Over the last eight weeks, we have been planning for a trip to Italy. Before you get too excited about the idea of museum hopping and cafe stalking – this isn’t a sipping espresso, eating biscotti di Prato, lazy day, washing it down with a glass of chianti, a plate of pasta, olives and prosciutto kind of trip. No siree Bob!
Instead, we’re taking a cycling trip through the Italian Dolomites – yeah, you know the mountains that they often climb during the Giro de Italia. Now, you all might remember that I both took up and retired from cycling back in 2010 after a pretty major crash on my bike. It wasn’t until I was presented with the opportunity to see the beauty that is the Dolomites that I thought about hopping in the saddle again.Part of the reason (besides chronic pain for months after my fall) that I wasn’t into the idea of getting back on my bike was that I always loathed getting dressed in the silly cycling outfits. I am not a ‘logo’ kind of gal, and I always found the jerseys to be obnoxious. Admission: I totally have a hang-up about showing my knees – they seriously have not seen the light of day in years. Not to mention, who wants to wear a pair of shorts that feel like you’ve got a diaper on? Not I! The whole cycling get-up made me so self-conscious. And as it turns out, I am not alone. I recently read that 9 out of 10 women over 30 years old shy away from outdoor exercise.
As time passed, and I watched my husband order new cycling clothes for his rides. He’d get beautifully packaged, understated, handsome cycling clothes delivered right to our door. “What’s this prettiness that just arrived?” The sportswear company that the Mr introduced me to is called Rapha. Suddenly, the his ‘silly little bike outfits’ (as I called them) weren’t looking so bad to me. They actually looked really good. “Wait a second…I might wear this stuff.”Rapha’s brand has such a cool, clear, pleasing aesthetic. They show it off by producing fantastic short films – here is one (featured below) that was taken just a few miles from the country house, and another that features an interview with English fashion designer Paul Smith. They recently collaborated with him on a line of cycling clothes.
See what I mean? They’ve got it going on. So when I was posed with the invitation to ride with my husband through the Dolomites -seriously, how could I pass up a trip to Italy?- I realized if I wanted to see the magnificent views, it was time to get on my bike again. I knew I didn’t want to do it wearing regular bike clothes, so I put a tweet out to Rapha North America and asked if they’d like to collaborate. And to my great delight, they did!One of my followers on Twitter lovingly referred to our trip this morning as #TourDeDragoo. It’s both catchy and a bit silly, no? The perfect hashtag for our Summer vacation! I have decided to use that to chronicle our trip. I won’t be blogging much over the next ten days, but I will be pinning the picturesque photos I take on my Bicycles and Cycling Pinterest Board and on my Instagram account. If you’re looking for updates from me, I’m ABCDDesigns in both places.If you want to know more about the Rapha line, you can visit the blog, follow their tweets @Rapha_N_America, like Rapha, check out their pinterest, vimeo channel, and see their photos at Rapha_N_America on Instagram. Images: Rapha, Society 6, Pez Cycling News by Gruber Images, and my own.