As has oft been kindly pointed out on club rides (or mocked – I’m not quite sure which), I’m quite partial to a bit of Rapha. So it is with some interest that I took a look at their new 2010 collection (it gives me some clue as to what items I’ll be able to afford when they make their way into the clearance section of the website in a year or so).

Paul Fournel wrote in his book ‘Need for the Bike’, “You have to know how to look good when you’re riding. You have to impress your adversary with your elegance. To look good is already to go fast.” Cycling is one area of life where the phrase ‘style over substance’ is made redundant.

However, for some reason Rapha seems to attract its fair share of critics and detractors. Surely it’s not the ‘premium’ price tags that are offensive? Or the irksome pretentious product descriptions? Or their forays into producing superfluous luxury accessories such as silk scarves and tool cases? The irrationality of ‘Rapha Haters’ is beyond me. All I know is that what’s good enough for Gary Kemp and Jake Gyllenhaal is good enough for me.

From the new 2010 range it is the Stowaway Jacket – in the pink ‘colourway’ (above) – that most piques my interest. A hitherto unexploited colour in the performance cycle wear market, anyone brave enough would certainly cut a dash at the Sunday club run.

It’s also worth studying closely the aspirational photoshoots for on- and off-the-bike styling cues. Riding with aviator sunglasses is definitely IN. As are long flowing locks, loose and tamed only by a cap with its peak inversed. OUT go helmets, Oakleys, and undertaking any rides that are neither ‘epic’ or not on beautiful sweeping roads of Sicily, Girona or other such continental cycling nirvanas.

Fear not, there’s no need to replicate such scenes on Col du Box Hill – Rapha now run luxury trips to more suitable poseur locations. They may be the only rides you can safely undertake without the fear of having your pink cycling jacket laughed at.

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