Aug 13, 2020

Gracias Luis Zubero!

  • Jordi Carruana Photography
  • Jordi Carruana Photography
  • Jordi Carruana Photography
  • Jordi Carruana Photography

Ladies and gents, introducing our new limited edition Chapeau! Luis Zubero Tribute Jersey and Cap.

Each summer we like to pay tribute to the heroes of cycling that inspire what we do here at Chapeau!

Whether it’s a herculean effort at the Tour, a note in the history books or simply being a good egg… Our tribute jerseys and caps are a little ‘chapeau!’ to the greats that make cycling so exciting in our book.

The first doff of the casquette for this season is to a man who, ironically enough, goes largely unmentioned in the annals of cycling fame. In fact, a search of his name finds little of particular significance, save for his attendance at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico and a somewhat unglamorous side note in Luis Ocana’s memoir where he crashed, holding Ocana up in pursuit of his rival, Eddy Merckx.

This tribute is a more personal story of generosity and to that sense of community that we all enjoy as cyclists regardless of language or location. It’s often said that cyclists will always find a friend in a room, wherever they are in the world. Simply look for the person that turns up by bike, mentions a ride in passing or reveals a tell-tale tan line. You’ll instantly find a shared interest and, quite likely, a meet up for a ride the following day.

In this instance, the tribute comes from our head designer Nick and a fond memory of a trip over a decade ago. In 2010, Nick and friends rode from Bilbao to Luz-Saint Sauveur, a town at the foot of The Col Du Tourmalet, to watch a stage of the Tour De France.

During the visit, one of Nick’s party developed bike troubles and was left grounded. Unable to fix the issue at the roadside the group located a local shop called Ciclos Zubero and dropped in, somewhat embarrassed at being left stranded so far from home.

“At the time none of us spoke any Spanish let alone Basque” Nick remembers. “Basque is, of course, the regional language and one not to be mistaken for as Spanish as we found out later on in our trip”.

Nick and his friends used their best combination of Spanglish and sign language to explain the issue. To their surprise, this worked and despite their linguistic naivety were greeted warmly.

The bike was quickly fixed and done so, incredibly, with no charge. The shop’s owner refused payment, happy to simply help the foreigners on their adventure in his hometown. As thanks, Nick bought a jersey from the store that caught his eye and wore it for the rest of the trip and a subsequent cycling trip to South America.

Fast forward a few years to 2014 and Nick found himself back in Ciclos Zubero, armed with a better grasp of Spanish. “I wanted to see if the bike shop was there and to say thank you for what they did” Nick explains.

“In my ok-ish Spanish I tried to explain and say ‘gracias’. Zubero’s daughter Dorleta re-introduced me to Luis and he explained to us that he used to ride for Team KAS during the Eddy Merckx era in the 70s”.

Nick had been completely unaware that the shop owner that had shown them so much generosity had lived such a prestigious career. With the help of Zubero’s daughter they shared their experiences and heard about his career during one of cycling’s golden eras.

Born in 1948, Luis had competed through the late 60’s and 70’s before opening his store. He competed in the individual road race at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City and attended 8 Grant Tours between 1970 and 1975. Strong in the mountains, he won the Classica de Sabinanigo and GP Pascuas and placed 15th in the Tour de France, 18th in the Giro d’Italia and 5th at the Volta Catalunya. Not a bad career by any means.

As a parting gift, Zubero gave Nick and his friends one of their not-for-sale staff t-shirts as a souvenir of their trip.

And so, Nick’s tribute design is a thanks to Luis Zubero for his generosity and kindness. The blue is Zubero’s favourite colour and is inspired by the jersey and t shirt that Nick brought home from his visits to the store.

The design for the jersey and cap includes Zubero’s initials which, Nick explains, “are placed back-to-back which in the middle created a tree, then what looked like mountains in the background. This is to represent Zubero’s hometown of Zeberio which is mountainous and wooded. The tree is to represent strength, something he had through his career in cycling and his life”.