City riding and commuter cycling has been rapidly growing over the years. Whether it's because you want to save money on your travel, get fitter or just because you enjoy being on the bike, it's great to see so many women pedalling through the towns and cities.
Riding your commuter bike in populated areas requires a certain level of safety. As a cyclist there are a number of things you can do to say safe in the streets, although making yourself seen and heard by drivers and pedestrians, is one of the most important things you can do.
Fortunately there are a number of innovative brands out there with some great ideas to combine fashion, function and comfort for every cyclist. One such brand is, Urban Circus, an urban clothing company who have taken "safety" to a whole new level...
Le Jongleur Jacket
When two enthusiastic city cycling friends were bored of seeing the same high-vis vests and straps available to riders, they decided to make their own alternatives. French safety clothing brand, Urban Circus, launched their line of ultra reflective and stylish jackets in 2011.
Since then the brand has grown, and are now branching out further afield with new and exciting garments added to their line. I've been wearing and riding around town in their Le Jongleur (The Juggler) jacket, and found a lot more than I bargained for.
The two way reversible jacket has a super reflective orange pattern on one side for night time riding, and a quilted black layer side for the day time. Even while wearing the jacket with the black side out, reflective zip piping allows the jacket to remain seen in low light conditions.
Upon being dazzled by the fluorescent orange pattern, my first thought was: "Wow. No one is going to miss me", which is exactly the point. It's brilliantly bright and offers 360 degree high-vis coverage. Even in the daylight when lights glances over, the jacket kicks back such a great reflection.
There are two zipped pockets on the front of Le Jongleur, and popper fastened pockets on the black side of the jacket.
I've been really impressed with this jacket. It's got a lovely tapered cut, nicely finished hem along the cuffs, and it's warm. I've worn this on the bike around town, but also out for walks and the stuff quilted layers keep you really toasty. Despite being a breathable jacket, I was quite hot on the rides, however I was quickly cooled down just by undoing the front zip.
The Jongleur jacket certainly possesses a Jekyll and Hyde personality. By day you're a subdued bouncer in a 90's inspired bomber jacket, and by night you're a pedal mad lollipop lady lit up like a beacon for all to notice.
I had my reservations at first. Garish orange and black aren't usually my go-to colours of choice, but I have to admit that this little number has grown on me...
Price: 130 euro
Sizes: XX.Small - Large
The Jacket within the Jacket
"We just want to make it fun, and to create a small surprise to our clients" - Ann, Urban Circus
You buy a new coat or jacket, and you may expect some stickers... perhaps even a pouch for additional buttons and thread, but Urban Circus tuck a high-vis condom into their pockets.
I didn't even notice this for the first few wears. My hands are on my bars, or flaying at my side as I prance around town, so when I discovered this little French inscribed gift in my pocket, I was excited.
It was a glow-in-the-dark condom. The loose translation of the packet is: "Your Protection is Our Profession". Even now, I find it hard to formulate an eloquent enough sentence to describe my thoughts because it's just so bizarre, and quite possibly the last thing I expected to find in my pocket. I've been laughing about it, because I just don't get it. Is this some misguided marketing campaign?
I emailed Urban Circus asking about this jacket within a jacket, and their reply was simply this: "We just want to make it fun, and to create a small surprise to our clients" - well they certainly succeeded in surprising me!
*Note to reader: I've not reviewed the high-vis capabilities of the condom
Aside from the not-so-appropriate freebie in the pocket, I've gotten on quite well with the high-vis Le Jongleur jacket from Urban Circus. It's super warm, highly visible in low-light conditions, and they've certainly incorporated a great fit and style too.
To launch their updated line of high-vis coutre, Urban Circus has taken to Kickstarter to raise 15,000 euros for production. With 2 weeks left, they're halfway to that target, and with a 50 euro pledge, you can secure yourself your very own.
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