Showers Pass Transit CC Jacket and Showers Pass Elite 2.1 Jacket
One of these jackets would be an excellent gift for a friend or family member who bike-commutes to work. Having embraced commuting by bike for 2 years in Denver, I’ve come to appreciate the finer points of some commute-specific garments and gadgets.
When I realized that I spend 2-3 hours a week riding on roads with cars, I started taking visibility a lot more seriously. Wearing a bright color makes you WAY more visible to drivers, and the vivid yellow color of these jackets is right-on. They both sport reflective striping on the wrists, elbows, shoulders, and across the back, and the reflectivity is really strong – these stripes light up in headlights. I feel much safer riding in a garment that makes me stand out on the road.
This jacket also offers solid protection from the elements. As they say in Colorado, “if you want the weather to change, wait 5 minutes.” If you commute by bike around here, you’re committing to riding in just about any conditions – hot to cold, rain, hail, wind, all of it. These Showers Pass jackets are built to withstand anything the elements can throw at you.
Showers Pass Transit CC Jacket
The Showers Pass Transit CC Jacket occupies a shared territory between a cycling-specific jacket and a normal raincoat. It has good pit zips, a large back vent, a waterproof-breathable Artex fabric, reflective tape, and waterproof zippers. The cut is pretty standard – it fits over mid-layers, even a thick fleece or a vest, and the cut at the waist is slightly lower in the back, protecting your beltline that gets exposed when you ride. You could use this as a raincoat for commuting, road cycling, hiking, and around town. An awesome note is that they manufactured this jacket as part of their “Clean Color” collection that uses bluesign-approved dyes, avoiding harmful chemicals in the manufacturing process. Right on!
Showers Pass Elite 2.1 Jacket
The Showers Pass Elite 2.1 Jacket is more of a cycling specialist. It’s made of a slightly more waterproof 3-layer fabric and has even larger pit zips – they are great! The cut is slimmer, so you can’t wear bulky layers underneath, and the waist cut is highly asymmetrical –the rear goes way down your backside to protect your exposed rear end, while the front is short, sitting just at the waist. The result is a jacket that protects you really well while bent forward in the saddle, but admittedly looks a little silly when you walk into the office (your sweater shows, and perhaps your belt if you have a long torso). Showers Pass also sells a separate rain hood that can be mated to this jacket with some Velcro at the collar.
These jackets share two design elements that make them really comfortable for commuting. First, they seal off cold air really well. The sleeves are cut a little long, so they stay extended all the way to the wrist when your arms are stretched out to the handlebars. Also, the wrists can be securely closed off with large Velcro patches, and on my long downhill commute on cold mornings, keeping that freezing air sealed out of my arms makes a big difference. The necks zip up tightly as well, with a bit of fuzz to protect your chin from the zipper.
The other piece that sets these jackets apart is breathability and venting. This is especially important for bike commuting since you don’t want to show up to the office soaked in sweat! The entire upper back panel breathes through a mesh panel, protected from rain by a flap. There are also two core vents on each side that let you blow out some heat near the armpits. The vents are a little bigger on the Elite 2.1 Jacket.
Either jacket will keep you happy for years of commuting by bike. The Transit CC is more of an all-rounder, and the Elite 2.1 jacket is probably a better choice if you want to do a lot of winter riding. Save some gas, show up feeling refreshed – bike to work! And be comfortable and visible while you do it.