Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Night Riding: New scotchlite strip for 2011

UPDATE! New for 2011:

All TCB's now come with a 3M Scotchlite grosgrain strip down the center orange pocket, courtesy of my fabric supplier, Outdoor Wilderness Fabrics.  Now you can combine it with your blinky light + optional Lightweights reflectors and you're ready for the darkest night ...

Caroline Fu and I prepare to execute another run of TCB's, this time with the new reflective strip.
The orange pockets have to be just a leeeeetle wider to accommodate the 3/4" scothchlite strip.
The view from Caroline's shared workroom, her trusty industrial Juki sewing machine close at hand

A little note from Clay and Rob in the tech dept at 3M: 

"Highway standard ANSI 107 requires a minium RA of 330 (level 2) for their safety garments. If you are using the reflective material as a safety item, I would recommend keep the brightness above that value." 

I asked them to geek on a bit more: 

We take a brightness reading per ASTM standards.  Our silver (ie. what is seen on highway workers vests) has a typical brightness values of 500 ... 
The stripe I use as an RA of 500. 

The new bags will retail for $55 and $65, an increase of $5 to cover the cost of materials, Caroline's time and so forth. Yes, it's a little pricey to be making things in 'merica, but I thank you for supporting local talent, labor and materials. We'll get out of this mess yet!

Some non-3M tape sold in the NYC Garment District. I've been experimenting with these too. 

Up until now, I've been selling a starter sheet of the Lightweights reflectors that you can iron on yourself. They work nicely and last at least a few years, at which time you can put new ones over the old. Read about Lightweights here:

They also work great applied to your helmet, spokes etc:

Of course, as you can see above, you should hang a good blinky light off the provided elastic loop for even more visibility.