Sunday, November 27, 2011

Iva Jean Rain Cape: Ethereal, Wearable

Iva Jean Rain Cape
When asked to review the Iva Jean Rain Cape, I immediately recalled the remarkably successful photos of this item I had seen in the lookbook several months earlier. I'd been mesmerised by the stunning model and bicycle, by the perfect combination of my favourite colours, by the foggy, milky, electric feel of the whole thing. But a staged photoshoot is one thing; the article of clothing itself could be quite another. What we have here is essentially a silver hooded cape, to be worn on a bicycle. The skeptic in me was thinking that few of us can pull off a garment like that without looking like we are headed to a sci-fi convention.

Iva Jean Rain Cape
When the Iva Jean cape arrived, I was relieved to find it quite wearable. The colour is a metalic slate gray, in no danger of being confused with an aluminum foil alien costume. The fabric is fluid and drapey, not stiff. And it is mostly noiseless (no swooshing). 

Iva Jean Rain Cape
The cape is made in Seattle out of a water-repellent, breathable nylon-polyester blend fabric with reflective piping. It is one size only and hits mid-thigh. I don't want to repeat manufacturer specs, so please read the complete list of features here

Iva Jean Rain Cape
Close-up of the hood, visor, rear vent and reflective piping. 

Iva Jean Rain Cape
The hood is roomy and can be loosened and tightened using a system of drawcords.

Iva Jean Rain Cape
 Rear view. 

Iva Jean Rain Cape
Stand-up collar inside the hood. The zipper extends half way down and makes the cape easy to put on and take off.

Iva Jean Rain Cape
The arm openings have velcro closure, as does the large front pocket. There is also a system of drawcords and thumb loops on the bottom for keeping the arms inside the cape. 

Iva Jean Rain Cape
Full rear view. 

Iva Jean Rain Cape
In use on the bike. Speaking generally, I must admit that I am not a "bicycle cape person." When I look down and see a tent draped over my legs, it abstracts the pedaling experience for me. That said, this cape is so lightweight, that this effect is diminished. What I like about it particularly is the breathability, the flattering shape, and the ease of movement it affords off the bike. With capes I can sometimes feel as if I am getting tangled in them, but this one has such an airy feel to it, that I could hardly tell I had it on. 

One thing to keep in mind is that this is a cape, not a poncho. It is intended for casual use, such as commuting. As you can see in the pictures, the forearms are somewhat exposed when I am holding the handlebars, because I am fairly leaned forward on this particular bike. The more upright your position on the bicycle, the less this will be an issue. [Edited to add: The manufacturer explains that it is possible to cover the handlebars with the cape like so. However, when I attempted this my arms felt constricted and I was not able to use it comfortably in this manner.]

Iva Jean Rain Cape
Having worn the cape in the rain a couple of times, the coverage was sufficient and there were no problems with the waterproofing. As far as temperature regulation, the cape functions as a light shell and you can layer underneath it. The vents provide good ventilation on warmer days. The front can be zipped all the way up to cover the neck up to the chin on days when you wish for a scarf.

I found the system of drawcords a little complicated, but I think this is a matter of preference and others will appreciate them, as they basically allow you to reshape the garment in a variety of ways. The one point of criticism I have, is what to me looks like some subtle bunching up of fabric around the seams (you can see it in pictures like this one). It could be just an unavoidable characteristic of the fabric used, but I am detail-oriented and my eyes keep being drawn to this. 

Iva Jean Rain Cape
The Iva Jean Rain Cape is available for sale online, and the retail price is $240. If you would like my review sample, please leave a comment with your email address by Monday, November 28th, 11:59pm Pacific time and I will choose a recipient at random. Continental US entries only please. In my opinion this cape will fit women up to size 10 US.

Enjoy the rest of your Thansgiving weekend!

95 comments:

  1. Oh, I really like this cape! I do wear an Agu rain cape (also one size fits most) from time to time, which is really way too big for me. In recent La Nina Seattle downpours that last all day, a cape is the only way to not overheat and to keep my feet and lower leg relatively dry.

    Please enter me in the drawing: alrychel at gmail dot com!

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  2. Your reviews are so helpful to me! pitadavis@aol.com

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  3. This is great! I hate riding to work in the rain because my pants always get wet, and bringing another pair along is a hassle (and I have yet to find waterproof pants that fit correctly). I am intrigued! It looks like it would be great for late spring-early fall rainy day rides. devin.fredrickson@gmail.com

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  4. I want a chance at that review sample! Grapefruitorama(at)gmail :)

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  5. I don't even own a waterproof jacket! :/ Love the color, cut, and hood especially. Will definitely wear it if I'm lucky enough to win: marianareynolds at gmail

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  6. I really believe wearing a slate gray rain cape does not make sense. Bicycle rain clothes need to be bright high contrast colors, unless you hope to write a post about nearly getting hit by a motorist.

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  7. i'd love a chance for this- it would be great for my move to portland coming up!

    hannahtaube@gmail.com

    also, hello! i am a newish reader, and haven't commented before.

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  8. while living in oregon i found a cape the best choice keeping water off my clothing and not overheating. i could care less what it looked like as long as it worked for the eight mile commute. sometimes it seems designers put too much attention on fashion and not enough on function. when rain or mist or showers greet us in the morning, pulling out something which actually does it's job is most gratifying. the only difference i see is that some capes cover the handlebars and some don't. do you have thoughts on this issue?

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  9. I'd love to be part of the raffle for the cape: bearvshark at hotmail dot com Thanks!

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  10. Love the cape -- and the blog! Please add me to the drawing.

    margyartgrrl{at}gmail.com

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  11. What a lovely cape! I would love to be entered into this giveaway. Thanks for the chance, and for raising our appreciation for beautifully-designed bicycle-related items. You've become a daily read for me.

    cgunadi [at] gmail.

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  12. I love capes! :) yet I don't own one.....

    Erinhanada at gmail.com if I am lucky enough to be chosen.

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  13. I got one of these in the stone colour:
    http://www.wateroffaducksback.co.uk/ladies-cycle-macintosh-2-p.asp
    It has its faults (if there's a strong wind the lower fastener doesn't kep it from partially flapping open) but I'm largely very pleased with it. It's also pretty enough to wear when not cycling.

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  14. I've always lusted a bit after a rain cape, but I never have something better (read: essential) to spend my monies on.

    Fivedashes at G mail dot com

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  15. I have had cape lust for this cape ever since I first saw it on the internets a few months ago, I would love it but I live in Australia, so I'm not sure if I am eligible. If I am, my email is vicki.coughlan7 AT gmail.com

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  16. I am a rain cape person, and have been since I lived in rainy northern Germany 20 years ago. Having said that, though, there are two things that I really don't like about this rain cape. The first is the price - while I do understand that there is a price to be paid for fashion, $240 is so much above the $15-20 you can pay for a decently-made waterproof treated nylon rain cape in Europe that it's hard for me to swallow.

    The second issue is visibility. While I usually bike in regular clothing (or bike specific clothing that looks like regular clothing), my current rain cape is bright yellow (as is the rain cover for my carradice bag). Biking in the rain in a rain-gray cape (reflective piping or not) would make me feel a little invisible.

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  17. I wear a pant/jacket rain set for cycling and they don't fit well. Can't believe I've never considered a cape before. This one looks like just the ticket. Thanks for the chance to win one!

    pamela (dot)morrell (at) gmail (dot) com

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  18. I'm always looking for good solutions for biking in the rain; this would be fun to try. Thanks!! marianne.montgomery at g mail

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  19. Wow, that is certainly more flattering than I'd ever imagined a rain cape to be!
    I'd love to be put into the running, annie . curro AT gmail DOT com

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  20. Rain cape? Yes please! I moved from a no-rain city to a rains-a-lot rural area, and still insist on trying to bike around in less-than-perfect weather... dianepana(at)gmail(dot)com.

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  21. samuel (dot) burchett (at) gmail (dot) com

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  22. I really like that cape. I could definitely use a better option for the rain. My email is:

    strathspeyreels at yahoo dot com

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  23. I love the cut of that and have something similar. It really helps to keep the rain off the top of your thighs which a regular rain jacket just can't do. It's great to see more ponchos showing up in America!

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  24. I read about this cape in September and thought that it was super cute! I've found myself riding my bike more and more lately and would love the addition of the cape so that there are fewer day's deemed "unbikeable".

    design.girl3 (at) gmail (dot) com

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  25. ah, perfect for the commute. srb2126@columbia.edu

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  26. I would love this cape! It's been so wet here lately! My commute would be much happier.

    jamadren (at) gmail (dot) com

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  27. please add me to the list of people who would love to receive this cape!

    genevieve (at) hungrymonsters (dot) net

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  28. I can't even begin to tell you how much this would be appreciated in Portland OR. It's a little wet here :)
    chefmichelle (at) good ol gmail

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  29. That is so pretty! I need to replace my old rain gear (if I can even call it that...my jacket seemed to embrace the rain rather than repell it), and I was thinking of trying a cape next. They always remind me of old Hollywood :).

    rubyrat1313 (at) gmail (dot) com

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  30. love this cape asnelson03@gmail.com :)

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  31. I'm always looking for classic looking rain pieces. I'd love to give the cape a shot!

    julie@andhowblog.com

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  32. This cape looks so adorable (and practical!) on you, V! Would love a chance to win it :-)

    juicy.couturegirl(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  33. This looks awesome! If I don't win it, I just might have to go buy one. :)

    laura.a.ring@gmail.com

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  34. Re colour and visibility: The cape is silver, not gray. Shimmery.

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  35. I would love something like this.
    I live in the PAC NW and would love to see how this item will perform.

    cheers!
    Michelle

    cheleed(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  36. 240$ ? Did I just read 240$ ? For a rain cape ?
    I'm with Andy, this is a joke. There's no way a rain garment is worth so much money, until it's made of the latest, most cutting edge, iteration of Goretex, which this one is not.
    Until the last paragraph, this thing looked like a rather neatly done rain cape though.

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  37. Rain suits don't seem to work for me so I'm currently using a poncho I picked up at a farm supply store.

    steve0257 at msn dot com

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  38. So much more stylish than a rain jacket.

    seoulgirl01@hotmail.com

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  39. Phillipe and Andy - I would not buy a $240 cycling rain cape either, because I'd rather spend that money on bike components and because my old trench works fine for me. But I consider the price fair for a locally made, small production run item. Also, the cape is marketed for women, which might explain why it does not appeal to you.

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  40. IMHO this cape wouldn't work as well with drop bars. It is for city upright bikes with swept back bars. It doesn't go over road levers etc. Perhaps a bit late since a bunch of people already want it but an FYI nonetheless.

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  41. It had not even occurred to me that there are capes with special provisions for drop bars. This one is ideal for upright bikes.

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  42. Serendipity!
    Just when I was going to post on the rain cape I just bought from Lululemon. Quite different though!
    240$ is too much for me.

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  43. Very pretty, though count me in as one who wouldn't pay $240 for it. But for free...

    mauerschau (at) gmail (dot) com

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  44. "I really believe wearing a slate gray rain cape does not make sense. Bicycle rain clothes need to be bright high contrast colors, unless you hope to write a post about nearly getting hit by a motorist."

    On every blog with a rain cape review, someone comes up with exactly the same comments with almost exact wording...
    Anymous 2:01, is it you again, do stalk them or what?

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  45. Not withstanding various mishaps with capes as seen here, I would enjoy using this. I am based in the UK, but can provide a US mailing address. kyklosethos@gmail.com

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  46. @ Andy

    "The first is the price - while I do understand that there is a price to be paid for fashion, $240 is so much above the $15-20 you can pay for a decently-made waterproof treated nylon rain cape in Europe that it's hard for me to swallow."

    Andy, I don't think you are the target audience :)
    I think a made in Seattle original design that is stylish and fits is worth the money, all $240 worth. My mass produced, made in China Agu cape works, but is no where as nice looking, doesn't fit a smaller person well, and the rubbery fabric is not so nice. If money were no object, I would already own one of these Iva Jean Capes.

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  47. Oh yes please put me in the running for the cape! I am desperate for a rain cape. Am thinking about the Rivendell bright gorden's fisherman one mainly b/c of price point. But something subtle and less gorden's would be really wonderful!

    vanessa DOT allen AT mac DOT com!

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  48. I'd love to try it as I wear my wool (not waterproof) cape as much as I can when it is dry here in Portland, OR. Please add me to the running!

    LaNinaComix AT gmail DOT com

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  49. Sweet looking cape! Thanks for the chance to win it!

    Rebecca
    jangular.khaari@gmail.com

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  50. I'd love to be added too, please! I love bicycle capes for transportation cycling (the ventilation esp in warmer weather). I've had my eye on this cape for a while and even called Seattle last week for more info....my one concern was that it is water resistant, not water proof, and I wasn't sure it would be up to heavy downpours for the duration of my 45 minute commute. But it would be great for everything but really heavy rain

    Anon 2:04: the capes that hook over the handlebars create a "tent"-like effect over your thighs/knees as you cycle. That, along with rubber boots, keeps me as dry as rain pants. Without the over-the-bar hooks, I have found that it is much harder to avoid getting my upper legs soaked. Otherwise I use a rain coat but the buttons never go down far enough to keep my upper legs dry (paper clips - the clamp type -- is a good work-around). In a pinch I've thrown rain paints over a dress, but I wouldn't recommend it! :)

    For the "drawing" - zwart DOT jeanette @ gmail DOT com

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  51. This looks like it would be perfect for a rainy commute! I usually end up completely drenched by the time I arrive at my destination, so I'd love the chance to try this cape out.

    allisonq [at] gmail [dot] com

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  52. This is exactly what my friend needs! I wish someone would make a less expensive version. $240 is pretty steep.

    Dave

    bikestuff at dogjoys.com

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  53. I have a raincape that I bought at HEMA in Amsterdam last summer, for 18 Euros. I would love to compare this classy one to my plain one, which works, but is heavy and a little unwieldy (like wearing a tent over the front of the bike). $240 is too much for my budget, sadly!

    wilmaflanagan
    gmail.com

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  54. The last few times I did my commute in the rain I resorted to poking a few holes in a plastic trash bag, so I think this looks like a stupendous garment!

    Biryanilady [at] gmail.com

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  55. I've been hesitant to ride in the rain because I have no rain cape/poncho/etc and can't afford a nice one right now...this looks like a great solution. Would appreciate being included in the drawing!

    bjlkt2 [at] gmail [dot] com

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  56. I live in Portland, Oregon, and the cape would be perfect for keeping me dry during our long, wet winters as I commute to and from work. thank you so much for your wonderful blog and interesting, well-written reviews of great and not-so-great products!
    Alison

    ampyali64@gmail.com

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  57. Have you tried rainlegs.com yet? They look great in combination with a regular jacket. You would be able to see your feet that way :)

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  58. I've been eyeing this myself, but the cost is prohibitive. I would love to be considered in the drawing!

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  59. That cape sounds so useful. Please add me to the contest.
    bryghtrose at gmail dot com

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  60. Velouria-- thanks for your consideration in passing on this great product. I would love to be entered in the drawing. I need something that keeps me as dry as Little Dude's trailer keeps him!

    meganomics AT gmail dot com.

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  61. Looks like a cool item. My wife would like it!

    David

    cyclotourist1717 (at) yahoo (dot) com

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  62. I've been looking for a rain cape for a while now and frankly had concluded none existed that were truly wearable. I've wasted money on 3 different ones now (2 made in UK and 1 made in Germany). They've all been too stiff and too crackly and have a tendency to rise up as one big unit around my ears when I lift my arms at all - one so much that it rendered me blind!

    The Iva Jean makes me wonder if perhaps there is hope yet...

    So yes please I'd like to enter this draw. I live in the UK but all my family is in Oregon so I can provide a US mailing address if that's okay. rebecca19804(at)virginmobile(dot)(com).

    Rebecca

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  63. I have been using the Grundens one from Rivendell:
    http://www.rivbike.com/product-p/ar1.htm
    for the past year. It is so stupendously waterproof and well made. If this one from the review is over-designed )hood, zippersm, draw strings...) the Grundens one is under-designed - just a few snaps and loops to tuck your thumbs in to keep it from flying away.
    I am so so sold on the rain cape as rain gear- no more sweat during rainy commutes. As for your feet, even with full coverage fenders my feet tend to get a bit wet so in the winter I wear NEOS overshoes and the summer I wear rubber covers or go barefoot.

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  64. If anyone is interested, they're on sale from now until Dec 4th for $199.
    Velouria, how would you judge its warmth/ wind resistance? Comfortable to 40 degrees? Comfortable to 30 degrees with a sweater underneath?
    It's comparable in price (actually less expensive) to the Brooks rain cape, but IMHO much more flattering and stylish (and lighter colored).

    I've been contemplating making my own cape out of waxed cloth, but haven't gotten any further than ordering samples of the waxed cloth, most of which are quite dark colored.

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  65. So on the pictures it looks like the cape doesn't cover the arms of the rider. I only know the classic European ponchos that keep the whole front, including the handlebars covered. How does a cape make sense if you'll still get wet arms? I guess it works in the summer, when riding short-sleeved, but in the cold I wouldn't want my arms to get wet.

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  66. I love that cape, and despite your distaste for the bunching of the fabric along the seams, it does look really cute on you. I'd love that for commuting.

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  67. I have been desperately wanting a cape for my rainy day commutes. Please enter me in!!!
    Thank you,
    pbruscoe@yahoo.com

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  68. Love it. Today is my daughter's 13th birthday, and I could use a present for--yes--myself!

    lyanda(at)metonym(dot)(org)

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  69. I am a great fan of your blog and would love to win the cape. It looks a lot more chic than my $5 rain poncho.

    beesims at gmail dot com

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  70. I would love to win this cape!
    Bazyk (at) gmail (dot) com!

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  71. Count me in for your "contest" to "win" the cape. I've wanted something like it for as long as I've been cycling.

    I recall my first cycling rainwear. I bought it, oh, some time during the Carter presidency. A two-piece suit in completely unbreathable coated nylon, it came in dark ("forest") green, dark blue and screaming orange. They all looked like HAZMAT outfits. When I bought it--from the old American Youth Hostels store on Spring Street in New York-- only green was available in my size.

    Old men in retirement communities have pajamas that fit better than that rainsuit. And it taught me that coverage and protection aren't the same thing. Still, it was better than almost anything else that was available at the time.

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  72. I think some of the confusion re whether this garment can be worn on a roadbike, why it does not cover the handlebars and exposes the forearms, etc., has to do with confusing cape vs poncho - so I have now inserted a paragraph making a note of this. This is not a poncho; it is a cape. Ponchos are the blanket-like things that cover the handlebars. Capes are styled pieces of outerwear with openings for the arms instead of traditional sleeves.

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  73. Re how warm the cape is: Think of it as a light shell that retains warmth but does not provide any. You can wear it in warm weather and the vents will keep you cool. Or you can wear it in colder weather with a bunch of wool layers underneath. I don't think there is any particular temperature cut-off point, simply because you can keep layering under the cape.

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  74. count me in!

    on[dot]my[dot]bicycle[at]hotmail[dot]com

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  75. I'd rather spend the day soaking wet and freezing cold than be seen wearing that on the streets of England. There has to be a line and that outfit signals it. I can't help but think of those flying squirrel suits that parachutists and base jumpers wear. I love this blog, I love practical bicycle additions, I love being warm and dry, but that thing is a monstrosity. If I was asked to design an outfit to induce ridicule, it would look very much like that cape.

    Someone please tell me this is an inside joke I don't get!?

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  76. OH, i want it!

    corkgrips@gmail.com

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  77. I've had my eye on this cape for months, but the price has kept me from being able to purchase it. I'd love to have it! It would get plenty of use!

    - Tiffany
    tiffanyforever(at)gmail(dot)com

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  78. Oh please count me in! I've needed something like this for a long time. I thought about trying to make one, but between the cost of fabric, and not having the energy to sew at home after sewing all day at work I've just never been able to pull it together. Thanks for being so generous!
    Amy@hankypankyblog.net

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  79. Looks much lighter than a poncho...

    eylchak[at]gmail[dot]com

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  80. "I can't help but think of those flying squirrel suits that parachutists and base jumpers wear. "

    : )))

    And that's... a bad thing?

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  81. count me in!
    cherish48 at gmail dot com

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  82. Pretty! I'd love to have one. pomme at u.washington.edu

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  83. what a great cape. i have been wanting to try one so bad!! dcadriel[at]gmail[dot]com

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  84. I've been reading a lot of reviews on rain wear recently but hadn't seen this cape. I probably wouldn't buy at that price point but I would defintely use the cape. gingerlew39{}@{}verizon.net

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  85. I'm lucky enough to live in sunny San Diego but I'm hoping you pick my name so I can give this to a dear friend and avid cyclist who lives in Oregon and could really, really use this.

    Thanks for the chance!
    lebhars@sbcglobal.net

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  86. Thanks for the chance to win this cape! I'm trying out all options these days as I'm getting soaked on my daily commute in rainy Portland. This looks like it might fit the bill. bunkerg93 AT gmail DOT com

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  87. That's the classiest rain cape I've ever seen. I definitely can't afford something like that, but would love to be able to commute by bike instead of bus (which takes THREE TIMES as long!) in the rain.

    quinnley09@aol.com

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  88. RE: Velouria.

    "I think some of the confusion re whether this garment can be worn on a roadbike, why it does not cover the handlebars and exposes the forearms, etc.,"

    There are also thumbloops at the base of the cape that allow you to pull it over the handlebars to cover forearms and legs. Shown here: http://ivajean.com/2011/05/the-rain-cape-5/

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  89. Ann - That does not work for me. The cape does not stretch outward sufficiently to comfortably go over the handlebars. What am I doing wrong?

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  90. The cape is gorgeous! Thanks for giving away your reviewer's item! lexlatte (at) gmail (dot) com

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  91. this would go wonderfully with my wifes Bretin!
    kfgates@gmail.com

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  92. Please include me in the drawing too.

    berkeleygina (at) hotmail

    Thanks!

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  93. The deadline has passed, thank you everyone!

    I will announce the recipient tonight and will contact them over email.

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  94. Update: the recipient is

    Tiffany
    November 28, 2011 12:51 PM

    Tiffany, I will email you.
    Thanks again everyone!

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  95. Realy a beautiful cape!!
    I want to buy one for my wife, are there also capes for men?
    Please more info: joha16@hotmail.be

    Tkx, Johan.

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