Rapha + Apidura Collection

Rapha x Apidura Collection

Rapha and ultralight bikepacking pioneers Apidura have partnered to create a collection of packs designed for adventure. Specifically built to attach easily to any bike, the Rapha + Apidura saddle and handlebar packs are lightweight, durable, and designed to allow cyclists to pack light and travel far.

The Rapha + Apidura packs signal a new product category for Rapha within the realm of long-distance cycling. This collaboration is a natural progression for the Brevet range, which already offers dependable, versatile apparel for long days in the saddle. Originally designed for Rapha staff to ride Paris-Brest-Paris, the Brevet collection consists of clothing which is durable, lightweight, versatile, and designed to withstand the hardiest adventures, whatever the weather. Apidura’s experience in making the best ultralight bike luggage on the market made for a natural pairing with Rapha’s Brevet collection.

Designed for accessibility and versatility, the Rapha + Apidura collection consists of a Handlebar Pack and Saddle Pack which can be attached to any bike without the need for racks. The pack material is a water resistant four-layer laminated body fabric which offers high abrasion and tear resistance and is incredibly lightweight. For visibility, reflective Rapha Brevet stripes and Apidura logos feature on the packs, and reflective yarn has been woven into all shock cords and outer webbing to provide additional visibility in low light. Anti-slip Hypalon, a synthetic rubber, has been used on all fastening points to keep the packs secure and roll-top closures allow for maximum storage capacity. The packs feature three-point attachments for security and the Saddle Pack has a bungee cord tie-down in the outer top. The Saddle Pack has a bike light attachment point. Rapha design cues feature in the Brevet stripes, hi-vis pink lining and an additional wet bag to store inside of the packs.

Rapha x Apidura Collection

Rapha x Apidura Collection

Rapha x Apidura Collection

Rapha + Apidura Handlebar Pack £85
Rapha + Apidura Saddle Pack £105

For more information visit their feature page, which includes an interview with Apidura founder Tori Fahey.

Stepping away from the buyer’s guide

Stepping away from the buyer's guide

A good friend once encouraged me to join a local camera club. Having young children at the time and a rapidly shrinking social life, I thought it would be a good idea (at least once a week) to leave baths and bedtime stories for an evening in the company of adults. I knew it was time to quit and resume fatherly duties, however, when the theme of one night’s meeting was tripods. Unfortunately confirming, as each member presented their own example for approval, that it does matter how big it is…

Now you might well be wondering what this has to do with riding a bike but when I re-discovered my love of cycling as middle age approached, I imagine I would be hard pressed to find another interest or hobby with a greater focus on accessorising. What you ride and wear says a lot about you in the cycling world.

And much as I love to ride, even commuting to work in all weathers, I must also admit to buying the magazines. The magazines that report on the racing, the general interest ones with feature rides and interviews with frame builders, and more worryingly, the publications that focus on bike reviews.

I imagine we’ve all been there, pouring over the specifications, mentally juggling whether the 100g or so you save opting for a full Dura Ace groupset outweighs the advantage of choosing an upgrade to full carbon rims. Until, eventually, you consider the £4995 asking price for a bike manufactured by a certain internet-sales-only company as quite remarkable value.

And when I have researched and bought a new bike, there’s no guarantee that it will truly satisfy and meet long-term expectations. A buyer’s guide featuring this year’s ‘Top 10’ road bikes soon becomes last year’s choices as manufacturers produce new models featuring the latest groupset, wheels and colour schemes. The enjoyment of your purchase can be transitory as you’re always playing catch-up.

I did wonder whether this was purely a personal failing but, as with all things in contemporary life, there’s always something bigger (remember the tripod), shinier, more expensive or fashionable. Whether it’s your home, car, holiday, job or even partner; we’re almost encouraged to want the new, better, improved. To be an active participant in a throwaway society.

So how did I disengage from this endless cycle (forgive the pun) of avarice and consumerism? Naturally, I bought another bike. A bike made from steel by a small company called Starley based in Altrincham, Cheshire. And even though, as with most purchases, there are compromises – the bike is marginally heavier than my now ignored carbon road bike – I’ve fallen for it. Absolutely.

In simple terms, it has a classic ‘look’ that feels almost beyond fashion. Round tubes of brushed stainless steel, beautifully brazed joints and a ride that carried me on my cycle club’s 123 mile Milan-San Remo tribute with speed and comfort. And in taking this step into a previous era of frame building, away from the buyer’s guide, I don’t need to worry if there’s a new trend for shaping aero tubes or a longer, thinner carbon fibre strand that utilises a revolutionary new resin. No need to concern myself with saving those 5 Watts and 28 seconds over 40km.

I still look at bike reviews – I can’t help myself. And there’s a place for all bikes, disciplines, budgets and colour schemes. This is part of what makes a club ride so enjoyable – the discussion, debate and expression of personal style. But what I don’t feel, something that I’m convinced the marketing departments of the major retailers want you to feel, is that nagging sense of dissatisfaction. Of the constant need to be planning the next purchase.

Time will tell. For now, however, I feel happy to ride my Starley and enjoy the view.

Stepping away from the buyer's guide

Words and photos by Chris Hargreaves (@openautograph).

The MODUAL tool

The MODUAL tool

The MODUAL tool is a neat project on Kickstarter right now. Whilst it makes the claim it will be the only multi-tool you will ever need, it certainly is the nicest looking one you will ever need. It’s an innovative 13 function multi-tool and accompanying tool roll that offers a portable yet powerful alternative to folding bike tools.

the MODUAL tool

In my experience these sort of tools give you much greater functionality than multitools that fold up but, take up more space. I think this is where the MODUAL wins as they’ve addressed this with the roll it comes with, which came be stowed under the saddle. What is also to like is the prices on Kickstarter. Early bird deal is still available and well worth the spend.

Read full details and back the MODUAL tool here.


‘The Toughest Race’ – An insight into the mind of racing cyclists

‘The Toughest Race’ follows the Neon Velo Cycling Team whilst they take on the An Post Ras (Irelands prestigious 8 day stage race). Nathaniel Rosa documents the teams journey and gives us a different perspective to racing, the riders mind.

The Ras is a UCI 2.2 stage race that has been held annually since 1953, with this year proving to be the toughest in recent history. Where last year brutal sidewinds were the enemy, this year it was an abundance of categorised climbs and the determination of the leading Irish teams to not allow any breakaway to happen. Relentless racing ensued, with hour-average speed checks of over 30mph being called over the tour radio frighteningly regularly.

By the end of the first stage it was clear to riders who hadn’t previously competed in the Ras that they were in for something quite different to a usual premiere calendar race – a race where firepower alone wasn’t cutting it – it became a mental game somewhere between ‘I can barely turn my legs over’ and ‘this is the one, do whatever it takes’.

With county team riders desperate to leave their mark on the race crashes were continuous with almost every competitor being caught by one at some point during the week. A startling statistic was told to us by one of the organisers on the first evening “There were almost as many crashes today [stage 1] as there were all of last year”.



The Art of the Jersey Book


The Art of the Jersey, A celebration of the cycling racing jersey by Andy Storey is one incredibly nice coffee book for the avid cyclist. It is also pure inspiration for those that design kit and that is how I see this book. It has over 200 jerseys to peruse in chronological order, all expertly picked by Andy. In case you’re wondering who Andy Storey is, he happens to be a life long cycling fan and works at the cycling clothing specialist Prendas Ciclismo.


So Andy is more than well placed to understand the how and why of a jersey design. With five neat chapters littered with fantastic shots and iconic jerseys. Those chapters chart the rise of the modern jersey from it’s humble woollen origins – there isn’t a page you won’t like to gaze over – to today’s modern designs.

What I ended up doing half-subconsciously was picking out the ones I remembered, like the iconic Peugeot jersey worn by the likes of Tommy Simpson, to the 80’s classic worn by Greg Lemond on the Z team, or Johan Museeuw’s mud splattered Mapei jersey. Then there are the more obscure ones, anyone remember the 2004 UCI World Cup overall leader’s jersey? Thought not but it’s nice.


Massive cliché but, there is something for everyone in this book, no matter when you started cycling you will recognise at least some and intrigued by others you might not know. For me, I’m mostly intrigued by the early jerseys from the 1950’s. When compared to today’s fabrics and sublimated all over print, they look naive but, also a lot more stylistic with collars and hand sewn lettering and logos.



As far as coffee table books go this one is an absolute joy to have at hand and I can’t help but give it a flick every time I see it. It just makes me happy! Simple things I guess – well worth the asking price.

The Art of the Jersey, A celebration of the cycling racing jersey by Andy Storey. Published by Octopus Books.
Price £15.99 ISBN: 9781784722180


tic launches ace matching kit

tic launches ace matching kit

We’ve been a fan of This is Cambridge (TiC) since we reviewed one their excellent caps. Since then things have grown, with the introduction of some #sockgame with great success. Now they’ve seriously upped the game with some ace jerseys for some very nice matching kits to sit alongside their existing range. There is basically two styles with two colour ways in each style. Being the À bloc and Hors Catégorie range.

tic launches ace matching kit

Here is what TiC have to say about the new kits. After several months of extensive work of pattern development, identifying the very best materials, product testing, and several rounds of refinements, we are proud to release a new range of high performance level jerseys.

Our new À bloc and Hors Catégorie range of matching jerseys, caps and socks are unisex. tic designs in a gender neutral way as we believe that in cycling there is no him or her, just us! Of course there are anatomical differences which need to be considered on specific other pieces of kit. However when it comes to serious cyclists both men and women are driven by the same needs and aspirational desires.


Our new jerseys are made from the finest, performance Italian fabrics. Our standard weight À bloc jersey features a 4 way stretch fabric, which hugs your body’s contours without being restrictive when you ride, just like a second skin. The super light weight Hors Catégorie is made from a breathable mesh fabric to help you stay cool when you find yourself in hotter conditions.


The jerseys features aerodynamic laser cut raglan arms, flatlock stitched side seams, covered elastic neck seam and a rear panel silicon gripper. The back pockets are a little more spacious compared to standard race jerseys (let’s face it, most of us do not have the luxury of a team car). The construction of the super lightweight jersey has been developed to reduce undesirable pocket drop which often occurs with heavily ladened pockets on lighter weight jerseys. The jersey also includes a super easy access waterproof valuables pocket. We have replaced the usual ‘fiddly’ zipped valuable pocket with an easy access pocket positioned inside the rear main pocket section.

All jerseys are complimented by a matching Panache cycling cap and Meryl skin-life socks and qualify for free shipping.

Retail pricing
Jerseys: £95 / Caps: £25.50 / Socks £13.50

A ‘Peak’ Playground

Empty roads - Peak District

I’ve been very fortunate riding each year in the countryside surrounding Girona. Or, as Dan Craven so succinctly puts it, the ‘capital of racers’. Beautiful weather, smooth roads and varied routes from the sea to the mountains; it would be easy to describe this region as a cycling paradise.

Changing weather - Peak District

But whilst it’s fun to fly down to Spain to share these roads with the off-duty professionals, I try to never lose sight of the wealth of good riding we have on our own doorstep. It might often be obscured by our weather (April was a washout with thunder, lightning and stinging hailstones) but we are blessed with a rich landscape of varied beauty. With empty roads and green spaces never too far from home.

Wet roads - Peak District

Often, I suppose, we are schooled in what we know. Whenever I’m in Girona, what always strikes me as particularly interesting is how the Catalan locals describe their riding habits. Anything less than 18°C (really a rather pleasant temperature in the UK) they claim requires cold weather clothing to combat the ‘chill’. The well-known Rocacorba climb, with sections peaking at 13%, is described by adopted local David Millar as ‘brutal’; yet UK based riders often find themselves struggling up gradients in excess of 20%. Climbs may be longer on the Continent but the British Isles has an abundance of the ‘short but sharp’ variety that often prompt interesting reactions from non-native professionals riding the Tour of Britain.

Roaches - Peak District

Closer to home, living on the western fringe of the Peak District affords me a wealth of routes that offer quiet roads and stunning scenery. Windswept moorland partitioned by dry-stone walling, steep-sided valleys edged with pine woodland, reservoirs mirroring the shifting clouds; the National Park offers a rich tableau of routes and vistas.

Bend in the road - Peak District

Perceived by some as rather bleak and forbidding, with experience what is revealed are the subtle changes our weather brings. The sky can dominate, often with complex layers of grey, but when the light does break through it illuminates the tones and textures of heather, gritstone and flowing water.

Goyt Valley - Peak District

Mow Cop, The Cloud, Thorncliffe, Gun Hill, the Cat and Fiddle, Wincle – my local climbs, evocatively named and with gradients that trace the change from the lush pasture of dairy farms to the sparse grazing of the sheep that dot the hillsides. Circular routes with saw-toothed Strava profiles that can easily encompass 2,000m of climbing. Hard riding but offering easy access for wheeled escape and adventure.

Over Thorncliffe - Peak District

Early out - Peak District

Words and photos by Chris Hargreaves (@openautograph).

Rob’s Cannondale Caad10

Rob's Cannondale Caad10

Rob’s Cannondale Caad10 is the first road bike in his predominately fixed gear collection of bikes and has been used to race, commute and ride. Paint by the talented Doktor Bobby in Das Rad Klub team colours.

Rob's Cannondale Caad10

Rob's Cannondale Caad10

Rob's Cannondale Caad10

Rob's Cannondale Caad10

“I bought the bike second hand two years ago, having been to watch a few Bristol South CC Club mates road racing and being hugely inspired to give it a go. I had previously only ridden fixed and it took me quite a while to really get along with it and learn to love the road bike, and as a result It spent the first 6 months of its time with me sat next to my bed being ignored, but now its certainly the bike I do the most mileage on. I’m not much of a believer in ‘summer’ and ‘winter’ bikes, and prefer to just have something solid and dependable that I can race on, commute on, and generally enjoy riding and using without fear of wearing out or damaging bits. ‘race what you can afford to replace’ is phrase that I try my best to adhere to. (if anybody has any old 10 speed tubs they are looking to move on, send them my way!)’m not very good at leaving bikes alone, and after changing basically everything on it from stock spec I managed to persuade Bobby to give it a coat of paint. My team kit is pink and blue so I figured that would be a good way to go, but wasn’t sure exactly what he would do. A few weeks later the frame was returned to me and I couldn’t be happier with it. It definitely goes faster now.”

Rob's Cannondale Caad10

Rob's Cannondale Caad10

Full spec list:

Cannondale Caad10 54cm frameset
Cannondale Hollowgram SI Chainset (53/38)
105 5700 shifters / Ultegra 6700 mechs
Ultegra 6800 brakes
Dura Ace 7400 Hubs / H+son Archetypes
Cannondale Compact bars
Ritchey WCS Stem and Seatpost
Selle Italia SLR XP Saddle
Fizik Super Tacky bar tape
Vittoria Open Corsa 25mm tyres

Hopkinson England Louis Bag review


I remember an Audax ride over Exmoor once where I followed a chap with a leather tool bag attached to his brooks saddle. The corner was folded up, creased and worn from years of bending up to get inside the flap instead of opening it properly. It looked great all aged and used but it was the reason it looked like that which I loved even more. Peeking out from inside were some gold and red stripes. A proper energy snack, a Tunnocks Caramel Wafer. On every ride, half way around he would reach back, bend the flap open and pull out that Tunnocks bar.

That is exactly the proper type of thing the Louis Bag by Hopkinson England should be used to carry. That and some beer for your picnic. I’ve been carrying tools and a tube inside but I don’t think that’s quite the gentlemanly thing to do when it’s made as well as it is. It seems kind of crude to put tyre levers and other grubby bike stuff in there.

Established in 2015, Hopkinson England specialise in high-end handmade British cycling related products. Louis is the name of their family pet Louis the Lurcher which explains the dog stamped into the lid and as part of the logo.

On the right bike, something steel and handmade, the Louis Bag looks great and the leather matches nicely with Brooks England saddles and grips. You can hang it from the saddle, handlebar or top tube and it fits perfectly inside a bottle cage. I prefer on the saddle but like the versatility. Each bag is handmade in England and comes with straps to mount it, attach it to a belt or carry it on your shoulder too.

Available in four different colours for £195 it’s expensive. No doubt about that but this is a handmade product made in England from ethically sourced leather. It has the classic look which I love and is made exceptionally well.

Where to buy: Hopkinson England
How much: £195

















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