Rapha’s long-awaited iPhone app is now available to download from Apple’s app store, and what’s more, it’s free, allowing cyclists to flag up group rides and keep in touch with their fellow riders, as well as finding out what rides there are in their own area.
Named Rapha Rendezvous, the look of the app is pretty much in line with what you would expect if you’re familiar with Rapha’s website – white font on a black background, which incorporates elements of the pattern of the upmarket brand’s silk scarf, together with accents in the company’s signature pink.
The app is not designed to replace navigational apps or devices, rather it is a solution to the problem of getting everyone to meet up in the first place, to address what Rapha describes as the common problem encountered when “Organising a ride with friends. Or maybe not friends, more likely adversarial training partners, or perhaps someone you have never ridden with before. Arranging meeting for a ride can be a thankless task spread over a multitude of devices and communication methods.”
Even once a meeting point has been agreed, problems can arise, another issue Rapha is seeking to address. “Further to this complication of arrangement is the uncertainty involved in the act of meeting. An unforeseen puncture, a headwind from hell, getting lost, another unforeseen puncture (after two they become foreseen) – the epic could begin before the planned epic (or perhaps just a light training spin) has even begun. "Where the hell is Fausto?", it says.
Accordingly, the app allows you to invite other members to a ride and shows their progress towards the agreed rendezvous point on a map, as well as facilitating messaging between riders, meaning, Rapha claims, “No more waiting around for friends, failed phone calls, SMS annoyances or scrolling hundreds of emails, Rapha Rendezvous makes meeting for rides quick and easy, giving you more time on the bike.”
Key points of the app, according to Rapha, are:
- Designate a rendezvous point on a map
- Invite friends on rides
- Track friends travelling to the rendezvous point in real time
- Create groups of your riding friends and rides for them
- Describe ride distance, terrain, pace, and required kit
- View other riders on the ride
- Set ride reminders
- Send ride messages and easily alert other riders to delays or problems
- Create private or public rides
- Browse and join public rides
Although going by the comments on the Rapha website there seems to be some demand out there for an Android version of the app, the company has told road.cc that while this is a possibility for the future, there are no plans to develop a version of the app for that platform right now with the vast majority of its customers being iPhone users.
While doutbless some will point out that anyone with a bit of gumption can find out pretty easily when and where a local ride is taking place, viewed in the context of Rapha's specific target audience, the ap is bound to have appeal, for instance someone perhaps bound to a desk during the day who wants to get out with some like minded riders in the area during the evening.
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.