big up on beanies for bikes

My favourite piece of cycling apparel, now the cooler weather is here in Australia, is not any Northern Hemisphere post-Winter clearance item from Rapha. It’s an orange crocheted beanie, with reflective thread that you can’t even see unless you throw a light on it. There are so many reasons to like it. I arrive for racing on a cold Sunday morning, to wry grins from anyone who knows me well, and thoroughly phobic reactions from the pea-brains who don’t—you must understand, that any sports cyclist in this city, who is not my close friend, is a retard who believes he is sponsored by Liquigas.


I love it too for the connection I feel to the pretty young model on the manufacturer’s website, most likely the manufacturer’s daughter, so I had better stop there, lest I get no more freebies. Anyhow, I wear this beanie in the belief that one day a girl half my age, in a beanie, will make me feel young for a moment with a smile, and some fleeting kind words, like, “Nice beanie. (I wish my dad was hip).”

I love this beanie for the incredulity of Culture Cycle, an enterprise mixing museology, academia, cycling and crochet, into a throughly new-media-age brand. Associate Professor Angelina Russo has created her own little Neverland Ranch, where anything she wants is possible, and where her customer base can be spread out like white dwarves in the heavens, thanks to the wonders of parcel packaging and credit card payment. We should all feel lucky to have lived long enough not to have to spend one penny on mainstream products, if we don’t want to.

So this thing is stretchy and made of cotton, so you don’t even feel it. I you feel is a sense of being safely cocooned in your own thoughts, while your body rolls over whatever terrain lay between your home and your office. I’m supposed to feel more secure in the knowledge that car headlights will reveal a brilliant halo around my head, thanks to the glass bead reflective thread sewn into most garments from Culture Cycle. I’m more concerned though with how that halo would appear in another bike rider’s headlights, and how her halo might appear in my headlights, and if I would have time as we passed on the bike path to share some kind words, like, “Nice beanie!”

I’m also thinking of this beanie right now because Angelina is kindly offering a pair of leg warmers to anyone pledging $500 in support of my book. That will also score you a banner ad on my blog for (at least) a whole year, and two copies of Cycle-Space. And it will earn you one of my Primrose’s bike route inspired fragrances. “What is a bike route inspired fragrance?” you ask. Where do I start! I can tell you, they are 100% organic, hand crafted, and I’m wearing one now. And I’m wearing a beanie.

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