PRENDAS CICLISMO BORDEAUX PARIS CYCLING RACE CAP
48g One Size £8.95
The Prendas Ciclismo Bordeaux Paris Race Cycling Cap is a modern take on the iconic staple, featuring a mix of modern and classic materials. This blend of form and function is surprisingly friendly on the wallet too. Single size will alienate some and caution is required when washing. However, we’re talking 30 degree Tour De Zanussi, not handwashing.
Pros: Well made, great fit, modern materials improve wicking prowess and comfort.
Cons: Single Size suits riders with head circumferences of 60cm or smaller.
The cap is made in Italy, from a polyester/cotton mix (65/35% respectively) which came as a surprise. Only in the sense it feels retro-authentic, right down to texture. Since we’re here, a bit of back story. The Forgotten Races Range (including Socks and Jersey) is, as its title suggests, a collection of designs honouring/celebrating discontinued events.
The Bordeaux-Paris race started in 1891 and was a motor paced event covering 500km. By the 1980s it had fallen into obscurity. Back to the design. Screen printed two-tone BP lettering runs peak to back, Mohican style. On the right panel, we have a Tom Simpson caricature, riding a derny, complete with bowler hat (He won the race, back in 1963).
The left, and peak’s underside continue this classic theme with Prendas Ciclismo branding. Inside, the cap is lined with sweat absorbing anti-bacterial tape. Standards of construction are uniformly neat throughout.
As you’d expect from a cap, fit is snug but there’s a reasonable amount of “give” in the tactile elastic. This is just the right side of tenacious, holds everything steady but otherwise going unnoticed. That said; the cap does come up a little smaller. Ours fitted me, perfectly but if your head circumference is 60cm plus, you might struggle.
Climate Control 3/5
I’ve been testing ours for several weeks, in very changeable conditions, primarily beneath a series of race lids, although occasionally on its own, in the tradition of those bygone races. I’m blessed with a relatively thick thatch of hair. One I’m very grateful for, incidentally but it can prove blessing and curse, in equal measure.
Traditional cotton, and less sophisticated man-made fabrics can see it matted to my scalp, and face with sustained efforts and milder weather. Admittedly, the fabric is relatively thin, which helps but the fibres wick efficiently. Pure polyesters and Merino have a definite edge here. Mind you, I’ve been cantering along for two-three hours at 20mph and 16 degrees without feeling soggy.
Mild dampness creeps in, given 20 minutes or so’s concerted effort. Soon afterward, aided by gentle breeze, the worst is spirited away, leaving only a faint, mistiness behind.
Even the best ventilated helmets offer some additional protection from the elements, but this experience was broadly consistent on wet/showery rides. I could expect to move from unexpectedly damp to nigh on dry, given a break in the cloud and 20 minutes. Closer to 45, when truly sodden.
At the lower end, between 2 and 10 degrees, the fibres do a decent job of keeping chill from really biting. Averting those borderline painful “Ice Cream” headaches, that can really bite, when screaming along 1in 4 descents and battling an early season headwind.
The angular peak offers excellent defence against persistent showery rain, low sun, wind and airborne particles without obscuring peripheral vision, it also flips up, given an intentional nudge, if required.
I’ve deliberately worn ours for two weeks and at least two hours, daily. By this point, a traditional cotton cap would be stripping wallpaper. By this point, 300 miles in, there was a very mild whiff. Borderline socially acceptable but unlikely to draw too many reproving glances.
Straightforward, and slightly easier than Merino. Black hides the dirt beautifully, but the colour hasn’t leached, faded or shrunk (washed in the usual cycling kit fashion i.e. 30 degrees, minimal detergent). Bargain on 20-25 minutes at room temperature, then you’re ready to go.
At £8.95, the hybrid blend is competitive, relative to the specification. Indeed, other brands pure cotton models
commanding twice the asking price. Single sizing does keep costs lower, but on the flip side, won’t agree with everyone.
All things considered, the Bordeaux Paris cap looks stylish and offers excellent value for money. Minor points aside, it does everything I’d expect from a cycling cap and to a decent standard.