Monday, April 2, 2012

The Cycling Inquisition cap, this year's must-have accessory



Left to right, Fabio Parra (best first-timer/young rider), Alfonso Florez (overall winner), and Fernando Cruz (intermediate sprints jersey) at the Vuelta a Colombia podium in 1979.
Small detail: Notice that the Colombian flag on their sleeves is upside down (unlike the collar), since these jerseys were for the podium, and meant to be worn with your arms up, as you celebrated victory.





As technology continues to engulf every aspect of professional cycling, some followers of the sport are left to reminisce about simpler times. To some, it's the simplicity of wool jerseys that they remember fondly. For others, it's a time before race radios, when industrial-strength sideburns dominated the peloton. And for a select few, it's memories of that one time when Steve Bauer tried to win Paris-Roubaix while laying down over a bike with a wheelbase inspired by a 1970s Buick that makes them teary-eyed.

Personally, I have a soft-spot for cycling caps. Nearly extinct, cycling caps among professionals are now a rarity, and are thus somewhere between the lungfish and sasquatch. When you spot one, you wonder how it survived this long, and how it got there. But in most cases, when you see one, you simply question the health of your eyesight, and rush to get a free eye exam at Lens Crafters the day after.



Rafel Antonio Niño, leading the Vuelta a Colombia during his first attempt in 1970 (he eventually won). His cap says "Caracol", which is a broadcasting company, and sponsor of several races. These caps were given to riders by different companies, and were not supplied by their teams. It's for this reason that you'll often see pictures of teammates wearing caps for rival broadcasting companies.




Among non-professionals, the number of cycling caps appears to be dwindling as well, a pity considering how useful and convenient they are while on the bike. At last count, the number of cycling caps worldwide was shrinking, putting this garment somewhere between the Bengal tiger and the Iberian lynx in terms of how endangered it is.

It's with all this in mind that I have decided to do my part in helping repopulate the world with cycling caps, and will now use this blog to help release a few of them back into the wild.





Yes ladies and gentlemen, what you see above is a real-life Cycling Inquisition cycling cap, featuring the Colombian flag. Made from pre-washed cotton/poly twill, these Colombian Cycling Sombreros are intended to fit under your helmet, and thus feature the Colombian flag across the top and into the visor. They come in two sizes (small/medium, and medium/large), and feature elastic along the back for a comfortable fit. Tested in the most grueling conditions (namely that one long climb during my commute), these caps are sturdy, very well constructed and impeccably finished (unlike many such garments made by hand in small runs).

For those of you who worry about the provenance of the goods you buy, allow me to tell you that these caps were made by hand, by the fine folks at Red Dots Cycling in a far-away land known as Canada. The flag ribbon used was made in Colombia, and was sourced by both my brother and my dear mother in Bogotá.

These caps were made to my specifications (I'm not kidding), since I'm very picky about the fact that some cycling caps have visors that are far too long, or insanely short. Said visor is sturdy and can be flipped up if prefer the Wesley Snipes look.

Details:
$28 . $2.00 shipping to the US, $4 internationally. All orders will ship via USPS.

Call now, operators are standing by. Well, not really, so you can send payment via PayPal to: cyclinginquisition - at symbol - gmail.com. (Update: As of April 4th, the M/L caps are on backorder, due to a higher-than expected number of orders. I should have more in about two weeks, and will send them out then).

Oh, and if you think the price for these is high, please consider that they are expensive to have made, and that they do what they're supposed to do. I'm looking in your direction Andreas Klier, and I'm referring to the wood chips you're selling on the internet (see here and here) which amazingly don't appear to be an April Fools' joke.

As those of you who have ordered from me before know, these will come with a few unlisted goodies ranging from stickers to culinary treats and more.

For those who are expecting a jersey from me (they are set to arrive from Hincapie very soon), I will gladly waive the shipping cost for the cap if you buy one. I'll just send it along with your jersey.




Cochise Rodriguez (center) and Javier "El Ñato" Suarez (right). Caps are for RCN (broadcasting company, and sponsor of Colombia's second biggest race), and Antioquia, the department where Medellin is, and where Cochise was born. Since broadcasters often did their live commentary from a motorcycle in the caravan, they too wore caps.




Sizing:
Small/Medium
21” - 22 1 /2” or 53cm to 57cm

Medium/Large (currently on backorder)
22 1/2" - 24" or 57 cm to 60.5 cm if you are of the metric persuasion

If you're unsure as to what size to buy, simply measure the circumference of your head like this lady, to ensure you get the right one. Measure where the bottom of the cap will be worn.

Lastly, for those of you who have been reading this blog for some time, you'll notice that I've never had a full offering of goods available at once. The jerseys sold out, and then the socks did as well. Now that both are gone, I have caps. I know that this seems a bit scattered (because it is), but I simply don't have the monetary or mental fortitude to buy a metric ton of jerseys, caps and socks at once, in order to have everything be in stock at the same time. So please think of this blog as a long-running soap opera (or Friday Night Lights): You have to keep watching in order to get the whole storyline over time.




Henry "Cebollita" Cardenas




Lastly, in preparation for Paris-Roubaix this weekend, feel free to read my post regarding my experience riding part of the course and seeing the race a couple of years ago. It's a long post, but (in my humble opinion) well worth it. You can read it here.

11 comments:

  1. I used my inside connections (namely I went to visit my brother over the weekend) and got my cap yesterdayer. NICE!

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  2. very thoughtful, Klaus, making available the perfect accessory item to go along with the rest of the Cycling Inquisition team kit. the caps also speak to the retro-grouch in me- i wear one under my helmet on every ride. silly stripes sunburned into my balding scalp, or bee stings from when one of the little insects gets caught between helmet and mullet... those things are not for me.


    i'll take two, please.

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  3. I used to have one of those Cafe De Colombia "gorra" a few years a go that just vanished from too much wear. I wish I still had it.

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  4. Class. These make me wish I had more heads.

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  5. Xyxax,
    If I had a dime for every time I've heard someone say that about these hats, I'd have ten cents.

    Antonio,
    I admire your use of the word "gorra", I'm a "cachucha" man myself, but either will do!

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  6. Glad to see the flag would be the right way round for my mid-ride nap; I'm a right cheek kind of guy when I sleep.
    Unfortunately no hat has ever been invented that doesn't make me look even more of a dick than I already do so I'll have to pass for reasons of damage limitation.

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  7. I used to wear cycling caps. Now I just wear a pair of panties on my head.

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  8. Panties on your head? Damn it, once again I'm clearly way behind the times. The moment I put out sweet caps, it turns out that wearing women's pantaloons is all the rage. Back to the drawing board!

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  9. Late to the partyApril 4, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    I was going to ask what on earth anyone found utilitarian and/or fashionable about these caps but bike master and bod seem to have covered it.

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  10. as the kids would say "best...cycling cap...EVERRRRRR!"

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