Revival of Bordeaux-Paris ‘lost classic’ aims to raise £250,000

Clothing maker Rapha is aiming to raise £250,000 for charity Ambitious about Autism with an auction of cycling memorabilia and bikes, centred around the Bordeaux-Paris ‘lost classic’.

It’s a cause close to the heart of Rapha founder Simon Mottram as his son, Oscar, has autism. An accompanying ride, the Rapha Bordeaux-Paris 2013 Challenge, takes place this Friday, September 13.

Cycling luminaries have donated a range of personal memorabilia for the event. Among the 41 lots will be some very special signed jerseys including:

  • Mark Cavendish’s 2012 World Champion’s Jersey.
  • Ryder Hesjedal’s 2012 Maglia Rosa.
  • Andy Hampsten’s white jersey from the 1986 Tour de France (complete with the foie gras stain sustained during a food fight between Hampsten’s La Vie Claire teammates).
  • Sir Bradley Wiggins’ Team Sky Jerseys

A range of bikes are also up for grabs, including David Millar’s Cervelo S3 from 2011, as well as a Passoni custom frameset created exclusively for the Rapha Continental.

Other lots feature some unique riding experiences: the chance to join Team Sky for a two-day training camp in Majorca; a ride with David Millar in Girona; and a New York spin accompanied by Greg LeMond and Rapha founder and CEO, Simon Mottram.

Memorabilia also includes luxury prints by renowned photographers Nadav Kander and Ben Ingham, a bespoke suit fitting with tailor Timothy Everest, dinner with two of Britain’s leading cycling writers, and a host of exclusive Rapha products, including one-offs and concept pieces.

The auction is now live on eBay, and will run until Tuesday 17th September (21.00 BST).

For details of all the available lots, or to place a bid, visit: www.rapha.cc/4411

Here's Simon Mottram explaining the background to the ride and the auction:

The Bordeaux-Paris race was one of the earliest classics. First run on 23 May 1891, its organisers expected the winner to take several days but Briton George Pilkington Mills won in just over a day of continuous riding.

Bordeaux-Paris was unusual not only in that it started in the middle of the night but also for allowing riders to be placed, initially by tandems or conventional bikes and later by Derny motorcycles.

Tragic British star Tommy Simpson won Bordeaux-Paris in 1963 but as bike racing moved away from epic distances, Bordeaux-Paris’ importance dwindled. The motor-paced version ended in 1985 and it was last run in 1988.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.