Belgian Winter Cycling Caps - Proven in Flandrian Fields
The humble Belgian cap has become a winter's staple for many a cyclist in recent years, and with sterling offerings available from Cafe du Cycliste, PEdAL ED, Vulpine and Showers Pass, there's never been a better time to enter this hallowed fraternity. Grab a cup of tea, and let's take a look at why these curiously named winter cycling caps are deserving of a special place in cycling nomenclature.
Imagine what your poor Belgian has to deal with: head on rain, wind that hits him from the side as it whip cracks across Flanders fields, and a patent pending cold that makes cheeks red raw and ears sting. Because we all admire a bloody-minded cyclist, Belgium's infamous meteorological conditions have always been a breeding ground for a type of rider idolised by both pro and spectator alike. In fact it's become pretty traditional for amateur cyclists to flock to northern European training grounds in order to test their mettle against this harshest of winter’s offerings, not only to emulate their heroes, but also to discover what it is that keeps your plucky pro from flying south for the winter. (Hint: Moules, Frites and beer that flows like well, beer, are also a big draw).
That these cyclists are the renowned 'Hard Men of the North' is in no doubt, but they are also smart, train hard in the poorest conditions and when a spring classic throws down the gauntlet of wet cobbles, an off-season of experience is there, already in the legs and in the mind. For our more real-world recreational cyclist, enjoying the pleasure of a bracing winter's ride whilst hitting the headwinds and rain is made a lot more pleasurable with a Belgian winter cycling cap to keep those extremities warm.
So it is from these riders, roads and weather conditions that the Belgian cap gets its name. A thermal cycling cap with a fully covering ear flap that can often be found on the roads of Flanders or the sharp climbs of Ardennes. However it’s not just here that great roads are to be found and with them hardy riders, tucked up warm in their Belgian caps. Look no further than Holland’s coastal headwinds, the Vosges Mountains of Alsace, the Yorkshire Dales or further into the barren north - Sweden, Scotland or Norway and you'll find a cyclist or two, pedaling ferociously through some windy dale, warm in heart and thanks to the versatile Belgian cap, in mind too.