Suffering is tomorrow - Rapha and the peloton of smiles

Gelitten wird morgen – Rapha und das Peloton des Lächelns

“If you don't feel like riding, you watch a Rapha video and you immediately want to get on your bike. There's hardly a better motivation. Today we were all part of something like that, in reality. It doesn't get any better than that."

You can let a compliment like that sink in. When fellow riders feel beamed into Rapha videos as part of our route planning and organization, that's a word. The weather certainly played its part. And we really couldn't do anything about it.

Early in the morning, spring showed itself from its most summery side. The Rapha bus was parked in the gateway and the first guests rolled into the cap's yard on time. The walls were filled with bikes, hi-tech and minimalism, L'Eroica machines and rides, courier single-speed bikes next to 6.5 kg carbon cars. Funny to see how diverse the passengers are in year 2 of the cap: Whether dressed from head to toe in Rapha or colorful in the sponsor-decorated team outfit of the trashiest 80s, everything is there, everyone is smirking, laughing and having fun. And enjoy the time until the start with homemade lemonade, coffee and cake.

In the workshop, small ailments of individual wheels were eliminated, tires pumped, gears adjusted, something always creaked. Almost on time, after a short talk about the route and rules, we went through the gate onto the streets of Düsseldorf. The first few kilometers through the city turned into a “stop'n'go'n'stopp'n'go” staccato of 75 pedals thanks to the original traffic light switch. It's a nice sound when a whole squad clicks in or out at the same time. Once out of the city center, things went quickly: Grafenberg, Gerresheim, Hubbelrath – Düsseldorf from a very nice side for cyclists, alleys and serpentines as for the Rapha video mentioned above.

Continue on farm roads in the direction of Ratingen, briskly up and down the ramps, yellow fields, green fields and views to the horizon. Some continued to chat easily, others breathed heavily, the right dosage in the tempo was now important so that everyone had their fun. Then in Heiligenhaus the colossus of Rapha Bus and the Rapha Mobile Cycle Club Europe Team, consisting of Tess, Aimar and Mitchell (Cheers buddies, thanx for all). Some drivers took an immediate break, but the majority of the peloton moved on, still a short loop to Wülfrath, before the break at the second stop at the bus was enjoyed with fruit, water, espresso and a good mood.

Refreshed and in good spirits, the Grupetto rolled on. A few more climbs, then a broken chain gave us a little shady rest in the woods. A dignified, broken stretch of torture followed for every sensitive wheel, long flat sections, small side streets between Ratingen, Mülheim and Duisburg, perfect for picking up the pace a bit again. Via Kalkum, Kaiserswerth, Lohausen we then went over the exhibition center in the direction of Düsseldorf city centre. Actually, our cracker was still missing, but sometimes things don't turn out the way you think.

When the Rapha crew visited Düsseldorf last year, the desire for a good Altbier arose. So this year we wanted to get down to business and directly with the entire peloton of our favorite home brewery, the Uerige , pay a visit. A beer and then off over the cobblestones of the old town and to the hat, that's the brilliant plan. However, we couldn't count on various demos in Düsseldorf. And not with the fact that the entire city center was hopelessly congested. The way home was blocked, so there was only one trip across the Rhine to Oberkassel, not without greeting the participants of the shortened rally on the other side of the bridge. The idea that you're about to have a chilled beer in your hand can be a brilliant motor, especially for a slightly flushed peloton that has enjoyed almost five hours of sun. So the last few meters flew by. Via cycle paths, bridge ramps and shopping streets to the cap.

The café crew spent Saturday and Sunday preparing extremely delicious dishes from Hannah Grant's highly recommended Grand Tour cookbook to conjure up, a tip for all cyclists with gourmet ambitions or people who just want to eat healthy. Ice-cold brews and beers, a shady spot in the inner courtyard, feet up and simply chatting with the passengers: this is how the afternoon ended in a wonderfully relaxed way.

The big after: We are pleased that the collaboration with Rapha and especially Dirk goes hand in hand. We have fun when countless passengers say afterwards that they enjoyed the day. We grin when the Roadpunx crew has flashed from the toilet and we are proud because so many just help to make the day so complete. Now we are looking forward with excitement and in good spirits, because the whole cycling world is looking to Düsseldorf in a good year. And we are working on ensuring that we can continue to experience such great days on the way there, in our caps, on our bikes, in Düsseldorf.

Something is rolling towards us. Chain right, it goes on...

your hats.

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