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Rapha Continental Rides
2013 Ride Programme
In 2013, the Rapha Continental will be rediscovering the lost spirit of cycling in the UK, Europe, South-East Asia, Australia and Japan.
The Road Less Travelled
The Rapha Continental was established in the United States in 2007. A unique adventure, it was driven by a simple idea. In an age when cycling has become increasingly clinical and sanitised, the Rapha Continental’s mission was to travel the back roads of America in an attempt to rediscover something of the lost spirit of cycling. As an increasing number of us pin race numbers to our jerseys at weekends, sometimes we can be guilty of slipping too far into the racer’s mentality. If we focus solely on measuring watts and counting calories, it’s all too easy to lose sight of why we love to ride, to lose touch with the unique experiences that only road riding can offer.
The Rapha Continental is about the view from the road less travelled. It is about seeing the land through the eyes of the people you meet, and learning its story through their voice sharing those intimate, compelling moments you can only discover when you ride.
In the five years the Rapha Continental has spent criss-crossing North America, its riders have discovered rides and tales that are always diverse, often unusual and sometimes highly personal. From punishing climbs on forgotten gravel roads to the endless tarmac of the Tour of California, they have ridden together and they have suffered together. Recording their experiences in words, pictures and on film they have, in the process, learned about each other and about themselves. The result is a unique journal, an ever-expanding library, complete with maps, ride data and cue sheets, showcasing the most inspiring rides the American continent has to offer.
So what characterises a Rapha Continental ride? The Rapha Continental is not touring. The Rapha Continental will take you through spectacular scenery; it may even allow you to savour authentic artisan cuisine. But the Rapha Continental is about riding hard. It’s about riding far and riding fast. The Rapha Continental is about being tested: by distance; by duration; and by the mishaps, mechanicals – and crashes – that occur precisely when it seems things can’t get any worse. The Rapha Continental is about those moments familiar to every tired rider, those moments when you feel your sanity fading with the sunlight.
And yet because the sun also rises, the Rapha Continental is about the times when the opposite is true. Those days your bike seems to sing; the days when you take every climb effortlessly and in the perfect gear; and those days when descents feel like flying. We didn’t invent this style of riding, and we don’t own it either. It belongs to every like-minded rider that ever came to a fork in the road or the foot of an unknown climb and said not, “I wonder where that goes?”, but rather, “Let’s find out”.
In the next twelve months, as part of our ongoing commitment to the glory and suffering of road riding, Rapha will publish stories, images and films from the Rapha Continental; from North America and now from around the world.