I tweeted, back in May: “I don’t need a RoadID. I just write all that information on my chest in Sharpie before each ride. #simplesolutions”
And I would never have bought one for myself. From a purely practical point of view, there are a number of off-the-shelf solutions that achieve the same end. The army has been issuing its soldiers dog tags for decades, for example.
But for Father’s Day this year, my wife and kids got me a RoadID, the dog-tag style one, and it changed the way I ride.
First of all, how PRO is it to unzip your jersey on a long climb and have some kind of something dangling on a chain to swing back and forth like a pendulum as you grind out the suffering? Answer: Very.
Second, beneath my name and address and emergency contacts, just under the line that says, “NKA (no known allergies)” and “No Med History,” on the very last line, it says, “You are loved! Ride safe.”
Now let me tell you, even a robot gets choked up when his wife and kids tell him they love him. I never wanted a RoadID, but you’ll never get this thing off me now.
My wife always tells me, implores me really, to ride safe. The words are as hollow and empty as a promise from the UCI. It’s not that she doesn’t mean it, that she doesn’t want me to ride safe. It’s just that I don’t really know what that means, “ride safe.” I think it means, “don’t get killed.” And, I try. I really do try.
It’s the “You are loved,” that changed the game. Now, when I am weak, I am loved. When I am scared after a close call with a belligerent vehicle, I am loved. And that makes all the hard parts of riding just a little bit easier.
When traffic is heavy, and I’m in a rush, and there are lights to sprint through or lanes to split, I remember now that I am loved, and I ease back.
I imagine that the strongest connections we make with other people are expressed with the words, “I love you.” It is one thing to say, “I have a wife and two kids.” It’s another to say, “I have a family who loves me.” And that changes everything.
Even the way I feel about RoadID.
Follow me on Twitter @thebicyclerobot.