[ locale string ]
A collection of some of our favourite female riders and their favourite Rapha products. These are cyclists from many walks of life from all around the world. Women that have been riding in Rapha apparel for some time including doctors, writers, racers and just ladies who like to ride their bikes. We reached out to them to ask if they would compose a short paragraph about their favourite piece of kit. These were their responses.
- Merino Jersey
- Long Sleeve Jersey
- 3/4 Bib Shorts
- Winter Collar
- Classic Softshell
- Merino Arm Warmers
- Women's Shorts
The holy grail for busy city girls is finding clothes that are both indestructible and functional on a bike but also gorgeous and flattering. Most of my cycling time midweek is dashing around London between meetings: 9.30 coffee in Shoreditch; a briefing for a new Rapha product in Kentish Town at 12; a 2pm lunch in Soho; then maybe a 4pm design review back in the East End. There’s no time to be changing in and out of Lycra (even though I've been known to host post-training ride breakfast meetings at Soho House dressed head to toe in Rapha); I want to just show up looking good. This new city riding jersey is a little bit of perfection. The breathable merino adjusts to keep me just the right temperature, on or off the bike. It’s cut to hit right at the hip, keeping my lower back warm and covered, even on the drops. The only accessories you’ll need with this are a brilliant cup of coffee and good conversation. Lycra is optional.
I'm a pretty obsessive person, and by obsessive I mean if I find something I like, I generally hammer it to death. Whether it be the humble trim flat white I discovered or a new Hertfordshire route I plotted then proceeded to hammer out twice a week for countless months, when something feels right for me, I'm loathe to change from it. Enter the Long Sleeve Jersey. There’s something so right about the fit and weight of the jersey that my riding cohorts have rarely noted me dressed in anything but this ubiquitous little number right through three seasons. The perfect combo of flattering cut and merino comfort have made this a staple, my go-to layer on rides. The only tough choice is deciding which of the colours to plump for. I love the contrast armband and the pocket configuration is awesome for storing all my ride junk, not to mention the all-important iPod cable eyelet. I remember looking down at my wrist the last time I cycled in my jersey. I saw the little patch of skin peaking out from the cuff and I thought to myself: ‘You know what would look so cool with this jersey? A tattoo.’ Hell, I haven't gotten round to it yet but maybe someday soon I'll have a nice complement to that cuff.
Kristin Henricksson - 3/4 Bib Shorts
Since I bought my first pair, the Rapha 3/4 Bib Shorts have met every criteria I can think of. They’re luxuriously delicate and smooth on the outside, with flexible length in the shoulder straps, complete with soft stretch material so it doesn’t dig into your skin. One of my favourite benefits is that you don't need to fuss about with a bra. The zip-up brace has adequate material and provides the same level of comfort and support as a proper sports bra – and it never leaves you (or anyone else) wondering. The material is also perfect for Melbourne's ever-changing weather. If you start out early and it’s cold they cover your knees to stop any chill but you can also adapt your jersey and vest to alter your core temperature. They are versatile, adaptable, comfortable and one of my favourite pieces of cycling clothing.
[Photo: Andrew Waterman]
Claire Beaumont - Gilet
London, United Kingdom
Brand Manager, Condor Cycles
There are only two clothing pieces that have a purpose all-year round: the Rapha Gilet; and Rapha Arm Warmers, two of the most versatile items I’ve ever known. The gilet offers up defence against the wind on a summer dawn raid, and when the sun is up a full length zip lets you get to the layers underneath. For cooler spring rides it stays on all day over a jersey and the pockets come in handy as extra space for food. Summer and autumn's changeable weather means it's out of my pocket in a flash, without having to stop. But for a gilet to be truly good it needs to fit right, stop that sneaky wind from getting in, fit over a few layers but not be bulky over just a jersey. That's why the Women's Gilet is my go-to item seven days a week, 365 days a year.
Laura Bower - Classic Softshell
Public Relations, Rapha
I don’t really notice this jacket once it’s on until, oh bliss, I pass a huge, reflective shop window. Excellent. Big, long stare at the wonderful, sleek vision looking back. Has anyone else noticed how great women look in this jacket? I once paired it with leggings and suede boots. My best commute time is 18 minutes 30 seconds and I’m always trying to beat this but sliding through the traffic at speed inevitably led to a delightfully clammy body. I sweat on the commute and on drizzly, cold days I previously had to endure wearing a boil-in-a-bag waterproof (the perfect alternative to expensive body wraps). The creation, nay, birth of the women’s version of the Classic Softshell Jacket with its pit zips, eye-wateringly technical fabric and remarkable ability to keep my body temperature constant, has been a revelation. I may still arrive at work flushed in the face but I’m now able to remove my shroud without setting off the sprinkler system. To plagiarize entirely the words of fellow female cyclist and blogger, Gem Atkinson, the Classic Softshell Jacket is to cycling what the little black dress is to socialising – as near to perfection as it’s possible to get.
Phoebe Sneddon - Merino Wool Arm Warmers
Peak District, UK
Since discovering my love of Rapha the one item I just cannot now live without is the Merino Arm Warmers. Some would consider these a luxury; to me they’re a necessity. They are thin and lightweight, ideal for stuffing in a jersey pocket. When you pull them on, the soft, high-quality merino wool hugs the skin and never slips down. They are perfect to be worn as an underlayer and they give a magical sense of central heating under a winter jacket. In the warmer weather, I wear them with just a jersey. Often when climbing, I roll them down because they are so thin they are quite comfortable to be worn around the wrist ready to be pulled up for the descent. Most importantly of all they are long enough to accommodate my gangly arms without my wrists getting cold.
A cold wind down the front of your jersey is no joke. So this winter I couldn’t go on without the Winter Collar. Whatever the conditions — whether it is ‘less warm’ or ‘more cold’ — winter is winter. So, when I’m training every single day, I don’t leave home without mine. Also, I love the pink version. I like it when I can match something with the details of my helmet and my glasses; it’s something pros think about a lot. Winter is long in Northern Europe, almost every day is grey. Pink helps keep my motivation for the hours of training, helps keep me warm, and sometimes I hide behind my winter collar on a frozen descent. It’s necessary to protect my face and keep my skin soft and cosy until the next climb.
Perhaps my favorite feature is the ‘storm tail’ the jacket has. We cyclocrossers will commute in any kind of weather, and for those of us dumb enough not to have fenders for our bikes, this flap is a lifesaver (or a pants-saver, at any rate). And if you want to show off that you own a Rapha Jacket, here's your chance. The storm tail’s large, reflective Rapha logo practically screams style and class as you spray mud everywhere but the seat of your pants.
Beth Strickland - 3/4 Bib Shorts
Emmaus, Pennsylvania, USA
Writer - Bonne Vivant
II'm a firm believer of the “below 60, protect your knees” philosophy. And since I live on the East Coast, half my year is spent following this mantra, which is why I harbor such affection for Rapha's 3/4 Bib Shorts. I especially adore how the fleecy interior and full-front chest panel provide ideal warmth without overheating. And the slimming bodysuit construction suggests a catwoman-like psyche making me and my bike ready to pounce.
Joy Stark - Women's Shorts
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Industry Marketing Manager - Autodesk
After spending a couple of hours in the saddle, I start to feel more finicky than the princess who can feel the pea. That's why I love my Rapha Women’s Shorts. Like all things Rapha, they're stylish without compromising on comfort. The chamois evokes a cloud-like feeling that withstands even the roughest New England roads. No chafing, no harsh seams. The shorts are made of a flattering matt black fabric with just the right amount of stretch to feel comfortable, yet contained. But it's the cut that has me convinced that a woman must have had a hand in designing these shorts. There's no waistband to cause friction on flesh, and the shorts sit higher in the back so I never have to worry about exposing myself to the friend on my wheel as I fish around in my jersey pockets or settle into the drops for a long, delicious descent.
And this weekend Rapha celebrate women's cycling with a 50% three-day sale, stories from female riders and a look at new season designs.