My first ever blog starts with a tale of woe. I bought a lovely new cycling Jacket in January (A Castelli Mannaggia). It was purchased to replace my cherished Castelli Solo, which was cut off following my crash back in October. I protested rather feebly at the time as the jacket was rather expensive, but the doc ignored my mewling and gave it the chop. Anyway, I digress. I’d been lusting after the Mannaggia for some months until I finally weakened and splashed the cash. It was a beautifully designed piece of kit, almost too warm for English weather and worth every penny of its exorbitant price tag. I rode it in February with just a base layer underneath and was toasty warm. Sadly I managed to leave the jacket in the showers at work and by the time I remembered, some light-fingered soul had decided to help themselves, and despite an email, flyer and poster campaign, and the help of our (rather grumpy) centre manager, the jacket has never been handed in. That was 3 weeks ago and I’m still feeling thoroughly aggrieved.*
Clearly an item of such quality needed replacing, but I was loathe to spend so much money on a winter jacket again, particularly as winter appears to be drawing to a close – after an over-long and thoroughly undeserved encore. Instead then, my magpie like eyes settled upon Rapha. I’ll admit that in the past I’ve been rather dismissive of Rapha, condemning it as the preserve of dentists and ‘city wankers,’ the sort of people that bought a Specialized Roubaix… Perhaps it’s because I’ve turned 30, but suddenly Rapha has begun to appeal. OK it’s overpriced, but then so is a lot of cycling kit, and cost has never really been the deciding factor in my cycle related purchasing history. So I took the plunge and ordered a Rapha ‘Stowaway’ jacket and a pair of ‘Fixed’ shorts, both in black, and both of which arrived today.
I have to admit that I was sorely tempted by the pink, but in the end common sense (and my inherent fear of looking overtly gay) prevailed.
First thoughts? Well I’m impressed. I’ve not ridden with either yet, but I have thoroughly fondled both items and the quality is fantastic; these are very well made, well thought out pieces of kit. I’m not convinced that the Stowaway will scrunch up quite as small as my Montane Velo does, and I’m a little surprised that for £165 it hasn’t come with a little bag to make storage easier (as the Montane has). I hope to get a lot of use out of this jacket. It looks ideal for British riding (winter aside). I’ll post more thoughts on both once I’ve road tested them. Let’s see what Castelli come up with next year, or perhaps I’ll buy another Mannaggia when the sales kick in.
*Ironically I understand that in Italian, the word ‘Mannaggia’ expresses wrath, rage and disappointment. Pretty much sums up my feelings.
Postscript: I am in no way associated with Rapha or Castelli. Although if either would like to send me stuff to review (and keep) I’d be delighted…