Les Maîtres de la Casquette

The last masters of the Cycling cap passed into the night at the close of the 20th cetnury
The last masters of the Cycling cap slipped into the shadows at the close of the 20th century

It doesn’t take a genius to see what’s going on here. Rule #5, Rule #9, Rule #10; every rider in this frame Looks Fantastic (most other Rules). The riders are in short sleeves and shorts while the public apparently has scavenged materials from rubbish bins and the local grain elevator in a very visually unpleasant effort to keep warm. When I visualize the 90’s, this photo pretty much shows what I see. (Why was the weather so crap in France during Big Mig’s reign? Only redeeming quality of his wins.)

What this photo also shows is the highest concentration of Les Maîtres de la Casquette, the masters of the Cycling cap, in recent recorded history. We discussed the art of wearing a Cycling Cap before, probably more often than necessary. Like all art, it begins with some founding principles, and then opens itself to the artist’s vision and expression. And like with art, there are The Masters.

In the art of wearing the revered casquette, we are guided by the Three Point System. From there, we are at liberty to express ourselves. In the days before helmets, the peloton was overflowing with masters of this studied art with an early style peak coinciding directly with the point of bushiest sideburns, but it has since all but died out. The last peak was in 1991, when Big Mig, Chiappucci, Bugno, Luc LeBlanc, and Richard Virenque were all at the height of their powers. Like the Jedi after the rise of the Sith, it is the responsibility of The Velominati to keep this art alive.

It also occurs to me in the state of high fever in which I write this, that the transcended Velominatus is always engaged in a Cycling-related activity which could possibly provide a release-clause for any accusation of a Rule #22 violation.

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130 Replies to “Les Maîtres de la Casquette”

  1. @VeloSix

    I love cycling caps. Not so much I wear them while not riding, but dam they are cool looking on the bike, that’s for damn sure! Except the dumbasses who wear them backwards. That looks fucking stupid to me.

    Au contraire mon frere! Baseball caps – especially the ones with the plastic band adapter – look unbelievably stupid worn backwards. Tom Danielson and Floyd L were egregious adopters of this “look”. A cycling cap worn backwards looks ace – brim up or brim down. Just google image Jan Raas. That man knew how to wear a cap every which way.

    Apropos the rain cap, I have a picture at home of Roche and Bruno Leali wearing two at the same time – one forwards and one backwards. I’ve seen pix of Kelly and Fignon doing likewise. No arguing with those guys.!

  2. Bugno and El Diablo are sporting the foam materialed rain cap, a bit easier to pull off. But, my God, how does BigMig pull off the ‘puffy look” with the standard cotton cap? Truly extraterrestrial!  (and is there a new secret to posting pictures?).

  3. @brett

    @Rob

    @Barracuda

    @Mikael Liddy

    You know the real questions though, where the fuck are the V-caps?

    THIS !!!!!!!

    It’s time to begin a V-Starter for V-caps. This would be a KickStarter to raise the initial lucre to make the minimum order. I imagine it’s got to be a fairly large number of caps and therefore I purpose that we canvas the community and do the math so that at each level of donation you would receive more caps.

    What, for instance a large donor does with say 200 caps is irrelevant, it is the means to an end and I am betting that In a hundred years they will sell as collectible.

    This. It’s been long talked about in the Boardroom, and it seems so simple to produce a V-cap, but it’s not. Getting the right mix of quality, price and number has been a seemingly insurmountable task. But we’re gonna get there… we must.

    Teaser

  4. @davidlhill

    @brett

    @Rob

    @Barracuda

    @Mikael Liddy

    You know the real questions though, where the fuck are the V-caps?

    THIS !!!!!!!

    It’s time to begin a V-Starter for V-caps. This would be a KickStarter to raise the initial lucre to make the minimum order. I imagine it’s got to be a fairly large number of caps and therefore I purpose that we canvas the community and do the math so that at each level of donation you would receive more caps.

    What, for instance a large donor does with say 200 caps is irrelevant, it is the means to an end and I am betting that In a hundred years they will sell as collectible.

    This. It’s been long talked about in the Boardroom, and it seems so simple to produce a V-cap, but it’s not. Getting the right mix of quality, price and number has been a seemingly insurmountable task. But we’re gonna get there… we must.

    Is this why the V Kit has disappeared? But I do get it – if a cap can’t be produced, how the hell are you going to create bib shorts?

    Put me down as buyer.

    As to the question of the brim, simple. Sun and/or warmth – Up and the legend – Rule #5. Wet and/or cold – Down and the legend – Rule #9.

    David

    I’ve been too busy to manage it properly so we took the products down until we can sort out a proper way to handle it all. Big improvements in the works for Jan 1 2014 including new kit design (still keeping the original of course) and the V-Cap.

    @Ccos

    Unless of course you are massively obese. I’m not sure of the attraction there by some of that tribe to Lycra, FFS.

    I have wondered this many times myself, but until I become so disposed myself, I am afraid I shall never find out.

  5. @wiscot

    Damn, Bugno looks PRO beyond belief in that lead pic – the cap, Italian champs jersey (was there ever a better complement to those Gatorade shorts?), the gloves and the Diadoras. For what it’s worth, I don’t think it’s a regular cotton cap he’s wearing, it’s a kind of rain cap – soft nylon and almost insulated. I had a Peugeot one in the 80s. It was ace.

    Right on all counts. Still a masterclass in wearing one.

    Next edition will be on wearing winter Cycling caps.

  6. @ChrisO

    Some of us carry on l’esprit de casquette.

    For example, riding our bikes wearing just a cycling cap.

    Try it someday, you might not die.

    Until then I refuse to listen to the opinions of anyone who either:

    a) doesn’t wear a cycling cap when cycling or;

    b) wears a cycling cap under their helmet when not obliged to do so e.g. by event or UCI regulation. Worse than the non-cap wearer. They want to suck up the sangfroid of the cap, but are afraid to do it without the helmet. Be one or be the other, not both.

    I wear my cycling cap anytime I please because I’ve earned it.

    Oh no, don’t start that again!

    Caps under helmets have a perfectly functional purpose, especially for bald people (not my problem) or in Rule #9 conditions.

    @Pedale.Forchetta

    At his last Monument Race, Il Lombardia 2014.

    photo by me.

    Perfect.

  7. @Souleur

    There is not a lot I relish in this time of year, waking up to 17* this am and pondering when I am going to ride, winters chill to the bone isn’t welcoming until your in the ride at least an hour.

    The one thing however I do smile about is donning of the cycling cap, truth be also, the arm warmers and knee warmers as well. The cap isn’t something I can do all year, in the heat it is just too much, but it is not just vanity for this time of the year, its is HIGHLY functional. It must absolutlely be done right, I prefer no helmet with the cap, but sometimes do wear the cap under helmet as well, either way, the 3 point V code must be followed.

    And the true beauty of the cap is when something is so classy and essentially functional: well, it just makes one smile

    THIS!

    @Buck Rogers

    Just reading the 1990 edition of Winning’s Fabulous World of Cycling and the intro has Merckx and the other author wondering in amazement about how the Italians came out of “nowhere” to dominate the year, winning nearly everything except the TdF and how amazing it was and a real Renaissance for the Italians. Of course, Conconi’s name was not to be found within the pages anywhere. Funny to read literature from that time with the hindsight that we have now.

    I have ’83-’90 and they are all so much fun. That ’90 edition is awesome. When did those stop? I’d love to grab some from the early 90’s.

    @ruudi

    Sorry to be pedantic but it should be “Les maitres…”, not “Le maitres”. It’s plural innit :)

    That’s correct, some funny caching issue as the actual title was correct. Cache refreshed and thanks.

  8. @brett

    @frank

    @Mikael Liddy

    You know the real questions though, where the fuck are the V-caps?

    It will be part of the 2015 V-Gear reboot; in the mean time, meditate on this fucking cap.

    Oh, we’re so stealing that!

    Prophetic, isn’t it?

  9. @wiscot

    Jan Raas. That man knew how to wear a cap every which way.

    Yes he did.

    [dmalbum: path=”/velominati.com/wp-content/uploads/readers/brett/2014.11.20.13.53.40/1//”/]

  10. @frank

    @brett

    @Rob

    @Barracuda

    @Mikael Liddy

    You know the real questions though, where the fuck are the V-caps?

    THIS !!!!!!!

    It’s time to begin a V-Starter for V-caps. This would be a KickStarter to raise the initial lucre to make the minimum order. I imagine it’s got to be a fairly large number of caps and therefore I purpose that we canvas the community and do the math so that at each level of donation you would receive more caps.

    What, for instance a large donor does with say 200 caps is irrelevant, it is the means to an end and I am betting that In a hundred years they will sell as collectible.

    This. It’s been long talked about in the Boardroom, and it seems so simple to produce a V-cap, but it’s not. Getting the right mix of quality, price and number has been a seemingly insurmountable task. But we’re gonna get there… we must.

    Teaser

    Just take my money, please!  Put me down for two!!!

  11. @frank

    “I have ’83-’90 and they are all so much fun. That ’90 edition is awesome. When did those stop? I’d love to grab some from the early 90’s.”

    Perhaps ’91 was the last year?  Not sure.  I only have two years but love them.  I need to fill out the missing years myself.

  12. ChrisO

    I wear my cycling cap anytime I please because I’ve earned it.

    And, in turn I do the same, under a helmet. To be blunt I’m a fucking useless hubbard compared to you ChrisO, so please disregard this by all accounts.

    For me, sunshade and perspiration accumulation are benefits that the Uvex doesn’t provide lest ye be wearing ye helmet of MTBism. Henceforthwitherforto it is upon the consumption of your many reasoned and respected responses vis a vie le casquette and velo sans helmet that personally I respect anyone who rides has decided to wear their headdress with their own reasoned decision. It is not for me to change their mind, nor for them to change mine, though we always reserve the right to change our own opinions. With Velominati as a control sample of the internet, this change can be on a whim.

    I see abominations of cap exhibitionism, yet can only lay claim to wearing that most cliché of cliché, the Brooklyn, purchased in starry eyed wonder of De Vlaeminck, only to find it the most maligned of all. But hey, can’t afford a new one, and it works, and I don’t have to look at myself when I’m riding do I. Ha.

    Once wore it to a bar, in a town flooded with cyclists for the largest event of the year, and didn’t get served. Lesson learned, but I do wear it about town that weekend.

    Would post a pic, but you know, don’t have any more self esteem to lose..

  13. @frank

    @brett

    @Rob

    @Barracuda

    @Mikael Liddy

    You know the real questions though, where the fuck are the V-caps?

    THIS !!!!!!!

    It’s time to begin a V-Starter for V-caps. This would be a KickStarter to raise the initial lucre to make the minimum order. I imagine it’s got to be a fairly large number of caps and therefore I purpose that we canvas the community and do the math so that at each level of donation you would receive more caps.

    What, for instance a large donor does with say 200 caps is irrelevant, it is the means to an end and I am betting that In a hundred years they will sell as collectible.

    This. It’s been long talked about in the Boardroom, and it seems so simple to produce a V-cap, but it’s not. Getting the right mix of quality, price and number has been a seemingly insurmountable task. But we’re gonna get there… we must.

    Teaser

    Looks great. How would it look without the V on the bill? either way just take my money already!

  14. @frank

    @ChrisO

    Some of us carry on l’esprit de casquette.

    For example, riding our bikes wearing just a cycling cap.

    Try it someday, you might not die.

    Until then I refuse to listen to the opinions of anyone who either:

    a) doesn’t wear a cycling cap when cycling or;

    b) wears a cycling cap under their helmet when not obliged to do so e.g. by event or UCI regulation. Worse than the non-cap wearer. They want to suck up the sangfroid of the cap, but are afraid to do it without the helmet. Be one or be the other, not both.

    I wear my cycling cap anytime I please because I’ve earned it.

    Oh no, don’t start that again!

    Oh happy days. Productivity went out of the window that week.

  15. I use a cap when Im driving to a mtb ride(or any ride) working on a bike, riding a trainer, watching a race and of course when I ride without a helmet(gasp)

    I am very much in favor of taking back the cycling cap!

  16. #5, #9, #10…well, there ya go.

    Souleur – awesome. How true!

    “Why are you wearing that little cap?”

    Do you have any goddamn idea what this “little cap” can do?!

    They look awesome (when done right) and they serve a myriad of purposes. Hell yeah, I’m gonna use this tool and put up with fielding questions from you idiots.

  17. @Buck Rogers

    @brett

    @Buck Rogers

    Marc Madiot

    In 1991 no less.

    (Captions didn’t make it through somehow)

    @Buck Rogers

    @fignons barber

    (and is there a new secret to posting pictures?).

    This! I have not been able to post a photo for a few days now at work or at home.

    Email me specifics – rouleur at you know where and I’ll look into it. I tested it with an account like yours and it worked for me and others are posting, so not sure what the deal is.

  18. Brim should only be up when climbing steep gradients as you need to see the road ahead, this also means that sweat will run off the edges instead of dripping off the peak onto your stem. At all other times you should be riding fast enough and deep enough that wind pressure will not allow it up.

  19. @Buck Rogers Without the context of the other photos, you’d swear he’s enjoying a crafty ciggie while racing in that photo – which obviously while this would be extremely cool, is unlikely to be the case. Great photo – but seriously those conditions, shit when you have to clean your own bike.

  20. @Giles

    @Buck Rogers Without the context of the other photos, you’d swear he’s enjoying a crafty ciggie while racing in that photo – which obviously while this would be extremely cool, is unlikely to be the case. Great photo – but seriously those conditions, shit when you have to clean your own bike.

    And the nice spectator lady in white standing ankle deep in shit. Fucking awesome.

  21. @frank

    @Markp

    Ignore Jaja

    This photo puts in sharp relief what has happened to the European peloton due to the introduction of the helmet, a device that has flummoxed the French in particular more than anyone.

    Compare Jaja below with cap with the above.

    How can a dude who can even crush a sweat band still look that bad in a helmet.

    While this photo below puts the de Kaiser at throttle sans Cap in a completing different perspective. That said only Pantani could get away with a bandana.

  22. @frank

    How can a dude who can even crush a sweat band still look that bad in a helmet.

     

    Would take the Professor sweat band over Jaja

  23. @brett

    I wear a cap under my helmet year round because:

    a) I’m bald and it keeps my head warm in winter and unburnt in summer.

    b) Helmets are compulsory here.

    c) It’s fucking badass. Buck (and VeloVita) knows.

    +1

    Yes, bald here as well. I need something to soak up the sweat, and to stop diamond shaped sunburn on my much abused pate. The brim keeps the sun off my much abused nose and the rain off my sunglasses. If you grew up in Australia when pink zinc was the only thing going to ward off sun burn, like me, you will likely spend some time at the doctor getting bits of your outer layer burnt or frozen or chemically peeled. Not fun. So, cycling cap under the helmet is a pretty good idea.

  24. @VeloVita To be fair, I’ve yet to see anyone carry the Rapha cap off. I’ve got one and I look a complete tool in it, with the exception of under a helmet when it is pretty cool. There isnt enough material in the top section IMO.

  25. @ruudi You’re spot on, I was thinking the same but being a newbie did not want to be the wise-ass from scratch

  26. @Gilly

    @VeloVita To be fair, I’ve yet to see anyone carry the Rapha cap off. I’ve got one and I look a complete tool in it, with the exception of under a helmet when it is pretty cool. There isnt enough material in the top section IMO.

    Yes, but not wearing it with a sportcoat and collared shirt is a start…

    I do agree that the three paneled cycling cap does not lend itself well to many for exactly the reason you state.  I for one look much better in the 4 panel Nalini/Santini style cap that most team caps are made in.  That said, the three panel cap has a more streamlined fit for wear under a helmet.

  27. @Giles

    @Buck Rogers Without the context of the other photos, you’d swear he’s enjoying a crafty ciggie while racing in that photo – which obviously while this would be extremely cool, is unlikely to be the case. Great photo – but seriously those conditions, shit when you have to clean your own bike.

    He always seems to have his tongue out in his photos.  Too funny.

  28. @Beers

    I see abominations of cap exhibitionism, yet can only lay claim to wearing that most cliché of cliché, the Brooklyn, purchased in starry eyed wonder of De Vlaeminck, only to find it the most maligned of all. But hey, can’t afford a new one, and it works, and I don’t have to look at myself when I’m riding do I. Ha.

    Once wore it to a bar, in a town flooded with cyclists for the largest event of the year, and didn’t get served. Lesson learned, but I do wear it about town that weekend.

    Would post a pic, but you know, don’t have any more self esteem to lose..

    you drilled it here Beerman.  For some who are purposely touting their cycling pet-degree, they are Poseurs and easily detected in the crowds.  like this cat.

    I am however drawn to the subtle, quiet cat that drilled it off the front of the ride for the last 2 hours, who roules in and wears the cap proper with all points respected or actually even forgets he had the cap on and…just keeps wearing it.  That is point on and respectable.  like the holy father:

  29. @wiscot

    @Buck Rogers

    @davidlhill

    And ChrisO: I’m not biting on your proffered helmet debate!

    Spot on. No helmet debate. Mad Jacques wouldn’t wear a helmet, would he? Black beret was where it was at for him. That was then, this is now. No more debate!

    You misunderstand – I know better than to start a helmet debate.

    I was saying that as one who wears the casquette in its natural state I claim the moral high ground on matters of cap-wearing.

    Consequently I  don’t give a flying fuck for what helmet-wearers, or the Rules, think about whether I shouldn’t wear it off the bike, in the bath or whenever I goddam please. Their opinions on cycling caps are tainted at source.

    @gilly Even I have to agree on that. The Rapha cap is not good. It makes one look like this.

  30. @geoffrey

    @brett

    I wear a cap under my helmet year round because:

    a) I’m bald and it keeps my head warm in winter and unburnt in summer.

    b) Helmets are compulsory here.

    c) It’s fucking badass. Buck (and VeloVita) knows.

    1

    Yes, bald here as well. I need something to soak up the sweat, and to stop diamond shaped sunburn on my much abused pate. The brim keeps the sun off my much abused nose and the rain off my sunglasses. If you grew up in Australia when pink zinc was the only thing going to ward off sun burn, like me, you will likely spend some time at the doctor getting bits of your outer layer burnt or frozen or chemically peeled. Not fun. So, cycling cap under the helmet is a pretty good idea.

    I stand corrected, in spades.

    My erroneous view of life comes, I guess, from living in such a weather neutral country……

    David

  31. @geoffrey

    @brett

    I wear a cap under my helmet year round because:

    a) I’m bald and it keeps my head warm in winter and unburnt in summer.

    b) Helmets are compulsory here.

    c) It’s fucking badass. Buck (and VeloVita) knows.

    1

    Yes, bald here as well. I need something to soak up the sweat, and to stop diamond shaped sunburn on my much abused pate. The brim keeps the sun off my much abused nose and the rain off my sunglasses. If you grew up in Australia when pink zinc was the only thing going to ward off sun burn, like me, you will likely spend some time at the doctor getting bits of your outer layer burnt or frozen or chemically peeled. Not fun. So, cycling cap under the helmet is a pretty good idea.

    I stand corrected.

    My only excuse is that my opinions were created in a weather neutral country – the UK.

    David

  32. @Markp

    @frank

    How can a dude who can even crush a sweat band still look that bad in a helmet.

    Would take the Professor sweat band over Jaja

    What Le Prof never understood about helmets and caps is your hair can never stick out from under the front; it always has to be tucked back underneath. No forehead showing.

    What Le Prof also missed about the sweatband is that while it still follows the three point system, your hair should always stick out over the top of it (same goes for the rare cycling cap with the top cut out). If you can chuck a pair of shades on top, all the better.

    Figgles always had it backwards.

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