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Giro d'up North
Photos by Laura 'Lady' Bower and Jack 'Vino' Saunders
Rapha’s tour of the north began on Friday in the boutique district of Manchester and ended on Sunday beside the crooked spire of Chesterfield Church. And whilst some might suggest Rapha had no business being at that latitude, it certainly wasn’t grim up there.
On Friday and Saturday the first Rapha Sample Sale north of Hampstead took us to the sunny streets of Manchester. We set up amongst various coffee shops and purveyors of adult videos at the Thomas St. Post Office. One lady walking past enquired as to why there were people queuing around the block to post a letter.
It was rather hot inside the ‘Post Office’ due to the glorious weather outside but we managed to get a decent feed of the climactic stage of this year’s Giro d’Italia on the TV. However, the streaming cut out just before Thomas De Gendt attacked on the Mortirolo. Not to worry, plenty of bargains were bagged and everyone managed to cope with the heat, partially thanks to cold beer and ice cream.
Meanwhile, over in Sheffield, a well-affiliated group of riders congregated outside the legendary Nonna’s for a spin in the sunshine. They rode out of the Steel City to meet the Rapha H-Van en route and return to enjoy pasta, wine and that incredible Giro stage. For anyone who doesn’t know Sheffield, it’s the closest you’ll come to an Italian town, with a rich heritage of road cycling, very hospitable people and accents that are hard to understand.
On Sunday there was more riding and more sunshine scheduled. Another Nonna’s affiliated ride set out, this time from their other restaurant in Chesterfield (not Tuscany) although the numbers were depleted somewhat due to the amount of vino consumed the night before. But Rapha Condor Sharp’s Dean Downing still managed to make an appearance alongside another local lad, Malcolm Elliott.
Over in Manchester a simultaneous ride set off towards Chesterfield through the Peak District. Dodging broken glass on the way out, a group of twelve or so led by Jack Briggs of Rapha embarked on a gorgeous 100kms of rolling and sometimes punishing topography into the Peaks. It wasn’t too dissimilar to the voluptuous landscape of central Italy, only less vineyards and a lot more sheep. Again the friendly disposition of all we rode with and nonstop sunshine made it a memorable journey over to the H-Van in the village of Yulegreave. One or two espressi later and we took a couple more climbs and a big descent into ‘C-Town’ for some pasta and a pint of Peroni or two. A great weekend and distinctly Italian themed, even if a Canadian did end up wearing the pink jersey…
Thanks to all who rode and made it a weekend to remember including Gian at Nonna’s, Kati for her coffee skills and Ben for driving the H-Van for 400 plus miles.
You can view the route of the Manchester – Chesterfield ride here »
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