Guest poster Jeff Hemmel looks at two different types of ID for cyclists to carry.
When a Tour de France rider goes down, chances are a support car is close behind. But when you or I go down, especially if we happen to be riding alone, proper ID is essential in order to get help, have our friends or family contacted, even alert first responders to any medical concerns. I used to never worry about it. Then I started stuffing a scrap of paper with my home number into the back pocket of my jersey. Now, like countless other riders, I actually wear one of the commercially available ID bracelets available.
There are two popular forms of ID on the market — Road ID and Xtreme Sports ID. Road ID comes in various forms. The standby Road ID Sport is a nylon web wristband, although a more upscale rubber wristband with watch-style closure, dog tags, and even shoe and ankle IDs are available. Xtreme Sports ID is like the ubiquitous Livestrong wristband, a molded silicone rubber band pulled over the hand.
In classic form, Road ID allows the buyer to display virtually anything they want (the obvious name, birth year, contact telephones, and blood type are suggested) on a laser-engraved stainless steel plate. An “interactive” version allows two lines of user-selected text, and then refers first responders to a toll-free number and website, where a variety of personal information can be recorded and accessed via a personal code on the back of the plate.
Xtreme Sports ID takes a simplified version of the latter approach, including a toll-free number and personal code sunk into the wristband itself, which can be used to access the wearer’s personal information in the Xtreme Sports database.
Both databases are pretty easily negotiated. Filling in your info is like filling out a simple form. Xtreme Sports adds an additional feature in that wearers can record a “where I plan to ride” note, and have it sent to three personal contacts each time it’s updated. Xtreme Sports ID’s $9.95 purchase price includes one year of service free. Renewal fees are $5 annually. Road ID’s $19.95 price for the Sport Interactive includes one year of service; subsequent years are $9.99. Road ID lets first responders call the phone number or access the website for info; Xtreme Sports keeps the website just for the user to record personal info, and furnishes info to emergency personnel by computer voice.
I have both an Xtreme Sports ID and Road ID (blog-police alert, I received both for review purposes in my so-called “real” job). And I like each ID for different reasons.
I think one of the primary advantages to Xtreme Sports ID is its simplicity. The rubber bracelet doesn’t stay damp, doesn’t need a form of closure, doesn’t take on odors, etc. Xtreme Sports ID is limited, however, in that it requires a phone call to get even the most basic information.
In contrast, the basic Road I.D. is a nylon web band. It will stay damp when wet, and as anyone who has ever owned a nylon web strap watch will attest, will begin to smell over time. A simple wash with soap will solve the problem, but it does require a little more maintenance. I like, however, that your basic info — like name, year of birth, numerous emergency contacts, and blood type — can all be immediately presented. Even the interactive version, with its accompanying website and toll-free number, allows several lines of user-selected text.
Which do I like better? I like the concept of the Xtreme Sports ID – a simple rubber band. I can put it on and literally forget about it. But I prefer how Road ID immediately offers up the basic info – who you are, and who to contact first. I also like the many options of Road ID. I can have a dog tag, an ankle bracelet, or even a fancier style rubber band and closure that won’t get damp and smell like the basic is prone to over time.
What about you, do you wear ID? And if so, which do you prefer?