For overly competitive types who feel the need to get everywhere fast (looking at you, Matt!) there’s value in reminding yourself that actually, cycling can just be a way to relax and get around; that not every journey needs to be a race. We spent some time over the bank holiday weekend sporting the beautiful MEAME Altair Biker Jacket and Alpha Reflective Tweed Blazer and enjoyed a gentler pace in the spring sunshine.
London-based premium cycling brand MEAME was founded by Central St Martin’s graduate Megan Aylott who has brought high-end fashion design to the world of commuter cycling apparel. Incorporating highly technical fabrics and clever design features to make the life of a bicycle commuter that little bit easier and a whole lot smarter, we believe the MEAME collection is far and away the most stylish urban cycling apparel on the market.
Victoria – MEAME Altair Biker Jacket
I’ve been wearing the MEAME Altair Biker Jacket and I’m in love. I’ll run through the technical details shortly, but from a purely aesthetic perspective, it’s gorgeous. Now, as far as sizing goes, think European; it’s pretty small. I’m wearing size Large which is a size up from my usual, and there isn’t much room to squeeze in extra layers. But the cut is wonderful, and the Altair is pleasingly nipped in at the waist for a lovely feminine shape. Even allowing for my ‘freakishly long torso’ – the kind words tactfully spoken to me by a radiologist ten years ago – the jacket is plenty long enough in the body.
The MEAME Altair Biker Jacket is impeccably tailored from a breathable Italian stretch fabric which incorporates a waterproof membrane. It’s fully taped to ensure seams are watertight, and the zips are water repellent, too. MEAME takes the British climate seriously: the jacket also incorporates an extending rain guard with a reflective MEAME logo to keep your bum dry. It’s not all about being prepared for terrible weather, mind. The Altair Biker Jacket also features underarm zips which you can open for ventilation when the mercury rises (or when you’re late for work). Better still, the sleeves can be fully detached so that you can wear the jacket as a gilet (which looks amazing).
It features pleated shoulder panels for ease-of-movement on the bike and reversible detailing on the cuffs and breast pocket flap which are reflective for visibility at night.
So: there you have it: an extremely chic jacket which looks great off the bike, and also features water resistance, breathability, versatility and reflectivity. Now, this isn’t a jacket for tough rides. This isn’t something to wear when you intend working up a sweat, or when the weather’s just ghastly. But if you cycle to a smart place of work where you’d look out of place in Endura, or if you want to be able to wear the same jacket you wore to cycle in for after work drinks in a chic bar, you’re covered. MEAME have nailed it with the Altair Biker Jacket.
Matt – MEAME Alpha Reflective Tweed Blazer
I suppose my problem is that I’m no good at doing stuff just for fun. If it’s not competitive and backed up by gadgets and statistics that let me see who I’ve beaten, then it feels a bit pointless. So when it comes to cycling at a gentle pace in nice clothes, sans-Garmin, I find myself wondering what it’s all for. But then Victoria gives me a lecture about how life isn’t always a competition, about how sometimes, we just need to take time to appreciate our surroundings, and that she doesn’t want to meet our non-cycling friends at the pub in head-to-toe Lycra.
I take her point: even I can admit that the sight of a (not quite) middle aged man in tights at lunch is off putting.
If there’s a time and a place for elegant cycling apparel, a Surrey gastro pub is probably it.
MEAME sent me the Alpha Reflective Tweed Blazer to try. The menswear sizing seems pretty true: I’m wearing my usual size Medium and it’s spot on. In daylight, the fabric is subtle and classically British; ideal with dark denim for lunch with friends. But what impresses me is the way it glows in headlights when dark falls – the reflective fibres in the Herringbone weave are really effective. We were fortunate to be wearing the jackets in good weather, but the fabric also has a Teflon water repellent finish in case you’re caught in a shower (which, let’s face it, is always a possibility in the UK).
I wasn’t too sure a jacket like this would be very wearable on a road bike – the tailoring looks more suited to a sit-up-and-beg style – but the pleated shoulder panels actually give a lot of flexibility. And the natural temperature regulation afforded by wool coupled with subtle under-arm ventilation eyelets means it’s comfortable to wear – though, as Victoria said, these are not jackets to wear on long, sweaty rides. I’m not going to wear this up Leith Hill; it’s for shorter or slower rides where you want to look sharp at your destination.
The jackets are available from Meame.co.uk. The Altair Biker Jacket the Alpha Reflective Tweed Blazer are both priced at £295.