The cycling hat by Karen Henriksen

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I cycle to work. Every day. All year round. And I confess I care more about what my head wear looks like than how much protection it offers. Or rather, the need to keep my head to be warm trumps the desire to keep my head safe by wearing a helmet. Which in many respects is silly, but on a daily basis it is painful to arrive at the office with a frozen noggin. Until now the head gear that has seen the most use has been a regular issue mountaineering cap. It’s offers a thin layer of insulation, it’s windproof and it looks like crap. So crap, in fact, that I don’t want to show it to you. It does the job though. And until now I’ve not come up with a better option.

 

I first visited Karen Henriksen in London way back when I was starting out blogging and did a write-up on her stylish hats and caps for men. Since then I have been periodically prodding her to come up with a really good hat for chaps that cycle. Karen is very busy though creating and making her handmade in London range. Now though, there is good news. Eager eyed garment gazers saw it on Instagram a while back, when it first arrived. Since then I’ve been testing and enjoying it, so it’s time to share it with you.

It’s the “Mack” style of cap, described as a “winter cap”. That really comes down to how cold the winters are where you are, but around here it’s great for Autumn and Spring use at least, and likely much of the milder winter as well. As mentioned, Karen’s caps are hand made in London in small numbers. The fabrics used for this one are superb, with a tobacco coloured herringbone wool tweed outer, a fine needle cord lining and cotton moleskin lining inside the ear-covers. The side panels can also be folded up if desired.

You’ll no doubt be wondering how my field testing has fared? The short answer is very well. It keeps the wind off and my head nice and warm. What makes it so suitable for cycling though is the way it covers so much of your head, from the quite deep brim shielding your forehead, around your ears and down the neck. Getting the depth of the brim right is tricky, as too much of it and you’ll not be able to see ahead when you are leaning over your handlebars. Here it’s right though and there is a fine balance between forward vision and maximum forehead protection. In fact, it works better than the old mountaineering cap, as the brim is more rigid and shields better.

The craftsmanship is such that it’s quite impossible to see how this origami of tweed, moleskin and corduroy has been assembled. Not a stitch to be seen, not a thread hanging lose. It’s really a testament to our times that seen a garment flawlessly assembled like this is more of a surprise than the norm.

That’s the technical side of it though. There is also the style side, which is after all where this endeavour started. Does the hat upgrade work for a self-conscious person? (This is actually important, as from what I can tell a fair proportion of people are not self-conscious in the slightest and will wear anything at all with no shame. Or maybe they just don’t care? Or are comfortable in anything? I digress. Sorry.) Yes, it does. While I have been reliably informed by WDW that I don’t look good in hats, even she admits this one suits me. After an initial get used-to-it period, I’ve been wearing this hat all over the place, not just for cycling. And that is something the old hat never experienced.

In summary, a brilliant piece of work by Karen and heartily recommended!

Available now from Karen Henriksen at 150 pounds.

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3 Comments

  • Andrew 25/04/2017 at 09:36

    Hello there,
    Short-time reader, first time commenter.
    Having come late to your menswear world I’ve greatly enjoyed poring over your work this past several months. When parsing your blog, for what it’s worth, I’ve agreed with you often and chuckled fulsomely at your delectable humour even more regularly.
    Two areas I have had to agree to disagree with your good self have been regards socks and these hats.
    As we are here submerged here very deeply in the realm of the subjective, I won’t say too much but, if ye’ll forgive me, suggest two hatters, countrymen of mine, who I feel offer headgear that would suit you very nicely indeed.
    As a dapper gent of the world you probably know these chaps’ work but in any case; firstly the Papa, a true scholar and gentleman. He’s to found at https://papa-nui.myshopify.com
    Then there’s his sometime collaborator Mr. Troy O’Shea who works at http://troyosheahandmade.bigcartel.com .
    Forgive my impudence, I remain, sir, a newly loyal fan of yer work.
    Cheers,
    Andrew of Earlwood.

    Reply
    • nick 25/04/2017 at 10:12

      Hi Andrew, thanks for the kind feedback! As you say, hats are a subjective matter. In this case there was a very specific requirement given, which this hat fills. I had a look at your links and while there are some nice caps there, none of them are anywhere near filling the need I laid out for a cycling hat! 🙂 All the best, Nick

      Reply
      • Andrew 25/04/2017 at 10:35

        Ah, no fair play. Missed the thrust there. Not for northern velos needs!
        Still, maybe in the summer months…
        Cheers
        Andrew

        Reply

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