30 Days of Rapha – Crossing the Lines

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Commute: 25 miles roundtrip
Weather: Cloudy Temp: 60 deg.
Rapha Kit:  Merino Base Layer, Rapha Cross Jersey and ¾ Bib Shorts, Rapha Stowaway Jacket
Accessories: Merino Socks, Winter Hat, Fixed Backpack, Softshell Gloves

I'm not ruling anything out. Last Saturday I had my first track experience and liked it. Part of me wishes I'd been as willing to give Cyclocross a shot back back in October when Simon, Graeme and Rupert from Rapha took the plunge. It came to mind because I wore the Cross Jersey and ¾ Bibs today. It's fabulous kit with some nice features squarely aimed at Cross (the padded shoulder and single rear pocket) but there's nothing written that says it can't be worn on the road. And that brings me to the sharp end of this post.

I appreciate that road cycling has some honoured traditions but what I liked about the cross racing I saw in Portland and Vegas was the lack of pretense and how inclusive it was. It didn't particularly matter what kind of bike you rode, what you wore, and even how serious you were about the racing; everyone seemed to be having fun. Contrast that attitude with the disagreeable, bitter ranting of the most prolific posters on the average cycling forum and you would come to the conclusion that there are a disproportionate number of jerks on bikes, and there's not.

To paraphrase Sigourney Weaver's Ripley from Aliens "Did IQs just drop sharply while I was away" the internet seems to encourage a particular strain of aggressive banality. Fortunately they don't have a voice on Velodramatic and they get shown the door before they even get started.

The world of cycling could do with a lot less dogma disguised as expertise. I hazard that none of us writing or reading these posts turns pedals for a living (unless I'm attracting a cadre of pedicab operators). Our cycling is supposed to be recreational, escapist fun even though it might hurt like hell while we're doing it. The payoff comes when we get off the bike and look back down the road we've traveled, if we're lucky with good friends

Most of you understand this, and keep it all in perspective, even when we collectively go off the deep end about the latest Rapha gear. My riding buddy Brendan has his priorities straight approaching a procedure that will keep him off the bike for a month or two. I'd gladly trade in all my kit for having him back at full strength come the spring. I suspect that won't be necessary... instead we've got a future date with the Etape waiting somewhere out on the horizon, but we'll cross that line when we come to it.

10 Responses to 30 Days of Rapha – Crossing the Lines

  1. Pingback: 30 Days of Rapha - A Day in the Park with Photographs | VeloDramatic

  2. BR says:

    So let me clarify….YOU will give ME ALL of your kit if I am pulling a 17mph pace up highway 9 by the first day of Spring? Deal.

    I don’t have the resources to purchase most of these things from Rapha nor do I have the talent to blog about them with your caliber of writing, photography, etc. I snickered when I read the parody question yesterday and michael did ask a fair question – why? Because that writer had never ridden with you for hours, never enjoyed two abreast spinning on the way out to a big ride, or fixed 4 flats in one hour in the middle of the woods. He didn’t get to hear about Rapha for over a year leading up to this series and how much you appreciated what they do for cycling. He didn’t have the background as that’s not really possible to deliver here. The poor guy stumbled into a conversation that he couldn’t even make up himself on his best day. Hell, I couldn’t either.

    Just this morning my wife asked me about the laundry instructions for my Gilet (a.k.a the bitchin vest). We both snickered after I said…”I should know this…there’s probably a well crafted guide hand sewn in the rear pocket…the one with the handy ring on the zipper” See I just chuckled again. The Gilet was in laundry pile because I stunk it up on a 4 hour session last Sunday.

    Please add the VeloDramatic style to my review of the Gilet.

    As I dragged my ass up a 3% freeway overpass I realized that my gear choice could not have been worse. The only thing that kept my confidence up as I drifted side to side in the bike lane was my bitchin vest…the Rapha Softshell Gilet. The well placed rear pockets held my now mushy dried apples and kiddie snacks that I had stolen from home.

  3. Deal.
    If you’re pulling a 17mph pace up Highway 9 I’m quitting my job to become your agent AND giving you all my kit.

  4. Scott H. says:

    Would love to try cross, it doesn’t exist down here in Oz. The one thing preventing the purchase of the cross gear for me is mixing black and brown. Thats sounds stupid, and it is stupid, but I just can’t do it.

    I hope everything is successful BR and I hope that Velo is the same size as you so his gear fits just perfect.

    Velo, do you think it was your post on the Winter Glove that caused Rapha to remove it from the website? Don’t feel bad, I only wanted to buy a pair!

    Thanks again,

    Scott

  5. John P. says:

    I just recently found your blog and can’t help myself. I keep coming back every day to see what’s new. Great work, and I know it’s A LOT of work you’re putting in. Much Appreciated.

    As far roadies vs cyclocross. I’m gonna agree that cyclocross guys visibly seem to be having more fun, but I know road racing is fun too in a slightly different way. Riding in a fast moving pack during a road race or crit can get pretty verbally abusive though can’t it? LOL

  6. Thanks John.

    Not long to go now. I find myself wishing the concept had been “15 Days of Rapha” I’m getting punchy but there are a few more surprises to come.

    ::M

  7. Scott,

    I hadn’t heard anything about the Softshell gloves until your note. I was still hoping that my gloves were just an odd pair that slipped through quality control. If it was a more general problem kudos to Rapha for acting decisively.

    ::M

  8. timcox says:

    Very cool how you changed the color of the date from pink to orange (with the contrasting brown on the “days of”) and even ran the scheme into the calendar graphic.

    Now – to serious matters – I’ve been wondering if there’s much diff in the thermal abilities of the merino hat vs. the winter hat?

    tc

  9. Tim,

    Merino Hat is on the way, but I’d bet the double thickness of the Winter Hat (it has a nice lining) gives it an edge in the warmth department.

  10. Pingback: 30 Days of Rapha – The Rapha Fixed Jacket is In | VeloDramatic