Thursday, 26 April 2012

Keeping dry in my Cambridge Raincoat

Like many people, my rainy weather cycling debut wasn’t one to feature in the pages of Vogue. I was 17 on an electric bike called ‘Georg’ travelling to my part-time job, wearing a purpley pink ‘mac in a pac’. I often looked like I was going camping. It didn't help that I regularly suffered from a very low bicycle battery! Practicality had well and truly overtaken style in this stake and I was fighting a losing battle.

These days I have stepped up my game big time with the help of a beautiful coat from the Cambridge Raincoat Company (and ditching the electric bike in 2003). Many of you may call yourselves lycra-clad cyclists who enjoy wearing a sporty raincoat, but me? Why, I like to look like I had never even hopped on a bike when I arrive at work in the mornings! But when those clouds are grey and it rains, this ideology quickly evaporates and I end up turning up to work looking soggy and messy.

This all too familiar scenario has thankfully inspired Sally Guyer, owner and founder of the Cambridge Raincoat Company, to produce a stylish raincoat which takes into account practicality and comfort, marrying it with style and some serious cycle chic.

It seems that Sally and I share the same ethos about clothing and cycling. It’s not about having to dress for the bicycle ride and get changed at your destination, but instead wear something you like and would wear even off the saddle. This is simplicity, the less accessories and clothing for my bike ride, the better!

So with these April showers well and truly making their ugly mark on the grey buildings of London and my trusty commute in the past month, I sure have had the chance to test the raincoat out in all weathers.

So here's the deal:


I’m a navy kind of girl so when I saw the coat has been recently produced in this colour, I was super pleased, but if you fancy something brighter to maximise your visibility to cars on the road then the coat also comes in vibrant green, tomato red, iris orchid, poppy red and aspen gold. All colours to swoon at!

Super easy to cycle in

The Cambridge Raincoat is a style classic. The single-breasted design with a shawl lapel looks smart and is a far cry from the common sporty rain coat style! The coat is also cinched in at the waist, which makes for a trim waistline rather than the boxy waterproof jacket shape I have grown to hate. Every detail from the buttons to the sneaky inside pockets have been thought through and produced with exceptional quality.
Gorgeous half-belt detail on back

Also, check out the jazzy lining!

Comfort is secondary for me when I buy clothes, but if an item ticks the comfort box as well then it’s a bonus in my book! I can well and truly vouch that this coat has the comfort quality BIG TIME! The material 100% Cordura which to you and me translates to sumptuous light and soft material, not hot nor itchy. Additionally, the tailoring of the coat is such that there is enough extra material to move your arms and legs freely, so if you want to pelt past those Brompton Divas, then this coat sure isn’t stopping you!


The Cambridge rain coat scores highly in the functionality category tested by my ability to freely be able leap on and off the bike successfully in the event of a van/Addison Lee/SUV attack. Additionally, the lightweight material of the coat surprisingly folds up nice and small leaving plenty of room in my pannier for other delights. The only qualm is that the sleeves are slightly short on me, but that could just be because I have extra long arms!
Flattering shape
The big weather test

There sure hasn't been a shortage of wind and rain these past few weeks and I have to say, this coat has been a life saver! The material is 100% waterproof and wind resistant which exceeded my expectations. With other waterproof jackets I have often found that I will have patches of wetness around the shoulders, but this jacket managed to repel the rain away. The long skirt is designed to cover the knees and has saved me on numerous occasions this month from having to change my what-would-have-been rain soaked tights when I get to work. There is also a low button lapel, which helped to keep my skirt down in blustery conditions. The collar can also be pulled up high to stop any sneaky drops of rain from falling down your top.

Collar you can pull up high to stop the rain getting in
The coat passes the wind test and succeeds in not inflating to make me look 5 stone heavier resembling a floating marshmallow like so many raincoats tend to do.
Low button to help stop coat flapping in wind
And finally…..The Help! My Chain Came Off Factor

It's made in England! Which means it is produced ethically with quality by people who are paid a decent wage.

These darn April showers no longer get the better of me and I no longer turn up to work looking dishevelled and windswept after a ride in a storm. So long purple mac-in-a-pac, your days are OVER!

The coat retails at £250. Currently the Cambridge Raincoat Company are developing a stylish mens coat so watch out!


Alex said...

My bike folds, so if the rain is really bad, I don't worry about riding at all - I just take my bike on the bus with me. Because of this, I haven't ever really had to invest in "cycling" raingear. But this coat looks so nice, it might not be a problem for me any more.

Anonymous said...

250 pounds?? it's beautiful, but no way!

Chris Bolt On Bicycles said...

Good to hear that there is a men's variant in the offing! Has anyone ever spotted a "Brompton Diva" wearing an Oratory Jacket I wonder?

citygirlrides said...

it's a lovely coat. i found that most bike rain gear is pretty expensive but i've found some really great rain coats at a thrift store for $10 that do the trick. not as lovely but functional nonetheless.

BB said...

Hmm, living in Australia and just coming out of a warm summer, £250 seems a bit steep. It does look great and I also like that it's made in the UK, but, I think I need to get soaked a few more times before it seems a reasonable investment. I'll check back after a few wet months :-)

Malcis said...

Seriously considering this after this week's weather - but what do you wear on your head? Currently I have a cape which is not all that satisfactory BUT the attached hood does stop the rain running down your neck. Very interested to learn how you protect your coiffure...

Kate said...

I would love to know how you manage to not have to change when you get to work. Me, I have to spruce up a bit and change, if you know what I mean. I dream of cycle chic, nay, just wearing my normal clothes!

Anonymous said...

I just use this Karrimor waterproof jacket, dress and tights. (I just have to cycle for 10 min to work)

Anonymous said...

I currently wear a Barbour ladies waxed cotton hat on my head when it's raining. It has a small brim all the way round & is easy to carry around in a pannier when it's not raining - folds up very small & is easy to whip off and on. I prefer it to a hood as it doesn't impair my vision when I look over my shoulder before turning right(& I have had huge trouble with this when wearing hoods as all I end up seeing is the inside of the hood!) I also like the way the brim keeps the rain off my face, unlike hoods with drawstrings which aren't very flattering either.

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Anonymous said...

As a rural (male) cyclist, kitted out in the best Worzel Gummidge tradition, I can nonetheless appreciate the need for a young lady to be well turned-out whilst cycling in the Metropolis and upon her arrival at work.
Good things are usually rather more expensive, and I like the Be British, Buy British aspect.
Keep on cycling with style and panache.

clairemaxwell said...

You are one gorgeous cyclist Jemma!

strikk handknits said...

Ha! You live in my neighbourhood, well the photo is in my neighbourhood. Sorry had to share that.....good post though.

Lauren said...

I. must. get. one

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