Although I have a thing for winter jackets I have to admit that out of the rest of my kit, except for shorts and jerseys, I use a wind vest the most often. I used to wear a full sleeve wind jacket back in the day but I didn't like them because they always managed to catch air, puffing out so you resembled the Michelin Man.
Vests really struck a chord with me because they stayed sleek and trim on me. The fact that the first few generations of wind vests had just a mesh back really helped too. I felt like I was wearing almost nothing extra yet the front of my torso had protection from the wind. Since then I made it a point to own a wind vest for any cool weather riding.
Note: for those of you who don't have a team issue vest you can cheat a bit - wear your normal jersey as a top layer and stick a grocery store plastic bag underneath. It's an update on the "newspaper under the jersey" trick. The plastic bag doesn't bleed ink, it doesn't turn into mush if you sweat a lot, and after the ride you can put your dirty kit in the bag. Try the last bit with a newspaper!
Anywho... as far as vests go I have two modes for them, zipped and unzipped.
This is the default way of wearing a vest, zipped up. When I actually feel a bit chilly I'll wear the wind vest like this, the way I think most people envision using a vest. "Zipped" keeps the vest snug to me, keeps me warm, and helps "control" things in my jersey pockets (because I wear the vest over whatever jersey I'm wearing) so they don't move around as much.
When it's marginally warm for a vest, meaning possibly too warm, like about 60 degrees or so, I'll wear the vest but leave it unzipped. Although I've never pulled a jersey over my head while riding I can say that I've put on and taken off a vest without stopping. Unzipped vests are easier to remove and are relatively easy to zip up.
So why wear it unzipped?
Because it flaps.
A long time ago one of the regulars in the shop told me a tip on riding safe. He spoke from a position of experience - he rode bicycles (more than I did), he rode motorcycles, and he was a volunteer fireman. The latter gave him experience with things people did to get into accidents.
His most spectacular story was one where they pulled up in a fire truck to a house fire, lights flashing, and proceeded to do whatever firemen do at the scene of a fire. They pulled hoses off, made sure everyone was safe, and all that kind of stuff.
The whole time the fire truck sat in the road, lights flashing.
Then suddenly CRASH!
Someone drove into the back of the fire truck.
At first everyone thought the driver was drinking or something but it quickly became apparent that the driver was 100% sober. When queried about seeing the fire truck the driver admitted that he never saw it.
"To be honest I was thinking about my tennis game. I never saw the truck."
(It might have been golf but it was one of those two.)
He never braked, he never swerved, nothing, just drove into the truck.
So what's that got to do with an unzipped vest?
Well John (that's his name; it might be Jon) told me that no matter how obvious you make yourself there's a chance that some distracted driver (and this was before cell phones were prevalent) will hit you anyway. The only thing you can do is to be aware and to make yourself more obvious.
He found that drivers noticed motion first, then color, then the object. This is similar to what other folks talk about when dealing with motorists seeing, or not seeing, cyclists. John (or Jon) recommended that I have a flapping thing on me or my bike, preferably some obnoxious color. On his motorcycle he has a piece of pink cloth flapping off the back of his seat.
For me, on the bike, it's a flapping vest. Or jersey, if it's really hot and I have a base layer on.
So that's why I'll wear a wind vest unzipped. It's really so that I have it at hand if I need it, but a secondary purpose is to try and help others see me.
Because, you know, that's what I'm all about. Heh.
So after all that I can show you my new vest. I had a regular vest before but when I saw the new sexy one I had to put my name down on the list.
Shiny. I actually like it. That sort of scares me.
The vest is windproof in the front. I'll get to the back in a moment.
Zippers from the bottom or top.
Bottom zipper has no pull tab so it doesn't chafe your shorts or whatever. There are little silicone gripper dots at the bottom. They work well.
The back. Lots of stuff going on here.
The back of the Expo Wheelmen wind vests is actually a jersey type material. It has pockets, it breathes a bit, and it's solid so it holds a print better (as opposed to a mesh that doesn't lend itself to .
Of course the vest has the requisite reflective piping and some logo stuff on it.
Notice the phone peeking out?
Unfortunately the small pocket is too small for my DroidX. I haven't checked to see if an iPhone fits but I think it should, based on all the different things made for a smartphone that the DroidX doesn't fit. Having a slightly larger form factor phone can be a disadvantage.
On the other hand that small pocket works great for my car key.
Nitty gritty stuff.
Disclaimer: Although Verge sponsors the Bethel Spring Series I pay for my team clothing, same as any other club member. In fact I bought this vest even though I already owned another one because I really liked the features of this one.