Fausto Coppi's storied life ended before I celebrated my first birthday. He appears in period photographs with the dark, chiseled looks of a film star. In many of those images he's wearing a collared wool jersey with buttoned-down chest pockets emblematic of a more fashionable age. Rapha's 2009 Campionissimo Jersey, beautifully crafted in the softest merino wool pays homage to his unprecedented Giro/Tour double in 1949. It arrived two weeks ago with a nice note from Slate Olson to put it on and get out for a ride. Wearing it produced no magic alchemy. It's ordinary blood, not petrol that runs through these veins. Nevertheless, the Campionissimo is a classic change of pace from the technical kit we regularly wear, and a perfect fit for a warm spring day with no agenda save an easy pedal with the wind. Ignore the momentary cloudburst in the first picture.
How to wear the Campionissimo is a matter of personal taste. I first wore the jersey with Rapha's ¾ Bib Shorts, but I prefer pairing it with the Touring Shorts, and since it has no rear pockets... tucked in. For those of us riding above the welterweight division, its a tailored alternative that fits perfectly with Rapha's urban motif.
Later this month Rapha will release the new Swift Jersey to celebrate Portland's soaring bicycle culture. The swift is accurately described as the most aerial of birds, feeding, drinking, mating and staying aloft even at night. A fitting metaphor for a city whose inhabitants live and breathe cycling year round, in every kind of weather. I'm sure there's even documentary evidence of mating on two wheels, but that's beyond the scope of my experience (and balance).
As you can see from the images, the black jersey, flocked with an acrobatic flight of swifts is as easy to capture photographically as it's namesake would be with a net. The effect is subtle, sophisticated black on black, coordinating equally well with Rapha's road and urban lines. Details like the ribbed collar and cuffs and sewn-on center panel make this a unique piece. The sewn-in Swift label talks about instinct and mine tells me this one won't last long on the shelves. Better sign up for an email reminder when this goes live (current ETA April 27th). Nice to see Ira Ryan and his swallows mentioned too.
No sooner had I sung the praises of the Misty-Blue Stowaway than Mr. Palmer of the twmp was playfully needling me his Orange one was better. Not one to shy away from a challenge, particularly from a fellow Scot, I took immediate action and ordered an orange one. The color is a dead ringer for Creamsicle orange. Layered over an ice-cream white jersey, the semi-transparent effect had me shifting to the big ring for a sprint to the corner store freezer. As usual Brian was right, chalk up another entry for the Tab. I'm bonkers... which reminds me.