Look Pro, Part IX: Proper Cycling Caps

Photo via La Gazzetta della Bici

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.

Related Posts

164 Replies to “Look Pro, Part IX: Proper Cycling Caps”

  1. @Dr C

    Talking of being pissed – does this cycling lifestyle ruin your drinking legs – I can’t neck it like the proper Irishman I used to be anymore, without falling over and dying a thousand deaths the next day?

    The more time you spend doing one means you’ll spend less time doing the other. It goes both ways. I know when I’m hitting the beers too hard when the bike starts to beat the shit out of me, but if I’m riding a lot and can’t handle the piss I don’t really care. Drink when you’re old.

  2. @Cyclops
    Fucken A! Go son get your hands off those bars and don’t look back. That REALLY rubs it in.

    Is it ironic that, thanks to Ron I’m swearing more on here?

  3. @Marko

    Yeah, but… if she was in cycling kit 99 per cent of folk’d still be looking at T & A. It’s a fine line he’s gotta walk, and I think most of the time there he’s more right with it than wrong.
    And bikes ARE objects.

  4. @Cyclops

    Happy Birthday and Congratulations!! I’m with you – this community definitely makes one step up his or her game. Good show, State Champion!!

  5. Could this cap be V enough?

    And well done to Cyclops – State Champ fantastic…

  6. @Cyclops
    Nice one Cyclops – you look like a Pro with your celebrations – can’t see in those black shorts if you are in Hushovd’s league, but pretty impressive

    Can we get you a V-kit with the State Champs colour bands on it for next year?

    @minion
    thankfully I and starting to look less and less like that every day – happy to stay off the drink and love my bike instead

  7. Way to go Cyclops. Well done, Mate. An inspiration to us all. And not a bad finish line salute, either.

  8. @Cyclops
    Chapeau cycley. Sounds like you weren’t channeling the V. The V was channeling you!

    As to the salute – do the open hands signify the “I have won but I really can’t believe it!”.

    State champ – they can never take that away from you (unless you go pos of course).

  9. @Cyclops
    Fuckin’ A!!!!!!!

    Frank: We gotta start another section on the page: The Palmares. Cyclops goes in first.

  10. The Man with the Monocle strikes again. And to think””as with any true Velominatus””you’re still two months from peaking. The Sky might really be the limit!

  11. CYCLOPS!!!!! What a win! We have a champion in our midst!

    That’s awesome. Congratulations! Talk about a great way to hit fifty!! I have a lot to look forward to down the line.

    It must have been the LOOK, right? Oh, and the Followers! And Rule V!

    Enjoy it, nice going, very happy to read this on a Sunday morning when I can’t ride until later in the day. I’m now extra stoked to ride later.

    State Champion!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Chapeau, Cyclops! I’ve just started doing runs with my local club and they asked if I wanted to do any racing. At first I’ve said no, but after reading your reports maybe I might.

  13. Congratulations Cyclops.. and nice job on the victory salute… deserving of your own “Anatomy of a photo”!

  14. @Cyclops
    Fucking Awesome! What does that state champs kit look like? Maybe Frank can make you a little one for all of us to gawk at!

    @Jeff in PetroMetro

    @Cyclops
    Fuckin’ A!!!!!!!
    Frank: We gotta start another section on the page: The Palmares. Cyclops goes in first.

    This.

  15. @Dr C

    @Chris
    what are you doing Squiffy at this time of day – I thought you were in England – I presume you are in a different time zone coz I’m still at friggin work – bastad

    Talking of being pissed – does this cycling lifestyle ruin your drinking legs – I can’t neck it like the proper Irishman I used to be anymore, without falling over and dying a thousand deaths the next day?

    Sorry to have spoilt your Friday afternoon, Dr C, but I do believe that I reside in the same time zone. I was dragged out against my will for a few sneaky lunch time drinks in honour of a colleague’s birthday. We did go back to work afterwards!

    In my defence though I would say that squiffy is the mildly hazy, cheerful state that sits between the dull ache of sobriety and being pissed.

    I’m on an enforced training break (while on of the UK’s largest retailers tries to work out the difference between its rse and its elbow and how my dérailleur might have already failed by the time it hit my frame rather than refusing to warranty it because it snapped in half when it hit the frame) so I’ve relaxed slightly on the drink/food front. I get it back this week and I’m dreading the work I’m going to have to do over the next two weeks to atone before I go on holiday to a rather hot any hilly bit of Spain!

  16. @Jonny

    Chapeau, Cyclops! I’ve just started doing runs with my local club and they asked if I wanted to do any racing. At first I’ve said no, but after reading your reports maybe I might.

    After spending a bit of time on this site and having just read Cyclops’ tale of derring do, I’m beginning to think that 2012 might be the year for my competitive debut. We need to get registered as an international club and see how many titles we can rack up between us!

  17. @Chris
    no worries, I turned it around when I got home – found the Black Sheep Dark Ale very palatable

    besides, I’ve now got a dark grey sea urchin, and you’ve only got a light grey V-1, so I’m the winner

  18. @Dr C

    @Chris
    no worries, I turned it around when I got home – found the Black Sheep Dark Ale very palatable

    This is where I finished on Friday, just the one though…

    @Dr C

    @Chris
    besides, I’ve now got a dark grey sea urchin, and you’ve only got a light grey V-1, so I’m the winner

    b’stard, I’d like to say it’s because I’ve spent more time on the bike of recent but I’d be lying. the family is away this week, I’ll see if I can catch up!

  19. @Chris
    Yeah, let’s do it! (I don’t know how to do the quote thing…) And that’s going to mean having to Train Properly. Would any of you racers also recommend swapping the Compact out for a Standard? I know I’d have to learn to push it but even with regular longer rides (70-100k) over rolling hills my hill climbing is still not good. In fact my guns don’t appear to be developing much from starter pistols and are looking almost elegant now that I’m Rule #33 compliant.

  20. @Cyclops
    Cripes, I avert my gaze for a few moments and Cyclops goes mental!
    Well done old son. I loved your story of the race. It pretty much describes the best race experiences I’ve ever had (the process mind, if not the result). You just have to keep scrapping away, fighting the urge to quit, then suprise the fuck out of yourself by laying down an attack 15 minutes after you thought it was all over.
    I love it, and especially for your 50th Birthday!
    Wear that jersey with pride!

  21. @Jonny
    Go for it Johnny – you’ll be amazed how much you discover when you race – you just need to take the philosophical view that you learn by your mistakes

    By the way, good luck with shedding the red lantern!

  22. @Dr C
    Thanks for the encouragement on the racing. I’m definitely going to give it a go.

    Alas, the lantern rouge may be around a while because I’ve missed the entry for the Eneco VSP. But the Vuelta is coming up…

  23. 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.

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

  25. @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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.