Conspicuity. What the heck is that?? you ask. It’s a term motorcyclists use when describing ways to make a rider “conspicuous.” Many times accidents involving motorcycles happen because other motorists just don’t see us. There are many ways to make yourself be seen, including extra lights, flashing brake lights, and lately, this color, the “hi-viz yellow” that has turned up on highway signs, clothing, vehicles, and other objects (and people) that need to be seen.
I won this jacket a few weeks ago at a fund-raiser for a fallen rider. I wanted to give it to my riding partner, but he didn’t want another jacket. Normally, I hate yellow, but I chose the hi-viz color (it has a lot of blue in it) because I have been noticing lately how the more muted colors of motorcycles and riders seem to fade right into the background, especially on overcast days like today. No wonder it is difficult for cage drivers to see us since they barely pay attention anyway.
This jacket is by First Gear, which I was very happy about when I won it. I have been wearing First Gear “Air” overpants (mesh) for two years now, and they are just great. They are cool to ride in, which is saying something in Arizona, USA, where it regularly gets above 110° F. in the summer. I usually just wear shorts under the overpants, and I am comfortable. The Air pants have not faded in the constant blazing sunlight, another amazing fact since all my other gear fades after about one year. Another great feature is the side zippers that zip all the way up to the hip which make them easy to get on and off over boots. I mention the pants because another benefit is that the jacket zips to the pants. Since I’ve been wearing gear from different manufacturers, the zippers on the jacket and pants are never compatible. Until now. To me, that is reasonably important. It stops your pants from being ripped off you in a bad crash, and when it’s cold, it stops the wind from going up under the back of your jacket (the dreaded “icy back”), especially when you have a bag strapped to the back of the bike, like on a long trip.
I wore my new jacket for the first time today. Here is what it looks like:
I like the looped cord on the zipper of the pockets:
I am not as excited about the snap closure on the cuffs of the sleeves, but only because my wrists are so small that velcro closures are the only thing that works for me. But the more I rode today, the better I liked this particular design:
I think the snaps will work for me, as long as it keeps bees and other stinging insects from flying up the sleeves while I am riding. That happened to me once with another jacket, and I did get stung.
During today’s ride I encountered temperatures from the high 50s F. to the 80s F. I started out with the liner in the jacket, my Gerbings heated jacket liner inside. It all fit, which pleased me greatly. When I am out on the road on a trip, I can go from freezing weather in the mountain passes to heat in the lower elevations in a very short time. Today I shed layers as the temperature warmed, and eventually ended up with just the jacket and an Under Armour shirt (another favorite brand). This jacket will work well on long trips.
Here is the liner, which proved to be windproof:
All in all, I was pleased with the functionality as well as the color of this jacket, and I think I will enjoy it for many thousands of miles.