Riding simply for the pleasure of it. The Rapha Continental started with a simple idea but grew to become a formative film series for Rapha, sparking thousands of love affairs with life in the saddle. In this edition, a small group of riders takes on the rugged terrain and wild weather of the Scottish Highlands on a route around the icy waters of Loch Assynt.
Films from the Archive
Riding has become difficult or impossible for many of our communities around the world in recent weeks and while the ongoing situation continues, many of us at Rapha have turned to our best loved films for inspiration and motivation. So here’s a highlight from our archive, and our favourites from elsewhere, to keep the wheels turning.25 March 2020
Davis + Connie
Long before Taylor turned a pedal in anger, his parents, Davis Phinney and Connie Carpenter-Phinney were well established as two of the greatest American cyclists of all time. Our film from 2014 celebrates their accomplishments not only as road racers but as enigmatic members of the cycling community. Bold racers with uncompromising attitudes on and off the bike, they continue to inspire us now.
Rapha 1910 Tour de France challenge
Of all the myths and legends in the annals of cycling, the story of how the Tourmalet made its entrance into the Tour De France is perhaps the most memorable. Dubbed assassins by the riders who suffered its debut, organisers first had to scout the route.
So the legend goes, it was writer Alphonse Steinnes who made it happen, taking the race organisers to examine the 2,115m pass in the depth of winter. Several miles from the top, their driver, blocked by snow, could go no further but unyielding and reckless, Steinnes set out to tackle the remaining distance on foot. Freezing and alone, he became disorientated, fell twice as he stumbled up the icy path and was eventually found by a search and rescue team. Carried off the mountain and revived by a hot bath, Steinnes dispatched a telegram: “Crossed Tourmalet. Very good. Perfectly feasible.”
A hundred years later, Rapha made this film to honour that first inclusion, and the riders that followed Steinnes to the summit.
Tall Bikes will Save the World
The tall bike, which is, as the name suggests, quite considerably taller than the norm, remains on the fringes - only embraced by the daring, and the foolish. This film, made by the Zenga Bros, attempts to broaden that appeal as riders explore how to build, master and coexist on a tall bike. Unlike anything on this list, it is an unabashed celebration of the eccentric, the creative and the progressive.
Rapha Rides LA with Geoff McFetridge
“Where is it? It’s not the beach. It’s not the Hollywood sign. It’s the observatory? Well, not really. It’s like when people go to Loch Ness to see the Loch Ness Monster”
Appearing in the Los Angeles edition of our 2018 Rapha Rides series, renowned artist Geoff McFetridge demonstrates perfectly how travelling by bike can capture the sense of a city. This collection of films was made to celebrate cities around the world, exploring their quieter corners and showing the sights only seen from the saddle of a bicycle.
Phil Deeker, pied piper of the climb-conquerors and creator of the Cent Cols Challenge, demonstrated the most extraordinary resilience when he crested 300 of Europe’s hardest summits in just 26 days. Paying tribute to a great rider, and his unwavering commitment to pushing the limits of what is possible on a road bike, Walter Beckers and Kendal Noctor travelled to mainland Europe on their own ten day test, pushing their bodies and minds to breaking point.
The Stars and the Water Carriers
Jorgen Leth’s experimental, genre-defying documentary about the 1973 Giro D’italia did more to capture the romance and character of the Grand Tours than perhaps anything that had gone before. The first behind-the-scenes film in cycling tells the story of Eddy Merckx’ emphatic victory lap of Italy and so much more.
Rapha Continental: Bryan Chapman
Another from the Continental series, and even more wintery than Assynt, the first of the 2013 journeys saw eight riders follow in the tracks of Bryan Chapman on the famous Welsh end-to-end audax route named in his honour.
An intrepid ultra-endurance cyclist, Chapman would ride the across Wales twice - some 600km - just to visit his mechanic, in any weather, setting an example a surprising number of riders opt to follow each year.
Outskirts: Route 66
Janky, rough and shot from the hip; Rapha’s first long-form documentary explores the length of America’s most iconic highway: Route 66. The film was made with the crew behind Thereabouts to celebrate epic journeys by bike, and the different people and perspectives encountered along the way.
Backstage Pass: Paris-Roubaix 2016
From Raymond Poulidor to Joop Zoetemelk, some riders are destined not to finish first. Throughout a long career as a reliable domestique for some of the noughties best Classics riders, it seemed certain that Australian Mat Hayman would fall into the same category. In fifteen years of taking the startline at Paris-Roubaix, he’d never troubled the podium, and ahead of his sixteenth start, he broke his collarbone.
Consigned to his turbo trainer, his fate seemed to be sealed. But the Australian had hope yet and one simple piece of advice up his sleeve....
“Always keep riding.”
Gone Racing: GBDuro
The Alternative Calendar is Rapha's ongoing attempt to change the future of the sport; to find new audiences, new appeal and new stories at the most exciting events around the world. But of all of our Gone Racing stories last year, all the Grand Tour stages and gravel grinders, Lachlan Morton’s ride from one end of the UK to the other - off-road, unsupported and over the course of a week - was, for us, the most inspiring. Alone, and yet surrounded by the most extraordinary community, he showed us once again why we love to ride.
EF Gone Racing
In the bus. At home. In the team cars and on top of mountains. EF Gone Racing is a new series taking you on the road with EF Education First Pro Cycling. Exclusive access, larger than life characters, and a Rapha film crew to capture it all. #GoneRacing
Up and Down Yorkshire’s Three Peaks
Ahead of the latest episode of EF Gone Racing at the alternative calendar, read how Lachlan Morton fared in the legendary dash through the Dales.
Leadville Trail 100
On Saturday 10th August, EF Education First Pro Cycling competed at the third event of their alternative racing calendar, the Leadville Trail 100, a 100-mile, out-and-back MTB race in the high mountains of Colorado.