Rapha has postponed its Day in Hell gravel rides and is to close clubhouses in response to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

The Day in Hell rides are Rapha's annual tribute to Paris-Roubaix, named in reference to the race's nickname "L'enfer du Nord ("Hell of the North"). The ride sees cyclists tackle a sportive route that features a mix of road and off-road terrain before enjoying the race finale live on TV over beer and frites.

This year's rides were set to take place on 11 April in Manchester and 12 April - Easter Sunday - at London's Herne Hill Velodrome.

However, a brief statement on the event page now informs riders that both events are postponed:

"In light of the latest advice around the Covid-19 outbreak and in the interests of public health, A Day in Hell will be postponed. We will reschedule this event later in the year. All ticket holders will be sent details as soon as possible."

Rapha Clubhouses to close during outbreak

In a broader statement on the COVID-19 outbreak, Rapha founder Simon Mottram has announced the temporary closure of Rapha's clubhouses in the UK, Europe, US and Australia.

The closures are effective from today, 17 March, and all Rapha-led rides will also cease. Interestingly, the brand's clubhouses in Japan, Taiwan, South-Korea and Hong-Kong will remain open at present.

The statement concludes:

"As cyclists, we know that the road can't always be smooth but the reserves of resilience that help us over the climbs will also help us through these trying times. We hope this outbreak will pass soon, but let's all take the right actions to contain the spread of the virus.

"Please take care of yourselves and your loved ones. We encourage you all to stay safe, and to think of others."

Rapha Quarantine 500

We spotted this imaginative response to Italy's coronavirus lockdown on Strava: the launch of a Rapha Quarantine 500 Challenge:

Take on the Quarantine 500 Challenge during the coronavirus outbreak.
Take on the Quarantine 500 Challenge during the coronavirus outbreak.

The club description reads "Quaranta giorni sui rulli. 500 km. Tra un decreto legge e un modulo di autocertificazione." ("Forty days on the rollers. 500 km. Between a law decree and a self-certification form.")

This appears to be a coronavirus-themed riff on Rapha's long-running Festive 500 Challenge, in which cyclists aim to ride 500km over the Christmas holidays.

WIth several European countries including Spain, Italy and France seeing large sections of the population confined to their homes for a period of quarantine, an indoor challenge sounds like a great idea to keep morale - and fitness levels - up during the outbreak.

It's not an official Rapha Challenge (we did check), so don't expect a roundel - just solidarity with fellow cyclists as we ride out the crisis together.

You can join the challenge here: www.strava.com/clubs/59323.