Safety is a paramount concern for all of us when we exercise. Simple precautious and cautious steps that we take daily can keep us more safe on the roads and trails upon which we run, walk, and bike. Let’s focus today on the shirts and singlets (the upper body outer garments) that we wear in warmer weather (usually in summer but also in spring and fall). Frequently, these shirts/singlets can be purchased with reflective strips or designs/logos imbedded upon/within them. But as time passes, and garments fade as they do, so does the reflectivity within some of these shirts, singlets, and other garments. As we ease from spring into summer, I’m asking you to STOP and audit the safety of your running clothes and gear for brightness/reflectivity. Why? Because more of us will be running/walking/biking predawn and after dark to avoid the heat/humidity. That means exercising in darkness in many cases. And the presence of a headlamp may not be enough for us to be seen from all directions. Unless we are turning our bodies a lot, a headlamp is going to direct its light primarily straight ahead and up or down depending on how you adjust it.
Thinking about what to wear while running today, I knew that I wanted to wear a singlet. It was going to be too warm to wear a shirt plus I was wearing the BuffUSA arm sleeves (review coming soon). So I chose a red singlet by Road Runner Sports that I like and wear a lot, it’s very comfortable and breathable and has a reflective icon on the front and safety reflective dots on the back. However, through wear and washing, the reflective items wore partially off so this singlet is no longer as safe as when I bought it. Let’s customize it and see if we can improve upon that using the Brilliant Reflective safety strips. Here’s what the singlet looked like before adding the tape.
As you can see, the singlet shown has lost some of the reflectivity. The flash photos (the last 2 show the singlet with a flash camera reflection) show that there is still some reflectivity but that it is lacking, insufficient, and not at the level I need it to be in order to feel safe and confident on the roads and trails.
So the next step is to choose which Brilliant Reflective strips you want to use. I chose the stick-on blue strips for this shirt. At first, I was going to only tape the front and back. But I remembered that in the back, my OrangeMud vest might block where I affix the tape up high. So I decided to also tape both sides with long narrow strips. I used the thicker strips on the front and back and made them vertical as that has worked better in the past to still allow the strips to be seen if I am wearing and OrangeMud vest. Also, my vertical strips seem to stay on better in some cases than the horizontal ones. I’m not sure why that is. Might have to do some further experimentation to test that a bit.
Let’s see what the shirt looks like with the tape affixed, both in natural light and with a flash camera.
The contrast is obvious between the before and after pictures and the flash ones illuminate what level of brightness or brilliance we now are protected by when we run, walk, or bike. As far as placement is concerned, remember that the OrangeMud vests are high closer to the shoulders so tape the sides lower than the vest is (hips/kidneys region).
As we run, we move, turn, and twist at times so we want to keep that in mind when we decide where to place the tape. This is the principle of biomotion: the body moving constantly while exercising means we have to place the tape where people will see it while we are moving, not just while we are stopped.
If I run/race with this singlet now, I can be seen from front, back, and from both sides much more easily. We must remember that things can collide with us from all directions. That’s why it’s important not to revert to front/back simplicity with reflective gear. We need our sides covered in some way too.
As far as placement, I made the decision not to tape over the current reflective portions of the shirt as they have not worn off and taping next to or nearby them enhances the fading reflectivity that is still present.
After taping to brighten up the new singlet, we went running in it for five miles, enough to get a general sense how it would work. The tape reflected well in the sunlight, shade, in bright and darker areas. It’s now a safer shirt: a safer singlet.
Would you like to brighten up your running/workout wardrobe? Why buy something new if you can stretch the use of what you already have by taking simple steps to make it safer. The more precautions we take now, the more safe we will be if and when we encounter emergency situations. Caution may not be enough to be safe. Precaution + Caution= Safety is a much better mathematical formula and way to live and move and be healthy and happy humans.
Let’s unite to be safer: put our minds at rest and help our families and friends rest assured that we can be safe if we take all the necessary, prudent, and wise cautions and precautions that we can to maximize our safety and security at all times. With Brilliant Reflective, we are safer, more secure, and more confident as we roam about the roads and trails. Go chase your dreams while taking steps to guard and protect your safety and security. Your family and friends are counting on you!
Be cautious. Be intentionally precautious by taking all possible precautions (cautious before an emergency can happen). Take a little time to make some safety checks and fill in the gaps if any exist. Your family and friends are depending on you. Make shirts and singlets bright. Be brilliantly bright when you exercise tonight! (and tomorrow…)