OK. I admit it. I’m a Rohan snob! I love the design, the branding, the imagery, and I like the clothes functionality a lot.
I bumped into the relatively little-known brand (at the time) in a classic outdoor/camping shop – “White & Bishops” in Northampton. It was probably around 1985. At the time I was halfway through my 26 years in the army. I was really fit and a fanatical orienteer, runner and hillwalker.
The Rohan style suited me perfectly and I bought my very first Bags, short sleeve shirts, and the classic Moving On. I wanted to look smart after events and be comfortable on the hills. Some of us orienteers were a bit snooty about the merits of “cunning running” or “the thought sport” and I certainly felt that the Rohan brand portrayed something a bit different.
Whenever I saw another athlete or walker wearing Rohan, I can recall thinking “must be a decent sort – and obviously discerning!”
Army service took me to Cyprus with the UN Peacekeeping Force and to Hong Kong. Lots of hill walking and outdoor events in those places and the Rohan clothes cupboard grew ever larger – shorts, more bags, more shirts. Jan, my wife, became a great fan too – we were a walking Rohan display stand!
The last 20 years have seen a switch from running to cycling – with very many lightweight bike tours to Europe and the USA. My after-ride apparel was ALWAYS Rohan. Small pack size, light weight, quick drying - perfect for the cyclist who likes to look smart in the evenings.
The wardrobe continued to grow with the addition of even smarter designs for work, and linen trousers and shirts for warmer climates. Longevity was becoming a problem – Rohan materials don’t wear out! I’ve only ever managed to seriously scuff/rip one pair of Bags – on a particularly challenging scramble up Jack’s Rake in the lakes.
I now live in the outdoor paradise of the Scottish Highlands and have the great good fortune to work for the very outdoorsy Scottish Natural Heritage. It’s a bit of a mission for many of us to wear chic outdoor kit suited to the office. Rohan wins again! On a good day I’m Rohan clad from head to tail – including shoes and travel bag – bliss! And riding my Brompton folding bike to our Edinburgh office in Rohan’s is just great.
My eldest daughter lives in London and she’s a member of the “Urban Chic” lady cyclists collaboration. She now has my 25-year-old, pristine condition Moving On jumper and it has many admirers in that group of discerning city cyclists – that’s Rohan longevity for you.
It’s a great life and Rohan adds value to it. Next month it’ll be time for my annual visit to the lovely Long Preston shop where I hope to indulge in some of the latest design – ready for the looming bike trip to the Dordogne.
By Mick Heath MBE