Rolf Rae-Hansen

Rolf's a freelance copywriter based in Edinburgh


the breakaway

The Breakaway – Coffee Not Included

The Breakaway is available in paperback or ebook, has lots of mountains and you can buy it here
Coffee not included.

Cooked on the Casse Déserte

Stage 14 of the this year’s Tour de France takes in a wee hill called the Col d’Izoard. Here’s an extra from The Breakaway on the day that very climb very nearly claimed us: Continue reading “Cooked on the Casse Déserte”

£0.00004 Per Metre

Me on the Stelvio’s ‘easy’ side.

For me, stage 16 is where this year’s Giro properly begins (assuming the weather holds), and where many of the competitors will be sorely wishing it properly ended: the mountains — the really, really big mountains. Continue reading “£0.00004 Per Metre”

Not Been There, Not Done That

In the weeks and months after returning home from my Breakaway travels I exuded an air of ascender’s arrogance. In a couple of weeks I’d climbed almost three times the height of Everest. I’d taken on and (just about) survived many of cycling’s biggest names: Ventoux, Galibier, Izoard, Stelvio … .
None of the climbs that Scotland had to offer could perturb me. “Think this is bad?” I’d shout at my legs, “this is nothing compared to the [insert famous-name climb] and you survived that!”
I’d been there, done that — or so I thought.
With every grand tour comes a clutch of climbs, some big names, some I’d never heard of, whose tarmac my tyres have yet to touch. The routes of 2014’s big three prove no exception.

Continue reading “Not Been There, Not Done That”

Not Just For Christmas


The Breakaway would make the perfect gift for any cyclist  — especially those who can read —  and non-cyclists (weirdoes that they are) would love it too.

Well I would say that, wouldn’t I? Continue reading “Not Just For Christmas”

High-Mountain Heroes

Erik & Rolf in hell

In 2004 I went to the cinema in Edinburgh to watch Hell on Wheels (Hollentour, in its native German). The movie is a documentary by French director Pepe Danquart’s and tells the story of the 2003 Tour de France through the eyes of the T-Mobile team and two of their riders, sprinter Erik Zabel and his faithful domestique, Rolf Aldag. Continue reading “High-Mountain Heroes”

Remembering Marco

pic from

The late Marco Pantani was a cyclist I greatly admired, a climber whose exploits further fuelled my admiration of the cycling climber and stoked my ambition to go to Europe and try the mountains for myself. He was also the cycling inspiration of Drew, my companion during the travels that make up my book, The Breakaway – Cycling the Mountains of the Tour de France. Without Marco I might never have ridden Alpe d’Huez, the Stelvio, Mont Ventoux, et al. Continue reading “Remembering Marco”

Lightning Quick

The thunder and lightning currently blasting my neighbourhood of Edinburgh into submission is pretty scary, but none will ever be as scary (I hope!) as that which nearly welded me onto the tarmac of the Col d’Aubisque:

Whilst I clung onto Drew’s back wheel and chuckled at what I saw as an irrational fear, the lightning caught up and cracked directly overhead. That explosion of noise was the loudest thing I have ever heard, hopefully the loudest thing I will ever hear. The air turned bright blue as its water content sizzled to the boil. The hairs on our necks stood on end as if we’d stuck our fingers into a electric socket; those power lines I had so recently joked about hissed, buzzed and visibly jerked on their pylon mounts like a sack full of body-popping snakes — the danger I had dismissed suddenly all too real. I shifted up a gear and raced passed Drew, no longer as brave nor as forthcoming with suggestions as to what the lightning might do next. It was all too bloody obvious: we were about to be cooked alive!

To read more click here and pick up a copy of The Breakaway for just £3.99/$4.99.

Best of Times, Worst of Times

One of the great things about having ridden a load of Tour climbs is pretending to know how the peloton feels as the Tour cruises and crawls over the same roads. Stage 19 takes in the Col du Glandon and the Col de la Madeliene, both of which I tackled during The Breakaway. For me the Madeleine was a total and utter nightmare. I suffered like a dog (trapped inside a hot car) the whole way up. The Glandon was that day’s second ascent and, surprisingly, I recovered enough to find it, dare I say, enjoyable.

Click to enlarge profile

Continue reading “Best of Times, Worst of Times”

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