It’s been a wet autumn; a wet autumn in which I’ve nonetheless had to ride my Brompton to the office every day. Had to? Well, I suppose other transport options are available, but the simple fact that those options make you part of the traffic (which always increases in bad weather) rather than someone who can travel through it at your own pace – and therefore have some idea of when you’ll actually get to where you’re going – makes them singularly unattractive.
Anyway, I’m not hear to moan about or sing the praises of my personal transportation decision, I’m here to talk about one thing that is helping to confirm to me that I’ve made the right one: namely the Brompton London rain jacket, produced for the folding bike company by Scottish bad weather experts Endura.
We don’t lack for quality cycle clothing here at the Cycling Plus office, and in our next issue you’ll see a huge test of performance rain jackets, but the thing about riding a Brompton through city streets is that you don’t want to dress like a ‘cyclist’ to do it. What’s the point in having a bike you can fold down and walk straight into the office/pub, if you then have to disappear to the toilets to take off all your lycra? And if you’re wearing regular clothes, you want a regular coat on top. Easy, right? Go to M&S. Or Primark.
But the thing is, as much as you might not want to look like a cyclist on your folding bike, you are one. You still have to pedal to propel yourself, and Bristol is not without its hills, so you’re still working – I can’t afford to go electric! – and you still need something technical on top. Something that’s going to keep you dry outside and in, keep you seen on the streets at night, but that doesn’t look out of place when you jump off the bike.
The London jacket has been that coat for me. A relaxed cut means it looks good off the bike, while the waterproofing and breathability are both rated at 15,000 (mm for waterproofing & m2/24hrs for breathability*). This means the jacket keeps the rain out whether you’re riding or walking, but we can vouch for the fact that that breathability rating means you won’t overheat inside the jacket so long as you aren’t racing around. And if you are, or you’re slogging up a climb, the vents under the armpits can be opened when it’s mild and wet to allow the heat building up inside to escape. They can then be zipped back up on cold winter mornings when keeping heat in is what it’s all about.
Other features that impressed were the subtle reflective tabs on the front, back and cuffs that tuck away when not required but pop out to add visibility when you’re riding in the gloom. There’s also a hidden pocket in the breast for your phone and a storm flap on the collar for when you really need to seal yourself in!
At £150 it’s not the cheapest jacket on the market, but the price is not outrageous given the thought and technology that has gone into it – you can pay much more. If you do any short distance commuting or casual riding about town, the London jacket from Brompton and Endura could be just the coat you need during the long, dark months. And you don’t need to be on a London-built folding bike to wear one, but it probably helps…
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* To learn more about waterproof and breathability ratings, and the eternal search to combine the best of both in one jacket, check out our feature in issue 361 of Cycling Plus, on sale now!
Paul is editor of Cycling Plus, Britain's best selling road cycling magazine. A lifelong advocate of the never sacrifice style for speed credo, he has never come close to winning anything but did at least achieve one long-held cycling ambition in 2015 when he became an ancien of the 1200km Paris-Brest-Paris randonneé.