A few years ago we suggested that German fellow riders in Mallorca visit the local Rapha pop-up store. At the time the favorites in “our” peloton were Assos, Gore and Gonso. Nobody had heard of the English brand, and the minimalist style of the shop and clothing only appealed to a few passengers. But they were pleasantly surprised by the completely different look. And from the in-house delicious espresso.
As a former executive at Interbrand, the company that invented the top 100 brands and gave us the term Wi-Fi, Rapha founder Simon Mottram undoubtedly had the know-how to establish a brand. But he also had the confidence and courage to reinvent cycling apparel. It wasn't just about the clothes, but the entire look of the racing cyclists was redefined: black and white pictures, tattooed riders, lonely landscapes. If someone suffered while driving here, then it looked great. And made you want to go for a ride. Even in fog, continuous rain or snow. As long as the clothes were good.
Great films on the website, which showed landscapes with lots of forest, untouched nature and small roads and paths, formed a counterpoint to the heads-down-in-two-rows-close-together-at-full-throttle-over-country-roads peloton. Space for individuality in the group, the well-organized "Machine Peloton" was new to many cyclists, you rode together and despite all the dedication and passion, it always looked worthwhile.
But Rapha didn't just stop at the apparel, Rapha wanted more. Events, races, frame building contests - everything to do with cycling has been taken up and creatively revived. Always with its own, very special Rapha look. The online presence appealed to creative people with a penchant for aesthetics - a community was formed.
Ten years of Rapha have shaped the style of modern cycling clothing, and many brands today are based on the English look. There are now independent small companies that also combine material, function and look and break new ground. Outsiders succumb to the fascination of the wheel and build an existence for themselves, stimulated by the impulses that emanated from Rapha, among others. And in turn bring new impetus to the bicycle industry. Creative people are getting excited about the aesthetics of cycling again, be it in the form of the minimalist fixie, the classic steel bike or the uncompromising carbon machine. A plus point from which every wearer of the worn-out team kit with the carnage of the sponsor's logo benefits. As a racing cyclist today, you don't necessarily have to feel like a pitiable Lycra victim. Racing cycling is becoming a coveted pastime even in Germany, cyclists are no longer smiled at as eco-lovers, instead there is hardly a spot for cars without a cool bike, which is often presented in the picture. Now if someone !Sale! screams, we just reply: we think the development is good. Better the kids want a cool bike than an SUV. Anything that gets people on bikes is good. Point.
In the fall of last year, following the evening Rapha rides as part of the Eurobike, we sat down at the BBQ with the German manager Dirk Kaufmann. During the conversation, the idea came up to organize a joint trip for Chic Hat and Rapha. We all had the feeling that two things go well together.
Already in advance it was clear from the registrations that the up and down tour appeals to a lot of people, after all it was the first event with Rapha participation in North Rhine-Westphalia. The gloomy weather forecasts in the week before the event weren't very edifying, but if it rained continuously it would have been an "epic ride". Or something like that.
On Sunday, May 3rd, when almost 70 passengers were waiting in the courtyard of the chic hat, surprisingly even the weather cooperated, only a hint of drizzle accompanied the start and the first five minutes. Our original plan of going on the journey with two separate groups was, thanks to fate, thrown overboard after one kilometer at a traffic light, a circumstance that was certainly not insignificant for the fun factor of the trip.
Instead of a classic Lower Rhine flatland tour across the fields, our plan was to conquer the small farm roads between Hubbelrath, Ratingen and Wülfrath. A tour that many people in the Düsseldorf area would not have expected in this form, after all one always thinks of the Lower Rhine lowlands. The climbs up to the racetrack and then to the Gerresheimer Friedhof surprised some, the entry into the hilly world between Hubbelrath and Ratingen with a great view into the distance brought a big grin on many faces.
True to the motto of the exit, up + down, there were a few small ramps waiting for the peloton on the following 40 kilometers, until we finally, after a short stretch on the panoramic cycle path, took the last climb with a piece of gravel on a small side road parallel to the donkey completed.
The rest of the way remained quite flat, the route led us via Mühlheimer side streets and country lanes towards Duisburg, where an industrial area littered with potholes exuded rustic Ruhrpott charm. A refreshing drizzle finally awaited us at the city limits of Düsseldorf, which turned into a proper shower when we arrived in our hats.
After a relaxed ride over 90 kilometers and 700 meters in altitude, the buffet and drinks were just what we needed, within minutes all passengers had plates in their hands and were chatting animatedly.
Conclusion: a round thing. We didn't hear a negative word and there was a lot of praise from qualified mouths. Just the fact that 70 racing cyclists ride 90 kilometers through the Düsseldorf area completely relaxed and without any stressful situations and there are no/hardly any negative experiences with drivers is a great experience.
Greetings and thanks for the good cooperation to Dirk, Andy and Franco from Rapha, that was fun. From the evening meal at the Olio to the Alt beers and the tour. Have a good weekend. We hope to see you again soon.
We would like to thank everyone who was there on the day, whether as helpers at the crossings, with busy hands in their caps or simply as passengers. It was a really great peloton, somehow we have the feeling that good people always come together at our events.
A very special thanks goes to the Spoocha makers. I was almost blown away by your gesture of shaking a sponsor for the ride and the drivers out of your arms, who donated a tidy sum to our donation box for Sebastian Gondek. So we also drove for Sebastian that day, a circumstance that comforts us all a little bit. So a little hint to everyone who uses Strava: join the Spoocha Club. You are doing good with one of the most beautiful things in life, road cycling.
Let's see, maybe we'll all see each other in our hats again soon, on June 6th we'll be doing some decent routes in small groups as part of the Giro Di Caffè. And with Dirk from Rapha, after the tour we started thinking about what we could do...
Have fun with the pictures, see you soon...
Your cap brigade
- Tags: Ausfahrt