What's Cool In Road Cycling

Rapha to Release Tribute Collection Honoring U.S. Cycling Legend Nelson Vails

Meet The Cheetah:
From New York City bike messenger to hero of road and track, the story of Nelson Vails is one of cycling’s most vibrant.


Rapha is proud to honor the career of Nelson “The Cheetah” Vails with his own Special Edition Collection. Vails, from New York City, captured the imagination of a generation of cycling fans with a string of thrilling victories in the ‘80s and early ‘90s.

Vails was the first African-American cyclist to win an Olympic medal, earning silver in the match sprint at the 1984 games in Los Angeles. He was inducted into the cycling hall of fame in 2009 and has remained a prominent figure since retiring, frequently commentating on televised races.

The Rapha Nelson Vails collection celebrates his first team, Toga Tempo Thunder Bolt, which dominated racing in New York City during Vails’ tenure. Toga Cycles, New York’s biggest and oldest bike shop — operating today on the Upper West Side — was the team’s primary sponsor.

Using the Toga Tempo Thunder Bolt deep green-and-gold color scheme as a palette, we’ve incorporated a thunderbolt logo onto each item in the collection, and created a Tempo logo for the jersey and bib shorts.

The collection includes the Nelson Vails Jersey, Nelson Vails Pro Team Bib Shorts, Nelson Vails Sleeveless Base Layer, Nelson Vails Socks, Nelson Vails Crochet Mitts, Nelson Vails Cap, and the retro-styled Nelson Vails Knitted Track Jacket.

To promote the collection, Nelson Vails will speak at several Rapha Clubhouses across North America, where he will meet fans and tell the story of a cycling career that took him from a New York City bicycle messenger to Olympic athlete.

The Nelson Vails collection will be available on rapha.cc to Rapha Cycle Club members on
Wednesday, April 24, and to the public on Thursday, April 25. The collection is also available at Rapha club houses and at Toga Cycles.

— Washington D.C.: Wednesday, April 24 at 6:30pm — New York : Thursday, April 25 at 7pm
— Miami Pop-Up: Friday, April 26 at 6pm
— Los Angeles: Saturday, April 27 at 4pm

Recommended Retail Pricing (US):
Jersey: $210
Pro Team Bib Shorts: $275
Sleeveless Base Layer: $65
Knitted Track Jacket: $250 Socks: RRP: $20
Cap: RRP: $40
Crochet Mitts: $100

About Rapha
Rapha was established in 2004 to address a need for stylish, high performance cycling clothing. It now provides products for every cyclist and continues to push the boundaries of innovation in cycle wear. Alongside this, Rapha has cultivated a global community of passionate riders who come together as members of the Rapha Cycling Club (RCC), the largest club of its kind in the world. Rapha’s retail model and unique brand values come to life in its many rides and events and global network of Clubhouses that combine retail, cafés and cycling culture all under the same roof.

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