Cyclists, to paraphrase the film Shrek, are like onions: they have many layers. In the winter months, getting dressed to ride can take almost as long as the ride itself, once you’ve squeezed into long bibs and base layers, and located that missing shoe cover.
Spring, however, means that some of those cumbersome layers can finally be shed — although leave all of them behind at your peril. It can be tricky to master spring dressing on the bike: one day you’re riding in warm sunshine with lambs dancing in a nearby field, the next you’re caught in a hail storm wishing you were sat next to a fire with a cup of tea instead. The early morning departure can be chilly, only for you to find the temperature nearing the twenties by mid-morning.
With Rapha's recent release of its Spring Essentials, we're able to take a modular approach to making sure we've nailed the right outfit for the conditions. So, let's have a delve into the details of Rapha's range, from jerseys to arm warmers, gilets and even rain jackets, and all in seasonal bright colours to make you want to get out there, rain or shine.
Pro Team Detachable Bib Shorts
£195, Shop now
As we’ve covered on here before, getting bib shorts right is crucial, and especially so for women. The Pro Team bib shorts from Rapha are designed for performance and comfort. Crucially, these ones feature a detachable bib - extremely handy when you need to take a nature break and don’t want to remove all those carefully-curated spring layers to do so.
For those more focussed on cost, Rapha's Core bib shorts offer many of the same features but come in at £85.
Women’s Core Jersey
£60, Shop now
The Core jersey is the perfect go-to when you need some everyday comfort coupled with performance and style. The Core jersey has a slightly more relaxed fit, alongside deep rear cargo pockets and silicon rear grippers to put comfort slightly ahead of performance. Paired with arm warmers on cooler days or without if you’re feeling brave, the jersey comes in nine different colours to jazz up your spring cycling wardrobe.
If you're interested in a little more performance focus, alongside breathable yet warm Merino wool, the Classic jersey could be worth your consideration.
Merino Arm Warmers
£45, Shop now
When it’s a little bit too nice outside for a long-sleeve jersey, but not quite nice enough for bare arms, the arm warmer is your friend. These Merino arm warmers from Rapha incorporate the natural properties of Merino wool – breathability, quick-drying – with lycra for stretchiness. When it gets too warm, they're easily packed into a single rear pocket, too.
£100, Shop now
If you’re heading out on a spring ride without a gilet then you’re setting yourself up to get caught out. A gilet weighs almost nothing, packs to a supremely small nylon ball, but can make a massive difference on a windy descent or just to give your core temperature a helping hand. Rapha's Classic Gilet uses a lightweight fabric with a DWR coating (meaning it will repel water), coupled with an offset zip to avoid irritating the base of the neck.
Pop it in your pocket and go.
Women’s Core Rain Jacket
£100, Shop now
Of course, some days a gilet doesn’t cut it and you need something more. The Rapha Core rain jacket will keep you dry during those April showers (and other months, too). It's waterproof, yet lightweight – and we mean really lightweight at 124g. It can be folded easily into your jersey pocket ready to protect you from a spring cloudburst. It even has laser-cut under-arm holes coupled with nylon hems to mean that you can comfortably ride for hours in the jacket, rather than hide it away in fear of a downpour.
Women’s Short Sleeve Merino Base Layer
£60, Shop now
Save the mesh for summer: Merino is still your friend on spring rides. Made from the highest grade of New Zealand Merino wool, this moisture-wicking base layer has been cut specifically for women and even includes flat stitching to prevent chafing.
£15, Shop now
The shedding of overshoes is perhaps one of the true signs of spring, but before you get too excited to flash your feet consider your socks: cold feet will quickly ruin a ride. These Merino socks from Rapha are just the ticket and will tread (yes) the line between spring and summer superbly.
And yes, they keep it stylish too.