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Reverent: Ravito

Reverent: Ravito

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There are many revered places in Cycling, places that are instantly recognisable, places that command their own special page in history and in our memories for the great battles held upon them. Most likely the names you’ll think of first would be the great mountain climbs of the Grand Tours, l’Alpe d’Huez, Ventoux, Zoncolan, Stelvio. Maybe the Poggio, La Redoute or Koppenberg do it for you; they all stir something inside me. But the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix are the conduit for my most revered memories; bone-shaking, bike-breaking, heartbreaking stones that can ruin your day or make it the greatest one ever. And there waiting at the end, the most welcome sight of all to those who have endured a day in hell: the Roubaix Velodrome.

When Keepers Tour 2012 rolled onto the hallowed oval track at the end of our first foray across Northern France, the hair on the back of my neck, and some other places, bristled like the pile of a shag carpet after a polyester scarf had been rubbed across it. There was definitely some form of electricity running through my body. The sense of place was overwhelming. I imagined what it would be like to be a racer, soloing in for victory at the end of a long breakaway; or to enter with a select group, strategising the sprint, working out how to get to the line before all others; maybe a battle-worn domestique limping in with bloodied limbs, dirt embedded in every pore, long after the winners had cleansed themselves in the storied concrete showers. The fact that we were riding into a virtually empty arena didn’t matter, or in fact even register. We were on sacred ground, and the spirits of champions past rode with us.

That feeling, that experience, the spirituality and significance of this place isn’t lost on French clothing brand Ravito. As we were handing out some V-swag at the start of KT12, our Pavé guides Alex and William offered a few gifts of their own, among them a nice little goodie bag from their friends Romauld and Celine. There was a satchel, cycling cap, a very cool musette and some buttons and badges. The distinctive blue/white/red stripe motif made an immediate impression on me, yet the true meaning of it never dawned on me until weeks later when Alex explained its origin and the penny finally dropped. Romauld and Celine had drawn more than just inspiration from the velodrome, they had taken the lane markings and turned them into their own iconic brand.

Romauld explained to me the inspiration behind Ravito, and the philosophy they espouse:

Me and my wife Celine are graphic and product designers and also bicycles lovers. We decided to create Ravito two years ago to combine our passions. We wanted to design our own brand to propose products that we would love to wear when we ride. Ravito is a brand which wants to propose nowadays products and design but looking back in the past, sourcing the history of cycling to keep in mind the values and styles. The coloured lines are from the Velodrome because for us, cycling is also many experiences, from track to road, living experiences on cobbles, small roads with grass in the middle!

This is also the spirit of ‘The Forçat’ of Ravito, which means ‘warrior of the road’, regarding the article of the journalist Albert Londres in the 1930s speaking of ‘les forçats de la route’ about the cyclists after a stage of the Tour de France he’s just followed.

Ravito wants also to be a creative brand, not only for clothings but proposing also products around cycling from jewels to pasta and particularly with ‘the musette’, small everyday bag for men or women with the limited edition collectors.

Well, we simply want to have fun proposing products with passion.

When I arrived in France for KT13 without my luggage and kit, William was only too happy to dig into his many buckets of kit to see me through. I immediately spotted some Ravito bibs, and it didn’t matter (much) that they may have been ‘slightly used’ by the Irishman… I immediately felt badass rocking the velodrome stripes on my left leg as I headed off on a ride towards the Kemmelberg, not really knowing where I was going but feeling like the stripes would see me there (or the locals would at least recognise my awesomeness and help me on my way). Suffice to say I made it to the mythical climb and back, and until Frank arrived with my new Kallisto V-kit a few days later, the Ravito bibs were always first piece of kit chosen.

On return to NZ and with the task of replacing my never-to-be-seen-again kit underway, a quick email to Romauld was drafted and my very own Ravito kit was soon on its way. It’s pretty hard to go past our own awesome V-kit, but the Ravito gear gets plenty of road time for sure. And I always feel like a little bit of the Hell of the North is along for the ride with me.

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// Awesome French Guys // Keepers Tour // Kit // Reverence // Reverent

  1. Great piece, Bretto – and very nice kit: I really like the velodrome reference.
    Our intrepid founder will probably be able to explain how the Dutch can get away with claiming both the Red-White-Blue combo ánd the color Orange as strictly their own (a feat way beyond my feeble capabilities as a historian) – but suffice it to say that, alongside quite a few pieces of kit that feature bright orange in the color scheme, I would certainly like to add some of this stuff to the wardrobe.
    Or, more concisely put: Want. Badly…

  2. Nice one, Brett! I cannot imagine riding those roads or that track. I can induce chills when I’m out riding in the country just by thinking about a particular race or climb or even move in a race. Love to ride some famous routes someday.

    Nice kit! I’m in the market for new bibs + jersey. I like basic kit to pair with busy bike paint jobs. Very hard to find plain black bibs at the top end. Most have too much labeling. And, I like a lot of the smaller, independent/start up kit that is a bit flashier, but looking at their models and “about us” statements makes me think I’d need more piercings and tattoos to wear their stuff.

    Seems like there is a gap between totally plain or too busy.

  3. Nice article Brett……but we have now had 2 articles on Gravel, this one with its Paris Roubaix references….have the keepers lost interest in the summer season, because i certainly haven’t.

    Winter is not here yet boys, and there is still a lot of racing to go…can we get back to the articles about summer roads please or maybe a historic one… (apologies to those in southern hemisphere who are obviously looking forward to their summer!)

  4. Like the design – as a dedicated cap-wearer I’d rock one of those quite happily.

    Small translation point. “les forçats de la route” is usually rendered in the phrase many people will have heard as “the convicts of the road”.

    More evocative than warriors I think, and particularly appealing to those of us with Australian ancestry.

  5. Reminds me of a particularly daunting day of climbing a few weeks ago. Kitted-up with my best, most inspiring gear…V-socks [until the rest of my V-kit arrives]…fresh shave on the guns and face…Baxter’s: It always makes a difference. We tap into the essential spirit of the sport, and we ride better.

  6. Mon Dieu! Ces vêtements sont fantastiques. Je veux, je veux.

    My cycle wardrobe needs some expanding.

  7. Has anyone tried anything from Solo CC? Their jerseys are very nice & I’m also wondering about the “lugged” bibs. I’ve dug up mostly positive reviews but one person mention the red chamois staind his white saddle. Maybe a one-time problem? Or maybe they’ve correct the problem, as this review was made in 2011.

    Bibs look nice, plain and simple.

  8. Damn their kit is sharp looking. This is why one needs good graphic designers, especially cyclists (like our own Karsten) to design badass cycling kit. It’s mostly black with some white, red, azure, like Sky’s rapha kit but better looking and no Rule violations. I will own a Ravito kit. I will weed out my old twin six and lowly chinese champion system shiet jerseys. All that plastic lasts forever so recycle that stupid old junk. Life is too short for lesser kits.

    Bretto, you look like a real pro in front of the team car. You could be Boonen’s bidon boy.

  9. Damn you Brett, with my champagne tastes yet beer budget I can barely keep up with my Rapha addiction, now your throw this in the mix.

    Going to have to sell one of my two children or maybe my wife as the “R” kit is on the radar now.

    Stop it, i like it !

  10. @Ron I have a few pieces of Solo kit, but none of their knicks. I tend to wear plain black Assos.

    The Solo gilet and winter LS jersey have both been very good and lasted well.

  11. The all black vintage jersey is molto bella! I really like their style, thank you.

  12. Any notes on the quality, Brett? General fit, pad quality, panel stitching, flatness of seams….

    I recently bought new bibs and an (orange) ‘Classic’ jersey – both Castelli – and tried them out on a 100+ km ride last Thursday. Very nice fit – if a tad snug, so not doing a good job of hiding that I still am too fat to climb.

  13. @ErikdR

    This isn’t really a review of the gear but more about their philosophy and style. But, the quality is very good… the jersey is a tad heavier weight than most, slightly fleeced almost, but still ok to wear on warm days, really good on cooler ones. The bibs are great, nice weight lycra similar to our Kallisto V-bibs, and the chamois is not too thick, seamless and does its job nicely. It’s good stuff and looks great, and like Kallisto they are a small outfit with a cool sense of history and passion…

  14. @anotherdownunder

    @Ron I have a few pieces of Solo kit, but none of their knicks. I tend to wear plain black Assos.

    The Solo gilet and winter LS jersey have both been very good and lasted well.

    Thanks for the feedback. I too actually wear plain black Assos Uno FI’s. I picked up some decent Voler bibs on sale last year to use for cross, in case I go down, so that I don’t tear my nicer road bibs. Well, turns out, though I’m loath to admit it, I think the $55 Voler Elite FS bibs (normally over $100 but on sale) are nicer for me than the Assos. My Assos have the blue pad, which might be too bulky unless doing really long rides. The Volers have a thinner red pad that works just fine for me.

    In the market for some new, solid black, solid performing bibs. Know this is a tough one, as everyone has a different need/preference in this area.

  15. @brett

    OK, cheers; I was just curious. I’ve had a look at the website, and must say the jerseys look très classy. Also nice to see that some of the site photo’s were taken at the actual Vélodrome.

    Tempted…

  16. I wish more companies kept their past in mind when designing modern products.  Not go “retro” but keep the same stripes, colors, or something unique throughout time.  I love buying things that are on the cutting edge of technology but it means even more if it has a link to the past.

  17. @Ron

    Has anyone tried anything from Solo CC? Their jerseys are very nice & I’m also wondering about the “lugged” bibs. I’ve dug up mostly positive reviews but one person mention the red chamois staind his white saddle. Maybe a one-time problem? Or maybe they’ve correct the problem, as this review was made in 2011.

    Bibs look nice, plain and simple.

    I’ve got the Solo lugged bibs, the Heuvel jersey, two caps and the wool socks.

    I like the bibs quite a bit, though they don’t feature as many panels as most bibs seem to these days and the inseam is on the shorter side.  The pad isn’t one I’ve seen in any other short before, but its quite nice.  Not too thick, but with enough firm padding to support longer rides.  The lycra has a good weight to it.  If you want a classic look short, they’re worth a try.  I will say that the white upper bib portion got pretty dingy quite quickly though.  I’ve got a black saddle so I can’t comment on whether it stains, but perhaps that’s what bled in the wash to make the mesh look less that bright white.

  18. Nice looking kit bretto. I think we all have a soft spot for kit/ gear that’s from a small company where thought and reverence is placed above profit and quantity.

  19. Awesome article Brett,  I wish I were as creative as the writer and the designers of the subject matter.  I mean really, how simple and sublime to have the track stripe in the design.  Now nobody can replicate that little tidbit of complete awesomeness without it seeming contrived.

  20. I use my Ravito musette bag for toiletries when I travel. Looks cool and works well. Especially the extra little inner pocket where I keep a pack of razors.

  21. @Cyclops

    Awesome article Brett, I wish I were as creative as the writer and the designers of the subject matter. I mean really, how simple and sublime to have the track stripe in the design. Now nobody can replicate that little tidbit of complete awesomeness without it seeming contrived.

    Spot on… even without knowing what the stripes represented, they made a visual statement, like nothing I’d seen before; then when I found out about them, even more so.

  22. @G’rilla

    I use my Ravito musette bag for toiletries when I travel. Looks cool and works well. Especially the extra little inner pocket where I keep a pack of razors.

    Nice idea… @rigid often shows up at the pub with his R mussette, but never reveals what’s inside it. Like his wallet. He did use it to bring us all cakes for the Festum Prophetae ride I think it was though.

  23. @Ron

    Can you get the Bellweather bibs? I’ve been using these for about 6 months now, and compared to my Castellis (which I love the look of), they are blacker, cheaper and as good if not better.

    @anotherdownunder

    @Ron I have a few pieces of Solo kit, but none of their knicks. I tend to wear plain black Assos.

    The Solo gilet and winter LS jersey have both been very good and lasted well.

    Thanks for the feedback. I too actually wear plain black Assos Uno FI’s. I picked up some decent Voler bibs on sale last year to use for cross, in case I go down, so that I don’t tear my nicer road bibs. Well, turns out, though I’m loath to admit it, I think the $55 Voler Elite FS bibs (normally over $100 but on sale) are nicer for me than the Assos. My Assos have the blue pad, which might be too bulky unless doing really long rides. The Volers have a thinner red pad that works just fine for me.

    In the market for some new, solid black, solid performing bibs. Know this is a tough one, as everyone has a different need/preference in this area.

  24. @Gianni

    Bretto, you look like a real pro in front of the team car. You could be Boonen’s bidon boy.

    Ha, not with that too big a helmet! Everything in that photo is borrowed… bike, clothes, shoes, I think I had my own socks on, but otherwise, full beggar…

  25. @brett Ha ha. It’s a musette which dispenses many gifts and is also useful for taking a couple of ales to party. I really like the design of the kit – bold sophisticated use of colour and great typeset. Any idea what the Ravito stands for?

  26. @Rigid

    @brett Ha ha. It’s a musette which dispenses many gifts and is also useful for taking a couple of ales to party. I really like the design of the kit – bold sophisticated use of colour and great typeset. Any idea what the Ravito stands for?

    It means “awesome kit” I think…

  27. The French expression ‘raviteillement’ means something along the lines of ‘supplies’ or ‘refuelling’ or similar, and an ‘arrêt raviteillement” is a food (and drink) break, or culinary pit stop. I have a feeling that the name ‘Ravito’ could have something to do with that.

  28. Love that kit. And the link to the track lines, masterful in my humble opinion.

    And reading your description of riding onto the velodrome at Roubaix made the hair on the back of my neck stand up, and I wasn’t even there! Talk about riding with the ghosts of champions… Well done.

  29. Out in the world there is so much gear that’s mouth wateringly luscious. The reference to the track lines makes this stuff borderline religious.

    Brett, I’m in Christchurch. How do I get away on the Keepers Tour maybe 14 or 15 without my VMH knowing?

  30. OK, straight from the said Ravito crew via email

    Ravito is short for Ravitaillement which means the feeding zone in a race. Hence La musette was their first product in the brand.

  31. @brett

    @Cyclops

    Awesome article Brett, I wish I were as creative as the writer and the designers of the subject matter. I mean really, how simple and sublime to have the track stripe in the design. Now nobody can replicate that little tidbit of complete awesomeness without it seeming contrived.

    Spot on… even without knowing what the stripes represented, they made a visual statement, like nothing I’d seen before; then when I found out about them, even more so.

    Errr… Except Chris Hoy:   http://Www.hoybikes.com great article as ever, and I agree… Super design of those Ravito guys

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