Simon Mottram talks personal taste

Simon Mottram’s pioneering cycling brand Rapha, with bike clubs in Europe, North America, Australia and Japan, now encompasses fashion, design and travel

Simon Mottram
Simon Mottram | Image: Mark C O’Flaherty

My personal style signifiers are my white Bourton brogues [pictured] by Tricker’s. I have four pairs and wear them every day in rotation. I love going to the Tricker’s shop on Jermyn Street because it’s so old-fashioned – I go in my cycling shoes and try things on sitting on a chair beneath a picture of the Queen with her corgis. My head of design recently had a pair custom-made for me, in a white reflective material. From £360; 67 Jermyn St, London SW1 (020-7930 6395;

Tricker’s leather Bourton brogues, £360
Tricker’s leather Bourton brogues, £360 | Image: Mark C O’Flaherty

The last thing I bought and loved was the 12ft oak table and banquette in our kitchen, designed and made by my brother-in-law’s new company, Six Hands. They’ve worked on projects for Millimetre, Lee Broom and Matthew Hilton. We can seat 16 people; it’s perfect for family gatherings and groups of friends.


And the thing I’m eyeing next is a full-sized Kettler table tennis table for the garden. We are creating a deck especially for tournaments and intend to play every fine evening we get. My wife Lucy is a demon at table tennis, very much a flair player, but I often beat her through guile and consistency. £399;

The Yamaha C3 Conservatory grand piano Mottram bought for his wife
The Yamaha C3 Conservatory grand piano Mottram bought for his wife | Image: Mark C O’Flaherty

An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is the Adelaide Hills [pictured] in South Australia. I’m lucky to travel there every January to ride with friends and customers and watch the racing. The hills rise up on the edge of the city and have spectacular orchards, vineyards and eucalyptus forests. Their wines are gaining a reputation – I particularly like the Adelina Shiraz from Clare Valley.

Piccadilly Valley in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia
Piccadilly Valley in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia | Image: Getty Images

And the best souvenir I’ve brought home is a jar of Griottines [pictured] from Paris. They are cherries steeped in kirsch, very popular in the east of France, where they drop them into their champagne. I bought them from an épicerie called L’Amoncel run by two elderly women who have shelves of products you’re unlikely to see anywhere else. The guy who runs my French business recommended I go there; he was trekking in the Moroccan desert and came across some guys in a Land Rover with a massive fridge in the back for their vintage champagne and Griottines. About €15 for a 35cl jar; 1 Rue Etienne Marcel, 75001 Paris (+331-4013 0652;

Smitten ice cream from San Francisco
Smitten ice cream from San Francisco | Image: © Audrey Ma

A recent ‘find’ is Smitten Ice Cream [pictured] in Hayes Valley, San Francisco, where I had their rum and raisin variety. They make the ice cream with liquid nitrogen, which creates an intense flavour. It’s incredibly fresh and creamy. 1A 432 Octavia St, San Francisco 94102 (+1415-863 1518;


The best gift I’ve given recently was a Yamaha C3 Conservatory grand piano [pictured] to Lucy, which came from secondhand instrument dealer the Piano Gallery in Oxfordshire. It’s a great place. They have a virtuoso pianist there who will play the same complex piece of Chopin on the pianos of your choice, to compare the sounds. It’s wonderful to hear Lucy playing in the house. 13-15 London St, Faringdon SN7 7AE (01367-244554;

The last meal that truly impressed me was at Attica in Melbourne. Ben Shewry is a keen cyclist and fantastic, innovative chef. We enjoyed an extensive tasting menu with some exceptional wines. Instead of a palate cleanser we were invited out into the garden to play a racquet game and have a half-time orange. 74 Glen Eira Rd, Melbourne 3185 (+613-9530 0111;

The books on my bedside table are The Rider by Tim Krabbé and A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James. Krabbé has written the finest book about cycling ever. I re-read it every couple of years for inspiration and pleasure. It’s hard to get into reading the Marlon James book at first as it’s in Jamaican patois. But after a few whiskies, I find it easier to follow.

The last item of clothing I added to my wardrobe was a blue Paul Smith suit. It has a 1960s look – narrow with white flecks. I tracked Paul down when I was looking for investors for Rapha. He turned me down, but we became friends and have collaborated since. Suits from £500;

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