A number of years ago I met Graeme Raeburn who is one of the
lead product designers at Rapha and the inspiration behind the
Rapha 500 (which for those of you living in a cave is a challenge
where you ride 500km from Christmas Eve to New Year's Eve).
Graeme is an incredibly talented yet humble guy - who is also a
beast on the bike. Knowing him he will be mortified by the
commercial beast this 'festival' has become. Initially he did
1000km in a week, and the reason was Rapha was designing 'Pro kit'
for the first time and this Graeme wanted to live like a Pro for a
week and test the prototypes…..
Now the distance has halved and lazy journalists (desperate for
content at this time of year) are writing articles such as "5 tips
for the Rapha 500", with nonsense like "try to do flat routes as
Here's a newsflash; 500 km in 8 days is 62.5km a day. Its not
hard at all, barely 2.5-3hrs a day on the bike. Compare that to the
summer events such as Haute Route which will be 6-8 hrs a day for a
week over dozens of mountain passes.
So I refuse to get involved in this; but did love the idea of
riding loads over Christmas and properly testing lots of kit. My
original plan was to do Graeme's initial challenge which was 1000km
in the 8 days. When I told my wife I would likely be on the bike
for 6 hours a day she gave me the same look of disgust she had when
our littlest one has disgraced himself in his potty training. So
that was off….
Plan B was to do 500 km a week throughout December, but the
first week was a write-off with lots of travel.
So it became the current plan which is The Bespoke
1500; three weeks of riding 500km a week, no matter what
the weather, starting December 11th and leading all the way to New
Year's Eve. The aim is to test as much kit as I can in that period
and give some reviews.