It is dark when I ride to work in the morning. I do everything I can to be as visible as possible - headlight, multiple blinkies, orange mesh vest with reflective strips. I am intrigued by the brilliance of Illuminite products but all I have seen are cool weather outerwear. Here in New Orleans it is hot and humid more than half the year. Except during really cool spells even a light wind vest is too warm. I would really like a mesh vest that I can put on over anything from a t-shirt to raingear year round. The vest I have now is OK, but I would really like to have the all over brilliance of Illuminite. I have not found such a vest. Has anyone seen one or have any ideas where to check?
Mr. RainmanP, I know what you mean about being too warm in just about any kind of extra clothing. We have more cool days here in Atlanta than you do, for sure, but still, summer seems to last from April to October. I don't
want to influence you one way or the other, but I put most of my nighttime visiblity gear on the bike itself (I ride a lot in darkness, too, but in the cold). That way, it's always there. In the rear (the most important place) I use two
blinkies, two large, round, 3-inch red reflectors and two large oval amber reflectors. These are all mounted on the end of my rack on a narrow metal tube which is about the same width as my flat handlebars. Cars seem to give me a wider berth than previously, when I used just a blinkie and the tiny reflector that came with the bike. One
morning, after the sun came up behind me, another cyclist came up to me at the light and said that the sun really
lit those reflectors up, and wanted to know where I got them (auto parts). I think I am more visible at night than
in the day.
You can never be TOO visible. Thanks for the posting!
I prefer to wear those velcro reflective straps on my ankles but now that it's sprink I might pick up some more for my backpack and maybe my wrists. Of course I'm not really one to be talking about reflective stuff. I rode half way across the city last night in nothing but black and a couple straps on my legs and a wea red reflector on my bike. I have that problem too where most of my reflective stuff is on my winter gear.
Thanks for the note. I have other reflective tape, etc. on fenders and bags and have been contemplating a setup such as you describe with extra reflectors. In fact, I already have the 3" round reflectors. Just haven't sat down to assemble something. I plan to order a couple of more inexpensive blinkies to mount on the bar setup, too. I just thought some Illuminite would REALLY stand out. That stuff glows!
Felt F-70, Terry Madeleine, Novara Safari fully customized by me
Rainmain, Tyco adhesives sell a reflective tape called NiteLife, that is "powered by illumiNITE". I've used it on all my gear. I even tried using it as a shoe cover on some winter boots. It didn't stick too well on them, but has been fine on my rain coat, winter jacket, poncho, gloves, handlebar covers, etc. I got it at MVP Sports, part of Decathlon Sport. $5 for a 2" x 12' roll. Having said all that, I think that the 3M Scotchlite is brighter, but wasn't available when I needed it most.
There is some good information about illuminating yourself for motorists at www.icebike.com I suggest you read it.
I have to ride a lot at night and have read a lot about illumination and have experimented with a lot of different devises and combinations.
Here are some details:
1) Reflectors are brighter than lights and can be seen farther in most situations - unless the motorist does not have his lights on or at dusk when it is not really dark enough for the reflectors to be effective.
2) Moving reflectors and lights are much more effective than stationary. Ankle reflectors and spoke/rim mounted reflectors are much more noticeable than the reflector or light mounted to your frame.
3) Be sure to have reflector bands on your wrists so that motorists can see your hand signals.
4) Vertical reflectors are more effective than horizontal reflectors. Consider this when you purchase your reflective vest. Many reflective mesh vests have only two or three reflective horizontal strips. Notice the reflective vests that the airport staff uses; yup - vertical AND horizontal reflective strips.
5) Make sure your reflectors are clean. Just give a quick check. In a pinch, spit and the cuff of your pants will clean them off better than nothing at all. Reflectors covered with mud look like plain mud in an automobile's headlights.
6) Most bicycles today are sold as off-road recreational devices and are not equipped with road-regulated reflectors. Many bicycle manufacturers are encouraged to use small reflectors to save money and for styling purposes. Replace these coin-sized reflectors with something more substantial from the hardware store.
Make sure you are very visible at night and ride like you are invisible. The life you save may be your own.
The Illuminate vest w/CoolMax side panels is very lightweight and feels cooler riding with it than without it. They work great as your whole torso is visible and recognisable instead of just a couple stripes. I got mine at: www.supergo.com (local store, but I think it's in their catalog), and I've seen them at: www.performancebike.com.