Monday, April 2, 2012

Colombian Cycling Sombreros

Brim up!
My old Cafe De Colombia Pilas Varta cycling cap


In 2005, I was at a local bike shop and I discovered this Cafe De Colombia cycling cap. It wasn't really well made, looking more like a painters cap. Seeing this cap opened a floodgate of memories reminding me of the emergence of Colombian cycling in the eighties. Back then, I didn't know much about cycling caps but I knew that it was an integral part of the racers cycling kit. It was what riders all wore and, in a way, it made them look regal like kings.

Before cycling helmets became the norm, I was out riding with a Z Peugeot cycling cap, in 1988. I even put it on backwards for that certain pro look laboring up Cypress mountain, North Vancouver. Thank god for those switchbacks for giving me a rest. But, I knew that wearing a cycling cap backwards was practical too. The brim protects the back of the neck from the sun. I was far from a pro but wearing the cap sure made me feel good.


It wasn't made well...
but it brought back good memories.


In the eighties, the Colombians were met with considerable scorn, by some European riders as incompetent and dangerous riders. They were the only amateur team in the 1983 Tour, with some of their best riders opting to stay at home for the Coors Classic which made them even more isolated. They survived hardship and blazed a trail with their 1983 Tour. The fine climber, Patrocinio Jimenez wore the KOMs jersey for 5 days finishing in 16th place. His teammate, Edgar Corredor finished the highest placed Colombian rider in 15th spot. In fact, he was the only rider to beat Laurent Fignon in all mountain stages.

Then in 1984, Luis Herrera (classically wearing a wool jersey) became the first Colombian to win a Tour stage, up the mythical L'Alpe-d'Huez. The Colombians arrived, with the mantle of sacrifice, hard work and class, into the cycling world.


The regal Colombian Cycling Sombrero by
Red Dots Cycling


With much fanfare, I received an email from Klaus of the excellent blog,  Cycling Inquisition letting me know that he has the Colombian Cycling Sombreros available for purchase. I can tell you, Klaus is every bit a traditionalist, like me, lovingly promoting the classic cycling cap. His blog is all about Colombia and cycling, if you haven't already do check it out.


On a wing & a prayer...
Herrera with cycling cap on his way to win in Avoriaz
1985 Tdf


Carolle and I worked closely with him making his caps to his specifications. I love the flashy Colombian ribbon creating a unique cap. As we sell more and more of our cycling caps, we also learn that there is more interest and desire to bring back the classic cycling cap to it's rightful place in the cycling world... hopefully knocking the baseball cap off it's temporary perch!


Once upon a time ago, they wore their cycling caps on
the podium and smiled!
1987 Giro podium...
(l to r): Roberto Conti, Johan van der Velde, Stephen Roche & Robert Millar.


2 comments:

empidog said...

Now that is a nice cap......

Richard said...

Thanks Steve indeed a Colombian beauty

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