Look on the bright side

The Rapha Women’s Brevet Jersey and Gilet is the latest iteration of a project to create a garment that could stand up to the rigours of Paris-Brest-Paris, a 1,200km odyssey of a ride. The qualification for the event became a real-world R&D lab for the jersey, teaching us invaluable lessons about visibility, warmth and storage. These lessons have helped us create a jersey that will keep you safe and seen whether you are riding for one hour or fifteen.

A brevet is a long distance ride, ranging from around 200km to 1,500km, with riders required to have a brevet card stamped by officials at waypoints. It’s not a race (for most, at least) and the rewards for riding are exactly the same as the rewards for riding any distance – the feeling of accomplishment, the camaraderie, the fitness and the views.

It’s the heightened demands of brevet riding that have informed the Women’s Brevet Jersey and Gilet. The first is the quest for visibility – because of the lengths of the rides, and the volume of riding one undertakes to prepare for a brevet, riders will often find themselves riding on remote roads in relative darkness. This is why two bright stripes adorn the jersey’s chest, and hi-viz details adorn the cuffs. These elements will make the most of ambient light and the light from car headlights, helping other road users to see you.

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The jersey’s accompanying gilet is the most eye-catching hi-viz element of the pairing. With it’s own mesh-lined, zippered storage compartment above the jersey’s three cargo pockets, the gilet will always be on hand for when the light and temperatures drop. Made from a very bright, windproof fabric, the gilet has two hi-viz stripes that match the jersey, and a reflective Rapha logo on its tail. As with all Rapha jackets, the zipper is offset for ease of layering.

With a cut-off time of 90 hours, Paris-Brest-Paris forced us to re-learn some basic lessons about bike riding – when to eat, how to stay warm, and how to be comfortable on a bike for that length of time. You might find it necessary to carry slightly more than you’re used to. To this end, the Women’s Brevet Jersey has three spacious rear pockets, a zippered gilet compartment, and a valuables pocket.

For warmth and protection, we turned to an old favourite: merino-blend Sportwool™, which manages to both insulate and be breathable. It also has a gentle finish against the skin, which might not seem like a big deal when you first try the jersey on, but ends up making a monumental difference at the end of a long day.

The stories that came back from Paris-Brest-Paris were breath-taking – including our Head of Brand momentarily hallucinating from sleep deprivation – and have been retold on countless rides since. We hope that you get the chance to create your own stories and share them with us.

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