Easy--charge cyclists an annual fee to ride in their clothes:
Rapha, the luxury cycling clothing brand and kit supplier to Team Sky, will in January launch its most ambitious project — a global cycling club with an annual membership fee of £200.
But in a style more befitting an exclusive golf club than the traditionally egalitarian spirit of cycling, those applying for membership are warned: “In order to maintain the very highest levels of service, membership is limited. We regret that not all applications will be successful.”
The final question on the application form appears to be the deal-breaker, asking would-be members to define ‘the perfect ride’ in fewer than 100 words.
If you think about it this is really quite brilliant. All of these "applicants" are obviously already Rapha customers, so why not cull the most devoted and/or brainwashed ones and ask them to pay more? After all, they're going to buy the stuff either way.
I do feel bad for the Rapha employee who has to read all those essays, though. Imagine having to wade through all that purple prose about "epic" rides--you know, self-indulgent crap like this. Still, it's important that Rapha choose carefully, because the simple fact is that not everybody is worthy of receiving free coffee, which they can then drink while watching movies about coffee:
Members of Rapha CC will get complimentary coffee and priority invites to events at these venues. The Manchester clubhouse, for example, was last week advertising a screening of Brandon Loper’s superb A Film About Coffee.
So what's the difference between the Rapha cycling club and the My Starbucks Rewards™customer loyalty program? Well, the writing requirement for one thing. Also, Rapha will give you a "concierge" if you're visiting another city:
Members will also be able to hire top-end bikes from other clubhouses — in cities including New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo and Hong Kong — and make use of each club’s concierge, who will be armed with key contacts, local insider knowledge and be able to take you out on a local ride.
In other words, the "concierge" has a smartphone with Yelp and Strava on it. Sorry, but I'm going to have to call foul on this, because it's clearly a rip-off of my popular "Rent-A-Fred" service, which I've been running for years:
("At your service, sir.")
I do smell a business opportunity here, though. Hey, if people pay thousands of dollars to "prep" their kids for the private kindergarten application process, why wouldn't they do the same to get themselves into the Rapha cycling club? So for only $1,000 I'll help you "curate" your essay. Basically, what you want is to sound like Bill Strickland from "Bicycling," so just write a bunch of stuff about smells and hats and then I'll go back in and remove all the periods for you.
You're as good as in.
You're as good as in.
Also, don't be like this guy, who is the anti-Rapha:
Though it is in black and white.
Speaking of people who wear black clothing with bits of white accent in order to lend themselves an air of gravity, over the holidays Bishop Suffragan (whatever the fuck that means) Heather Elizabeth Cook killed a cyclist, framebuilder, and father in Baltimore:
Police are continuing to investigate the 2:40 p.m. Dec. 27 crash on the 5700 block of Roland Ave. Episcopal officials have identified the driver of the car as Bishop Suffragan Heather Elizabeth Cook, the second-ranking official in the Diocese of Maryland. Cook initially drove away from the scene but returned a short time later, according to the diocese and witnesses at the scene. Another bicyclist followed her to a gated apartment complex. No charges have been filed.
I'm shocked--shocked!--that somebody who earns her livelihood by promulgating a fairy tale is a sociopath and drunkard:
Before being elevated to a position as a high-ranking bishop, Cook was subjected to a background check regarding the drunken-driving incident, but church officials determined the incident shouldn't exclude her. Cook was also subjected to a psychological investigation at that time, according to the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland.
Seems sort of pointless to me to go through the trouble of a background check when whatever comes up is just going to get waved away under the auspices of this Christian "forgiveness" bullshit:
"One of the core values of the Christian faith is forgiveness. We cannot preach forgiveness without practicing forgiveness and offering people opportunity for redemption," the diocese said in a statement. "We, too, are all filled with questions for which there are still no answers, and we are all filled with anger, bitterness, pain and tears."
Really, "no answers?" Seems pretty straightforward to me, she ran down a human being and left him to die. I only wish there were such a thing as God, so Jesus could come back to Earth and bludgeon her to death with a crucifix.
And don't think I'm singling out the Christians here, because if she was a Rabbi I'd pray for her to be stoned to death with hot matzoh balls.
Lastly, Specialized have shrewdly come to the conclusion that you shmucks will buy absolutely anything, so they're now putting dropper posts on road bikes:
Hey, you bought Zertz inserts, you bought disc brakes on road bikes, and you bought the absurd concept of a "gravel bike" so why the hell not?
I asked Chris Wehan, product manager for the Diverge, what he thought the advantages of a dropper on a road-ish bike were. “By lowering the saddle, the rider can lower their center of gravity and hopefully descend better," he said. "With the seat only lowering 35mm, the rider can still use his or her legs to help control the bike. Another added benefit is that when a rider hits a bump, especially while descending, the saddle will not hit them in the butt and force more of their weight forward.”
Or you could just lower your saddle a bit if you do a lot of riding on rough terrain, but where's the fun in that?
Naturally, "Bicycling" is totally behind the idea:
I’m such a believer in dropper posts that it’s now hard for me to imagine riding a mountain bike without one, so I’m excited and curious to see how a dropper feels on a drop bar bike. Just guessing, I’d expect it to be pretty wonderful for cyclocross racing, sketchy gravel road riding, and some of the light singletrack riding that is so fun on a disc-equipped gravel or cross bike. For pure pavement riding, I’m not quite sure, though I would presume that for high-speed descents and aggressive cornering on pavement, a dropper would offer most of the same advantages it does off-road.
I really hope I never get to the point where I can't imagine riding a mountain bike without a dropper seatpost--even though they do sound absolutely wonderful, because nothing goes better together than "extreme unreliability" and offroad cycling:
The downside of droppers, besides weight, is their extreme unreliability. They have a lot going on in a confined space, and they’re subjected to a lot punishment from the constant bouncing of a rider’s mass. Problems range from excess play to bigger issues like hydraulic failures, air spring failures, and broken metal pieces—just a fact of life for most dropper-equipped mountain bikers. Reliability has been improving, but in general, it's a “not if, but when” question. Still, most mountain bikers I know are willing to put up with questionable reliability to enjoy the benefits of a dropper.
I'm guessing most mountain bikers he knows also work in the bicycle industry, so there may be a connection there.
And how about this so-called "Specialized Diverge Carbon DI2," which retails for a reasonable $8,500?
When the paved road stops the Diverge Carbon Di2 is just getting started. Whether it's a dirt road or navigating potholes on the road less traveled, the Diverge Carbon Di2 can handle it all. With hydraulic disc brakes, Shimano Ultegra Di2 drivetrain, and tuned frame and fork it's only limited by your imagination.
Really, you need all this crap to ride a bike on a dirt road or rough pavement? "Uh-oh, a pothole! Activate dropper post!"
I predict "dropper stems" within five years.