London-based customers of high-end cycling clothing brand Rapha specifiying the Fast Fridays bike courier delivery option on items they order this week may be in for a surprise.
That’s because Rapha Condor pro riders Dean Downing and Matt Cronshaw will be helping speed the North London-based brand's goods from its Belsize Park base to customers in some 44 postcodes across the capital, ranging from Hampstead to Clapham and Holland Park to Bow.
Rapha is asking its customers to help test the riders’ skills through the London traffic by using the delivery option, which costs £20 and applies to orders taken between 2pm on Thursday and 2pm on Friday, although there is a limited number of slots available.
Elite Circuit Series champion Downing promises to enter into the spirit of things, responding to an enquiry on Twitter about whether he would be riding a fixie for the day with the response, “will be needing one yeah, gotta do it right hey.”
That could mean a trip down to Condor’s shop on Gray’s Inn Road to get kitted out with a bike, and the shop is handily placed for Clerkenwell’s Duke of York pub, a long-time magnet for London’s bike courier community, should the pair feel the need to swap some war stories afterwards with those who brave the capital's streets on a daily basis.
Downing and Cronshaw’s stint delivering parcels around the city comes the day after the London Courier Emergency Fund, which takes care of those injured while out working, holds a courier appreciation day.
The organisation will be distributing free food and coffee to working couriers at the junction of Bloomsbury Street and Shaftesbury Avenue, and free bike checks will also be available.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.