Every so often I’m sent a piece of cycling apparel, when after the review, I’m left wondering whether I like the garment better on or off of the bike.
Such is the case with Vespertine’s wool cycling hat, which is as luxurious to behold as it is to wear.
The New York City-based Vespertine is a small, boutique brand of cycling apparel and accessories helmed by the talented Sarah Canner, who launched the company back around 2011.
As Canner explains, the motivation for creating Vespertine arose out of her desire to create cycling attire and accessories that were both fashionable and safe, incorporating the finest 3M Scotchlite reflective material while simultaneously putting a stamp on sustainability by using 100% recycled ECO poly and merino wool. She even hung a clever name on the process called Haute Réflecture.
The hat is part of a collection that was made in collaboration with the British brand Brompton, which is crafted from 100% merino wool, a material that’s been regaled by cyclists for more than a century for its natural ability to provide warmth and breathability.
The shape of the hat is interesting, while it fits in a traditional manner, the profile allows it to be pulled down over the ears without falling too far upon forehead. Most other cycling hats can only accomplish this by having earflaps made into the design. Moreover, there’s just enough reflective material left exposed around the rim of the hat to take advantage of its reflective properties.
As far as performance is concerned, as someone who deigns to brave the harsh riding conditions a New England winter can dish out, I’m not one who easily speaks in superlatives when it comes to cold weather cycling apparel. Nevertheless, the Vespertine hat proved to be ideally suited for cold weather cycling, providing a level of warmth capable of dipping down into the single digits.
So what has left me in such a state of wonder?
Well, the craftsmanship (or should I say womenship) is so striking, especially the semi-abstract design imposed by the 3M Scotchlite, which takes in iconic images of New York City such as the Statue of Liberty, the Manhattan Bridge and the Chrysler Building, along with chevrons symbolizing bike paths, it seems like sacrilege to conceal something so stylish under a bike helmet.
For this reason, I find myself wearing the hat just as much off the bike as I do riding, keeping my head nice and warm during the Massachusetts winter, while receiving plenty of compliments wherever I go. This is clearly not something I get from my other cycling hats. 🙁
Also, despite being a stalwart when it comes to safety, given its excellent reflective properties, I’m almost inclined to give the helmet-less urban cyclist a pass who’s looking to stay warm and be seen, albeit on just a short jaunt to the store or work.
You can see Vespertine’s full range of cycling apparel and accessories by visiting VespertineNYC.
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