As anyone who has seen fans scrabbling for the free ones thrown from the caravan before a bike race will know; all cyclists love a cycling cap.
However, while their use on the bike is universally approved of, there is a po-faced segment among the cycling community that believes you should never be seen in one away from the bike.
This is an extremely boring attitude. Other occasions it’s acceptable to wear a cycling cap include; spectating at a bike race, clubbing in 1980s New York, or any time you want to shade your eyes from the sun, such as when sitting on a cafe terrace somewhere on the Riviera.
Here are seven of the best.
Isadore Climber's Albula
£19, Shop Isadore
This classically styled cotton cap features a pretty swirling pattern that could easily represent the brain fog that descends when pedalling your way up a big climb. Scoring extra points for being made in Italy, the traditional three-panel construction of Isdaore’s lightweight Climbers Cap is backed by an antibacterial liner tape that will keep you fresh when wearing it for multiple days.
Cinelli Tarsila Schubert
£18, Shop Cinelli
Milan-based bike and accessory makers Cinelli knows how to execute an effective collaboration. For proof, you can visit its Italian factory where you can still see a couple of million quid’s worth of Keith Haring paintings from the time that he did a few commissions for them. Its latest cap design has been created by another street artist, this time Brazil’s Tarsila Schubert. Outrageously bright, its fruity design will suit cyclists and Carmen Miranda fans alike.
Rapha One More City
£20, Shop Rapha
This rather lovely floral cap from Rapha is not only attractive, it also supports an excellent cause. Each year One More City challenges riders to travel between two great European cities in support of secondary breast cancer research. In the process, it’s raised over £100,000, allowing it to fund a PhD student investigating a potential new drug at the Breast Cancer Resistance Lab at Imperial College London.
Cafe Du Cycliste Navy
Despite having the brand’s name down the side, this cap from Cafe Du Cycliste is otherwise pleasingly subtle in style. With polka dots on the top of its visor, flipping this up reveals a bright white underside with the French tricolour serving for a racing stripe down the centre. Made of a mix of cotton and polyester, it’s a fairly tough and breathable cap. Also available in red and navy, all three options are just the right shade too.
Paul Smith Artist’s Stripe
£45, Shop Paul Smith
If you’re aware of the existence of British tailor and designer Paul Smith, you’re also probably aware of his obsession with cycling. And stripes. Stripes and cycling. Combining the two, this classic-looking cap features his signature multi-colour artist’s stripe down the centre. Despite its appearance, it’s also surprisingly high-tech, having inside a mesh interior lining to keep it comfy and absorbent.
SealSkinz Waterproof All Weather
£25, Shop Sealskinz
Any cycling cap is a good accessory on a cold day. One that seals out the elements and stops water from dripping into your eyes is even better. SealSkinz’ nicely cut plain black cap looks like any other. However thanks to a three-layer waterproof construction it’s a whole lot better able to prevent you from getting brain freeze. Breathable and with minimal insulation, it’s also a good bet for merely cool conditions too.
Buff Pack Bike
£26.85, Shop Buff
While most caps can be easily slipped into a jersey pocket, this ultra-slim model can be rolled up into an even tinier package. Popping back up without looking the least crumpled, it’s also guaranteed to take up a minimum of space under your helmet. Being synthetic, it’s also breathable, easy to wash and quick to dry. Treated with silver to keep bacteria from multiplying, it’s great for repeated wear atop hot heads.