The Fraser River Fuggitivi isn’t the most competitive cycling club.
Most of us don’t race.
Amongst our peloton, we’re lucky if we’re able to hold onto just a handful of Strava KOM’s.
But in our relaxed mediocrity, we sure look good.
We have our resident milliner, Richard, to thank for that.
A founding FRFer, he marked the trails for many of the routes our group would eventually follow as we grew from a motley assemblage of cyclists into a proper peloton.
He leads by example.
Richard lives and breathes cycling.
He raced for a time, then expressed his passion for the sport in sketches and paintings.
He eschews the trendy trappings of the cycling like carbon fibre and PowerTap for his beloved classic steel steed, a beautifully restored and maintained Marinoni whose lithe straight lines still look fast even amidst the sinewy swoops of our group’s Giants, Orbeas, Cervelos and even Lapierre.
He pays the rent through cycling; Richard and his partner, Carrolle, design, sew and sell cycling caps through their little online enterprise, Red Dots Cycling.
The short-brimmed, eight-panel caps used to be a staple of the sport, keeping the sun off balding heads, sweat off the brow and shielding eyes from the sun’s glare. But as helmets became more accepted, caps began disappearing from the peloton. Even at podium ceremonies, the classic cycling cap seemed to be losing status to the conventional baseball cap (I’m looking at you Alberto Contador).
Red Dots found a niche with designs that paid homage to cycling’s heritage, its monuments, moments and heroes.
As a news photographer I liked them because the stubby brim allowed to me to bring my camera’s viewfinder up to my eye without having to flip it up or turn it around. They also sparked conversation; “hey where did you get the cool cap? haven’t seen those around in years.” I can only hope a few of those exchanges eventually turned into sales.
When it came time for the Fuggitivi to up their game by dressing up in official kit, all eyes turned to Richard in anticipation of what he’d come up with. He didn’t disappoint.
We’re biased of course, but we like to think Fuggitivi Kit v1.0 is some of the finest looking club kit around, classy in black with just the right amount of colourful accents to make it immediately stand out from all the other Sunday riders, as well as at the finish line at official events.
Of course, could we expect anything less from our milliner, a quietly class act himself.
But as Vancouver real estate and rents spiral out of control, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for small home-based businesses like Red Dots to earn their proprietors a sustainable living. Coupled with the presence of most of his fabric suppliers and an enormous untapped market three time zones to the east, Richard and his partner today pulled up stakes.
Safe travels Richard. The Eastern branch of the FR Fuggitivi will soon be open!