Trying out my new tweed cycling cap and going for a very old school look in this image from my morning ride through the marshes near the hamlet of Rickney, in East Sussex. I keep several cycling caps in different colours and fabrics in my knapsack with my camera gear to try to create the right look and style for my images. They are useful in many mays. The bill of a cycling cap, strategically dipped, can obscure my face and preserve something of the anonymity I like to achieve in my images – I prefer the cyclist in them, yours truly, to be seen simply as A Cyclist rather than have the pictures be about me as an individual. Caps are useful for hat. Depending on the colour of the cap and the overall colour palette of the scene, cycling caps can be useful as well for defining the cyclists head against the backdrop, so you don’t lose anything of the cyclist’s figure. And then again, a cycling cap is pleasingly evocative and emblematic of a more carefree age.
I’m fussy about my caps. I want them to be classics of their type, free of visible logos and garnish designs. I’ve been using many Rapha caps, because their branding is low key, but they are expensive and quite limited in colour choice, and the burgundy one of theirs that I use as a hi-viz pink strip which can catch the light and become intrusive at times. This newest addition to my collection is from a small local cycling cap-maker called Johnson Stitchworks – their site can be seen here. They’re made in rural Essex in a town bearing the delightfully Wodehousian name of Steeple Bumpstead. In addition to cotton, they make classic caps out of recycled vintage tweed and wool. The tweed fabric on mine ages from the 1940s. It’s beautifully made and has fold down woollen ear flaps for frost mornings. It’ll be seeing a lot of service this winter!.