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Cycling caps

May 16, 2010

First posted as a comment on AdelaideCyclists.com

Oh yeah! I’ve been waiting for this discussion for a long time. It might even be my secret motive for creating this site. Not to talk Ultegra over 105 or complain about the disappearing cycles lanes and potholes of Adelaide. It is all about bringing back the cycling cap into style (and function) in Adelaide.

I do wear my cap a lot. At first my wife was humouring me. I picked my first one up from the TDU (I doff my cap to those guys for providing them). She let me wear it about when I was doing some bike maintenance (it feels better when wearing a cap). Then I started wearing it at the coffee breaks on group rides. It felt good – traditional. Guys like Merckx or Coppie and all those riders from those films of the 1960s and 70s wore them at a time when helmets were not required. Then I came across Rocket Fuel Style vintage style cap maker (and a very active member of our cousin Sydney Cyclists). Susan has since made a couple of other specialty orders for me for gifts. So when her cap arrived my wife started getting a little worried. I blogged about it.

I found this quote

Wearing a cotton Cycling Cap may protect your hair from ‘helmet hair’ syndrome, prompt strangers to do a double take as you walk by and let you get out of the house without your significant other rolling their eyes at you for wearing a cap…at night.”

(I can’t remember where from now)

I started getting a little obsessed. I tried to find out what the history of the cycling cap, or casquette, is. Why the small peak, was it to protect? For warmth? For adverting? or just to keep the sun and rain out of their eyes (pre sunglasses). I did learn that A traditional way to keep the head cool when cycling in hot conditions was to put a cabbage leaf under the casquette. (ref)

Then searching about I found there were a lot of caps on the market but seemingly not that many wearers on the streets? The crafty homemade shop Etsy has so many cap makers selling on it. The wool ones are popular in the US but I wonder if they can be worn under a helmet or are they really only for ‘apres cycle‘. I don’t have a wool one.. yet. I read a comment about the cycling city of Portland in the US that soon there would be more cap makers than actual cyclist in that city.

You might think they are a pretty simple and traditional design. No! There are three panel, or five panel, the stripe can be single colour, dual or triple.. world champ style. How long should the peak be? Words can be placed but what is best. Brooklyn across the peak (from the mid 70s pro team) or more recently the fixed gear guys show their turf there. Are the current pro team ones any good. Are they just advertising?

I have a few. I only wear the Rocket Fuel Style one riding and until recently had it as my avatar pic. Maybe I am a little obsessed. It’s just the uniqueness of it. Baseball has a style of cap, as does US Navy and Australian cricket and I think the cycling cap should be more popular. I am starting to see them more on riders now it’s getting a little cooler but what I want to see is an Adelaide Cyclists cap. If anyone wants to come up with a design let me know.

I wrote in the previous blog

“My dad, over the years wore a Tam O’shanter. and a denim sailing cap that we refused to turn the boat around to pick up one day when it blew overboard. His other great effort was a similar cap but in leather.. we used to call it his gay bikers cap….. so my kids have got nothing to worry about when it comes to embarrassment.”

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