made caps and a selection of the wackiest socks you'll find to jerseys and most recently base layers, with both a men's and women's version.

"The ‘Base’ uses a combination of two technical fabrics to achieve maximum moisture control and comfort on the bike." say TICCC. "Designed for those who love high tempo riding."

To celebrate the launch of the film TICCC is running a competition for a chance to win £150.00 worth of #tickit. To enter, visit, watch the film and answer the two questions on the competitions page.

Rapha puts a lid on the helmet rumours

It would be interesting to know what the designers at Giro think of Rapha. There they are, all smug at the success of their Synthe helmet, stroking the curves and gazing in wonderment at the little mesh grill at the back that looks so much like an exhaust pipe.

Then along comes Rapha, ripping out the mesh and smoothing the airflow and smoothing out the ridges on the rubber bit at the side and they end up making the damn thing look better. How very dare they! If someone's going to customise their pride and joy, the least they could do is completely screw it up.

The new Rapha helmet takes the Synthe DNA and tinkers around with it, adding gloss where there would be matt and debadging any Giro references apart from on the adjuster dial. In their place, a cool and subtle little Rapha logo on the crown. 

Rapha have also used the Mips version, which adds another level of protection by means of an additional piece of plastic which 'floats' just below the outer liner and helps to negate rotational forces.

The RRP isn't any different either, although there are admittedly discounts available on Giro's Synthe these days.

Get it here