Thursday, July 19, 2012

New Hi-Vis Cycling

Brighten your kit with some inspiration from the hi-vis colors of Olympic cyclists. PHOTO: Lazer Helmet's Helium putting in a WIN at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Getting ready for a cycling tour or what's also known as a rolling vacation?  Planning such a trip is great fun and of course we all want to look our best on the road.  In this case being seen isn't just for our egos, it can help keep us safer on the road.  Somehow we've gotten in a rut by constantly choosing black bib shorts and the like but now is the time to up your game with a little color.

Hi-Vis Lid - Lazer Helium
Lazer Helium in Flash Yellow
Starting at the top, take a cue from this year's Tour de France & 2012 London Olympics.  There are a lot of fabulous neon bright helmets in the peloton offering a bright spot in the usual line up of elite cyclists.  One study even suggested that cyclists who wore black helmets were more likely to be involved in a road accident!  While I'm not sure how scientific that is, it might make sense, especially if you are riding at night.  Based on what I've experienced, the brighter the better when riding with cars.

One of the most airy and vented helmets I own is the Lazer Helium.  It has 19 large vents and the new Roll-Sys retention fit system.  The Roll-Sys is a wheel tucked into the very top of the helmet that takes up slack in the cradle system via a thin cable. The back the helmet's cradle has a recess area for a blinkie light which fits in the the Roll-Sys knob and would be available as an aftermarket accessory.  The bright florescent yellow of the helmet combined with a flashing safety light means you will be seen.  I've simply threaded a RoadID Supernova Firefly Blinkie with wrist attachment through the vents of my Lazer Helium & Rudy Project Sterling and it works great.

Bright Cyclewear Gore Bike Wear Style
Gore Bike Wear's Phantom Lady Summer Singlet
During the cooler months, many cyclists wear bright, yellow Gore-Tex rain jacketsI love my Gore-Tex cycle wear because they're water-proof and breathable even with the patented WindStopper fabric.  In warmer weather, you might want to try some sleeveless options in brighter day-glo colors.

That's why I was so excited to see Gore Bike Wear's 2012 Summer Line include their Phantom Lady Summer Singlet in a bright Chartreuse as shown here.  Not only is it engineered with venting and cooling technology but it also has an invisible zippered rear pocket, reflective piping in the back and logo in the front.  Touring in florescent colors has never been THIS cool. 

Terry's Tourista Tank in Hot Coral
Terry Precision Cycling Gets Glowing Reviews
This is another sweet go-to top for warm weather bicycle touring.  Terry Bicycle's Tourista Tank shown here in Hot Coral, is very comfortable to wear with V-neck styling; 3 rear open pockets; moisture-control fabrication. Relaxed fit means less cling when it's hot.
This tank covers a bit more than most so no worries about your bra straps showing out from under it.  I have this Tourista Tank in Lime Green and it has kept its bright color through nearly three seasons of washings and wear.  I recommend using Sport Wash on all technical fabrics including Gore-Tex, Lycra and Spandex pieces.

Pearl Izumi's Select Jersey in Safety Orange

Pearl Izumi Short Sleeved Jersey
Offering a bit more coverage is this short sleeved Select Jersey in Safety Orange by Pearl Izumi. I'm not really a fan of orange but the white racing panels makes this jersey both visible and appealing.
This jersey just two rear pockets and reflective accents but the slit sleeves, 12 inch invisible zipper and collar make up for it having less details than my other cycling tops.
Just as my personal preference, I'd rather wear sleeveless singlets and tanks in the summer as I do not like tan lines.  All the same I have found Pearl Izumi cycle wear to be consistently comfortable and well constructed.

Hi-Vis Touring Panniers & Saddlebags
TechWind Panniers by Angletech
These same bright florescent colors should carry over to your panniers and saddlebags. This is your bicycle luggage!  These will brighten any tour and can be taken off the bicycle when you stop for lunch or when wrapping it up at the end of the day.  
Here is a set of TechWind Aerodynamic Panniers by AngleTech  These do very well for windy rides and are angled to prevent kicking.  We matched it with this cycle chic Neon Mini Messenger Bag by Old Navy. The TechWinds have a large reflective strip, come with separate stuff sacks but matching rain covers must be purchased separately. Full length double zippers allow for easy access to gear even with a wide trunk bag up top.

Poppy Bags by Detours
Another bright idea in touring gear include these Fremonster Flap Poppy Bags from Detours. SEE THE POPPY BAGS VIDEO
These are really unique and zip fully closed to keep goods inside and off the road.  They also hold quite a bit more than the TechWinds so pack away! 
Fremonster Flap Poppy Panniers by Detours
The Fremonsters have light loops on both ends and easily latch on & off your rear rack via hanging clips. The height of these bags might make carrying a large rear trunk difficult but with a generous 650 cubic inches of space you might not miss it. Lots of inner and outer pockets and hide away rain covers that pop out just when you need them.  Eye catching print design by Herman Yu.

Using panniers and saddlebags on your bicycle tour gives you more control over your entire day.  I believe in carry in-carry out so all our food and drink containers, (CoolGear Inc., Klean Kanteens, Polar Bottles) are reusable and have built in chill packs. You choose when and where to stop and eat or drink.  You can also pack that extra Gore-Tex rain vest, arm/leg warmers or cycling jacket for when the weather changes.  If you are new to cycle touring, you might want to celebrate July - National Picnic Month, by having a Bicycle Picnic!  This will give you an idea of the gear you'll need to bring on full weekend/week cycling tour. The only difference is that your destination is close to home at a local park.
Bicycle touring at its best! The Sixer by Mountainsmith holds ALL this plus ice.

So Hi-Vis is the new black. Add some intense color to your kit this season and take those cycling tours by storm!  There are quite a few going on so be sure to check out the Wild Goose Chase Ride October 13th-14th 2012.  This ride is set in scenic Cambridge Maryland and put on by Gore Bike Wear and Terry Bicycles to help raise money for the local Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. A great ride for an even better cause.  Sign up today!

Bright Colors Riding the Wild Goose Chase


  1. Thank you, Its really a very informative post. Will you please assist me about where to find Hi vis vests?

    1. Hi Robert,

      There are two companies who make Hi Viz reflective vests for both day and night time use. Don't Get Hit at has a lot of reflective vests, belts and lights for very little money.

      If you are looking for something a bit more like fashion apparel, I would recommend Vespertine in NYC at
      Their vests and apparel are beautiful and can be stored in a pouch on your bicycle until you need them. Look for their Vesp, which I have and think is amazing.


      Dr. M