There once was a time when a high-vis waistcoat was handy but ill-fitting item to throw on and aid visibility in the low light of autumn and winter. If you wanted powerful winter riding lights you had to strap cables along your bike frame, stretching like tentacles to a cumbersome battery pack. Winter turns even the most glamorous and fashionable cyclists into mud-stained, inconspicuous silhouettes, who resort to 'Heath Robinson' fixes to improve visibility, attaching bits of Scotchlite to bags, fashioning light brackets to chain stays, cutting up railway worker high-vis waistcoats and stitching them on to perfectly good (but all black) jackets.
This year's selection of winter riding clothing is not only visible and functional, but ensures you don't look like you've ridden home from a building site or a mine, or work at a company with an overly cautious health and safety policy.
Gilets are by far the most versatile garments in the autumn season for when the weather doesn't quite stick to the forecast. Rapha's Hi-Vis Gilet over a dark, long-sleeve jersey blocks the wind and adds a splash of colour. Sportful's Hot Pack Gilet weighs less than a Christmas satsuma and packs down to roughly the same size and shape. The tightly-woven fabric is excellent at repelling the water and the wind.
Colder and more demanding conditions are catered for by the imaginatively termed iJ.tiburu.4 jacket from Assos, Rapha's new Hardshell, Mavic's Vision range and Gore's trusted Contest Windstopper jacket. The jacket has been a firm favourite at Condor for at least half a decade. A slim cut creates a lighter garment without bulk and is perfect for training and performance riding. The highly technical and comfortable fabric maximum breathability and proven protection against biting wind chill.
Adding splashes of colour is a subtle but easy way to brighten up your ride. Fluro accents feature on helmets from Kask and Giro.
Defeet Slipstream Oversocks are available in yellow and keep the muck off of shoes and deflect the wind. Sealskinz Waterproof Merino Gloves offer both warmth, organic fibres, colour and are fully waterproof.
There is no excuse to not ride this winter. It is a season where so many colours change. If we lived in a place where there weren't any seasons, we would quite possibly go mad. There isn't one season where you can't find something to love. Go find something in this one.
Shop the jackets range
Shop the lights range