As a card carrying Corbynite and out and proud Singlespeed Luddite, I actively despise Rapha and all it stands for. It's grotesque price tags and 'living the dream' advertising reeks of 80's Thatcherite Conspicuous Consumerism and is completely at odds with my sense of cycling as a largely spiritual experience in which rider, bike and the forces of nature are at one.
The hideous Team Sky/Pinarello/Napha/Jaguar axis is the personification of Greed is Good and I wouldn't be seen dead in/on one of their products.It's as simple for me as the moral question of Private Healthcare as opposed to the NHS or the wearing of fur/exploitation of animals for food. Spiritual Cycling is for me a perfectly designed set of clothes and bike that is, as near as dammit, accessible and affordable to all. Hence I ride a Charge Plug 1 singlespeed (rrp £449) and wear Decathlon brain clothes (£7.99 for the most comfortable pair of shorts I've ever owned).
I chose to ride thesinglespeed as part of this pure spiritual ethic - the bike is perfectly balanced, perfectly designed and every ounce of effort you put in is rewarded with forward motion. Furthermore, you won't be sweeping it up after a minor 'chute'! When the hills get too much, I am happy to go 'en pied' - no one expects you to climb Ventoux on a singlespeed, well not an aging 57 year old MAMIL/ex-punk anyhow!
Haha! Obvs it's Decathlon bTwin cycling shorts that gives you cycling/botty loveliness for the princely sum of £7.99. Dontcha just love predictive text, and don't even get me started on those darned new-fangled derailleur gears!
Crikey. I like Rapha and a recent spell in a Private Hospital saved my life. And as a member of the Labour Party for the last 30 years I absolutely despise Corbyn. We're not going to get on are we?
Why Artie, of course we can still be friends! You DO ride a singlespeed right?
Mixing politics and cycling is not done so lets stick to bikes. I recently purchased a Rapha Classic jersey in their sale, it was not particularly expensive if you compare it to other high-end brands like Castelli, though of course it does not compete with Decathlon's prices. I enjoyed just looking at my Rapha top and I think that's pretty harmless and hardly the embodiment of greed is good.
Surely Sky is a remarkable success story for the UK and the likes of Geraint Thomas's and Bradley Wiggins and David Brailsford are from relatively humble backgrounds and have become incredibly successful through sheer hard work and bloodyminded effort, I wonder how they would react to being labelled as representing the personification of greed?
Hi James, don't think that the founders of the Clarion Movement would necesarilly agree that cycling and politics don't mix, but that's just my personal opinion. I take your point about members of Team Sky 'possibly' not enjoying the Greed is Good label - not everybody is lucky enough to choose their paymasters, I suppose. I suspect you may enjoy Dave Nash's take on the Rapha brand in the Guardian Online a little more than mine, not sure it's been uploaded on here yet. Enjoy looking/wearing your Rapha kit anyway and I'm sorry I can't add a link to Dave's article - but then my tablet's a piece of cheap crap anyhow...
I wish I could be as upright as you Dave but I am weak. As Groucho famously said, "These are my principles. If you don't like 'em I have others."
I say the same thing about my Saturday Night Pulling Pants MtB!
Just my two pennies worth! I have no doubt about the quality of Rapha talking to all my cycling friends that wear it but for me the price tag is far to hefty for me and i know this really doesn't count for everyone but there does seem an elitism attached to wearing it? Each to they're own but not for me i'm afraid :)
I don't think I've ever bought anything full price there or else I've got stuff off eBay. I wouldn't want to pay full price for it - I don't think it's good value however well it performs. That said, there is definitely an air of inverted snobbery about the brand. Not that I'm arsed. It's just cycling.
Oh, c'mon, we're talking about cycling, not visiting a Tibetan monastery. If you don't like the Rapha brand and what it represents, don't buy their stuff! Simple as that. The only politics I want to discuss on a bike concerns Campagnolo vs. Shimano. Cycling is my hobby and doesn't define my politics or my ethics.
Hey Brett, how did you know I was a Soto Zen Buddhist - spooky! Of course, the answer to your 'political' dilemma is SHIMANO - preferably a 16 tooth singlespeed cog! Happy cycling!