We love Rapha.
There, we said it. Now, we realise it’s a brand that has sometimes polarised the cycling community, holding an almost Marmite-like appeal. But we are definitely in the ‘love it’ camp, and proudly so.
And before you say it, we’re not just saying that because Rapha Custom has come on board to become a key sponsor of The British Continental.
No, Rapha is brand we have long-admired. Here’s three reasons why.
First, the clothing. Rapha has long been part of our cycling wardrobe. Aesthetically cool, high quality, a joy to adorn. It can be expensive, we admit, but the items we’ve owned have had so much wear they have genuinely felt like value for money.
Second, Rapha’s cycling content. One thing Rapha continues to excel at is making cycling look and feel cool. The content they produce reminds us why we love cycling, inspires us to swing a leg over the bike, and encourages us to find new challenges on two wheels. The Rapha Festive 500, for example, has helped us keep the winter miles ticking over during festive seasons past, and some of the films Rapha has produced have been second-to-none.
Last – but certainly not least – Rapha’s support for domestic road racing. This support goes way back. It was in 2008, together with Condor Cycles, that they formed one of the most-cherished domestic race teams of all time: Rapha Condor. Now disbanded, the team already feels like it deserves legendary status. Known as the ‘men in black’, because of their distinctive kit, John Herety’s squad set the benchmark for other domestic teams.
In more recent times, of course, Rapha is well-known for its support of the EF Pro Cycling WorldTour team, but it also backs a number of domestic teams: Brother UK–LDN, Crimson Orientation Marketing RT, Richardsons–Trek and TEKKERZ CC all don Rapha Custom clothing.
Rapha’s support for the domestic scene goes way beyond team sponsorship, however. It has organised and supported races including the London Nocturne, the Rapha Super Cross Series and the Rapha Cycling Club Road Race, to name but a few. The Rapha Foundation has provided critical support to UK institutions such as the Herne Hill Velodrome, the Rayner Foundation, the Helen 100 foundation and The Cyclist’s Alliance, amongst others. Critically, Rapha also threw a lifeline to the Lincoln Grand Prix when it stepped in to save Britain’s most important one day race. Rapha now intends to use the learning from its road map to help create a more sustainable future for the race.
For all of these reasons, and more, Rapha was one of the first names on our shortlist for potential sponsors this year. So when they said yes, we were absolutely delighted.
We are unbelievably excited to begin the journey with the Rapha team. Rapha’s support will enable us to up our game when it comes to covering the sport that we know and love. It will help us to continue to shine a light on domestic racing, to tell the stories of lesser-known riders, teams, races, staff and volunteers.
We are also teaming with Rapha Custom to produce the very first line of The British Continental cycle clothing. With luck, the range will be available in the summer, just in time for the return of elite road racing in the UK. We can’t wait…
Featured photo: Chris Sansom