In Memoriam: The Cycling Cap

In Memoriam: The Cycling Cap

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We gather here today to pay our respects to one of the icons of our great sport, the cycling cap.  The perfect union of form and function and an excellent example of why the former follows the latter, and why together they are beautiful.  The brim is just long enough to shield the eyes from the elements, but is short enough to allow the rider to gaze up the road with head tilted in determination as steady drips of water fall from the apex of the brim and and tap out the rhythm of the stroke.  The cloth construction is comfortable under a helmet or hairnet, and allows it to be easily stuffed into a jersey pocket when not needed.

It’s appearance is clumsy; the short, stubby brim can be flipped upward or downward and, generally made of cotton, cap’s shape is soft and floppy.  Yet, it has been worn by the Greatest Greats of our sport with a transcendent sense of cool. Over time, it became a badge of honor for those of us living La Vie Velominatus; wearing a cycling cap in public amongst the uninitiated felt almost like bragging that you were in on a secret – the cycling cap was what we used to recognize one of our own in a crowd of nonbelievers.

Then something started to change.  Frist this guy, and these guys, and then this fucking guy started wearing our sacred headpiece, and rather than being mistaken for Giants of the Road, we were mistaken for douchebags. The unpalatable and tragic truth is that almost overnight, the history and culture that the cycling cap represented was mistaken for little more than a social prop used by hipsters who suck even more than cyclists at picking up dates at the local cafe.

Slowly but surely, the status of the cycling cap has diminished to where we are today, with the brim of our noble cap barely visible beneath our compulsory helmets only on days where the weather merits its use and  Rule #22 forbidding it’s use off the bike.  We’ve arrived at a place where the men who climb upon the podiums of our storied races wear something more akin to a baseball cap than to the cap that brings back memories of the hardmen of our sport.

I leave you, my fellow Velominati, with some of the great images that show our fallen icon at the height of it’s status as a Symbol of Cycling.

Thanks to @Geoffrey Grosenbach for inspiring this humble eulogy.

// Folklore // In Memoriam // Nostalgia // The Hardmen // The Rules

  1. @Cyclops
    Nice! And thanks. What you can’t see is that I swiped his brandy barrel as I rode past.

  2. Oh whoops! Brett cut my lunch!

  3. Oli Brooke-White :

    I just got given another cap, a cool Livestrong one. And I’m wearing it now.

  4. That was my hairnet when I was 15-16 in 1984 which is, I believe, the last year you could wear these. I won my first race wearing that. I think I’ll sport it later when I’m peaking.

  5. Hairnets available here:

  6. V-shirt, V-pint, V-kit. Only missing one thing.

  7. Helmets and caps do not go together in my personal Rules.

    The person I most think of wearing this combination is Cadel Evans. Nothing against the guy but he’s hardly an icon.

    It’s even in the Bible. “Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel.” Could it be any clearer ?

  8. I’m about to get myself another cap… I’m wondering what the consensus would be as to which I should get… (I currently have a Mapei one that’s falling apart)… I’m thinking Molteni or Cinzano atm.
    Can be found here

  9. @Nathan Edwards
    I think either would do but the Molteni would do best. Can’t beat the tradition and heritage there AND it’ll look super pimp with your V-kit. If you don’t have a V-Kit yet, it’s time my brother.

  10. @Marko
    Ok Molteni it is… sadly the V-kit is out of my price range… gonna have to buy the revision of my Uni Team Kit soon, it’s a bit cheaper than the V-kit but will still hurt my pocket

  11. @Nathan
    Keep hittin those books bro, it’ll pay off and one day you’ll own this place, let alone a V-kit

  12. @Marko
    Rather be hitting the cols

  13. @LastBoyScout
    Well done. Some loosening of the rule is surely in order, so that the cap’s important message reaches a wide audience rather than languishing unseen under the helmet.

  14. I’m not gonna cite Matthias Brandle on his Three-Point system violation, instead I’m giving him a big push of the shifter and say, “Thanks mate, for wearing a good old fashioned fucking cycling cap with its fucking brim flipped up old school style on the podium.”


  15. Undeniably believe that which you stated. Your favourite justification appeared to be on the net the simplest factor to keep in mind of. I say to you, I certainly get irked while other folks consider concerns that they just don’t realize about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top as well as outlined out the whole thing without having side effect , people could take a signal. Will likely be again to get more. Thanks

  16. @Lucien Kolinsky

  17. This is when the magic was lost for me:

  18. @Calmante
    I’ve got that exact Colnago cap – I look exactly like Wesley when I wear it too…

  19. @Oli

    Can you jump?

  20. Walz brand cap from Heck of the North. Recommended.

  21. @G’rilla

    Walz brand cap from Heck of the North. Recommended.

    here we go again. I can see Im gonna half to make it up and try to order one.

  22. @RedRanger


    Walz brand cap from Heck of the North. Recommended.

    here we go again. I can see Im gonna half have to make it up and try to order one.

    that disconnect between my brain and fingers

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