Review: Rapha Brevet Jersey & Vest

Your new favourite, non-racing, jersey. Ideal for commuting with style and cracking out longer rides with full pockets!

Lycra’s all well and good for those days when you want to travel fast and light, and there are plenty of options available to you for that very day, but sometimes rather than travelling like a racing whippet you just want to meander like a St. Bernard. And for those days, the Rapha Brevet Jersey is ideal.

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It’s an item that’s designed for the long-haul, with its sportwool fabric combined with a plethora of visibility increasing features, including a rather natty, and supremely lightweight gilet, it’s certainly able to get you from A-B, or rather P-B-P!

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I’ve been wearing the jersey for a couple of months now, where it’s seen service in both the chillier times and also now with the summer approaching in the early mornings and it’s performed admirably. As a commuting jersey (I ride 20 miles) it can last a couple of days before it gets too whiffy, which helps to save on the washing load. The sportwool ensures that you are kept warmer than a standard lycra jersey, and when paired with the windproof gilet it does an admirable job of keeping your upper body nicely insulated – although your arms are left bare (but Rapha have made long-sleeved versions in the A/W collections!)

On longer rides the traditional 3 pockets are supplemented by a zipped ballast pocket at the rear and a waterproof brevet card pocket to the left-breast (but don’t worry, if you haven’t got a brevet card to hand, simply use your bank card or something similar). The zip is waterproof, which can at times be a bit of a pain if you have tired hands as it can be a little stiff but that’s the price of waterproof zips it seems.

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One of the joys of sportwool is its ability to cope with more than just a credit card, a gel and some keys, and this jersey does it in spades. I’ve loaded it up with bananas, cake, gels and a spare water bottle and it copes admirably indeed – really the only downside is that pockets could do with being a little lower (maybe an inch or so) to help the hands get in.

The gilet comes in either yellow or bright pink, and having seen both examples out on the roads I can attest to their low-light visibility, and of course when lights are beamed on they shine like a veritable candle in the night. It comes without pockets, but slips over a jersey easily to not make it an issue.

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I have the burgundy/yellow combo, and like it vey much I do, the jersey packs in high-visibilty and reflective detailing on both the front and rear, so even without the gilet it’s a good option for evening attire.

The gilet is so lightweight that I can fit it inside my saddle pouch (rules be-damned!) alongside a tube and patch kit, its really impressive for its stowability, having said that, it’s no big deal to simply keep it on – its sides and shoulders are vented to help keep you cool when the mercury rises, either internally or externally.

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At a fiver less than £200 it’s probably going to be the most expensive jersey in the drawer, however with the addition of a very nice gilet it’s not as bad as it at first seems. Yes it’s expensive, but in the couple of thousand miles I’ve ridden mine it’s not only performed admirably, but it’s held-up to the rigours of being stuffed in bags (and sadly it’s even seen service on the bathroom floor when there was an ‘accident’) and it’s not had a thread come loose in that time. Depending upon the colour of your shorts it may well be the most used jersey in the collection!

Review: Lezyne Carbon Cage SL

Gorgeous, smooth performance, and super light. One for a payday purchase!

Like organic sausages, the Lezyne Carbon Cage SL (side load), is a premium option, significantly more expensive than it’s regular counterparts, but like those farm-fed piggies, once you’ve got the cage in use, you know it’s (probably) worth the money.

Cage and bottle

It grips like a vice, keeping bottles of all sizes snug within its carbon arms, this was ably demonstrated over the hideous roads of Nottinghamshire, including farm tracks, road-works, and strada bianchi.

It’s USP? that’s got to be the side-loading aspect right there.Rather than the traditional up and down entry and exit of everyone else, Lezyne has opted for a sideways bottle trajectory.

Obviously this means that your cage has to be suitable for your favoured arm, instinct takes over no matter how much you try to resist, so if you are reaching with the ‘wrong’ hand you will struggle to take the bottle out. However, if you’ve matched the bottle to the correct arm, then everything works groovily.

Cage and bottle

The entry and exit motion seems more natural, especially removing the bottle as you can just pull it out naturally without any finesse needed, knowing that the carbon cage will simply open and close again. Putting the bottle back and you have a wider target area with which to aim, making things a little easier (but let’s be honest, it’s not that hard in the first place).

Looks might not be the most important part of your bike (or it might be, I’m not here to judge), but by golly this is a looker! As you can see from the pics, the cage looks pretty awesome, the carbon weave being shown off to full effect!

Empty Cage

It’s hard to recommend at the price of £1.50 per gram of carbon fibre, but the good news is that Lezyne also make a standard plastic version as well for a lot less, but sharing the same style!

Having said that, if you are looking at shaving every last gram of weight from your ride, and you’ve already got close to single digit body-fat percentages, then this could be the cage for you!

Maybe one for the Christmas list?! Certainly one for the Transcontinental race!

Rear view

Awesome Jerome Daksiewicz 2014 Tour de France Infographic.

Every year Jerome Daksiewicz produces a stunning Tour de France infographic, this year’s is no exception to that rule!

2014 Tour de France 01

you can get your hands on one of these beauties at NOMO design – but be quick, they are strictly limited edition!


THE 2014 TDF PRINT IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR PREORDER. PRINTS WILL SHIP LATE AUGUST.

The 2014 Tour de France print commemorates the 101th edition of the Grand Tour. The print marks the 2014 route and stage type, distance and winner. The 2014 TdF print is limited to an edition of 100 screen prints.

Prints are numbered, signed, rolled and shipped in crushproof, 100% biodegradable cardboard tubes.

24″ x 36″
2-Color Serigraph on Construction Blacktop 100# Cover by French Paper Co.

$2 of every 2014 Tour de France Print sold goes to World Bicycle Relief

Le Tour 2014. Shotgun with Team Europcar.

“Can you go to Yorkshire and spend the day in a team car for stage 1 of the TdF?” HECK YES!!!


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This story could have been so different. Had the Stage 1 early break never occurred, or been different riders, then the day could have provided a very different outcome indeed…

The no.2 team car in the Tour de France plays a waiting game. It sits behind the first tranche of vehicles just biding its time, waiting for a rider to attack and stay away in a break, and apart from providing cover whilst the no.1 car stops for a comfort break it keeps its position in the rear. Waiting.

My seat for the day

The Grande Depart of the 2014 Tour de France saw me sitting in the shotgun seat of Team Europcar’s no.2 car, monumentally thrilled to be able to witness the start of 2014’s most exciting sporting event. My driver for the day was Director Sportif Andy Flickinger, a retired ex-pro with a soft spot for Kate Middleton and an unnerving ability to squeeze his Renault into unfeasibly tight spots at pant-wettingly fast speeds.

As we joined the starting procession to Harewood house it was clear that the crowds were enormous, with every patch of pavement and balcony in use to get a glimpse of the Tour as it went past, the noise was phenomenal. Despite my new-found Gaelic friend’s continental aloofness, it was evident that he was impressed!

Rider spotting at the start

After the roll-out and obligatory send-off by the Red Arrows the race started in earnest, and with the stage featuring a few bumps then a gentle ending, it was clear that unless a breakaway could get established and stay out then it was a stage for the sprinters. As good fortune would have it, I was in the breakaway car for the team which featured a certain Monsieur Thomas Voeckler, and if anyone was going to grab some early headlines with a suicide attack then surely it was going to be him!

Oh. Except it was that other guy who likes to commit to attacks who decided to go first: Jens Voigt.

Most of the day’s viewing looked a bit like this

I soon discovered that this decision meant my view of stage 1 was going to be firmly confined to the rear of the field. Rather than give you tales of derring-do, panache, and athletic heroism as befits a Grand Depart, I only saw seven riders on the road the whole day – seriously: seven.

Two early mechanicals (within 10 minutes) and then a few riders who had been dropped on the hills, including three from Lampre-Merida – which, we all agreed, wasn’t a great omen for their Tour – that was the total amount of rider sightings I had. Despite all that, driving alongside the pros is way cool, and they are fast. Even the ones that had been shelled out the back.

So, instead of epic riding, and extreme close-ups of the action as it happened, I give you 10 things I learnt at The Tour that I didn’t know before…

1. Hydration is important. It seems that the Directeurs Sportif take hydration very importantly, so much so in fact that every few minutes we would pass at least one car parked on the verge with its crew outside availing themselves of the bushes. This was a game that continued for the entire length of the race!

2. Closed roads are awesome. No, seriously: get in a high-performance car driven by a ex-pro rider on a mission, and you will alternate between grinning and grimacing, how they get through the gaps I do not know, but get through they do and at insanely high speeds. On a serious note – don’t drive like this on a normal day, you’ll die. Quickly.

3. Proximity sensors on cars are for children, I’m sure the Tour drivers use them as navigation aids. They get close enough to the car in front to set off the alarm and then they overtake…

4. The no.2 car gets most of its race info from ITV4. When it can’t pick up ITV4 it’s effectively blind, as race-radio isn’t as vocal as you might imagine. For a while we were watching ITV4 +1, it was only when the math’s didn’t seem right that we twigged and switched over…

5. The French love the Royal Family. Well, certainly the Duchess of Cambridge, and it seems they even think Prince Harry is pretty cool.

6. Going in a team car is great. There’s no denying it: even being a nobody in the car, with the crowds on either side cheering and shouting it’s quite intoxicating, it’s clear why so many Pros move into management.

7. Rules? We don’t need no steenking rules! Even post-race there’s a certain level of flouting the laws of the road, it’s an interesting experience to say the least. Maybe it’s hard to adjust to being on closed roads…

8. And speaking of rules, rules bedamned! The roadside crowds featured full team-kits, world champ jerseys, a plethora of national champ jerseys, team flags, kids in supporters tops, lycra that was way too small, white shorts, mismatching tops and bottoms, bikes that were placed down on their drive-sides, baseball caps, high-viz, helmets, no helmets and smiles. SO MANY SMILES. Nobody cared about what people were wearing or riding, just smiles and cheering! 190km of a happy cycling fraternity.

Even the sheep were dressed for the Tour

9. Yorkshire is awesome. From a team-car, from a roadside, and from the helicopters, what a way to showcase this beautiful county. What crowds!. Just brilliant to witness, and for 5 hours we saw immense support. That’s one of the key memories I will take away from the day, the support wasn’t isolated patches, it was the full length of the route. A fantastic show of enthusiasm for the race.

10. A split second can cahnge your whole day. All the plans in the world, finely-honed, practiced and perfected, come to naught if you are not in the breakaway when it goes. Stage 1 belonged to Voigt, and as I watched the highlights on Sunday night I saw that Europcar got into the early break and gave Andy and his travelling companion a much more exciting day. C’est la vie.

As Saturday evening drew to a close, the mechanics were hard at work cleaning bikes when we got back to the hotel, riders gingerly walked back to their rooms with Soigneurs opening doors for them, and the roads were filled with cyclists making their way back to their campsites and festivals to share stories of panache, derring-do, and athletic heroism. What a brilliant day and a fantastic start to le Tour.

Thanks to Team EuropCar, Evans Cycles and Louis Garneau for the invite, and my wife for permission to attend!

Article originally appeared on Road.cc – thanks to them for the invite!

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