Since it was made mandatory to wear a high vis vest while night riding across the channel, French street clothing company Urban Circus have been busy designing a range of jackets with high vis technology at their core. They’d had enough of the standard, boring range on offer and decided to reinvent the unsightly “yellow vest”.
Here in the UK it’s clear that city riding and commuting is on the increase. Riding the streets of South London, I see wave after wave of stereotypical yellow high-vis jackets and clothing. Personally I appreciate the value of being seen, but much of the kit around currently does not exactly capture the imagination. In Urban Circus’ own words, (translated from French) “the monopoly is still in the waistcoat, no alternative. What if you had a choice?”
Fresh from achieving their latest Kickstarter target, we’ve been given Le Jongleur (the juggler) to check out. It’s one of Urban Circus’s reversible jackets, which allows the wearer to choose between an ultra visible orange segment design and a more subdued quilted look. This still has reflective detailing in the form of small strips on the sides and rear, an orange zip-lining and the super-reflective interior. The idea is that the glowing orange design is ideal for use while riding, once you arrive and wish to blend in with those in “normal” clothes, you simply take the jacket off, reverse it then stride away in the less reflective option.
From a safety perspective, the jacket easily passes all the European safety standards. The loud orange segment design really pops out, even in the daytime. After the sun has set, when caught in the beam of streetlights and headlights, the jacket lights up like a crazy neon sign. With this effect visible from 360 degrees, there’s no chance anybody looking will not notice. On the reflective side, there are two front zipped pockets for keeping your items safe while riding. The quilted side has two similar buttoned pockets, for easy access when not riding.
Initial impressions are good. I had fears that the reflective, waterproof coating would be uncomfortable when on the inside of the jacket, but when pulling the jacket on I was surprised by its comfort.
I’ll be testing out the jacket over the next few weeks, both on and off the bike. If it’s as functional as a garment as it is visible, Urban Circus may just have struck what I previously thought was impossible – a jacket designed for safety which people will genuinely want to wear.
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