Did you see that multi-colored flash of light streak down your street the other morning?
That wasn’t an asteroid entering the earth’s atmosphere – it was me, jogging from my home in the Allendale neighborhood to Barton Springs Pool for a dip. Since it was dark at 6:30 a.m. when I left my house, I strapped on a handy new device sent to me from Noxgear called the Tracer 360.
I’ve tried an assortment of products designed to keep me visible when I bike or run in the dark. Most reflective vests are too bulky and hot, headlamps give me a headache, and hand-held lights are a hassle. Some things show only from the front, or when headlights hit them.
Now I’ve got an insanely bright new option, sent to me by the manufacturer for a test drive. And holy pre-dawn running frijoles does this thing stand out in a crowd.
The contraption looks like a vest made out of narrow plastic tubing, with a small plastic shell on the back to hold batteries and a stretchy reflective waistband to hold it in place. It comes in three sizes and weighs just seven ounces.
I put the thing on (it fits over a T-shirt or jacket just fine), flipped the on switch and took off.
I knew it was visible, but my thoughts were confirmed when a motorist stopped at an intersection called me over to tell me he’d seen me from a block away. He wanted to know who made the vest so he could get one for himself.
I also got a couple of random horn toots, and one catcall, thanks to the Tracer360.
You can set the device to multi-color flashing mode, so it scrolls through blue, green, yellow, orange, red, pink and purple, or any one solid color. The piping surrounds the wearer’s entire body, so you’re visible from every angle. The maker says the lights can be seen a mile away.
I didn’t even notice it as I ran. It didn’t trap sweat or weigh me down. It uses three AAA batteries, and the packaging says it lasts for 40 hours on a set. It’s rainproof, too. It’s designed for runners, but it would work well for cyclists.
Daylight Savings Time ends Nov. 3. That means more folks will be out running in the dark, before or after work. If you’re one of them, please wear something to make yourself visible to passing motorists.
The Noxgear Tracer360 costs $69.95 online at www.noxgear.com. (Looks like it’s on sale now for $49.95.)