The first thing you notice about the Rapha City Cycling guides is that they look good. Even the little box they come snugly ensconced in is pretty. They are a series of bright pastel colours and feature a different illustrator for each city, so each one has an air of distinctiveness whilst also fitting nicely into the set.
There are eight guides, taking in nine cities in Europe, most of them good for citizen cyclists: Copenhagen, Paris, Berlin, London, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Milan and Antwerp & Ghent sharing one guide. They are initially only available as a full set of eight and feel a little like extended blogs, in that they give you little snapshots of local knowledge – they don’t concentrate on well-known tourist spots, indeed they barely mention them. Instead they give the low down on the latest hip places to hang out.
They contain maps for nice cycling routes, which is handy for anyone trying to get from A to B. But there are also sections on ‘racing and training’ that seem to be aimed at the lycra-wearing market, rather than chic citizen cyclists. Of course in an ideal world, ‘city cycling’ guides wouldn’t be a thing, there would just be city guides.
The recommendations for what to do in Copenhagen are a fairly solid spread of decent bars, restaurants and shops, though of course the nature of cities is that they are always going to miss something out. And the danger is that being enshrined in the permanency of ink they will soon get out of date. One solution to this is of course making sure you get on your bike and get visiting all these cities as soon as possible, and these attractive-looking guides certainly make visiting enticing.