As most of you are well aware, visibility can make a big difference in terms of the well being of cyclists on the road, particularly at night and other low light environments.
Enter ArroWhere ™, a company based out of Canada whose specialty is to produce “quality, high-visibility apparel and accessories that help improve the visibility, safety, and control users have when sharing the road with cars and larger vehicles or trails with bikes and runners.”
What sets them apart from other reflective outerwear and gear is their utilization of super bright 3M reflective material into the shape of an arrow to indicate to drivers in what direction to move to avoid the cyclist. The simplicity of its design contributes to the efficacy of the product, in my opinion.
Bikecommuters has had a good history with ArroWhere™ thanks to Jack “Ghost Rider” Sweeney who spearheaded this relationship back in September 2014 at Interbike.
Following which, ArroWhere ™ was gracious enough to let us review a high visibility cycling jacket
Khyle from ArroWhere ™ recently reached out to us to review another 2 items in their product line. Before I knew it, a fluorescent yellow cycling vest and bag cover were at my doorstep.
In so many words, I was an instant fan. The visibility of the products was intense, to say the least. The construction of both was robust and with high quality materials. They both felt like items that would last for many years of hard use.
The backpack cover (standard size 35L) fit relatively well over my Maxpedition Sitka gear slinger (I think the design of my single sling backpack made the cover a little less of a good fit as you will read later). It folded up to a nice small volume and was easily stowed in the backpack without taking up too much space.
My Maxpedition Sitka GearSlinger
Buttons can pop open at times.
The cover is held in place with elastic bands attached with snap buttons. The addition of the the upper zipper was well designed, making accessibility of the backpack pockets possible without having to remove the entire cover.
Furthermore, since it was made with waterproof fabric, it served as an additional barrier for waterproofing the bag (although I was unable to test out this feature since here is southern California, we are having a horrible drought).
But it wasn’t just a backpack cover; the versatility of the design made the cover useable on other items as well. In particular, I was able to put it onto my kiddo’s bike seat. It fit securely and did not come loose at all.
This made riding with the kiddo feel a lot safer. We even took the cover for a trip to Catalina Island where we got around by bike 100% of the time. The cover was very reliable.
After about 4 months of use, I also noticed that it was quite stain proof and was easy to wash off. It looked like new; the visibility was not compromised one bit.
The only cons that I noticed on this cover were that the buttons securing the straps were not that strong, and during my rides they would at times pop open, particularly when I filled up my bag. I thought that a better design would replace the elastic straps with adjustable nylon straps and the snap buttons for standard plastic side release buckles. In this way, I feel that the cover could be used on bags of other sizes and would be even more versatile and secure.
Difficult to access the main side pocket with the cover attached (note: the orientation of the cover is incorrect in this image, however difficult side pocket access still holds true in the correct orientation)
My Maxpedition Sitka GearSlinger (Easy front access)
It would also be nice to have some molle webbing on the cover to allow for attachments of lights and other accessories, while not covering the visibility of the arrow.
And finally, I thought that an additional zipper allowing side access to the pack would also be advantageous, and a feature that I feel would not compromise the functionality of the product. I say this because a single strap backpack can be easily accessed during riding by rotating the bag from the back to the front, where a side access zipper would allow access to the bag while riding.
The vest was also a treat to use. I personally love vests as they allow for more mobility and allow for better ventilation. Despite it being a vest, it was pretty warm and windproof. It was surprisingly comfortable and was designed with a good fit.
After riding in 70 degree weather, I will say it got a little warm in the vest, at least for me.
Overall, I would recommend the company and the products. If you like riding with a backpack, the cover is a good deal and makes commuting that much safer by making you significantly more visible. It doesn’t take up that much space when stowed away in your backpack and is very light. Being the shape and size that it is, the cover can also be placed on other things as well such as a rear child bike seat.
Do good and ride well.
About the author: Andrew is a full time physician and enjoys bicycles, both riding on and writing on. He has been commuting since 2000.