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  • By John R. Quain

Travel Tuesdays: Sugoi Zap Bike Jacket Review

I recently covered some forthcoming technology intended to improve bicycle safety and prevent collisions with cars. But you don't have to wait for future tech to make a difference. Indeed, one of the most important things you can do now as a cyclist to help prevent such collisions is to make yourself more visible. And one of the brightest pieces of outerwear I've tested for doing just that is Sugoi's Zap Bike Jacket.

Sugoi is a British Columbia-based company that specializes in technical clothing for cyclists, with some additional pieces that also work for runners and hikers. In the case of the $180 Zap Bike Jacket, Sugoi uses pixel woven fabric. It essentially embeds tiny glass beads into the water-resistant polyester material. The beads don't reflect sunlight, but when night falls and street and head lights take over, the material lights up like a Christmas tree. The company calls the material “normal until night” and refers to the embedded glass beads as microglass lenses.

No matter what you call it, the material feels comfortable, whether you are biking or running, and it works. I've put in scores of miles running and biking with the Zap jacket and found it to be helpful in avoiding accidents not only with cars but also with other cyclists, especially those who may not always follow the rules of the road. In cities, many impatient cyclists tend to run red lights, and I've witnessed more than my share of such accidents. Highly reflective gear can make you look a little more conspicuous, which definitely helps.


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