Blog :: Ramblings of a health nut

Flashing Freak

Posted on 04 Jan 2014 by maisha (posted in: blogs)

I'm a morning person, everybody who knows me knows that. My energy levels run highest in the morning and that is one of the main reasons I love running predawn. That and the fact that I don't have to worry about masses of cyclists, pedestrians, and irresponsible dog owners (with unleashed uncontrolled dogs or dogs on too long/loose leashes). On weekdays I run between 5.00 am and 6.00 am and other than the very occasional car, there's not that much traffic. In the weekend I tend to run a little later, somewhere between 7.00 am and 8.30 am. Traffic is much busier then and as it is still dark (hurray for winter), visibility is an important issue. Up until a week ago I was running with two flashing armbands:

The LED's can be set either to flash or to show a continuous light. The armbands were inexpensive and they're easy to use (you can strap them onto your arms or legs directly, or over your clothes), but I quickly realized it wasn't doing enough for my visibility. Drivers didn't see me until they were close, too close for my liking. So I invested and bought a Nathan Sports Photon LED reflective vest:

It seemed like a vest that I could be wearing all-year round, since it's made of a light-weight mesh and can be easily worn over several layers of clothing or just over a shirt. The LED's have three settings: flash, quick flash, or continuous. I think it's safe to say this vest does the job:

I mean, I may look like a flashing freak, but if I ever get hit by a car, they can't say they didn't see me. The only downsides of this vest are that the back does not have any LED's and if you're running in very windy environments, like me (hurray for moving to the gusty coast), the wind catches beneath the vest despite the mesh, and pulls on it. It's especially annoying if it pulls to one side of you (be it right or left) and you have to pull it back in place every time. I tried different adjustments of the elastic band, but alas. As for the absence of LED's on the back... I know it's still highly reflective but it would be a great addition to the vest and I'm sure many runners would agree. For now, I'm just attaching a small LED to the back.
I've read a review of this vest and I think it's a great way to conclude this post:

If you’re worried that the flashiness of the vest will make you look like a freak, please consider this – you’re running in the dark. Or you’re running through the woods during hunting season. Most people would not do that. You are a freak. Let your freak flag fly.



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