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road id

Do you ever head out for a long ride or run alone? Without an ID? Without telling someone where you’re going and when you should be back?

I used to do that every day. Fortunately, I was always able to ride, coast, walk, or at least limp home. But I realize that not everyone is so lucky, and I’ve had enough close calls to knock some sense into me.

Once I got wise, I began to wear a Road ID. As you can see in the picture, it’s a simple device – just a wrist strap with a metal ID badge hooked to it. But it could save your life!

It doesn’t really matter if you’re riding far from home, just moved to a new area and no one knows you, on vacation, or just cruising around the block – you could be injured anywhere, and the first responders don’t know if you live down the street or a few states over. They just know you need help.

If you’re wearing an ID at the time, you’re actually helping them to help you!

Why did I choose Road ID as my form of identification?

For starters, I didn’t want to carry my driver’s license with me, and I certainly didn’t want to carry my wallet. Putting a laminated card in my seat bag would go unnoticed, so I scratched that idea.

I do carry my phone in my jersey pocket, but in case of an accident, that could easily go flying through the air and never be found. I’ve lost plenty of tubes, CO2 cartridges, and even a minitool during standard XC races that way, so I know it’s bound to happen to my phone at some point! Even if it’s contained in a zippered pocket, it would likely be damaged to the point where it’s useless.

Why You Should Get One

The statistics say that each year, over 450,000 of us endurance athletes are taken to hospitals unconscious and without ID. Over 122,000 runners, walkers, and cyclists are hit by cars; thousands more suffer heart attacks, concussions, blackouts, heat strokes, and other serious accidents (just the other day we were talking about a buddy who hit a deer on his mountain bike.)

If that doesn’t convince you, here’s a list of reasons I came up with to justify my purchase:

  • If you’re riding solo, no one will know who you are.
  • Your phone or wallet can go flying out of your pocket in an accident.
  • Ink on stickers (like in your helmet vent) fades in sun and sweat.
  • Sense of relief for family members that would worry about you.
  • Allows family to make medical decisions for you when you’re incapacitated.
  • Riding in new places and unfamiliar terrain could pose many unforeseen dangers.
  • You can list allergies or reactions to medications (bee allergies, penicillin allergy, etc.) on it. (I do think this could save your life!)
  • You can list preexisting conditions like diabetes on it.
  • You can list current medications (especially ones with hard to remember names) on it. Blood thinners like Coumadin, for example.
  • I want emergency personnel to find out who I am.
  • If there are others with me, I don’t want the burden on them to know my medical history and memorize all my emergency contacts.

I was also thinking, if you want to use the ID for someone else… kids can wear them in crowded locations. In case they get lost, they can get in touch with you even if they don’t have your cell number memorized.

The only reason not to get one is if you think you’re invincible and nothing like that could ever happen to you.

(Is that a good reason? Most certainly not.)

road id visible after falling

Your Road ID Options

When I first checked out Road ID, the only options were a plain wrist or ankle bracelet, or dog tags. These days, you can get an ID tag for just about anywhere, in any size, style, or color you want!

As you can see, I went with this pink one for my latest purchase. I prefer the red and black bands, but I figured the pink will stand out, so everyone will notice it.

For the style, I still prefer the old standby, the Wrist ID Sport, which is only $20. I like the sporty look of the nylon band, the simple Velcro strap, and the reflective strips.

As far as I can tell, the quality of the materials and the craftsmanship are top notch. It’s no designer luxury bracelet, but who cares, it does what it’s supposed to!

Similar options include the Wrist ID Elite and Wrist ID Slim.

I’m not a huge fan of the “Elite,” especially for $30. I just don’t think I’d like the buckle. And I still prefer the looks of the Sport version. This “Elite” style would be a great choice for swimmers, triathletes, and paddlers, though, since it shouldn’t get water logged.

I don’t like the “Slim” at all, mainly because it looks just like a cause bracelet. Not only do I not like the appearance, I worry it would be more easily disregarded by emergency personnel (because it looks like one of the million styles of cause bracelets out there.)

A similar choice is the Ankle ID. It’s made of neoprene, yet maintains the Velcro closure and reflective stripe. It’s also a “one size fits all.” I like both the wrist and ankle options; it just seems the wrist is the more normal location. I was never a fan of those chip timing systems that put the chip in an ankle bracelet, so I shied away from the Ankle ID.

I will say, though, the reflective strip on your ankle is a good place to catch a driver’s attention in low light conditions.

If you’re a runner, check out the Shoe ID. This one hooks to your shoelaces rather than your body. Assuming you only have one pair of running shoes at a time, it’s perfect. Also, you have the choice of a pouch version (the Shoe Pouch ID) that hooks to your laces and can carry your keys, cash, etc..

Being primarily a cyclist, neither shoe option will work for me.

Finally, there’s the classic FIXX ID that’s exactly like military dog tags. This one used to be your only option when they first started the company. (Daily trivia question – who was Jim Fixx?)

I think this one is cool because it keeps your personal info out of sight, and it’s very traditional. I’m just not a fan of necklaces, especially during sports.

No matter which ID style you choose, you’ll get a laser-engraved stainless steel plate with your name on it. The text is sharp and easy to read, and it will stay that way! The matte (or is it satin?) finish is easy to read even under direct sunlight. I don’t think the metal will wear out, but in case it does, Road ID offers a lifetime guarantee!

So if the metal becomes too bent, dented, or scraped up to read, they replace it for free!

road id stainless steel tag

How to Order Your Road ID

The ordering process is simple and the website walks you through each step, but there is some thinking involved.

Step 1 requires you to select a style, color, and size (for the Wrist ID Sport and Slim.) This is self-explanatory, other than the sizing, which they explain if you click the little “What size should I choose?” link.

I eyeballed it and chose the medium/large size, and that worked out perfectly.

Then you have to choose either Original or Interactive.

I just don’t see the appeal of the interactive ones, so I always get the original. It’s a little too confusing if you ask me. BUT, if your info changes often, like if you frequently go on/off medications, it could be a great idea. Just make sure your local first responders can make use of it before you buy the interactive model.

Finally, what text to put on it? This is the toughest part, but they give you suggestions.

You definitely want your name, medical info, and emergency contacts on there. Your birth year is good as well.

Having a quote or saying at the bottom is actually a tremendous idea, especially if it is a hobby or something that fits your personality, like the slogan for a local sports team. It gives first responders something to ask you about to keep you awake and talking.

For living in Pittsburgh, I have “Let’s go Pens!” on mine (outside of cycling I’m an ice hockey fan.) I definitely didn’t use that while living in Boston, though. The phrase of choice there was “Yankees Suck!”

As you enter your lines of text, they display how it will look centered on the metal plate, so there’s no need to guess.

Then you’re ready to add it to your shopping cart and checkout!

Ordering as a gift?

Road ID offers gift cards, which I think is a great idea. It’s a good gift, and it’s something the recipient should probably customize on their own. You could get one for all your teammates, riding buddies, and adventurous friends.

Regardless, make sure you use a Road ID coupon code.

You can often find a coupon code for free shipping ($1.49 value) if you look around. And sometimes you’ll do a race (like a 5k) sponsored by Road ID, and there’s a $2 off coupon code on your race number!

My Complaints

My only complaint is that buying a new metal plate is nearly as expensive as a whole new unit. A new plate is $17, while the whole thing is $20. What are the chances you need a new plate, but the strap couldn’t use a refresher too? So if your emergency contacts change, plan to spend another $20 for a whole new ID.

New straps are only $4, so I don’t mind replacing the strap every four years or so!

I actually like the Road ID so much, I bought this extra one with my nickname and website URL on it simply to get the pics for this review! I consider it an advertising expense! (When riding I’d wear a real one with my personal info, of course.)

My final verdict is…

I think you should definitely carry some sort of identification with you when riding, and the Road ID is a convenient, durable, and inexpensive way to do it. Especially if you ride in dangerous areas, solitary areas, and/or you typically ride alone, check it out.

It’s a small price to pay for peace of mind, and it could save your life!

Official website: www.RoadID.com

Buy online: www.Amazon.com

Product Review Details
Company: Road ID
Product: Road ID Wrist ID Sport
Reviewed by: Coach Levi
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Date last updated: 2013-06-19
Obtained Product: Purchased at retailer.
CoachLevi.com Advertiser: No.

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  1. Only one problem with your review…it is somewhat misinformed.
    There is no room on the Road ID or Elite for any medical information.
    After your name, address, DOB and a contact….your space is used up. There would be no room to add medications OR medical conditions.
    The RoadID people expect medical authorities to reach your contact or the website for you medical information.
    And that is its huge drawback.

  2. @Fred

    That’s true, space is limited, so you have to use it wisely. If you have important medical details to list, I’d do your name, one or two emergency contacts, DOB, and then the medical info. Then they can get your address from your contact later.

    I think of it as a trade off rather than a drawback. You could certainly carry an ID card with you instead, but that’s much bigger and harder to attach to your body.

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