Target Audience

Gobha's all-weather hat is the little-black dress of cycling wear -- a garment fit for any and every occasion. Whether you're on your way to a fund-raising cocktail with green-minded bike-commuting activists, going on a weekend spin with well-equipped century-riders, joining a hammer-fest with your bike racing buddies, or sipping latte's with a crew of fixie-fashionistas, the Gobha hat will help you fit in.


Under ordinary circumstances, belonging to one of these in-crowds involves filling one’s closet with a particular type of clothing. A typical commuter gearhead will have pants designed to perform well during a 25-minute bike commute while being comfortable and good looking for 8 hours at the office – concerns that don’t interest the recreational cyclist. Her closet is filled with high-performance Lycra wear she’ll change out of as soon as the ride is done.

A Gobha reversible all-weather hat, however, goes in all these closets. Bicycling hats of the Gobha style are an urban fashion signifier, yet derive their silhouette from European bike-racing wear. That means a fixie-fashionista, who haunts coffee shops flaunting a single-speed bicycle, $300 selvedge jeans and an exclusive-graphic-design-sporting t-shirt, will, if he's in the know, wear one piece of performance sportswear – a Belgian-style cap. And we happen to make the best ones available in the hip San Francisco Mission/SoMa District borderlands.

Typical non-cyclist outdoors people, meanwhile, might own a closet filled with unrelated items such fly-fishing vests, or yachting shoes, backpacking boots, or cross-country skis. Each of these sportspeople would be well served with a Gobha hat, however, because of our product’s unique ability to keep out the rain and wind, wick sweat to keep wearers dry and not overly warm, and otherwise regulate outdoor-sports body temperature better than any other garment they own.

A typical highly-dedicated commuter-activist in this town belongs to the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, and rides her bike to work, to go shopping, camping, partying, and to do anything else that requires a trip of 20 miles or less. If she were to describe herself on a deep personal level, one of the first four words she’d use would be “cyclist.”

She owns three up-to-the moment bicycles worth $3000 or so each, each equipped with fashionable bent-wood fenders, hand-welded racks, and an assortment of colorful panniers that double as shopping bags and briefcases. She also owns a wardrobe of specialty urban cycling gear such as $180 Swrve soft-shell pants with $45 locally-made pedalpanties underneath, a $120 Chrome zip sweater over an $80 Outlier shirt, $25 Smartwool socks and $350.00 Sidi ratchet-buckle cycling shoes.

These possessions don’t reflect wealth, but rather carefully curated taste. This is part of a set of values that includes being concerned about global warming and her personal role in it, and it entails engaging with her husband, with friends, and professional colleagues in topics such as urban design and green business practices.

These types of cyclists are part of a social and civil engineering movement chronicled in books such as Jeff Mapes’ recent “Pedaling Revolution: How Cyclists are Changing American Cities.” And they’re part of a virtuous cycle in which cities are hitching their prospects to attract America’s young intelligentsia by building cycling infrastructure, and more and more previously car-bound people join what’s becoming seen as a coming cultural shift.

The Gobha reversible cycling cap is tailored for this crowd. It’s designed to allow a bike commuter to survive a 20-minute squall without getting her hair wet, or leave home in freezing weather, and warm up without breaking a sweat. More than any garment a customer such as Mia could own, the Gobha product will help keep her arriving by bike at a client site dry, comfortable, and looking good.

These customers appreciate the unique fashionable tailoring, the Gobha one-of-a-kind cross pattern, and commuter-gearhead luxury taste signifiers such as Merino wool, Schoeller soft-shell fabric, and 1960s Belgium cycling hat styling.

Serious recreational cyclists
Emmaus Pennsylvania Magazine editor Bill Strickland is an obsessive cyclist who considers “cyclist” an apt descriptor of his personality, values, and achievements. He might also add physique, and other biophysical performance measures. Bill owns many thousands of dollars worth of bicycles, bicycling clothing and accessories. But it’s not likely he’d ever run into Mia day to day. When Bill gets up at 6 a.m. and begins putting bicycling clothing on, he’s not preparing for a trip for the office, but for a workout designed to nudge the watts per kilogram his bike-riding body can produce closer to his magical goal of 5.1.

In the spring Bill packs his kit-bag and loads his bike on the car to drive to century rides – 100-mile catered events where one might find 3000 people each of whom will bring along a bicycle, clothes and accessories costing more than $6000. In the fall, he might ride a few races in a muddy bicycle-racing sport called cyclocross, which calls for owning multiple sets of $4000 wheel, each mounted with hand-made bike tires that cost $150 each.

In February, Strickland wrote an online column for Bicycling Magazine about why our product is the best available for his tribe.

One layer is water-repellent, windproof Schoeller fabric; the other is Merino wool. I’ve started long rides in 37-degree rainstorms with the Schoeller side out to stay dry, pulled the cap off while pedaling, turned it inside-out and ridden comfortably with the wool side out once the deluge stops, flipped up the lining that covers the ears and back of the head when the sun came fully out from the clouds, then switched back to water-resistant mode as gloom and rain came on again — ideal temperature management throughout a five-plus-hour ride that varied by more than twenty degrees in conditions from sideways cannon-blasts of near-hail to eye-squinting sun.

I don’t know why this one works so well. I’d expected the Schoeller layer to trap sweat when it was turned inside and lay against my head. But somehow it breathes or wicks or performs whatever the latest performance nomenclature is.

And it looks good. (The cut is a modified, trimmer version of those traditional, high-peaked Belgian-style thick wool caps. You can get it comfortably under a helmet without re-adjusting the straps.)

The Bill Stricklands of the world care about performance, looks and quality. But their dresser doesn’t necessarily contain urban-cycling-wear-style brands such as Swrve and Chrome. It’s stuffed with Euro-styled racing wear, consisting of $250.00-apiece cycling shorts and jerseys, and $450.00-apiece jackets and leggings, made by companies such as Capo, Castelli and Assos.

Gobha products appeal to this taste for high-performance garments, as described in Strickland’s column. And it fits their notion of what bicycling clothing should look like, with a European bike-racer style cut, modified to fit and perform much better than traditional cycling garments do.

 
 
         A lot of people complain that they don’t ride their bikes because they don’t want to arrive at their destination cold, wet, and/or sweaty.  We set out to develop a very practical product that would allow cyclists to live the impossible dream.

         Knowing that the head is the main place the body loses and builds heat, we focused on developing a hat that is, in effect a water-repellant thermostat. We use a tightly woven softshell fabric designed to be breathable, yet water repellant for the outside of the hat. It feels comfortable next to the skin, yet is durable enough to last ride after ride,  wash after wash. The inner side is merino wool from New Zealand, that provides a wicking action that rids your head of any moisture. Once the fog and drizzle lift, as it always does in San Francisco, right?, you’ll want to cool down a bit, but not too much, as there’s always that little nip in the air, so you just turn your little hat inside out, and your body temperature returns to a comfortably warm level.

       The hat is made with quadrants and a middle cross section that allow the hat to stay on snugly. The hat is made to fit perfectly under a helmet, so you don’t need to do any awkward adjustments with your helmet straps.

      Gobha has had great success with the cycling mavens out there. The cross-dressing cycling funatics DFL ordered monogrammed reversible hats two years in a row, and the Santa Cruz County Cyclo Cross Championship gave our reversibles out their winners, with a hugely positive response.

     We’ve recently started moving into retail locations. Our first merchant, American Cylcery, has had huge interest from customers in this locally made product, and another fine cycling establishment, The Missing Link, in Berkeley, is now carrying our hats.

    And, in case you still have any doubts, Bicycling Magazine’s editor wrote in a review of new products that our hats were his favorite hats ever.

 
 
We're excited to be at the races this Sunday, October 21st, at the second of the Bay Area Super Prestige Cyclocross races at Candlestick Park. These are amazing events, run very professionally by Tom Simpson. We will be there with our hats. Last time we were stationed by the First Aide tent. All I can say is, "Those cyclocross racers are a hardy lot!" And, if it's a hot day, remember to drink lots of water, but also remember that it will turn cold again, so get your hats!
 

Wheels for Meals - Get Your Hats!

10/16/2012

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For those of you in the East Bay, we're planning to be out there with our hats this Saturday, October 20th, 2012 supporting the Alameda County Meals on Wheels program that delivers food to homebound seniors and disabled folks. It looks like a big crowd has registered as they've reached their maximum 1,000 capacity. The event takes place at Shadow Cliffs Regional Park,  where there's even a little beach to cool off after the ride. 
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