Look Pro, Part IX: Proper Cycling Caps

Look Pro, Part IX: Proper Cycling Caps

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Rule #22 is perhaps the most complicated Rule amongst the (currently) 85. Part of the complexity springs from the fact that we are all very attached to this small cotton cap. Off the bike, it was once a badge used to recognize one of our own; now it has been taken over by the hipster crowd which subsequently ruined it for those of us who wore this hallowed garment with pride. Our response has been to refrain from wearing this garment off the bike and resort to other badges – such as Rule #33 compliance – to identify our own. That said, some of us, in the spirit of Rage Against the Machine, refuse to lay down arms and are fighting to take the power back and callously wear our caps regardless. (Guilty.)

Further complexity is due to its provisioning one to wear a cap during any activity directly related to cycling; maintaining your machine, while kitting up, placed jauntily askew while consuming a post-ride recovery beverage at your favorite watering hole. We’ve deliberately refrained from laying out a clear definition as to what constitutes a cycling-related activity, but the verbose description should give you a feel of the spirit within which to govern this Rule.

What The Rules don’t touch on at all is what type of cap is acceptable and precisely how it may be worn. This small, simple garment is at least as complex as a pair of bib shorts or a jersey, and just as with those items, there is a Pro way to wear them, and a noob way to wear them. Especially in light of a recent rash of non-compliant caps coming onto the market, I thought it as good a time as any to outline the definition of a proper cap and how to wear it.

  1. The material.  A proper cycling cap is made of cotton, and is as cheaply made as possible.  They used to cost a few dollars.  That’s like a nickel in dollOZ. Now they are upwards of $15 or $20. A small strip of elastic should be somewhat carelessly sewn together at the back.  A good cap should have almost no quality-control in its making, leading to each cap having its own size or positioning of panels. Each cap has its unique character and should be carefully chosen based on it. There has been a recent slew of new caps (made by both Pearl Izumi and some by our beloved Castelli) that have a sweatband sewn into the cap.  This is strictly forbidden.
  2. The visor. This is the most important part. Visors should be short. This is because the purpose of a cap is to be worn while riding, and when the head is tipped down as you move to the V-Locus, you need to be able to see up the road to where the guns will detonate without tilting your head up in order to see past the visor.  As with the above, a new wave of caps (again by Pearl Izumi and Castelli) have been made with a too-long visor.  These visors are also strictly forbidden in general and for wearing under the helmet in particular.
  3. The Three-Point System always applies. Especially when worn without a helmet in pre or post-ride activities. No exceptions here; forward or backward, just always, always, always follow this system.
  4. Worn under the helmet, the helmet and cap must form a cohesive unit. Start with the cap, and slide it down over the back of the head to the nape of the neck. Then pull the visor down towards the eyes until the bottom edge of the visor is just above the eyebrows.  Smooth out the wrinkles in the cap, as those will feel weird under the helmet. Next, the helmet goes on with the front of the helmet pushed down snug towards the visor of the cap. If part of the visor disappears under the helmet, you’ve gone too far, and if any part of the front of the cap shows, you haven’t gone far enough.
  5. Visors can be flipped up, especially when worn backwards. Worn forward, it is better to keep the visor down, especially under a helmet.  If for some reason it must be flipped up, keep the bottom line of the cap low to the eyebrows. If it is being flipped up under a helmet, it helps an awful lot if you’re also in the midst of riding to a win in a Monument, your name starts with Phillipe and ends with Gilbert, or both.

// Accessories and Gear // Etiquette // Folklore // Look Pro

  1. @Cyclops
    All alone in the photo. Proper. Nice work.

  2. Thanks for all the props guys!

    Oh, and I forgot to mention that I purposely didn’t wear my HRM because I didn’t want it telling me to back down so I guess that worked out.

  3. Baseball caps do not suck…

  4. @Cyclops

    How about a photo of the new championship jersey

  5. @Chris
    It will probably be about six weeks before I get it because they have to get them made.

  6. @Chris @Cyclops

    Here is my artists rendition of what the jersey will probably look like:

  7. Also, please to be noting the fancy red piping and the relaxed “club fit”.

  8. Can I get it in a full zipper version?

  9. @Cyclops

    Hidden zipper, sorry… the poor resolution of the rendition doesn’t show that.

  10. I am officially a Cat 4 now.

  11. @Cyclops

    I am officially a Cat 4 now.

    Two thumbs up!!

  12. @Cyclops
    Your awesome.

  13. @mcsqueak @cyclops: love the rendition! I guess you’re now officially a Rainbow Spud

    Back to the OP, I was the Pirate baseball game today and 4 rows below me was a 50-ish couple both sporting elastic cycling caps. One generic, one a Mavic. Brims up and down throughout the game. Not a cycling event, for sure. D-bags.

  14. So I have a sort of confession, involving cycling caps… more an admission of stupidity really.

    When I came to Abu Dhabi 5 years ago I was a confirmed cap-wearer (don’t wear a helmet, but ignore that).

    However I found the effect of the cycling cap taking all the sweat to the centre of the brim where it dripped down – an effect which was extremely useful in the UK – was now a liability. There was a constant rivulet of sweat blowing back in my face or dripping down on my computer and steerer tube cap.

    So I ditched the caps and started using Buffs. Worn in a loose style they actually do a brilliant job of wicking the sweat backwards where it can evaporate to cool your head and the excess is dripped off behind.

    I know this because many people complained about my free-radical drips when they were behind me, to which the obvious response was to stop sucking my wheel and HTFU.

    I rather fancied it was in the style of Lawrence of Arabia but to tell the truth it was more Ukrainian farmwife than desert marauder.

    Then, just last week I explained this to someone who then said “Why don’t you just wear a cap and turn the brim to the back”. So I did, and it works.

    I’m struggling now with why I didn’t think of that for myself at any time in the last 5 years.

    How many intervals must I do to be absolved ?

  15. @mcsqueak

    @Chris @Cyclops
    Here is my artists rendition of what the jersey will probably look like:

    That’s just what the current dual Canadian Road champions look like.
    Are you sure you’re not related to Terrence and Philip?

  16. @ChrisO
    Jeepers chap, didn’t realise you had been in the flat lands for 5 years, your guns must be atrophying at an alarming rate!

    Do they not have a massive angled upsloping tarmac converyor belt in one of the shopping centres, aka the ski slope palava, for you to climb endlessly and get those cannon’s back to full fighting form? Then again maybe that would be hazardous for the locals getting their robes snagged in their derailleurs?

  17. I realise this is getting to be an older post now.. but does anyone have any ideas where to get cotton caps in kids sizes? I’m thinking my 9mo old son needs one on our rides!

    Cheers
    Ash

  18. The Good, The Badass, The Ugly

    The Good – Castelli cap. Feels like it will fall apart at any moment but doesn’t. Received it as a freebie when ordering some Castelli kit. The sad part is that it’s marketed as a “retro” cycling cap.

    The Badass – Never a cycling cap, never pretended to be one. Wanted a baseball cap in the picture for reference. I won this one on Belgian Independence Day at the Dovetail in London. Delirium – yum.

    The Ugly – This should be one of the most awesome cycling caps on the planet, instead it looks like it was hit by the Dumptruck of Awful. Thrown to me on the mountain stage of La Mongie in the 2004 Tour from the caravan preceding the lead group, so the pedigree is impeccable, but that visor is way too big and is way too thick. I keep it for sentimental value only.

    Depressing when the Dotty Jumper cap from the Tour has even lost it’s way.

  19. The cap ordered from Rouleur is nice — it is simple. And Black !!

  20. I know I’m digging up an old thread, but I need the input and insight from you, my brethren. My wife is accusing me of looking like a douche, and I need more qualified opinions than hers.

    The situation? I decided to do my part to bring back the cycling cap in our little town, so I purchased a cheapie from an online cycle cap maker. They make S/M and L/XL, and being big-headed, I snagged the L/XL.

    My wife thinks it’s far too small, thus the accusation of being a douche. Being a cap n00b, I just don’t know — thus my appeals to you guys.

    I’ve attached 4 pics for your assessment…

    cap

    cap2

    cap3

    cap4

  21. @RAILhead

    I know I’m digging up an old thread, but I need the input and insight from you, my brethren. My wife is accusing me of looking like a douche, and I need more qualified opinions than hers.

    The situation? I decided to do my part to bring back the cycling cap in our little town, so I purchased a cheapie from an online cycle cap maker. They make S/M and L/XL, and being big-headed, I snagged the L/XL.

    My wife thinks it’s far too small, thus the accusation of being a douche. Being a cap n00b, I just don’t know — thus my appeals to you guys.

    I’ve attached 4 pics for your assessment…

    cap

    cap2

    cap3

    cap4

    Sad to say, but wifey is quite correct.

  22. @frank

    @M3gurl

    I’ve always admired the look of the cycling cap and have a well used one myself. My question is this: As a Velominata, (and a feminine one at that although you’d have to confirm with my husband whether the ‘Velomihottie’ status applies) can chicks pull off the cap or have I inadvertently ventured into a no-woman’s land?

    My VMH does it will style all the time. I give your question a resounding, “YES!” (Just as a point of reference, anything you ladies do you do looking better and with more style than any of us doornob men.)

    Also for reference, despite the three-point violation, I would say this is a healthy vote in favor.

    The girl looks good, too. More here: http://www.fyxomatosis.com/index.php/trackcnt/142-trackcnt-v15-142

    Looks like a great ride.

  23. Yeah, I’m going to return it. It’s too small — but I should have pulled it down in the last pic instead of letting it ride up. Nevertheless, I think that even showing it like that, it would still look too tight.

    I’m having a bugger of a time finding an XXL…

  24. @RAILhead seems you have a similar issue to me when it comes to the 3 panel caps favoured by Rapha (of which that one is a clear knock off). What you need to do is find a 4 panel cap like the Castelli one pictured in comment just above yours as they have more room for larger heads.

  25. @Dr C

    Interesting timing from my point of view, this article, which has thrown me some confusion regarding my commitment to the sacred testament of the V-Rules

    As I be a greenhorn, I have no caps, but have oft thought the interminable drip of sweat onto my specs would be swiftly ammended by wearing one of these little chappies under my helmet

    Thus I went to my LBS, only today, and as well as re-arming myself with a new tube of Chamois cream (is it really £15 anywhere else?), I asked, might the kind and jolly proprietor avail me of said chapeau to keep the sweat and rain out of mes yeux – he looked at me as if I was spastic (sorry, blessed with spasticity) and, probably coming on the back of my purchase of aforementioned ludicrously priced Chamois cream, told me they didn’t keep them and that I should harden the fuck up

    My instant thought was that this was a correct suggestion, and I was indeed openly violating Rule #5 – indeed, was he a secret Velominatus?

    This reassured me after a previous very upsetting visit there yesterday, when I enquired as to the possibility of acquiring a new bike, in due respect of Rule #12, only to be told rather patronisingly, that I didn’t need another bike, calm my jets and leave it for a while….ggrrrrr!!!

    So here I have a situation where, not only will my LBS not allow me to lust after an unnecessary (ITHO) extra velo, but they won’t sell me a fuckin cap now either!!

    How am I meant to abide by Rule #58 in this climate

    I was about to declare that his staff were to cool for school and I was going online, when he started chatting about trips to Belgium, getting wankered on 2 glasses of trippel, and how much fun the Belgians were at cyclocross events, upon which change of tack, we became best mates again and I left with nothing other than my tube of scroteglide, and a gawmless grin on my bake, feeling a bit shit

    Not easy the life of a V-newbie

    :o(

    really epic post! it’s a jungle out there…

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