Even though I love cycling caps, I'm not one of those guys who wears a cap off the bike; while I admire the fashion forwardness ( and mustachios) of those guys, I am more practical and just wear them when riding. However, the big problem with cycling caps is that they aren't warm. That is good in the Texas summer, but when the weather cools here (which it most certainly does), I find myself without a cap to wear. I do have one of those technical type helmet liners somewhere, but it makes me feel like some sort of mental patient. Mostly because as the weather gets cooler I tend to find myself wearing less "cycling" gear when riding, and a neoprene skullcap looks pretty strange with khakis and a windbreaker. That's where the Octopus Cap comes in. I contacted them, and they sent me one of their winter caps to try out. Octopus Caps are handmade in Ohio, and can be made to order (there are also some pre-made versions available in their esty shop). Octopus makes these caps Columbus OH from recycled wool and specialty fabrics. They quickly made my custom cap (as you know, I love unique things) and sent it my way.
|It's in the eyes.|
As soon as I opened the package, I popped the cap on and did a photo shoot in the office. The (non-cyclist) guys all thought that it looked a little funny, but I felt like I was channeling Yehuda Moon.
I ordered according to the sizing instructions on the website, and I am mostly pleased with the fit of the cap, with one small exception - the red wool ear flap does not cover my entire ear. (I suffer from a very rare disorder that renders my earlobes both the coldest and the longest part of my body. ) If you are thinking of ordering a "large", you might actually need an XL. The cap is very well made and feels like a very solid piece of equipment, with some nice details like an inside pocket to stash your ID or anything else you would like to store inside your hat. The bill on the front of the cap is not stiff; instead it is kind of vestigial piece of fabric amended to the front of the cap. Vestigial or not it is an important part of the cap, because without it I'd be back in the same boat again, wearing a funny little skullcap. A black skullcap is one thing, but a houndstooth skullcap just screams "crazy". Looks aside, I know the big question you are asking (and why you are reading this drivel): "Does it work?"
It do indeed. The cap fits right under my helmet, and keeps my head remarkably warm for such a small piece of fabric. The ear flap keeps the tops of my ears nice and toasty, and the cap/flap combo made what was going to be a very cold ride home very tolerable. In fact, I was working up a sweat at one point and started to think that it might be smart to vent my head by removing the cap, because it was so warm. Then I rode through a cold patch and rethought my clever plan (wondering why the hell I was riding in the cold anyway). When I got home, despite the ribbing I took from the guys at the office, I found that the ladies do indeed love the Octopus Cap - my daughter (The Plano Tricyclist) immediately whisked it off my head and claimed it for her own. She wore it until bed time, when I gently removed it from her head as I locked her in her cage for the evening.
|The Plano Tricyclist|
Since then, we have had long discussions (filled with tears and shouts of "mine!") about who actually owns the Octopus Cap, and once I dried my tears and stopped shouting "mine", she came to understand that as a big time blogger, I have very little impulse control. Sharing is caring though, so I am sure she will have plenty of turns to wear it. Octopus also makes children's caps, so I may even order her one of her very own.
Octopus Winter Caps are $40, and they are currently available through their esty shop. Custom caps are available here, but the folks who make them are on vacation until January 6th, so feel free to email them, but don't expect a response until after then. In addition to the winter cap you see here, Octopus also makes a heavy duty flapped cap for the same price, or a hat with no ear flaps for $25. Any way you look at it, buying an Octopus Cap is a great way to support a small business in the USA, which is something you should do as a red blooded American. When you add in the warmth that the hat provides your noggin at 12mph, I think that not buying an Octopus Cap means you are a commie from Siberia. Better get to clicking, comrade.