Who Are You? No One Will Know Without ID

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.

Road ID

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

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?


  1. johnt says

    Wow I never thought about a bracelet. I carry my business card and my wifes. I’m going to get the fancy rubber band style Road ID bracelet

  2. says

    I carry a homemade ID card. My ID – name, address, emergency contact number – is on one side. A copy of my health insurance card on the other. They’re fastened to a stiff piece of card stock with clear packing tape, sort of a homemade laminate. But I carry it in one of my jersey pockets, and an EMT once told me they don’t look in jersey pockets. May be a Road ID in my future.

  3. says

    I got RoadIDs for the entire family. I pretty much wear mine 24/7. The boys wear theirs whenever we go out for rides and Jennifer wears her’s when she runs and bikes in the mornings.

  4. Matt says

    I’ve bought several RoadIDs for family members (and had one myself until I lost it snorkeling). I’ve just used the one that doesn’t come with a service… you have several lines of text to display what you want. Mine had my name, two emergency contacts, and my allergies (foods and medications). It all fit, was instantly visible, and didn’t require a phone.

    I’ll be getting another one soon – maybe one of the watch-type closure ones.

  5. says

    Every time I go out for a ride I take along my ID (drivers license), health insurance card, and my cell phone. I’m planning to purchase a Road ID soon. It never occurred to me until I read somewhere recently that when cyclists are involved in a crash, particularly with a vehicle, police usually take the bike for the police report, while the cyclist goes to the hospital. In which case, carrying my ID cards in my bike’s handlebar bag probably isn’t such a great idea. And I’m afraid they’ll fall out of my jersey pocket.

    Time for a Road ID. Now I’m just trying to decide between the original or interactive, but I’m probably going with interactive since I have some drug allergies. Nice to know there are good products out there.

    Thanks for the great post on the various types of IDs.

  6. says

    Wow, that’s quite an eye-opener – never even considered taking ID with me. I can definitely see the advantages though of both bands, although I think I prefer the Xtreme Sports ID – who doesn’t carry a phone with them?

    I do wonder though if a passer-by would know that the number on there would contain relevant info about them though – does it say on there “contains personal info?”

  7. Ron J says

    Road ID for me. The first one I had about 5 years and just bought a new one. Both where the original style ankle bracelet.

  8. says

    Road ID Coupon Code: ThanksTom789443

    This code is good for $1 off any Road ID order. It can be used up to 20 times in the next 30 days.

    A dollar saved is a dollar earned…

  9. Charles Morgan says

    I’ve got the RoadID Elite interactive. I like that I can put all my medical info there and have it available for medical personnel, as well as myself. I used it at the emergency room to provide all my insurance info…

    The other thing you can do is get any form of medical ID (bracelet, necklace, card, etc.) engraved with your RoadID info. I wear a titanium dog-tag like this.

  10. says

    RoadId all the way. I have had a black elite for everyday wear for about a year…it stretches out after a while so I just keep cutting it down. Sometime a few months ago I added an orange elite that I now wear when I ride…thought process…brighter is better :0

  11. says

    I’m a big RoadID advocate. I have the ‘sport’ nylon strap style. But they have a new ‘elite’ version which is rubberized band with a watch-style buckle. I got this one for my wife and she loves it. I never leave home on a ride/event without it. I also opted for the basic model that’s non-interactive versions that just have our names & emergency numbers.
    You can use this link to order with the code ‘pcTanline6’ for 10% off.

  12. Ken says

    I just bought an Xtreme ID. It snapped immediately as I tried to put it on for the fist time! JUNK! I’m gonna return it and get a RoadID!

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