it dawned on me while recently on the bus to bristol, that great britain is full of people and things that are all in the wrong place. no matter which section of whatever motorway i had no idea we were driving along, every lane was full of cars heading in a similar direction to myself or, on the other side of the central reservation, heading in a completely different direction. and it wasn't simply an endless stream of cars. from having never seen an eddie stobart truck in the flesh before, by the time i reached my destination, i had seen probably half of mr stobart's fleet. along with all manner of other temperature controlled, aerodynamically styled trucks, delivering promptly and logistically to all four corners of the country.
and that's kind of where i gained the notion that pretty much everything must surely be in the wrong place, or there would be no need for so many articulated lorries to move it hither that thither. though i'd probably not have paid tribute to the experience prior to indulging in two lengthy coach journeys in the same month, doing so is rather a relaxing experience. leaving a couple of professionals up front to take care of the driving and navigation, i had only need of relaxing in my surprisingly plush seat watching the aforementioned traffic accompanied by hugh laurie on the ipod.
there are, however, only a couple of observations i might make that would break up my decisive sanity in opting for such a method of transfer. firstly, of all the myriad bus stations visited on the journey south, only one features big, heavy electronic security gates on entry and departure. and at that selfsame bus station, the driver casually announced that the "the bus takes a break", and for health and safety reasons, we had all to disembark for around half-an-hour. considering there were two drivers each taking turns at driving, this was a mystery.
even more so when such a bus break was eschewed completely on the return journey.
however, the rules of transfer are rarely of our own making. those are contained in the remarkably small print at the bottom of one's e-ticket. come to think of it, that's the page you never bother to print out. luggage ought to be in the overhead rack, or more conveniently for access, stowed under the seat in front. a lot simpler to grab hold of those in-flight magazines.
appropriate apparel is also more than just a nod towards pragmatism. long-distance coaches are either unnaturally cold, or oppressively warm, making layering every bit as much the superior choice as it is on the bicycle. and in an effort not to create a bad impression on the tall bloke with the beard and unsuitable waterproof who has occupied the adjacent seat for the last stage of the journey, merino is a safe choice. no smell.
in contrast seemingly to many of my fellow passengers, i do not find a pair of denim jeans to be the most practicable of legwear on bus trips of several hours. something a little less constrictive and restrictive offers a greater degree of comfort and movement i find, which is where the better than ideal rapha transfer trousers are quite possibly the pinnacle of the genre. made from a polyester, italian wool and elastane mix, they are, i am reliably informed, of similar intent to a pair of joggy bottoms, only with a substantially greater level of class. the fit is more than worthy of note and the comfort factor is, to use a superlative 'off the scale'.
aside from their impeccability in the face of lengthy periods of transfer, they offer a well-thought out level of practicality. on a visit to glasgow's alpine bikes for a bike fit, these were the ideal choice to wear over a pair of bibshorts, and the ankle zips on each leg allow the trousers to be safely pulled on or off over outdoor shoes, trainers or cleated road shoes without fear of reshaping the close-fit hems.
the relaxed waist fit (size 30 reviewed) is closed by means of a tightly snapping popper and adjusted by an internal draw-cord fitted through the waist. there are two zipped front pockets that will keep hold of a modest amount of loose change and a set of keys, but i'd be wary of overfilling lest one's sylph like profile harbour unsightly bumps. there's one rear zipped pocket.
rapha contend that not only are the transfer trousers ideal for travelling (as i have already detailed above), but also for donning over race kit after blowing apart the rest of the field in last sunday's sportive ride, or for warming up on the turbo. i fear neither of the latter two options will feature in my palmares.
few of us will find ourselves in the position of requiring a lengthy transfer between grand tour stages, a practice to which this garment alludes. however, whichever way you wish to constitute yourself in the world tour firmament, these are an unashamed luxury to which you really ought to treat yourselves.
that and a black jaguar xf sportbrake.
rapha's transfer trousers retail for £150 and are available in waist sizes 28" up to 38" with a standard 34" inside leg. black only.
thursday 18th july 2013