Urban cycling

Cycle ClothingReviewsWomen's Cycling

Dodging summer showers? We review the As Bold As Drench Coat, Roadster Jacket & Elemental Rain Trousers

As Bold As Featured
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Do not be angry with the rain; it simply does not know how to fall upwards – Vladimir Nabokov

Yes, it is August; yes; we should be basking in sunshine. And no, we should not be turning on the heating in the evening.

But let’s get real: we live in the United Kingdom. And what would summer be without endless, torrential rain?

The heatwave may have ended, but there’s no need to be glum because there’s no such thing as bad weather when one is dressed appropriately. Or something. And while we’d all rather ride in the sunshine with bare legs, sometimes it’s just not practical. That’s where As Bold As comes in, with bright and cheerful waterproof cycling jackets to lift your spirits when it’s raining cats and dogs. You might remember As Bold As from our interview with the brand’s founder, Joyce Brereton.

We’ve had a particularly miserable fortnight of weather in London and it’s been the perfect opportunity to put the Drench Coat, the Roadster Jacket and the Elemental Rain Trousers through their paces.

As Bold As

As Bold As Drench Coat

As Bold As Drench Coat
The Drench Coat in Warm Grey. It’s cosy, will protect you from the elements, and looks great off bike, too.

I adore this coat. It’s a lovely blueish shade of grey and it’s generously proportioned, with amply long sleeves to give you full coverage when you’re on the bike – even in the drops. It’s quite a long jacket which dips lower at the back to keep your bum dry, and it has a high funnel neck to keep draughts out. Best of all, the styling is chic enough that you won’t feel like you’re wearing a cycling jacket once your commute has ended; this coat looks great with jeans. The longer length makes it a generally useful rain jacket whether or not you’re cycling – I know that my friends with babies would be all over this for pushing prams in the rain, and it’s a great waterproof for weekend walks, too.

As Bold As Drench Coat
With its super long sleeves and plenty of length in the body, the Drench Coat provides few opportunities for rogue raindrops to reach the skin.

The Drench Coat has a soft, fleecy lining which, unusually for a waterproof jacket, feels really nice against the skin – distinctly snuggly. Although the sleeves are very long, they have Velcro wrist straps so you can cinch them above your hands to keep moisture out and offer plenty of movement in the shoulder and elbow.

As Bold As Drench Coat
The sleeves can be cinched at the wrist with the Velcro straps to keep water out

It’s a coat designed for short to medium distances with waterproofness of 20,000mm H2O and breathability of 3,500 gm/㎡/24hrs making it an ideal commuter jacket. Its features include reflective detailing for visibility at night, a stow-away storm hood with adjustable toggles, and underarm vents for a more comfortable ride.

A note on sizing: I’m wearing the Drench Coat in size Large, which fits size 12-14. As Bold As recommend sizing up if you’re broad of shoulder or top heavy. I’m both of those things and the Large fits perfectly. It retails at €178.

As Bold As Drench Coat

 

As Bold As Elemental Rain Trousers

It’s safe to say the Elemental Rain Trousers will be coming on our upcoming camping trip unless the weather improves dramatically. I have not owned a pair of waterproof trousers since my miserable Duke of Edinburgh expedition in my teens, an experience so wretched and wet I feared I would develop trench foot… The thought of damp waterproof trousers with a whiff of campsite mud was not a fond recollection.

As Bold As Elemental Rain Trousers

It’s safe to say the Elemental Rain Trousers from As Bold As are something of an upgrade on the pair I had as a teenager. They are super comfy, amazingly well tailored for overtrews, and really effective, too.

What is there to say, except that they are very comfortable, very waterproof, and really well fitting? They can be cinched around the ankle with Velcro straps so that nothing flaps about while you’re peddling, you can take them off without having to remove your shoes by unzipping the lower section of the legs, and they have reflective detailing for night time visibility. Eminently practical. If you commute in a rainy country, I highly recommend them.

Again, I’m wearing size large and they fit my 5’8″, size 12-14 frame perfectly. They retail at €88.As Bold As Elemental Trousers

As Bold As Roadster Jacket

As Bold As Roadster Jacket

The Roadster jacket is designed for daily commutes and longer adventures. It’s a much more compact jacket than the Drench Coat but still includes a wealth of useful design features. It’s waterproof, breathable and windproof, with sealed seams to keep the rain out. Zippers are waterproof, and an inner pocket fits most smartphones for easy access. The rear of the jacket is dropped to give you extra coverage when you’re riding in the drops, there is a 360 reflective trim for night time visibility, and the neck is lined with a soft micro fleece for comfort.

As Bold As Roadster Jacket
The neck is lined with a soft micro fleece for comfort, and reflective detailing helps with visibility on night time rides

It’s a comfortable and cheerful jacket which certainly keeps the rain out. It doesn’t have the off-bike versatility as the Drench Coat – it’s definitely a jacket designed for cycling – but it’s a well designed commuter jacket. For my body type, it’s a little on the boxy side – but with a 32G chest I’m not a very standard shape and it’s generally hard to find garments which are sufficiently fitted at the waist, so that isn’t really a criticism.

As Bold As Roadster Jacket
The Roadster jacket features Velcro wrist straps which allow you to cinch the sleeves at the wrist to keep the rain – and draughts – out

As Bold As Roadster Jacket

Again, I’m wearing the size Large which fits a 12-14. It’s roomy enough to allow plenty of movement in the arms. It retails at €138.

As Bold As Roadster Jacket

The As Bold As range is available to purchase from As Bold As and from Velovixen.

Cycle ClothingCycling AccessoriesFeatured

Best of British: Barbour and Brompton create a heritage-inspired collection for stylish urban cycling

Barbour X Brompton Featured
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Heritage and lifestyle brand Barbour has collaborated for the first time with Brompton Bicycles, the makers of the iconic folding bicycle, to create a capsule collection for men and women that focuses on the best outerwear for urban cycling along with a limited edition Barbour Brompton bike. Both British brands are renowned for their style, innovation and practicality and this is a partnership that is bound to attract attention the attention of discerning cyclists.

this is a gorgeous collaboration which perfectly marries urban practicality with heritage styling and British craftsmanship

I was invited to test ride the limited edition Barbour Brompton bike at London’s Freecycle event in one of the partnership’s lightweight waterproof jackets. I’ll admit, on Saturday morning when the sun was blazing in Central London I was a little concerned that I might melt in a waterproof jacket on the bike; but, as luck would have it, the heavens opened as I pedalled away from the Brompton Junction store in Covent Garden and the weather remained cool and damp for the rest of the day – fate, perhaps?

Barbour Brompton
Riding a Brompton is an utterly joyful experience. They’re super cute, comfortable, and attract compliments left, right and centre. What can I say? I’m in love!

I’ve been wanting to ride a Brompton for ages. I see people out and about on them all the time and I’m always intrigued: what is a Brompton like to ride? Do you have to pedal extra hard because the wheels are so small? Are they difficult to fold? Well, now I know! They’re an absolute joy to ride, you don’t have to pedal extra hard, and the folding mechanism is, frankly, genius. My only regret is that I don’t have a commute which would make owning one useful, more’s the pity: I live 30 seconds from the railway station so there really isn’t any need to hop on a Brompton to get there. Bummer. I want one so much I almost feel like we should move house to accommodate a new commute…

The new range combines the best of Brompton and Barbour and the pieces will provide years of dependable service with an inimitable British style

The Barbour Brompton bike is a heritage green affair with gold lettering and I’m not sure a bike can get much more British. It’s a thing of beauty and, if you’re lucky enough to be able to use one for your commute, it’s a thoroughly stylish way to get around town.

The Barbour Brompton jackets and accessories compliment the bike beautifully in a range of olive green and navy. If you’re keen to avoid hi-vis and glaringly bright hues, these jackets definitely offer a more subdued, classic cycling look. They don’t look bike-y, either, so if you’re looking for a jacket you can wear on and off bike, one of these could be the answer.

Barbour Brompton
Top row: the waxed Merton and Bromley jackets; Bottom row: the lightweight waterproof Newham and Brent jackets

The men’s Merton jacket in navy and sage and the women’s Bromley jacket take Barbour’s new innovative Dry Wax, a hard wearing waxed cotton in a pure hydrocarbon which feels crunchy to the touch and is extremely water repellent, whatever the weather. Functionality is key – with four storage pockets, mesh tartan linings to remove excess heat, two way zips and reflector strips, these jackets are vented for breathability and have a longer back length to protect the wearer. Articulated sleeves allow for ease of movement on the bike. They are especially designed for rainy days when protection is essential against the elements, particularly on the office commute!

The jackets are designed to be worn on and off the bike and will appeal to urban bike riders who love Barbour style

The waterproof breathable men’s Newham jacket and women’s Brent jacket (the style I’m wearing) come in a choice of colours and offer a safe haven from wind and showers. They’re ideal to wear on warmer days or to add over layers. The jackets in simple uncomplicated silhouettes with left breast diagonal chest pockets take a Barbour signature zip, inner windcuffs and reflector strip across the longer length back. These jackets are versatile and ultra lightweight, keeping you thoroughly dry in a downpour but folding neatly into a Barbour x Brompton shoulder bag in navy or sage once the weather improves.

If you need extra storage for your commute, the Barbour x Brompton Tarras bag (pictured below, bottom) fits neatly onto the bike and offers plenty of space for files, lunch, water and other essentials.

Barbour Brompton

The Barbour Brompton bike comes with a Tarras bag and is available as an M6L model, with a brown Brooks B17 saddle with the main frame and extremities finished in Gloss Barbour Green. The Special Edition bike, including Barbour Tarras Bag, retails at £1350.

Barbour Brompton

Ian Bergin, Director of Menswear and Accessories, Barbour said “Barbour and Brompton are two brands renowned for their innovation – Barbour with their iconic jackets and Brompton with their personal transport solutions. This collaboration is all about practicality and fitness for purpose and fits the ethos of both brands. The jackets are designed to be worn on and off the bike and will appeal to urban bike riders who love the Barbour style combined with technical features, all engineered for performance.”

Will Carleysmith, Chief Design and Engineering Officer at Brompton said “At Brompton we are all about meticulous attention to detail, both when designing our bikes and when manufacturing them in London. Spending time with Barbour at South Shields it was immediately clear our two companies share the same attitude. It’s been great to work with a UK brand that combines deep manufacturing craft with clever design and such an iconic look. The new range combines the best of Brompton and Barbour and the pieces will provide years of dependable service with an inimitable British style.”

We say: this is a gorgeous collaboration which perfectly marries urban practicality with heritage styling and British craftsmanship.

See the full range at Brompton.

60 SecondsFeatured

Interview with the Vamper: 60 Seconds with As Bold As Founder Joyce Brereton

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As Bold As Foudner Joyce Brereton

In this edition of Interview with the Vamper: 60 Seconds we’re chatting to As Bold As Founder Joyce Brereton. The As Bold As range is inspired by an obsession with geometry, quirky detailing, a marriage of performance and fashion, and a love of the everyday adventure. Here we speak to Joyce about what stirs her passions in the cycling world.

What is it about cycling that makes you happy?

The sense of freedom, getting outside, being in the moment. It takes me away from the dull everyday and transforms me into a braver version of myself! I also love the variety of cycling… the meander to the mountain bike to the road cycle to the spin class. I can choose a different gear to suit my mood.

If you could cycle anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

This is such a good question and has got me all wanderlusty! I’d go on a road tour through the north of Italy onto Slovenia, stopping in different towns along the way. How cool would that be? I’ve been thinking about cycle touring since I met the owner of Shand Cycles (they make touring bikes) and then listened to Emily Chappell’s story of trans-European adventure.

What inspired you to move into the world of cycling apparel?

I’d always had a burning desire to set-up my own business. All I was missing was the confidence. I reached a point where it was do-or-regret. I was seeing all these girls on their bike dressed in builder’s vests or oversized nauseous-yellow jackets and thought “there has to be a better way”. So it was a combination of unrestrained ambition and spotting that gap. I’ve found that confidence has come from just doing it (and stop thinking about it).

Which other brands do you admire? Who’s producing exciting kit in your opinion?

I really like Queen of the Mountains. Their kit is top notch and I love what they stand for – empowering women together. We need more of that.

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What is your favourite ride?

I love my commute into Dublin. I pass the seafront, cycle through a tree-lined park, battle with traffic and potholes and then end up in my charming city. That’s where my heart is, in making an adventure of the everyday.

If you could go for a bike ride with anyone at all, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

John Bishop – great comedian and cyclist. I bet he’d keep you entertained through the tough climbs, good for morale! Actually, can I have a team of people please? I’d like Kevin McCloud from Grand Designs as he’d be able to get you through any tricky situation in any European country as he can speak every language. Lastly, Marianne Vos to push us and Mary Berry to keep us sustained and give me some business advice. This peloton might have different stamina levels but we’d get there in the end!

What song is guaranteed to get you in the mood for a ride, no matter what time you went to bed?

Chemical Brothers – Galvanize

What has been your cycling highlight of 2016 so far?

The day before I had my second baby I went for a family cycle and had ice cream at the end of the pier. The next day my baby boy was born. You can’t get more of a highlight than that!

And finally: what’s in store for As Bold As? What can we look forward to seeing from you in the coming year?

We’re ambitious for As Bold As and we’d love to expand our collection. People have really responded to our colour range and casual-yet-technical fabrics so we’re going to build on that.

 

Cycle ClothingFeaturedNews

LUMO launches third Kickstarter campaign to bring even more style and safety to urban cyclists

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LUMO KickstarterLUMO’s latest range of city cycling apparel offers urban cyclists the perfect mix of style, visibility and comfort – on and off the bike.

Having launched via two successful crowdfunding campaigns in 2015, urban cycling brand LUMO is returning to Kickstarter with three new products this autumn. The Clissold Bomber Jacket, the Brixton Messenger Bag and the Holloway Gilet are all inspired by London and classic British design, but feature LUMO’s signature LED lighting system to ensure their wearers are visible in traffic from up to 400 metres away.

The LUMO Brixton Messenger Bag

LUMO Brixton Messenger Bag

From £99 on Kickstarter, the LUMO Brixton is a spacious, light and classically styled messenger bag crafted for comfort on your daily ride. Made from rugged cotton canvas with Italian leather trims and a waterproof inner lining, it’s designed to withstand the most demanding of daily wear and tear. Features include a padded inner laptop compartment, stabilising waist strap, and the LUMO lighting system hidden in the front strap and main body, which is visible to traffic 400 metres away when switched on.

The LUMO Clissold Bomber Jacket

LUMO Clissold Bomber Jacket

Inspired by the military issue MA-1 flight jacket, the LUMO Clissold bomber jacket has been adapted for life on the bike and is the perfect crossover from cycling specific clothing to stylish outerwear. The lightweight Schoeller® 3XDRY® cotton fabric is both water resistant and breathable, with waterproof LED lights on the front and back. From £125 on Kickstarter.

The LUMO Holloway Gilet

LUMO Holloway Gilet

From £99 on Kickstarter, the LUMO Holloway gilet has been designed to provide protection from the unpredictable British weather. The luxurious wool is windproof and has a bonded waterproof membrane as well as a mesh lining to keep you warm and dry on the bike. It’s lightweight and easily packable for spring and summer commutes when mornings can be cool and showers come from nowhere. The LUMO lighting system runs across the front and rear hem of the jacket, and is visible to traffic up to 400 metres away, yet is completely concealed until switched on.

City cyclists dress for their destination as well as their journey, and walking into an office, restaurant or bar looking like a radioactive lemon just doesn’t work

While LUMO apparel helps cyclists be seen when it’s necessary, the LED lighting systems are completely hidden until switched on making them an understated, elegant choice for cyclists who want to look as good in a bar as they do on a bike.

Road traffic accidents are twice as likely to result in fatalities in darkness than in daylight, yet less than a third of cyclists wear high-visibility clothing,” says LUMO co-founder, Lucy Bairner. “Why? Because city cyclists dress for their destination as well as their journey, and walking into an office, restaurant or bar looking like a radioactive lemon just doesn’t work!

For our autumn 2016 collection we have had the benefit of feedback from the hundreds of backers from all over the world that supported our launch campaign. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and one thing that we have been consistently asked for is to make some of our range more affordable. So, having scoured the world to source the best value fabrics and manufacturers, we believe we have found the perfect mix of style, visibility and comfort all for under £100.

The inspiration behind LUMO was born after co-founder Doug Bairner had been knocked off his bike in London for a second time, yet still found himself too vain to wear hi-vis clothing.

We want to inspire more people to enjoy the freedom of their city on two wheels,” explains Doug. “So we decided to make clothing that makes city cyclists feel safer on their bikes without having to compromise on how they look when they walk into an office or bar. Urban commuting is as much about the destination as it is about the journey and everything LUMO does aims to deliver the best experience for both.

Whether that’s fabrics that look like they’re straight from a catwalk (yet come from a science lab), the hidden functionality or the built-in LED lights, everything is designed to make getting from A to B on a bike easier, safer and more stylish.

You can visit the LUMO Kickstarter page here. You can also read our recent 60-Second interview with Lucy here.

60 SecondsFeatured

Interview with the Vamper: 60 Seconds with Lucy Bairner of Lumo.cc

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In this edition of Interview with the Vamper, we’re welcoming Lucy Bairner to the hot seat. Lucy founded urban cycling brand LUMO with her husband and business partner Doug and in a very short time the pair have made a big splash in the world of urban bike clothing.

LUMO clothing and accessories are designed for supreme functionality on the bike, with nifty detailing to keep you safe and comfortable like LED lights and temperature regulating fabrics. They’re not only designed to be functional, though – LUMO kit is seriously smart off the bike, too, with classic British styling and a healthy dose of urban cool.

1. Lucy, what inspired you to move into the world of cycling apparel with LUMO?

Both Doug and I (my husband and co-founder) love cycling in all its forms: whether that’s commuting, exploring or racing – we’re happiest getting from A to B on two wheels. The sense of freedom I get from cycling in a city is a feeling that’s hard to beat: it reminds me of being a kid riding around with my friends, discovering places without a care in the world. Moving our careers into something we are genuinely passionate about and love doing was an easy decision.

Lucy Bairner Lumo

We design for cycling as a part of everyday life, so our LUMO range needed to reflect that. Having cycled to work for years, we knew the problems commuters faced when choosing what to wear. The tipping point was when Doug got knocked off his bike for the second time on his commute by a driver who hadn’t seen him, and realised that his vanity was coming before his safety in that he still could’t bring himself to wear hi-viz clothing. We set out to create a brand that combined style, visibility and function – on and off a bike.

We worked hard to design jackets and bags that first and foremost look great but have hidden functionality like the LED lights or the stretch shoulder panels that make cycling more comfortable. Our creative brief was always ‘could I step off a bike and walk into a bar to meet my mates wearing this?

If the answer was no, we went back to the drawing board.

2. What sort of cycling makes you happy? Where do you like to go?

I have two cycling mentalities: the ‘cruise about town, happily exploring’, and the ‘I’m going to go as fast as I can up this hill’.
For the more subdued rides, I love Bermondsey in South East London. Bermondsey Street itself has such a good vibe with lots of quirky little cafés, restaurants and proper British pubs, like the Woolpack and The Rose. Nearby Maltby Street market is an absolute hidden gem on a Sunday too for browsing and grabbing brunch.

For the longer weekend rides the South Downs around my hometown of Chichester has some stunning routes. My favourite rest spot in the world is looking out over Goodwood Racecourse at the top of Kennel Hill. It’s a bit of a hidden gem and I’m currently the proud owner of the QOM on Strava too! Heading back from there, the beer garden at the Earl of March pub is a favourite refuel stop. The hymn Jerusalem was written from there in the nineteenth century by William Blake, the view apparently inspiring the line about “England’s green and pleasant land”, so I’m obviously not the only one who thinks it’s beautiful.

3. If you could go for a bike ride with anyone at all, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

I’d love to get my sister Georgie into cycling. She’s resisted it until now for no apparent reason. I keep trying to convince her, so hopefully soon she’ll succumb to the inevitable and realise that she actually quite likes it. Failing that, it would be any one of the amazing Olympic cyclists that made me so proud to be British watching them in Rio.

Lucy Bairner Lumo

4. What is the best thing about being involved in the cycling industry in 2016?

In the UK, more people are getting out on bikes. The growth of cycling as a sport but also as culture and a way of life is really encouraging.
The results of Team GB in Rio has once again put cycling into the public limelight and will surely have a positive effect in inspiring the nation to get out on their bikes.

On a business level, the ability after one year of trading to be shipping product to over 40 countries around the world is mind boggling. I love the thought of people in New York, Paris, Moscow, Tokyo and Sydney wearing our gear. That’s growing everyday thanks to the internet and while I personally wished we had stayed in the EU, the weakening of the Pound since Brexit has definitely help us to grow internationally in the short term.

5. What cycling trends do you think will be big in the next 12 months?

If the trade shows we attend are anything to go by, it’s e-bikes. I don’t understand the ‘purist’ cyclists out there who turn their noses up at the thought of them, I think they are fantastic and open up cycling to even more people. My uncle has had multiple heart surgeries and is now able to go mountain biking with his mates at the weekend because of his e-bike. Granted, he gets a ton of abuse as he cruises past them uphill without breaking into a sweat, but at least he’s out there with them and on a bike. On a personal level, every time I’ve ridden one it’s put a smile on my face. I’ll stick with self propelled bikes for now but can definitely see a time when I’ll get an e-bike.

6. What song is guaranteed to get you in the mood for a ride, no matter what time you went to bed?

It has to be KDA ft. Tinie Tempah and Katy B – Turn the Music Louder

7. What has been your cycling highlight of 2016 so far?

Personally, it was joining a cycling club and competing in my first race, something I never thought I would do. Despite coming last I loved it!  For LUMO, 2016 has been a year of establishing ourselves in the urban cycling apparel market, which if our growth, media reviews and customer testimonials are anything to go by I think we have certainly done. We are so excited about the next few months for the brand and think the highlight of 2016 is yet to come. That’s two highlights plus one that hasn’t happened yet, sorry!

8. And finally: what’s in store for Lumo? What can we expect to see from you in the coming year?

We are have been working hard to develop some new products which we are really proud of and excited about sharing on Kickstarter from 13th September. You can expect more of the same classic understated British styles, visibility and cycling function, all at a more mainstream price point.

Cycle ClothingFeaturedReviews

Fix up, look sharp: we ride out in tailored cycling jackets from MEAME

MEAME Featured
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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

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.

MEAME Altair Biker Jacket
In warmer conditions, the sleeves can be detached and the garment worn as a gilet. You can see the reflective detailing with the camera flash on the lower pictures.

 

MEAME Altair Biker Jacket
(L-R) The jackets sleeves are detachable for warmer days; The breast pocket flap can be flipped over for reflective detailing; the jacket features an extending rain guard to keep your bum dry in wet weather; when not in use, the rain guard fastens inside neatly with magnets; and the construction features a mesh back panel for ventilation.

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

MEAME Altair Biker Jacket

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).

MEAME Altair Biker Jacket

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.

MEAME Altair Biker Jacket
We weren’t photographing the jackets in the dark, but you can see from the flash photo on the right how the reflective fibres stand out.
MEAME Altair Biker Jacket
Suede shoulder patches, naturally temperature-regulating wool and pleats at the shoulders for freedom of movement – just some of the features of the MEAME Alpha Reflective Tweed Blazer.

 

The jackets are available from Meame.co.uk. The Altair Biker Jacket the Alpha Reflective Tweed Blazer are both priced at £295.

Cycle ClothingWomen's Cycling

Urban cycle wear brand As Bold As launches debut women’s collection

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Regular readers will know that it’s not so long ago that I was a dedicated urban cyclist, riding the streets of London in whatever I wanted to wear that day. I may be something of a Lycra warrior these days – but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the need for clothing you can enjoy wearing both on and off the bike. Bib tights and cycling jerseys are fantastic when you’re riding but look less good behind a desk. And don’t even get me started on the trials of changing out of bibs and jersey in a very small toilet cubicle…

Urban cyclist to Road cyclist
Victoria the urban cyclist, and Victoria the Lycra warrior…

I’m increasingly tempted to look to a more hybrid style of cycle clothing that would cut down the amount of changing time and the amount of stuff I carry to work. I do rather miss the days of turning up to work on my bike in something I could wear all day, but that convenience needs to be balanced with the desire to be comfortable and safe in the saddle.

As Bold As

As Bold As makes contemporary cycling clothing to wear on the journey and at the destination. Founder Joyce Brereton has worked to incorporate the technical design elements of dedicated cycling wear with a dose of urban chic: waterproof, windproof, breathable fabrics with sealed seams and high-visibility detailing are combined with street styling to keep you looking the part when you’re not pedalling. 

I’m particularly taken with the As Bold As Drench Coat, pictured below. It’s been designed to keep you warm and dry on the bike, with a dropped back to keep your bum clean and underarm vents for breathability. It’s not so urban that you couldn’t wear it with bib tights and cleats; but it would look great off the bike with jeans and boots, too.

As Bold As Drench Coat

The first collection is female focussed, but plans are hatching to expand. We’re looking forward to seeing what else is in the pipeline for As Bold As. 

Launched in February, the range is available now through asboldas.com, VelovixenVelorution and Skulpt.

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Cycle ClothingWomen's Cycling

MEAME London offer: 25% off last minute Christmas purchases for Vamper.cc readers

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Boutique urban cycling brand MEAME London is offering a 25% discount to our readers for last minute Christmas purchases.

MEAME London cycling jacket
MEAME London apparel features clever reflective detailing concealed in elegant, tailored garments for city cyclists.

Vamper.cc readers can order clothing and accessories with the discount xmas2015 until Christmas Day. Last orders for guaranteed Christmas delivery must be received no later than 11.30am on Monday, 21st December.

We recently attended MEAME’s festive event at the East London Design Store where we chatted with founder Megan Aylott over mince pies and prosecco: we love the brand’s pared down aesthetic and impeccable tailoring. Watch this space for a forthcoming review.

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