Fall Is Coming. Time for Some Reflection.

August 27, 2017

Be visible. Always.I bike commute thousands of miles every year and do everything I can to avoid getting hit by a vehicle. This includes always wearing a high-visibility shirt or bike jacket, using front and rear bike lights, and always keeping an eye out for other good visibility options, especially for nighttime riding.

As fall approaches and the days get shorter, evening and early morning rides (and walks and jogs) increasingly occur in dim light or darkness. To be seen in these low-light conditions, it’s helpful to have an abundance of reflective materials on your body, your bicycle, and your backpack if you’re wearing one.

Photo: Courtesy of Brilliant ReflectiveApplying stick-on purple reflective strips to a bike helmet.

So I’m intrigued by some new offerings from Brilliant Reflective Strips, a small Minnesota-based company that is producing something I’ve never seen before: colored reflective strips. Available in blue, purple, red, and black, the strips come in either stick-on or iron-on versions . To create them, the company takes 3M Scotchlite Reflective Material and uses a patented process to add color without reducing the reflective properties of the material.

The strips are retroreflective, which means that they bounce light directly back to the light source regardless of the angle that the light hits them. (The company also claims that they are visible at a distance of 300-plus meters (roughly a 1,000 feet), though that presumably depends on the power of the light source that’s illuminating them.)

So this fall, consider upgrading your nighttime cycling, walking, and jogging apparel (and/or your dog collar and leash if you’re a pet walker in the night) with some reflective color and enjoy a fashion leap forward from the shiny reflective strips of the past. These useful illustrations help you identify the best locations for placement.

A pack of Brilliant Reflective Strips runs $14.95. Each contains a variety of strip widths for a total of 30 square inches of reflective material.

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Matt Heid

Equipped blogger Matt Heid is AMC's gear guru: He loves gear and he loves using it in the field. While researching several guidebooks, including AMC's Best Backpacking in New England, he has hiked thousands of miles across New England, California, and Alaska, among other wilderness destinations. He also cycles, climbs, and surfs.