Although vintage caps are wonderful conversation starters, they aren’t always for everyone! New, remodelled, remastered caps can be more accommodating as they’re made with modern-day materials that facilitate air-flow and the absorption of sweat.
You can get your hands on cycling caps displaying the brands of many vintage cycling team sponsors, thus celebrating the golden era of cycling with new material.
Here is a display of some very colourful retro cycling caps, including Mapei, Brooklyn, Panasonic, KAS, Saecco.
With the boom of fixie and track bike culture in the early 2000s, cycling caps have become an item of clothing you can wear at any time to show that you are into bikes. From this rise in popularity, Cinelli have brought out some crazy designs; most famously caps to commemorate Monster Track (A fixed gear racing event that happens in New York, with NO road closures - yes, you read that correctly)
One was also made for the European Cycling Messenger Championships (ECMC).
And even one for the Bicycle Film Festival.
As it became more acceptable to wear a cycling cap when not riding a bike, many brands began to produce their own - giving people the chance to support their favourite teams or companies, or even just customise their attire.
Most bicycle shops that sell, or produce bikes, will manufacture their own style of cap as a way for you to represent them. They’re a lightweight, practical and stylish accessory that every serious cyclist needs!
Functions of cycling caps
Cycling caps provide 2 primary functions: increasing your visibility and comfort. Here’s a few reasons why you should wear a cycling cap:
Cycling hats prevent sweat dripping down your face and into your eyes. If you sweat a lot, then you’ll know just how much it burns when you get sweat in your eyes - something to be avoided at all costs!
Cycling caps absorb liquid, so that could either be the aforementioned dreaded head sweat, or if it rains, then it will limit the flow of water and make it a little less annoying to ride!
They are great at controlling ventilation through a helmet in slightly colder conditions. Early morning rides needn’t be so daunting anymore! Cycling caps provide a lovely layer of insulation under your helmet to keep you warm when it’s cold out - no more excuses!
They stop your hair going too crazy in the wind. Or even better still: they prevent the unthinkable helmet hair! Your cap will keep your hair nicely in order and less ‘mad scientist’.
They hide your bad hair-do, or lack thereof! Just crawled out of bed and wanting to hide it? Or maybe you want to protect your poor bald head (you’re not alone) then a cap is definitely the way to go!
They provide cover from the sun on hotter days. If you are someone with a particularly vented ‘aero’ helmet, then when the sun is beating down, it’ll pierce right through the ventilation holes and could burn your scalp - now that is definitely something to avoid!
Additional shade from the sun: Sunglasses are great for softening the glare of the sun, but to keep your temperature down, and to stop yourself getting dazzled, then the bill of a cycling cap will provide adequate protection!
Added aerodynamics: if you’re a die-hard speed freak looking to shave a few seconds off your ride in any way you can (that one Strava segment you’re so close to being the leader of) then a cycling cap with the bill turned down will encourage airflow over your helmet and make you cut through the air that little bit faster.
How do I wear a cycling cap?
Here’s an example of a retro cycling cap with the bill up.
Cycling caps are designed to go underneath your helmet without causing any sort of discomfort, but also adding a little flash of colour there too.
There has been a debate raging for years as to whether you should wear your cap with the bill turned up the way to reveal another logo, or keep it down. There is no right or wrong answer to this question as it’s personal preference. Bill up or bill down? It’s your call!