My new cycling jacket is completely, completely reflective, which means it’s a bit like wearing a disco ball. As shining any light on the jacket makes it glow it means its easy to perceive me as a person, my shape and outline are clear, as is my direction of travel. I’ve been wearing this on my commutes for a while now and it’s interesting to see the slight difference it makes. I am so much more visible, and look so different I do find cars give me a bit more room and leave space for me at the advanced stop space in front of lights. Friday was the real test of the jacket. It was pissing down buckets of rain. This usually means that drivers have diminished vision and leave you less room. This time, I found I was left lots of room and I felt safer than I have done in such wet conditions. However, on the last hill climb near home, a driver in a silver sports car drove way too close to me, frighteningly close, and just stared at me out through the passenger window to get a good look–maybe he was fascinated by the jacket? Drive on, mister, keep your eyes on the road and not on me!
This new jacket is really great. The cut is slightly more fitted and less boxy than my Altura hi-viz jacket. It’s a flattering cut but can go over the top of layers too. The arms are cut long with the hand holes tapered so you get more cover on the top of your hand. The front zip is enclosed in a black rubber and I found on the rainy ride, it’s completely waterproof. Two breast pockets are a great idea at the front, and there’s an inside pocket on the left too. There’s a large zipped pocket at the back with a flap over the zip. Also at the back is a large vent, and a long dropped bottom. There’s two large zips underneath each arm for more ventilation too. The shape, cut and pockets makes this perfect for commuting where you want your keys, phone and money in easy reach. It looks good on too–it’s obviously a cycling jacket, but I do feel I look cooler than I did in my hi viz jacket.
Wearing the jacket in the rain I expected the water to leak through, I did feel a bit moist in it and quite warm. As I unzipped the jacket, I was surprised at how dry I was from the rain–the moist feeling was mainly from my heat and sweat! My shorts were soaking and water did come in through my shorts they were so drenched. My shoulders, back and top of my chest were surprising dry though. From my other rides I notice, the jacket is great at keeping me warm, windproof, and rainproof. It can feel hot and sweating and is not as breathable as wearing Goretex. However, I am impressed with the jacket, it’s well made and well cut and makes me more visible than anything else and that’s why I’m wearing it. It’s a really impressive all-round commuter jacket.
To balance this review out, it’s worth mentioning that a friend of mine warned me against the jacket. He said that he’d read on a range of cycling forums that being too visible is a magnet for cars. I don’t buy that rationale myself–I think it’s a good thing to be visible–why do we have to have lights on our bikes after all? And lights can be misleading when you see dots of light in isolation. I thought I’d jot down my friends warning as that seems to be what happened with the silver sports car that got too close. That was one response to the jacket when the rest of the rainy ride home I reaped the benefit from being so visible.