A Randonnée is the cycling holiday of a lifetime. Challenge and inspire yourself on days averaging 150km with 2,500m of climbing, fuelling your passion for the sport on point-to-point adventures through cycling’s classic territories across the world. During these Rapha Travel signature departures, team cars and experienced guides will be on hand with local knowledge, a morale-boosting chat or a full bidon every pedal-stroke of the way. And, at the end of the day, you’ll simply hand your bike over to our mechanics, who will return them in top condition the next morning. In the evenings all you have to do is enjoy your appointment with our pro-level soigneur, sample the regional wines and cuisine, and relax in our carefully chosen accommodation – Alpine chateaux or luxury Italian guesthouses are the norm.
Later that afternoon, as the rain finally stopped, and I hastened to make it to the next hotel before sunset, I noted a group of Chinese tourists, not far from Hearst Castle, contentedly watching a huge pod of elephant seals massed in an enclosure near the road. Hunched over the bars, I made eye contact with one of the huge beasts, who lay slouched like Jabba the Hut. Why can’t I be you? I thought, staring into his baleful gaze. Or why, I further reasoned, couldn’t I just be a casual sightseer, gently taking it all in? There is something bizarre, yet intoxicating, in the way cycling juxtaposes these little dramas of pain and suffering amid landscapes of sublime beauty. As Nietzsche wrote in “The Gay Science”, “what if pleasure and displeasure were so tied together that whoever wanted to have as much as possible of one must also have as much as possible of the other?”
Tom Vanderbilt The Economist »