Now you see him…
Bright colouring less effective than reflective layer
Altura Night Vision windproof jacket £54.99
Many of us have the luxury of commuting by bike (substitute the word ‘luxury’ for something less fluffy when it’s freezing cold and pouring with rain) and, like many regular commuters, I like to be both warm and visible.
This winter my first choice of top layer has been Altura’s Night Vision windproof jacket. ‘Altec’ windproof material covers the front facing sections of the jacket with breathable thermal panels used for the areas of the garment sheltered from the wind, essentially the back of the jersey and the underside surfaces of the arms.
While not as expensive as many jackets on the market, its performance is impressive. The Altec windproof sections are located perfectly, keeping the wind chill just off the areas that need them. The more breathable, softer shell thermal sections have been effective enough to help stop me feeling sweaty. This is ideal as the winter draws to a close and temperatures start to increase, as does my mileage and work rate on my ride home.
Increasing night time mileage brings me to the subject of making myself visible. Although brightly coloured cycling garments, which are good for day time visibility, have been available since forever, over the years I have worn ‘Sam Brown’ reflective belts and even reflective tabards simply because, at night, a reflective element is still needed to be effective. As you can see from the pictures, the bright yellow colour of this jacket is visible in close up shots only. The secondary shots were taken at a slight distance and, as you can see, only the reflective sections are actually visible. Fortunately, this ‘Night Vision’ jacket is so named because it does contain a generous amount of reflective material.
The jacket concentrates the reflective elements on areas relevant to a bike rider, especially on the front facing areas like arms and across the front of the shoulders. At the rear of the cuffs, which show well when indicating, the sections across the back are concentrated lower down, although it does have two strips down the back of the shoulders these are naturally less visible if you have a long and low riding position as I do.
So effective is the design that I no longer use my tabard or Sam Browne belt, as in comparison these have large sections positioned in areas that are far less visible when riding. Effort has also been taken to incorporate the reflective panels into the design in such a way that the jacket does not have that ‘railway workman’ look about it. Most such jackets are often reserved just for riding in the dark, whereas I would be happy to wear this jacket for day time use only.
The jacket has 3 open rear pockets, one zipped pocket and quite a generous cut. I was able to wear this with baggy cut cycling trousers on my town and around commute bike, yet it didn’t look out of place when worn with my tighter bib tights on my Audax bike.