You Are Loved

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.

11 comments

  1. Jim

    I leave mine on my nice road shoes, on the bottom of the three straps, the one that never gets adjusted. It sort of disappears. As an ex .mil kind of person there seems to be something right about a toe tag. It’s there where I may need it though, and in the grand scheme of things if I’m all knocked out and stuff, wrist, neck, ankle are going to be the first three things they look at for a bracelet or ID and that little white * red flag with the band on it sticking up off my shoe – if I’m near my shoe – will be visible enough. That’s all rationalization though, the real reason I put it there is so I don’t forget it, ever.

  2. melbin_rider

    jeez robot you sure don’t pull your emotional punches do you. it wasn’t after i got collected for the second time on my commute (car), but rather when I inadvertently collected a fellow cyclist as a driver with my partner on the passenger seat that i was told i was not to ride to ride to work anymore. both of us were completely unaware of the rider’s presence, like i mean completely unaware, until the sound of the impact. happy ending with the other guy ending up okay (albeit shaken and needing a new rig), but my girlfriend said to me she thought it was going to be a crappy / anti-cycling idiot that I should be watching for, and not just an actual accident, like from out of nowhere. i though something similar as well. when i noted this with the rider i hit (we kept in touch for a while after to make sure he recovered and got sorted with insurance) that he said his wife had given him the same ultimatum. of course we both laughed with ‘yes dear’ statements as we go out the door, but his sign-off to that email was, ‘I guess we are loved’. it really hit me, and now i ride (and drive) differently which is not to say I still don’t love riding, just that I recognise i have a responsibility to do everything i can to come home, and continue to be loved for another day.

  3. Jeff

    It’s about loving as well as being loved. Recently took my 82-year old mom on a brief vacation, and after I came back from an afternoon ride while she was reading, she was nervous that if something happened on the road how would anyone know who I was or whom to contact? When I showed her my RoadID she was quite reassured.

    On a more tactical note, as a trained ski patroller we’re taught to always look for medical necklaces or bracelets — as are all emergency personnel. Carrying ID in your pocket, seat bag, helmet, shoe etc don’t always stay with you, and if your somewhere separated from your ID it does you no good. Make the extra effort to wear ID around the neck or wrist; it’s a minimum effort for those you love.

  4. csbaehr

    Thanks Robot, now i am choked up. I had thought about one for my birthday and got an RKP hat instead….but i think i will go ahead and order that. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Padraig

      Well done.

      Each morning before I’d head out on my solo excursions into the Sierra, my wife and I would trade text messages. I always wrote back, “I promise to be careful.” I can’t explain in objective terms just what that meant, but I can tell you my fingers knew. There was a bit more braking than may have been absolutely necessary. Each descent was as certain as I could make it.

  5. Simon

    There was a movement a few years ago in motorcycling circles for riders to enter an ICE (In Case of Emergency) number in their contacts. Seemed to me like a good, obvious and easy solution to the problem (if you’ve got your phone on you and it’s still working after your spill…), so naturally it’s faded into obscurity.

  6. Kevin

    I ride with my wallet, which has always made the road-id stuff seem unnecessary to me… and I’ve wondered why anyone else would need it – but I guess if you have a big ol George Costanza wallet then it’s not very PRO to carry it in a jersey pocket.

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