has anyone else ever wondered why something solid and damn near unbreakable like a black and decker drill, is packaged inside a shatterproof plastic box with a carry-handle, yet something as obviously fragile as a light bulb arrives wrapped in possibly the lightest card/paper known to mankind? though often the subject of green attacks, packaging is frequently something of a necessary evil.
yes, there are health-food markets around the globe that allow you to choose the very coffee beans of choice, grind them to your exacting requirements, and take them home in the plain brown recycled paper bag that you used last week. but, sadly, that's not how commerce normally works; there is many a purveyor of finery that wishes to distinguish their goods from everyone else's, and that almost always entails shiny packaging bearing an expensively cultivated logo sitting on a supermarket or retailer's shelf alongside others with similar needs and requirements.
suitably impressed with apple's minimalistic packaging for the ipod, chris king/cielo design manager, jay sycip constructed a cardboard box to contain a cielo bicycle frame, fork and wheels with an absolute minimum of internal packaging, that would allow international transportation of same, without sustaining so much as a scratch on the paintwork. i know, because i have one sitting in the bikeshed that arrived from portland via inverness (don't ask) in that very manner.
so even though packaging has a bad rep in certain quarters, it would be a less than honest individual who denied that they weren't occasionally impressed by the way in which certain goods were presented to them. yes, it's something that, like it or not, we're all paying for in one way or another, but i challenge any one of you not to experience a quickening of the heart when a copy of rouleurthuds on the welcome mat encased in it's monogrammed card package.
beautifully, the blue merino cycle cap from this is...cambridge arrived at washingmachinepost croft inside a brown paper bag, double-stitched across the top and incorporating an embroidered label announcing 'cycle, think free, look good' on one side, and cambridge cap blue label on 't other. further attestation to its manufacturer could be seen at the foot of the compact and bijou brown bag by way of a this is...cambridge' stamped logo. if this were not enough, i am also aware that this particular cap was handmade by daphne and ought only to be drycleaned only.
bear in mind the above packaging experience prevarication could only but enhance anticipation towards the cap contained within.
i did sort of wonder how long it would take before this sort of thing surfaced this side of the pond. quality woollen, hand-crafted cycle caps from within the united states have not yet reached the level of ubiquity, but neither are they an unknown quantity. in the uk, the wearing of cycle caps seems a different kind of animal altogether. the regular commuter is more likely to be personified by one who sees the bicycle as a means to an end, rather than a specific lifestyle fashion choice.
i realise that i may be guilty of a sweeping generalisation, but more often than not, helmet, clothing and bicycle are chosen from a utilitarian point of view rather than for the name on the downtube, the sticker on the front, or the brand embroidered on the jersey. affectations such as handmade merino cycle caps are more usually identified with those of pelotonic poseurship; folks like me, come to that.
however, i, along with more than just a few others, can see the practical value in wearing a casquette under the helmet, particularly in the climate one is required to inhabit even in this the furthest south of the inner-hebrides. everyone knows, of course, that the peak should be worn in the down position; flandrians/hebrideans would have it no other way, for it prevents the rain dripping onto the lenses of the rudy projects and shields the eyes from the low-lying, watery winter sun. added to that, in this particular case, the peak doesn't really fold upwards.
now, if you've had a quick squint at the photos, i've no doubt you're thinking exactly the same as i was. that button placed just where the eight individual panels meet is never, ever going to be comfortable when worn under a helmet. yet the converse is truly so. in the process of being unbearably stylish, i did indeed wear the merino cap under my kask vertigo helmet, specifically chosen for its extremely close fit. if anything would prove the fallacy of that button, the kask would surely be it. yet 55 kilometres later, i'd never have known it was there.
though merino has an excellent reputation as an insulator, the eight panels are shielded from scruffy grey hair (i still maintain it's jet black) by what appears to be a heavyweight black cotton lining, edged with a narrow purple headband, forming what this is...cambridge describe as a sunday best cycling cap (though it works just as well on other days of the week; i checked). if you live in the cambridge area, delivery can be by cycle courier to two specific locations. apparently islay was just a smidgeon too far away to benefit from this welcome service.
there can be little doubt that the merino blue cap (and indeed the other styles offered by this is...cambridge) is a level or two up from more common examples of team issue. hopefully this will be the start of a trend in the uk; wearing cycle caps for everyday as well as sundays, whatever level of cyclist you consider yourself.
maybe i should be the one to start.
monday 18th march 2013..........................................................................................................................................................................................................