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womens' cycling apparel, part three: stay tuned?

Last week I got an email blast from Rapha, the London-based manufacturer of fine cycling apparel. The email noted that I had not yet purchased one of their outstanding rain jackets. While there was no direct reference to my living in Portland, I'm sure their electronic global-shopper-tracking system made the connection and ran up the red flag. ("She lives in Portland and rides a bike everywhere; why hasn't she purchased one of our rain jackets yet? Must send email.")

At any rate, I felt inclined to respond:

Dear Rapha -- the reason I have yet to buy your rain jacket -- or, indeed, any of your other fine garments -- is:

1. I'm a real woman, with breasts and hips and a middle-aged belly. I carry my body beautifully and proudly through races, brevets and daily commutes.  Unfortunately, I have yet to see anything in your catalog that is made to fit real women like me.

2. I have yet to see any women -- even skinny, anorexic-looking ones -- modeling your apparel.

You make really, really lovely garments but sadly, they don't fit everyone. So I will continue to admire your designs from afar, but will save my money for cycling apparel that fits me. No hard feelings.

All the best in 2010, and happy riding --BH

****************

This morning, I received this email response:

Hello Beth

Thanks for your mail.

 The eloquent description of your proud stance on the bike is wonderful! This is the sort of genuine response we need and crave.

Did you see that we have launched the first few items in our womens line? This will grow in the future and is a long overdue addition to our range.  

Kind regards, 

Jon 

Jonathan Knight 

R A P H A Performance Roadwear

*************

I was surprised and pleased that someone had acknowledged my email. While I am not holding my breath as to how much, if any, of their womens' line might actually fit me, it's a start and we'll see what happens. The brief snippet about their new womens' line is here. You'll note that the woman in the photo is not especially large, though she may be taller than me; so at least Rapha is making stuff for tall women, if not for especially big ones. (I pay attention to these things; the proportion of the bicycle in relation to the woman's overall proportion is a clue. I'm guessing she's about 5' 8" or 5' 9". But I digress.) The fact is that there are lots of women who want to ride their bikes and who are willing to spend money on cycling-specific apparel, as long as it actually fits. We'll see what Rapha has to offer in this regard. Meanwhile, I remain somewhat skeptical.

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