Our new men’s and women’s collaboration with the iconic cycling brand is based on friendships both on and off the bike, as well as a shared passion for vintage cycling jerseys.

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Friendships forged on and off the bike was the starting point for our new collaboration with Rapha. It was, after all, the friendship between Paul and Rapha co-founder and CEO Simon Mottram that kicked off the first of a long line of partnerships between the designer and the iconic cycling brand over a decade ago.

“We are really just two old fans of cycling and road racing. We share some of the same heroes, we have similar tastes in cycling design and the visual aspects of the sport,” Simon explains. “But most of all we both get excited about the racing and we both love being around the races and the riders. Paul has more pro riders on speed dial than I have, but I know he still gets just as much of a thrill as I do when they call.”

The feeling is mutual. “Simon has this almost encyclopaedic knowledge of cycling and the history of cycling, so his expertise and enthusiasm for the sport has been a real inspiration to me,” Paul says. “And he’s generous with it, which is something I’ve always been an admirer of: people who are so excited by ideas that they can’t wait to share it.”

Friends: Duke & Lew

What does cycling mean to you?

Lew: Cycling has found a permanent place in my life, from starting out riding fixed through the City of London, and then regressing through to racing fixed crits, road crits and track – I’m grateful. Also, being called up to model for the best cycling brands in the industry still humbles me!

Duke: Cycling means a lot to me. Not only has it taken me to places around the world, but it has also helped me forge relationships with people that I'm now privileged to call friends. All through the love of two wheels! Finding that commonality that helps bring people together, that is what cycling means to me.

How do you feel when you’re cycling together?

Lew: It’s interesting, excitement always builds when I ride with Duke. I’ve got to fight to stay on his wheel and keep up. We always do shoulder to shoulder bump drills, which I love. It’s super exciting riding together, and I know it won’t change!

Duke: Cycling with Lew is always a treat. He's honestly like the brother I'd always wanted. It is an amazing feeling sharing the road with someone who helps push you and keeps you grounded in more ways than one. I'm usually trying to push him up a tough climb or raise the pace – but it is always a great time.

What would be your advice for someone who is itching to try out cycling but feels nervous or intimidated by the sport?

Lew: Give it a go, it’s a scary sport to break into, given the lack of diversity and inclusion… but there’s a handful of cyclists in the city who are beyond welcoming. My team, GFTL are a prime example. CGC, another too. And finally, Duke, my brother in arms.

Duke: My best advice to someone who is itching to try out cycling would be to ask someone all the questions you can… You would be surprised how welcoming some clubs can be. With cycling there is always something new to learn, so you definitely won't be alone in this. It isn't about going the fastest or having the best bike – it's about sharing the road and finding your own way to have fun.

Brothers: Noah & Elliot

What did cycling together add to your relationship?

Noah: Training with a brother is unlike any other partner, not only does it give you that friendly competition and enables you to push each other to the next level. But more importantly, riding as just a pair gives us no option but to give each other person our undivided attention. As brothers of a similar age, we have our different opinions, and often disagree and argue. Sure, you could stick your head in the sand and ride in silence, but when you've got three hours of riding left to do, you can't do that. Our close friends will know and have probably witnessed us having a barney on a ride, but we will almost always arrive at the cafe stop smiling, having solved our dispute miles ago.

Elliot: It adds another dimension to our connection as brothers. We have more common ground and can understand each other a lot more

How do you think cycling has enriched your life?

Noah: Cycling provides a large sense of purpose, it gives an easy route to improve health, both physical and mental. It can be very sociable; it itches that competitive itch and provides structure to my days.

Elliot: In every way, it taught me to embrace pain and to be persistent, not to be easily defeated, it has brought me more opportunities outside of cycling than any degree or schooling has ever brought me.

What would be your advice for someone who is itching to try out cycling but feels nervous or intimidated by the sport?

Noah: Remember, everyone started somewhere, we’ve all had to go to a petrol station, bought a can of coke and a packet of Haribo to fight the bonk, we’ve all had to take the train home because we’ve bitten off more than we can chew and its starting to get dark. If you don’t want to ride on the roads on your own, try and find a local club, if road cycling isn’t your type, there’s always the velodrome, or gravel, or cyclocross.

Elliot: Find a local group ride, Rapha has some great ones, all over the world and ones that would suit all levels. Don't get too caught up on having the best equipment, everyone starts somewhere.

Friends: Amy & Arame

Tell us about your favourite memory of cycling together? Why is it special?

Amy: My all-time favourite moment is seeing Arame’s face, beaming from ear to ear, after descending down her first alpine descent in Austria. You never forget the first mountain you climb and to see the adrenaline written all over her after her first switchback experience is something I'll never forget – I felt like a proud mum!

Arame: My favourite memory with Amy was cycling up the Austrian lands. It was the first time that I had ever cycled up a mountain and I was extremely nervous. I had the best time with Amy and the rest of the people I was there with. They were all supporting and encouraging me and the views and memories at the top are some that I will cherish forever. The first time of anything is something special and I was lucky to share it with her.

What’s the best life lesson you’ve taught each other – on the bike or off?

Amy: Arame has taught me strength. She taught me that if you truly want something in life you work hard and you grind hard to get it, nothing is ever out of reach. She is one of the strongest people I know on and off the bike and has a mentality I aspire to.

Arame: I am a bit older than Amy and we have a very sister-like relationship. I often remind her how strong, brave and beautiful she is and how she can conquer anything she wants if she keeps up her attitude, mindset and stunning smile.

What would be your advice for someone who is itching to try out cycling but feels nervous or intimidated by the sport?

Amy: Statistics mean nothing if you ain’t having fun. Don’t get dissuaded from getting out on the bike because you can’t hold some ridiculous pace, go out and ride your bike with (or without!) friends because it’s enjoyable. People get sucked into a hole of statistics and forget how utterly beautiful it is to feel, breathe and be in the outdoors!

Arame: Go for it! I understand that it can be so daunting at first (even more so as a woman), but is so worth it, and most cyclists are extremely welcoming. Go to the local cycling shop and meet likeminded people… just go out and explore to see how far you can go, and how it makes you feel. Cycling is such an awesome sport that it only gets better when shared with others.

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Published: 04.23

Words: Molly Isabella Smith