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i was always rubbish at mathematics, and it does me little or no credit to reveal that it's a situation that hasn't changed. every day, when time comes to buy my daily paper, i usually need a bit of assistance from the girl in the shop to figure out what denominations of loose change i can lose from my pocket as appropriate recompense. it is, sadly, something of a self-fulfilling prophecy, for the more i convince myself that i'm not much good with numbers, the worse i become.

though i'm sure that few fifteen year-olds have much idea as to the career path they might like to pursue, the british education system insists that pupils of that age are required to make subject choices which may just turn out to be the wrong ones. at fifteen, i had notions of engineering (no laughing please), a career that would demand not only maths but quite likely physics. the latter i found quite intriguing and managed a reasonable qualification in the subject, but the former took me three attempts simply to pass to anyone's satisfaction.

that would undoubtedly explain why i thought *fibonacci* was a rather tasty italian bread to accompany pasta and pesto. it turns out that, in none mathematical terms, that's focaccia; fibonacci was a rather remarkable mathematician who lived in the 12th and 13th centuries and is renowned for the so-called fibonacci numbers or sequence. i do not propose to expose my complete lack of mathematical knowledge any further by trying to explain quite why 0,1,1,2,3,5,8 and so on are of such great importance to the modern world, because i truly haven't the faintest idea.

however, the gent responsible for breaking germany's *enigma code* during the second world war, alan turing, was of several degrees of intelligence greater than mine, though i have no knowledge as to whether the chap was a cyclist of note or otherwise. aside from code breaking, turing was apparently fascinated by the relationship of mathematical patterns and those occurring in nature, in particular, the sunflower, a plant that has a somewhat cliched connection to those three weeks in july.

turing believed that the manner in which sunflowers arrange their seeds is based upon fibonacci's sequence of numbers, allowing the most efficient method of packing them together. and in a somewhat tenuous connection to bike racing and likely nothing whatsoever to do with fibonacci (who might just be a domestique with astana, now that i come to think of it), perhaps those numbers are naturally expressed in the way the peloton packs itself on those long flat stages.

or perhaps not.

exploiting that tenuous connection, the lovely people at *this is cambridge* have produced one of their fabulous caps celebrating the tour's three days in britain. this is blatantly expressed by not only a yellow ribbon on one side of the cap, but the number 03 screened black on white. however, the secret handshake offered by this particularly soft and cossetting cotton cap is featured on the yellow underside of the peak.

i make mention of its secretiveness, applicable only to those of a flandrien persuasion, and riding with the peak down thus concealing the spiral of dots representing turing's adoption of the fibonacci sequence. aside from being one of the finest cycling caps on the market, its background will surely provide excellent conversation material for those awkward moments of silence in the cafe, post ride. exhibitionists will ride with the peak up.

*this is cambridge's handmade sunflower cap is available in sizes ranging from xs to xl, arriving in a stitched brown paper bag for an admirable £23.*

*sunday 20 july 2014*