Day’s Verse:
God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean.
Acts 10:28

For those of you who haven’t seen me on my bike, I have a pair of orange streamers — made out of a long length of orange strap I found on the road back in the early spring — attached to my helmet. They hang down and, I imagine, stream out behind me when I ride fast. The idea is to catch drivers’ attention with something bright-colored and unusual, so they see me better. On the Tour de Landry’s ride a gal said: Hey! You should put reflectors on there.

Hmmm. Flapping orange straps with eye-catching flashes of light? What’s not to like?

However, my first attempt plain failed. I obtained plastic Cut’n Peel Stick-On Tape, cut the squares out, and stuck them on both sides of the streamers. As I rode, though, the corners of the squares kept catching on my bag, my jacket, my hair, etc. I lost one at some point, because I had to keep jerking my head free as the sticky bits and corners caught on stuff. So I stapled the plastic reflective squares. This certainly solved the issue of losing the squares; the catching-and-sticking issue, however, became increasingly acute. I started getting frustrated as the straps caught and, instead of letting go as stickers fell off, really stuck so that I had trouble turning my head. Instead of increasing my safety by making me more visible, the strap-and-reflector idea in this iteration left me irritable and with a less safe range of motion.

Eventually I ran across Lightweights. I ordered them because they claimed to stick to fabric and because I could get 20% off at Team Estrogen, but frankly I expected nothing significantly better than what I had already tried. When I got them, they were smaller than I thought, and came with ten-step attachment directions. Step seven involved pulling out tweezers and an iron, which made me suddenly ask myself: Do we even own an iron? Then I realized all my bike clothes are, in essence, plastic in a fancy form. Plastic + an iron?

We do have an iron, as it turns out, although it has gathered dust for the last five years. I dug it out, plugged it in, and tentatively ironed a little tiny dot onto the very end of my orange strap. The iron worked, and my strap did not melt. A little over an hour later, I had ironed several dozen reflectors onto the fabric. It not only stuck, it melded into the fabric. Nothing could catch those or rip those off; the orange strap looked like it had come new with reflectors. Perhaps I will also obtain some of their reflective tape for — well, more reflectivity, of course.

In any case, I count this as a success. I can still hardly believe they make iron-on reflectors that bond with fabric to become utterly permanent. Crazy. Now I only wish I could see what my reflective straps look like when I’m out in the dark.

P.S. For those of you interested, Ian blogged today.

KF quality

One thought on “Reflectivity

  1. Glad you came up with a solution for the reflectors. I don’t iron much but you haven’t ironed anything in 5 years?! That’s pretty amazing!

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