Posted by Jonathan "J.R" Reed on September 10th, 2009 at 12:49 pm
the Portland jacket at this year’s
Worst Day Ride
(Photo © Elly Blue)
Showers Pass, a local cycling gear company, has been making waves with its “Portland” rain jacket since it was introduced in 2008. The jacket is notable for crossing technical outerwear with vélocouture flair resulting in a handsome daily commuter piece which serves you well on a fast commute and isn’t an embarrassment to sport on date night.
During last week’s rainstorms I took the Portland for a test ride and appreciated its thoughtful features and subdued appearance. It’s a stylish commuter rain jacket that has a fuller cut so that it looks like a regular jacket when you aren’t on the bike.
Despite its deviation from the tight and racy cycling jacket norm, the cut is well-suited to a bent-over road bike riding position. The sleeves are long, the front hem is short and the retractable reflective tail flap offers desirable coverage when one is leaning over the handlebars.
(Photo by Showers Pass)
The stiff yet soft wind/waterproof outer shell is bulky compared to many other cycling rain jackets but the look and feel are what make the Portland unique. While you can’t easily wad it up and stuff it in your purse or hip pocket, you are unburdened by day-glow colors and the constant on/off necessary with some rain gear. I liked the style, and wanted to wear the jacket longer under more conditions, especially social conditions where dressing like a Gloucester fisherman is less than cool.
The two way front zipper, along with underarm and cuff zips are tabbed, easy to reach and are all key elements for regulating body temperature.
The lightweight fleece-lined pockets are a cozy feature off the bike and the zippered breast pocket is ideal for keeping the phone away from the keys and close to your ear so you can hear it ring when riding.
The Portland also has two internal open pockets which greatly increase its load capacity, a hem drawcord for fit adjustment plus some subtle reflective piping that add nighttime visibility without losing daytime style points.
There is also a headphone port stealthily built in to the breast pocket which I might use while commuting by bus but I still can’t bring myself to wear headphones when commuting by bike.
(Photo by Showers Pass)
All this adds up to a unique looking, durable and very practical piece of outerwear best suited for cold weather and less than torrential rains like those we frequently have in the jacket’s namesake city.
This season, Showers Pass has announced they will release a women’s version of the Portland, featuring fitted size gussets.The women’s jacket will be available in late October and comes in a light gray/lavender color called Pretty Plaid.
Both jackets will feature improved interior seam finishing over the original version.
The price remains unchanged from last year at $200.