Excuse: “I don’t feel safe in the dark.”
Biking in the street can feel intimidating on it’s own, let alone when you’re doing it on dark, narrow, snow-lined streets. It’s important to make sure your bike stands out to drivers, cyclists and, yes, pedestrians. Adding reflective material is a quick way to do so and doesn’t have to mean your bike will look obnoxious during the daylight. Keep in mind, putting reflectors on your bike should be in addition to having lights on your bike.
Now, I’ll be honest, I actually bought this tape about four months ago. However, it has taken since then for me to actually take the time to get it on my bike. Once I got started though, I was really impressed and am already planning my next trip to Greenline Wheels to order more. It was easy to apply and made a big difference (again, without making my bike look obnoxious). I could also tell from the quality of the tape that it would be perfect to use on clothes (the tape comes with instructions on how to do so).
Here is my strategy for putting on the tape:
1) Pick your spots. Since I love how the Boda Boda looks, I typically avoid putting any unnecessary items or stickers on it. I identified a few key areas where I could add the tape without it being too obvious in the daylight. Here’s the “before” picture. (For black and other color bikes, Lightweights come in a variety of colors so they can blend in.)
2) Clean the selected areas with rubbing alcohol.
3) Cut the size of pieces you need to cover each of the areas. I opted to put the reflective tape on several tubes so the tape would stick on itself, would be visible from multiple sides, and would be easier to keep straight.
4) Peel away the harder, cardboard-y side of the reflective tape, leaving the thin plastic layer on the other side. It’s easier to take the plastic layer off first (it’ll even start to come off on it’s own), but this will make it more difficult to work with and will mess with the adhesive.
5) Stick one end down, slowly peel back the plastic and lay the tape down across the area. Avoid pulling or stretching as you go. The tape stretches so it can work on fabric, but stretching it will distort the shape of the tape for use on hard surfaces. If you look closely, you’ll see the wrinkle that resulted from some stretching on my first attempt.
6) Press down evenly and make sure the tape is fully stuck.
Here’s a look at the difference just a few pieces tape made to the visibility of my Boda Boda. Of course, with all the clever cyclists out there, people have come up with some great ideas for making your bike stand out. Here are a few others I’ve heard:
- Purchasing light up foam wands (typically sold at concerts and fourth of July celebrations) and stick them in your spokes.
- Paint your bike with reflective paint.
- Grab reflective slap bracelets. For some (miraculous) reason, slap bracelets are back in style. Within one month I was at two events that gave away reflective slap bracelets as SWAG. Keep an eye out, these are perfect to throw on your wrists or ankles while cycling (especially perfect for signaling!)
- Add reflectors and flashing lights to your bike (not all that innovative, but a pretty solid go to.
Any other suggestions out there?
- Biking At Night: How to Avoid Hidden Dangers and Arrive In Style: Grist
- 4 Tips for Cycling at Night: Active.com
- Night Riding: Bike New York
- Lighting, Reflectors, & Bells: Velo-City
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