With the increasing popularity of cycling across Britain – particularly nostalgia for the era of Eddy Merckx and those itsy bitsy cycling shorts you may have seen recently – Rapha is well set in our home town.
You only have to walk down Lever Street to see trendy man buns, beards and those oh-so chic cycling caps a la cycle king Fausto Coppi. You’ve probably seen a few in Oi Polloi but Rapha Clubhouse serves up the real deal.
Any cyclist worth their mettle has heard of Rapha. It’s a brand with one goal in mind- to make cycling the most popular sport in the world.
The journey began with their beautifully designed merino jerseys and continued into the world of professional cycling sponsorship. Rapha has translated beautiful design and technical advancement into success on the professional racing scene.
The oh-so plush Rapha Clubhouse opened here in 2014, with Manchester joining a whole host of other trendy cities.
Now Rapha is bringing together this passion for cycling and our passion for Manchester with Rapha Rides.
The goal is to unlock parts of our home town we wouldn’t usually explore and, through special guest speakers, photography workshops and yoga rides, celebrate the art of cycling at the same time.
Rapha Clubhouse will host the opening and closing party with an exclusive Rapha Rides Manchester film screening. The film explores Manchester and its psychical and mental landscape through stories of three local cycling heroes – Andy Tennant (pro from Team Wiggins), Alan Mellor (a former pro) and Hollie Carter (Manchester Wheelers rider).
The event hits the city on the weekend starting 7th September. For those of you who like snoozing your alarm, there’ll be none of that on this weekend.
Wake up to early morning coffee at 8.30am for the Brevet Ride where you’ll get to challenge yourself with a self-sufficient two day ride through the Peaks with an overnight stay at a campsite.
Dinner will be provided once you arrive and then you can exchange cycle stories and tips over toasted marshmallows. You get to choose between 230km or 280km. Either way, this event is not for the faint-hearted and you’ll probably need to know a fair bit about cycling before you attempt it. If you reckon this is up your alley, you can get tickets here.
For those who like a bit of an early morning cycle, there’s the sunrise ride where you’ll join special guest Jess Varnish for a 90km spin around the Cheshire Lanes before work, finishing at the clubhouse for a hearty breakfast. If this is more your scene, you can join up here.
Photography buffs can get excited about the Photo Workshop and Golden Hour Ride with Leica. This is a workshop designed to show you how to get the absolute best shots at this famed time of day, followed by a ride around the city to test your new skills. A professional photographer will talk you through some of the techniques and tips crucial to capturing a great photo, before heading out to some iconic Manchester locations to shoot.
If you upload any of your photos to Instagram with the tag #rapharides you’ve got the chance to be featured on the Rapha Rides photo wall. So if you fancy yourself as a bit of a photographer, this one’s for you. Get involved here.
On the Saturday, strap on your slickest cycle shoes and join cycling hero Sir Bradley Wiggins for a 50km ride out of the city. This is a real family affair and is open to children aged 12-16 providing as they’re accompanied by an adult.
If you fancy exploring somewhere new, there are options for that too.
Head out to some of Manchester’s less well known city streets, following Brompton’s unseen city map. From 11am a limited number of Bromptons will be available to hire for self-guided rides and at 6pm Harry Hall Cycles will lead a guided ride. Tickets here if you fancy it.
On Sunday morning at 10am, you can opt to join former pro and star of the Rapha Rides film Alan Mellor as he leads a Yorkshire loop starting from Littleborough Station. It will be at a social pace but expect uphill climbs to get those legs working and some lengthy anecdotes.
The canal ride on Sunday afternoon is set to the perfect pace for families and beginners, with Team Glow leading this social ride down quiet roads and scenic canal towpaths.
On Sunday night, Rapha Rides are seeing out the weekend with a final party. Guests can give a last hurrah to Rapha Rides Manchester, revelling in the glory of sunset rides, all things bike and a wonderfully different weekend.
There’ll be local food and drinks and good vibes all around. See you there.
Ride with us!
For full information on all of the Rapha Rides events, click here.
5 St Ann’s Passage