A cycling jacket that turns into a sleeping bag? Whatever next?

Steve Williams explores the combos we cyclists need most. Probably

You may well look sheepish, young man

Cycling kit company Rapha has been branching out, combining traditional road gear with utilitarian cargo pockets and blowing riders’ minds. It’s all in the name of ‘adventure’. 


Rapha’s latest creation is better still, as a jacket that transforms, just like Optimus Prime did, into a sleeping bag (I haven’t seen the Transformers films. Can you tell?).

I think they’re onto something. And I know this has potential. Here, then, are the combinations that will make tomorrow’s cycling fit to be tomorrow’s and even the day after tomorrow’s, rather than yesterday’s.

Combo #1: Ambition & talent

Imagine a world where your desire to, say, send that 25ft double was matched by your ability to land on anything other than your forehead. Imagine a world where the belief that you should be getting Strava KOMs without gluing your phone to an arrow and firing it over the horizon would result in sensational segment times.

 Imagine being as good as you dream! Or even just good.

Science is on the verge of discovering exactly which genes govern the ability to be good — to do sick whips or pump out 2000 watts — just like it discovered which genes were responsible for things like selfishness, senility or Piers Morgan. 

Once unlocked, it’ll be a cinch to edit our raddest genes with, like, a huge needle and some bubbling flasks and test tubes and stuff. I mean, surely. Any minute now. 

If Starfleet had this tech in the 60s, surely the bike industry can handle it now?

Over to you, science. 

Combo #2: Lycra & girdles

Some say Lycra is for people who lack the nerve to go full rubber gimp-suit. Others say it’s just great for cycling. What nobody says is, ‘Wow, Big Dave, your Lycra is so slimming.’

We’re so bombarded by images of racers with less body fat than Tutankhamun that even slimmer riders can feel self-conscious. And if you’re into cycling for the social side (aka beer and cake and wild exaggeration), things rapidly go south. Quite literally. 

That’s why we need our favourite replica team-kits to come with invisible girdle linings (like William Shatner’s Captain Kirk jersey did). 

If Starfleet had this tech in the 60s, surely the bike industry can handle it now? It’s just a jersey with a load-bearing wall in it. And while we’re at it, bands to bulk up thighs and slim arms down would be nice so we can all achieve the impossible ideal. Just don’t make us burst all over the coffee shop.

Combo #3: Seatposts & weaponry

A quick glimpse at the latest football match, property listing, wildlife documentary or war reveals that sophisticated drones are everywhere. Many laser-track moving targets autonomously, and can zoom in/zoom out/film an unsuspecting mating swan. We don’t even need the flying part, just the AI lock-on.

Why oh why has nobody taken this tech, fitted it to a small, rear-facing weapons platform and marketed it to road cyclists? 

Close shaves inflicted by impatient idiots would become a thing of the past once they discovered the new reality — flying sandpaper discs that lead to the annihilation of shiny paintwork on their lovely motors…

Mounted on the seatpost, belt-fed by the cranks, and incorporating a cheerful red reflector, such systems would be a huge step in road safety.

Combo #4: Strava, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook & the forums

I love Strava as much as the next crazed obsessive, but sometimes the whole social side of it gets too much. 

I love Strava as much as the next crazed obsessive, but the social media is too much

Throw in the apparent need to re-splurge your exploits over all the other platforms and it makes me murderous. 

This is where the ability to combine all social media into one handy… let’s call it ClusterFacebook… would win. Imagine how much riding time you’d save if you only had to ignore this one thing instead of loads?

Combo #5: Clipless pedals & CO2 canisters

Most of the time, I remember to unclip. Take me by surprise, however, and I may just struggle stupidly before crashing to the ground like a condemned cooling tower full of dynamite. 

Nobody wants to unclip by accident, but is it really too much to ask that my pedals distinguish normal enthusiasm from panicky pre-crash tugs, before firing explosive bolts – powered by the same CO2 cylinders huffed by tyre inflators and bored teenagers – and releasing me?

Better still, if they keep firing for a few seconds I could float safely to the ground on what are essentially rocket boots, and all for the cost of a couple of CO2 bulbs. Come on bike industry, use your brains.

Combo #6: e-bikes & the sound of whining

I was thinking that the issue of e-bikes and pedestrian safety could be solved by just making the motors audible. But it turns out you can’t even mention an e-bike, let alone see one, without hearing prolonged whining from all around. So that’s solved.


Combo #7: Road bikes and off-road bikes

Only joking.