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High-end cycling apparel: safe, fashionable urban biking

Urban cycling can involve a lot of close calls in the late evening or early morning hours, particularly in areas where partiers and bar-hoppers are constantly milling around on the bike lanes, or attempting to ride home, zig-zaggedly, after a long night of drinking.

True, we outfit our bikes with a headlamp to warn cars and pedestrians that we’re coming through. But in winter weather, especially, these may not always be enough to guarantee visibility from a distance. The light stream they emit is typically weak and difficult to see from certain angles.

It used to be that maximising night-time visibility meant concealing your masterfully-coordinated outfit beneath a bright orange construction worker’s vest. But many would rather just take a risk (or the bus) than be mistaken for a fluorescent Power Ranger.

Marrying fashion and safety

A new British company named LUMO has taken to Kickstarter in its aim to fill a gap in the cycling apparel market.

The company, headed by two former Red Bull higher-ups, will manufacture fashionable, high-quality unisex clothing and accessories outfitted with LED lights you can turn on and off yourself.

Maximum visibility keeps you safe

Fitted into seams and plackets, the rows of little lights are invisible while switched off. While on, the Ultra High Brightness (UHB) bulbs are brighter than the average bike lamp. LUMO claims they are visible from a distance of 400 metres - giving traffic plenty of time to react to your presence.

LUMO intends its products to complement bike lamps, not replace them. But wearable safety lights come with the additional advantage of being useful off the bike, for pedestrians crossing poorly-lit roads. The LEDs are powered by a rechargeable (USB) battery pack and may be machine-washed along with the garment.

Classic British fashion, updated for the city cyclist

It is already possible to find a wide-range of attractive cycling apparel in specialty shops and department stores, but even most higher-end items are designed to look "sporty". 

The challenge for the marketing experts behind LUMO was to create clothes that are breathable, waterproof, and ideal for biking, but with the appropriate aesthetic for a trendy restaurant or professional workplace.

Their Herne Hill Jacket, for example, is modelled on the classic Harrington coat, a British icon since the 1930s. The materials used, cotton twill and chambray, have been treated with drying and venting technology.

All LUMO shirts feature a dropped back hem to prevent them riding up, pockets to store phones and music players, and stain- and/or odour-resistance, along with other practical details.

Likewise, the Bermondsey Backpack, a canvas military-style rucksack, is treated with water-resistant wax to keep it dry, and includes an extra sternum strap to keep it in place during bike rides.

Kickstarter success

The company has already surpassed its Kickstarter goal, with several days still left in the campaign.

To learn more about LUMO’s product range, prices and pledge reward packs, view their page here.

Emily

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Emily McCallum

Emily grew up in a small coastal town in western Canada and moved to Utrecht in 2014, after completing her studies in Vancouver and Germany. So far, she has been...

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