Welcome back to the 2nd day of Randonneurmas, where this blog offers a few humble holiday gift suggestions for randonneurs and avid cyclists. Today we’re going to talk about a product I’m glad to see – and be seen wearing!
A few years have passed since a mainstream bike clothing company produced a really good reflective vest. The last one was the Mavic Vision, which I included in the 2011 Randonneurmas lineup.
This year Rapha stepped up to the plate with the Brevet Visibility vest (or gilet, if you are fancy) and jacket. The Rapha brevet line already includes reflective bands, but the Visibility pieces go farther with actual silver hi-vis panels on the torso, shoulders, neck, and lower back.
This makes the vest suitable for randonneuring, where the goal is to be seen at night from a long way off, as well as commuting and, heck, going to the club at night on your bike.
The bright pink is also a good thing in the daytime.
I bought the vest during a recent sale and it’s much nicer and better fitting than those available through club orders from the usual companies.
It should be, at $130 MSRP, though Rapha has frequent sales; in the most recent one the price fell well below $100.
There are no rear pockets but the two-way zipper makes it easy enough to open from the bottom to get into jersey or jacket pockets. The nylon fabric is light, along the lines of a windbreaker, so it should be acceptable to wear on all but the warmest summer nights and easy to pack away during the daytime.
It also has enough stretch to go over a jacket. In the photos I’m wearing it atop the Rapha Pro Team Insulated jacket, a rather brilliant three-pocket cold weather windproof lined with Polartec fleece on the front panels and arms.
Here are a couple more shots of me on the bike, courtesy of my favorite photographer, Mary!
Rapha doesn’t come cheap but this is one item that is worth it. After putting up with flappy, heavy randonneuring vests with wonky zippers, I’m glad to see a new high-tech reflective that looks great and fits well.
This will be a nice addition on the dark winter commutes, and the upcoming randonneuring season.
Tomorrow: a rechargeable headlight that goes from commuting to randonneuring and back.