It’s time once more where, as road riders, we prepare for the approaching season and set goals for the New Year. My goal in 2016 is 50 momentous rides, to celebrate my 50th year. Here at Rapha I encourage all employees to set riding targets, to have one or more things in the crosshairs to help better their riding and racing. Every New Year I also like to look ahead to what Rapha as a company has in its sights; the products we will launch, the events we will host and the places we will travel to. Back in 2008 it was easier, I thought, to compile such a list. I supposed this year it would be much tougher, but it wasn’t. We have some amazing things in store for 2016, from new Cycle Clubs to watching the Tour on Mt. Ventoux. Everyone is, of course, invited to join the ride. From all of us at Rapha, happy New Year and strong riding in 2016.
1. Popping up Down Under
The new racing season kicks off in Adelaide this month for the Tour Down Under. Rapha will be there in force on Willunga Hill and at our newest pop-up store in Adelaide for the duration of the race.
2. New Cycle Clubs
We were proud to open permanent Rapha Cycle Clubs in Amsterdam and Spitalfields, London in 2015. Look out this year for more in the United States, Europe and Asia.
3. Summer Summits
The Cycle Clubs also function as clubhouses for the Rapha Cycling Club. The RCC now has 3,600 members in chapters around the world. I’m looking forward to riding with club members throughout the year and to seeing hundreds of members together at the two long weekend ‘Summits’ this summer, in Italy (June) and California (October).
4. New Ways to Travel
The RCC Summits are part of a widely expanded Rapha Travel portfolio, with new destinations and trip formats to suit every kind of rider.
5. A Woman’s Year
Every year is a woman’s year, of course, but in 2016 Rapha will focus more than ever on women riders. Having launched our first products for female riders in 2010 the range has been growing steadily and is now something we are very proud of. Our partnership with the new Canyon//SRAM professionals will be a highlight.
6. Rio Calling
Sir Bradley Wiggins’ focus this year will be on winning another Olympic medal to take him clear of all other British Olympians in history. We are proud to be partners with Brad and his team and will be with him all the way in Rio.
7. Team Rock ’n’ Roll
Brad’s WIGGINS team have an expanded line up and increased ambitions for 2016. We are looking forward to supporting them as they bring their somewhat irreverent spirit to racing in the UK and internationally this coming season.
8. Pro Innovations
Working with the pros at Team Sky, the WIGGINS team and CANYON//SRAM is bringing exciting innovations to the Rapha Pro Team range in 2016. First to debut is our Shadow collection of weatherproof racing garments.
9. Protecting Extremities
Beyond clothing, we are also equipping pro racers with more shoes, eyewear and a Rapha helmet this year.
The history of cycle racing is marked by famous rivalries and Rapha is celebrating three of them with special edition products in 2016: Anquetil and Poulidor, Coppi and Bartali, and Merckx and De Vlaeminck.
11. Beyond Lycra
Rapha has been making city rider products for over ten years. Hot on the cuffs of our successful trousers – watch out for fantastic new shirting, knitwear and outerwear in the next 12 months.
12. Brevet riding
From gravel roads to Paris-Brest-Paris, many of us are taking our bikes on longer rides, seeking further freedom and arduous adventure. Our Brevet range is expanding this year to cover different conditions – wind-blocking summer jerseys, insulated gilets and lighter weight, bombproof kit. We will also unveil our first on-bike luggage range.
13. Rapha on Screen
Since the first Rapha Continental film in 2008, Rapha has created inspiring films around the world. We are raising the bar in 2016, with a great cast of characters and new approaches to film content.
14. The Biggest Day
The biggest riding day for me in 2016 will be the third edition of the Manchester to London ride we put on to raise money for autism. I missed out on riding this one day, 350km challenge through the heart of England in 2015, but will be back again this year and hope to see even more riding with me.
15. Your Greatest Rides
Rapha organised and led over 500 customer rides around the world in 2015. This year we’re planning even more, including RCC club rides, another Women’s 100, Prestige events and many other challenges.
16. A Giant Celebration
In July 2013, our first year as a partner of Team Sky, I was fortunate to be on Mont Ventoux to see Chris Froome in the yellow jersey. 2016 will be our last year with Team Sky and ASO have decided to bring the Tour back to Mont Ventoux, on Bastille Day. I will be there again and hope to see the team lead up the mountain once more to conclude our amazing four-year partnership on the world’s greatest stage.