God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean.
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.