30 Days of Rapha – One for the Camera

Photography: 10 miles in circles
Weather: Partly Cloudy, Breezy Temp: 60 deg.
Rapha Kit:  Black Base Layer, Touring Shorts, Red Light Weight Softshell Jacket
Accessories:  Merino Socks, Softshell Gloves, Rapha Winter Hat

The original plan for today was some early morning photography followed by a leisurely 30-mile trail ride with Juli. She's not been riding much lately and I was looking forward to the recovery loop, but dramatic clouds and near perfect light kept us out all day shooting. I managed ten miles of short hops and "photo intervals" during the day, but it was imagery and not mileage that motivated us.

I'm still dizzy from all the circling so today's post is somewhat abbreviated. I can say I absolutely love the cut of my red Lightweight Softshell Jacket pictured in action first thing this morning in the Alviso Ghost Town. The moment I tried this on Friday it became my favorite Rapha Jacket... this constant improvement really has to stop. Alviso in the 1800s was a busy backwater port with a dark reputation for gambling and prostitution. Time and flooding have washed most of it away. What's left now is an echo of better preserved places like Bodie in the Sierras, but we found a good location on Hope Street under a welcoming kit of pigeons (how's that for serendipity)

From Alviso we could see a canopy of soft diffused light drifting over the Eastern Foothills so we drove up into the gloaming and followed picturesque Calaveras Road as it wound it's way up, over and down the backside past the reservoir of the same name. This is a remote road with little vehicular traffic, but a fair number of cyclists passed the two of us working at half a dozen points along the road. I can't wait to come back soon and ride this for real.

After spending three hours in the hills, we dropped back down into the valley, made a pit stop at home to swap gear and went straight out again to the Guadalupe River trail that runs through downtown San Jose and under the highway complex of 280 and 87. We just scratched the pictorial surface of the route complete with bounced light from nearby high rises as the sun sank over the Coastal range. Juli shot more than 1,000 images which I edited down to about 50 selects tonight. It was hard work but we've got plenty of good stuff to show for it. With so much photography in the bank, we'll definitely get that trail ride in next weekend.

13 Responses to 30 Days of Rapha – One for the Camera

  1. Pingback: 30 Days of Rapha – Time Off the Bike for Bad Behavior | VeloDramatic

  2. Joe says:

    How about that new tweed softshell? I am hunting for a 20% off friend referral to bring the price down to a more justifiable $600. Maybe I should create an alter ego and have him buy some things on “my” recommendation.

    Anyone order one yet?

  3. Joe,

    I’ve not heard of anyone who’s ordered one yet. I’m afraid even in my advanced state of obsession, that one is beyond me; like my dream of owning an Aston Martin DB9.

  4. timcox says:

    Oh no! Another Rapha jacket to factor into consideration, just when I thought I’d got the Rapha clothing code cracked.

    Seems to me that the lightweight softshell would be a good combo with the classic longsleeve for those mornings where it’s a bit too nippy for just the softshell gilet and not cold/wet enough for the full-on softshell treatment. But maybe the stowaway would suffice for that?

    It’s kinda scaring me that my Rapha logic has evolved to the point of configuring Rapha combos for precise micro-climates. Did your Rapha obsession progress in a similar manner?

    Opinions, oh Rapha Oracle?

    And why, pray tell, is it not available in black? Or even an off-white? Do the thoughtful folks at Rapha think we need cheering up, for some reason?

    Enjoying the “30 Days” feature, Michael! I’m sure that Rapha will be seeing an up-tick in gift cards this season.


  5. Joe says:

    …and here I thought the tweed would be the dénouement to the 30 days of Rapha…

  6. It would be the dénouement to me Joe!

    Juli is a saint, but even she has her limits ;-)

  7. Joe says:

    Well…if anyone from Rapha is following this….all I’m saying is I have purchased many a Rapha product as recommended by Velodramtic. So, surely you have his address on file… Perhaps one should be shipped in time for the last day of the month? Just a thought, just a thought….

  8. layton wakatsuki says:


    I am enjoying your current Rapha series immensely.
    If there is a better combination of technology than
    a bike and a camera, i am not aware of it. Your
    implementation of the combo is excellent and inspiring.

    Rapha – although my collection of rapha pieces is not
    quite as extensive as yours, my appreciation (obsession)
    is no less. My classic soft shell arrived 3 weeks ago and
    it’s superlative fit and high quality was all i needed to
    bite (yet another) the bullet, and order the new Fixed Jacket,
    until i noticed that the sizing on the Fixed does not match the
    sizing on their other jackets and jerseys:

    Fixed Small 34″ chest / Classic soft shell Small 36″ chest
    Fixed Medium 36″ chest / Classic soft shell Medium 38″ chest

    i.e. the sizing categories for the Fixed is a size smaller
    relative to their previous jackets and jerseys.

    Size Small (36″) is what I usually order but I’m afraid if
    I order the size Medium (36″) in the Fixed, the chest will
    fit but the overall length as well as the sleeve length may be
    too long, and as with bicyles frames, a perfect fit is everthing.

    Did you order the same size in the Fixed as you did for
    the Soft Shell? or did you order a size up? Any sizing info
    in this regard would be most appreciated.

    Note: I made the same inquiry with Enquires@Rapha.cc twice
    but to my disappoinntment (and suprise), no response.

    arigato, k-flash

  9. K-flash,

    Sorry that you’ve not heard back from anyone… that’s not normal. I’ll take a stab at an answer. I’ve lost a little weight over the year since I bought my Classic Softshell Jacket XL so I’ll leave it out the mix.

    My new Light Weight Softshell, 2008 Stowaway and Fixed Jackets are all size Large. They fit me very well in the body and sleeve length including cuffs is virtually identical. If I was having these tailored I’d probably have the sleeves shortened 1″ but that’s just my arms being a little shorter than the average Large. I don’t notice any slop in the sleeves as a result, so I’m happy.

    I would say the Fixed Jacket’s fit across my chest is just a bit tighter than the other two, but it’s not restrictive or binding in any way. I’ll wear my Fixed Jacket and post images on an upcoming ride this month. I just need a cooler day.

    If you’re on the very upper edge of fitting Small, then try the medium Fixed Jacket – you can always exchange it. If you sit comfortably in the Small size of the Classic, I’d go with the Small in the Fixed too.

    If that doesn’t help let me know and I’ll ping Rapha and get them to get back to you.

  10. timcox says:

    My 2 cents – and Michael you’ve heard me say this before – Rapha’s sizing rules are puzzling (at best) and infuriating (at worst). I wish they would come up with smlxlxxl metrics that can be applied predictably, both across the range and across time.


  11. Pingback: 30 Days of Rapha – Where Did Those Legs Come From? | VeloDramatic

  12. You’re right Tim. If my 2008 purchases are any indication, I think the sizes across the new range are more consistent. Across time, I attribute the differences to refined designs and changing production.

    I’ll try to remember to bring this up with Slate tomorrow in Portland. Perhaps the site can do a better job of reconciling the differences where they exist.

  13. Tim,

    Re: your earlier questions. Yes I believe Rapha have given us the ability to tune the apparel to just about any climatic situation, and that’s even before we get into the layering possibilities.

    The Light Weight Softshell and Stowaway Jackets are only separated by a few degrees of warmth, but I suppose more importantly the latter can be packed down to nothing so it can come off and not be a burden if a ride warms up.

    Performance has a lot to do with my Rapha obsession, but if I’m totally honest I just love the different looks, tones and colors. Practicality really doesn’t enter into it.

    As for the LW Jacket colors, I’m surprised I love the red so much. I certainly don’t have another piece of clothing of any kind in this color. I expect we’ll eventually see a piece of outerwear in white (or off white). I’d also like to see a charcoal jacket with muted silver accents. I need another jacket to cover 52.5- 53.2 degrees F.