Happy Memorial Day! The unofficial beginning of summer (Yes, I know it’s still spring until June and we want you to be safe in spring too: that’s why this blogpost is transitional;). As we ease into more sunny, warmer, weather, more runners and athletes will be running/exercising in the early morning (predawn in many cases) and at or after sunset. It’s very important to take adequate precautions so we can be seen and run safe. Safety first. How can we do this? By using bright reflective clothing and gear whenever possible so we can be seen from all directions (not just from the front or back).
Let me give you a practical example of how we can make running gear safer. As you can see from the above pictures (*thank you Instagram for allowing me to format/splice my pictures together into a collage), I wore the OrangeMud double hydraquiver vest for the Lincoln half marathon. The night before the race, while tossing and turning with pre-race insomnia in bed, I realized that there was no vertical reflectivity on the back of the vest and I knew exactly what to do to fix the safety vulnerability. Knowing that we would arrive before sunrise, I knew I would need reflectivity so other runners/pedestrians could see us. Also, the sun would reflect during the race so I could maneuver more safely in changing direction and/or passing people. So I simply applied Brilliant Reflective strips to both bottles vertically on the wide straps. You can see the brilliant reflective strips in blue running up and down the center of the bottle holders. First are the pictures without flash. Next are the pictures showing the flash reflectivity from the back. Notice how bright the strips look when light reflects upon them: 200 times brighter than a standard white T-shirt.
How long did it take to apply these two strips? Less than 5 minutes. Just remove the adhesive and fasten to whatever gear or clothing to which you wish to affix the Brilliant strips. The adhesive is very durable. To give you an example of durability, I applied 3 strips to our dog leash in December 2016. All three strips are still attached six months later. If we get rain, sometimes they get a little loose but I just let the leash dry and reaffix any loose edges. I thought I was going to have to replace some of the dog leash strips recently but the adhesive is still really strong and sticking.
The strips are available in iron-on and adhesive options (if you don’t like to iron, try the adhesive one but I highly recommend both to give you alternatives) and the 3M Scotchlite material makes it much more visible to anyone nearby, optimizing especially in low-light weather conditions.
So you can see from my recent marathon pictures, I have a white visor (my Galloway gap), Brilliant Reflective on the OrangeMud vest, OrangeMud’s reflectivity above the water bottle holder and diagonally on both sides, the BibRave shirt reflects, the BuffUSA arm sleeves reflect, my Mizuno shorts reflect, and my Mizuno shoes reflect. Did I miss any reflections? If I did, please let me know.
As a new Brilliant Reflective ambassador, you will be hearing from me more frequently about steps we can take to be seen and keep our visibility intact. You know all those times where we wish we were invisible? Not while exercising or running. We must be visible at all times. That means adding bright reflective clothing or customizing clothing and/or gear to make us reflective and visible to everyone nearby.
Every once in a while, we need to inspect our gear to make sure it still reflects. Here’s an example where I do need to do something: my RoadID wristband appears to have lost its reflectivity. (This is on my to-do safety list.) As another example, my OrangeMud single hydraquiver vest has an older strip of Brilliant Reflective attached to it from last December. Let’s see if it still reflects or not, we’ll test it with a flash camera.
Yes, the Brilliant Reflective tape still reflects on the main running vest that I use, the OrangeMud single hydraquiver. I was getting concerned as the gray tape seems to darken in visible light after time. We will keep checking to make sure we stay safe.
We focus a lot on making sure that drivers can see us. But we must also make sure that cyclists and other runners/pedestrians and even dogs can see us. Yes, headlamps are helpful and I highly recommend them too but we need to focus on wearing bright reflective clothing and gear too. We can collide with almost anything on the trail before sunrise or after dark or in dim visibility/foggy conditions. And likewise, anyone who cannot see us can collide with us. That’s why it’s so important to be seen and to spend some time on making that safety to-do list upon which we frequently procrastinate. But safety cannot wait.
So far, I’ve focused placing my reflective tape on my outer layers: running jackets, hats, vests, our dog’s leash. Now I need to find some places to affix the tape for my summer gear: shirts, shorts, and maybe even shoes.
Even if ironing on the Brilliant tape, it really doesn’t take that long. Just a few minutes. Our safety is worth much more than a few minutes. As I said before, if you don’t like to iron, try the adhesive style first.
It’s important when you wash your clothing with Brilliant tape to remember to wash it inside out (or place in a delicate clothing zipper bag) to lengthen the life of the tape.
With my OrangeMud vests that have the Brilliant tape, I usually just wash them in the rain. Wipe clean as needed.
What’s coming next with Brilliant tape? We’ll be applying some new strips to test them (and colors that I haven’t used yet), as well as replacing some other tape as it wears out. Some instructions say 50 washes could max out some of the tape. I’m seeing a longer lifespan than that mostly.
How can you find the tape? Visit BrilliantReflective.com to learn more. Soon I will have a special discount code to share with my community. I will append it here when I receive it.
So what are your visibility blind spots right now? Check your clothing and gear for reflectivity. Make sure you have at least one entire outfit with high visibility. (If it isn’t high visibility yet, add some Brilliant Reflective tape to it!) What steps can you take to be safer, to be seen, to be more visible? Please commit to take some safety steps today and to at least make a list of what safety steps you could take as soon as possible. Also, if you have safety ideas to share, please do so. The more we share with each other about staying safe, the safer we can make things for everyone. Thank you! Wishing you a happy, healthy, and safe summer season! Be seen, be visible and be safe!
Wishing you a brilliant spring and summer in every way, Jeremy