After securing a place for the Prudential Ride London-Surrey 100 sportive, I knew that it was time to increase my miles in the saddle. Most of my ‘longer’ cycling rides have been on Zwift, and in all honesty, not been very long at all (the longest ride being 100km). Well, not very long compared with some of the awesome cyclists I follow on Strava who seem to effortlessly push out >300 miles week-in-week-out! I know that in order to have a great day and complete the sportive in a time I will be pleased with, I need to get more miles out on the road. Cycling alone can be somewhat lonesome, particularly on long rides. The social company, coffee stops and sense of security on outside rides is something that I know will help me get out more.
I did consider some local cycling clubs, but have always been in awe of the Rapha brand and what it stood for. I knew that they had a cycling club for a while now, but never seriously considered to join them as they were based in central London and I thought it was a little far to get to for their weekly rides. I also felt that I may need to improve my cycling fitness, as impressions of fast/elite roadies cruising along at 25mph flooded my mind. I was wrong on both accounts! Let me just take a moment to explain how Rapha Cycling Club (RCC) works.
So there are various RCC clubhouses (or ‘chapters’) located worldwide. If you have a chapter near you, great! You can join them and that will be your ‘home club’. If not, don’t worry. There is an ‘International’ (ITL) chapter as well, so you can still join RCC and ride with other people. Simply put, think of RCC as an truly worldwide cycling club, allowing you to ride with people in any country. There are a huge number of other benefits to joining RCC. A few highlights are as follows:
-Free coffee at Rapha clubhouses
-Rent Canyon bikes
-Support at major events/sportives
-Access to purchase RCC kit
A full list of benefits to joining RCC are contained at the following link: https://www.rapha.cc/gb/en/rcc/membership
Perhaps the biggest reason for why I joined was due to their app. You simply download it after you have signed-up and register. Using the app, you can follow other RCC cyclists, and organise and join group rides/event. This is a huge benefit, at least to me, as I always struggled to find people to ride with. These rides can be arranged through the app itself, where you can post the route, distance, average ride speed, etc. You can also see which other members have joined the ride.
Just over a week later after signing-up, I received my official RCC welcome pack. Presented in the usual luxurious Rapha style, this was all very nicely boxed and sealed with my RCC number. The following was contained inside:
-RCC club booklet
-RCC cycling cap
-RCC tote bag
As you can clearly see, this is a very generous introductory pack, and makes for a warm gesture to welcome you to the RCC family.
Conclusively, at £135/year, membership is more costly than your local cycling club. However, this still equates to just over £11/month. Based on the number of benefits above, many of which are clearly not offered by local clubs, you need to think what you expect from your membership with a cycling club. For me personally, the ability arrange rides, meet other club riders at various locations and be a part of a worldwide community are key selling points. The Rapha branding is simply a bonus. I will be blogging further about how my rides and membership go with Rapha. Stay tuned and Ride On!