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Rapha raises money for autism with bikes & memorabilia auction and 'lost classic' ride

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:

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.

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for Along with founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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Vili Er | 10 years ago

And the Rapha bashers were lost for words.

PLD Rapha! Some superb items in the auction and for a worthy cause.

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