Now that the clocks have gone back and the hours of darkness outweigh the daylight, riders need to see and be seen. But that doesn't mean you need to get dressed up like a builder, donning the day-glo! Away with your nasty hi-vis yellow and, even more unforgivable, pink fluorescent overshoes! New technology thankfully means there are far more stylish ways to stand out in the dark - Ride Velo brings you the creme of the crop for commuting...
This was top of my Uncle's birthday wish list and when it arrived in the post I was, frankly, amazed. The jacket looks a stylish grey colour in daylight - nothing flashy but with a really nice, flattering cut. It is lightweight enough to wear in summer - with plenty of vents dotted around for aeration - but also warm enough to be worn with a long-sleeved jersey in winter. I had just bought myself a grey cycling jacket from Madison for winter, which was the same price as the Proviz but just doesn't have the features or the fit. I'm seriously regretting not getting the Proviz ladies version now.
What really makes the Proviz stand out from the competition is its performance at night. The whole jacket is manufactured from 100% reflective material giving 360 degree visibility to ensure cyclists are seen from every angle. The jacket’s high quality reflective material picks up and reflects the slightest light which helps drivers easily spot cyclists. Specialized do a similar jacket - watch their video to see it in action.
The Specialized Deflect Reflect Hybrid Jacket is made from fabric with 3M technology using millions of reflective micro glass beads! The main difference between this jacket and the Proviz (apart from the price, which is an eye-popping £299.99) is that it has removable zip-off sleeves. Both jackets are machine washable.
If you don't want to go the whole hog with a jacket, Proviz also offer this rucksack at £69.99 or a rucksack cover at £29.99. You can also get a gilet version - although I still prefer the jacket as drivers can see your arms when you signal, which I find is generally pretty useful when I'm riding on London's streets in the evening.
Returning to more traditional flashes of refectivity, Altura do a good Night Vision range which includes these panniers, great gloves at reasonable prices and over-trousers too. Others put reflective stickers on their helmets, but these have been known to weaken the shell of the helmet so make sure you buy the 3M brand and check compatibility. 3M reflective vinyl tape comes in a variety of widths and lengths. Put it on pedals and anything else that you want to illuminate - priced from about £2.50 on Amazon it's a cheap way to be seen.
If you want to splash out, Rapha have just launched their Reflective Collection. I like this cosy winter jersey featuring a reflective arm band which is great for being seen when you're signalling left. Other items in the collection include jackets and overshoes with reflective strips on. This jersey is on sale now reduced to £80.
So there you have it - the definitive guide to being seen in the dark while looking fab. But if you just want to do it on the cheap there's always luminous paint... guaranteed to get you noticed!