For a moment, wearing Rapha's Touring Shorts, I'm an Edinburgh schoolboy again. The Moray House uniform: shorts; shirt and tie; jacket and cap. That was the last time I wore shorts as beautifully tailored as these, though in a smaller size and much heavier fabric.
The touring shorts are cool, light and wonderfully constructed in the best Rapha tradition. I love details like the horizontal rear pocket just below the waistband (perfect for ID and cash, or your cell phone if you've not stashed it per design in your Rapha bibs) and another on the right hip, purposely cut shallow to avoid any interference with your thigh while pedaling. Both pockets are almost invisible and closed with tiny tear-shaped fobs.
The fabric has a little bit of stretch to it and dries quickly. The fly doesn't bulge or open on the bike, meaning the zipper is perfectly fitted. The satin-lined hems slide frictionlessly over your legs. Inside, there's a touch of signature pink edging the pockets and branding is quintessential Rapha; understated black on black.
As life slowly comes full circle, I find myself wearing the Touring Shorts as part of a new uniform on my daily bike commute. Worn over Rapha bibs and baselayer, they strike a stylish balance between street fashion and cycling kit. I'm even tempted to put them on for a big weekend ride, there's nothing wrong with violating the lycra-tic oath occasionally.
Come the fall it's rumored that Perren Street's range will truly cover the long and short of it with a full-length trouser (Touring shorts, fixed shorts, full-length). Then, as US GM Slate Olsen joked "we'll only need to design pajamas to keep you in Rapha round the clock." Slate, Luke... pajamas are not a bad idea, and the sewn-in-story would naturally involve some of Anquetil's nocturnal palmarès.
The Touring Shorts are priced at £70 $110 €100
Coming from someone who turns ordinary socks inside out because even the smallest seam itches me what designer's skin isn't that sensitive, Rapha's Lightweight Jersey is smooth perfection.The LW, in designer black or white, is as clean and minimalist as it gets. Call it the male equivalent of the classic little black dress. The sleeves flatter the biceps without resorting to constricting silicon or elastic. When you pull off this jersey your body doesn't look like a serigraph of the Nazca desert.
As usual Rapha is thinking about epic rides with the generous pocket configuration, including a vertically zipped ID/valuables pocket and a full-width ballast pocket. The back of the LW has a central mesh strip that makes the jersey particularly well-suited for the hottest days and for riding with the Rapha Fixed Backpack. It's a fantastic canvas for righteous salt stains.
Paired with the Touring Shorts as pictured, it cuts a classic, urban silhouette that is as timeless as it is modern. Like all Rapha kit, the price point is heady, but to my mind any piece of theirs is worth two or three of anything else. With care, following basic washing instructions (cold water, inside out, Woolite) you should enjoy countless centuries (in miles of course) of enjoyment from them. Highly recommended.
The Lightweight Jersey is priced at £100 $170 €150