Saturday, December 17, 2011

safety matters

Safety is important to athletes. When they step out the door on any given day to run or bike or walk alone, they want to know that if they should become injured or incapacitated, someone would be able to, at the very least, reach a loved one. To meet this need several companies have offered identification bands in varying sizes and colors. Most have emergency contact numbers and basic info on them. A few offer other services linked to the web.

A relative newcomer to the sportsman’s ID universe is 1BandID. The brainchild of Joe Vukson, an athlete who cared about his own safety, this band offers one feature the others don’t: it is nearly impossible to forget! The ID velcros to the athlete’s watch or GPS band, something they aren’t likely to leave behind.
Several members of the dailymile team – five women and four men – tried the 1BandID on for size. From the ordering process to customer service to usefulness, they agreed that this entry into the market was a winner.
Each team member involved in this review ordered their own band on the product’s website. They found the process fairly straightforward – pick a color, fill in your information, pay for it, it’s done!
Each band’s ID tag allows five lines of info. The first gives the athlete’s name. One member of the team ordered an ID that her whole family of runners could use. She put all of their phone numbers and info on it. The second line holds the person’s city, state and country. The next two lines can include phone numbers or other contact information. One reviewer who put her mom’s and her fianc√©’s numbers on her band commented, “It's nice to know that if one person wasn't home or didn't answer, there is a backup person people can contact if something should go wrong.” The final line is left for the sportsperson’s short mantra. One person spoke in amazement, “A lot can be put on such a small plate!” Another reviewer who didn’t order his with a motivational quote this time thought he’d order another just to add the feature.

One minor complaint voiced by a reviewer or two concerning ordering was having to count characters when entering information. The 1BandID site doesn’t count for you. If you submit your info with too many characters, you will be returned to the entry page to shorten it.
Once everything is correct and an order is submitted, a confirmation email is automatically sent. A second email is sent when the product is shipped. There is not tracking info, but everything went very smoothly. Everyone in the dailymile test group received their ID quickly. When one of the team discovered a typo in his city information, it was immediately replaced. This caused this reviewer to exclaim, “Awesome customer service! I have no negative things to say!”
A few of the reviewers already had another brand of ID. Others had been considering getting one. Those who had another product already were unanimous in their assessment. To quote one in particular: “I always forget to wear it when I go out for a run and sometimes struggle to search for it as I have no clue where I last put it.” Others echoed that sentiment. The other comment from another brand’s user was the size of the print on the ID tag. He said, “I was used to having the writing a little larger.”
Those who had been thinking about an ID purchase for some time said things like, “I'd been wanting to get [an ID], but had held out as I really didn't want to wear something else on the other wrist.” The 1BandID’s design removed their hesitation. A female said she was glad for one less thing to rub against her skin. That was a big plus for her on long runs!
The dailymile team members put the 1BandID on a number of different GPS devices and watches. When one of them first saw the product, she thought it might feel bulky on her watch. She was also concerned that the velcro could be scratchy. Another concern of other reviewers was added weight. When they took the 1BandID out for a spin, that fear was allayed. The band was lightweight. One male commented, “I don't even notice it is there!” Two female reviewers shared their excitement about being able to choose a color that coordinated with their GPS unit.
Most reviewers put their 1BandID on once and left it. There were a few, however, who had minor problems. A couple of female reviewers with small wrists had minor quibbles. One mentioned that she has to remove it and put it back on again for every workout. The other could not find room on her watch. By the time she put her GPS device on to size, there wasn’t able to secure her 1BandID to the strap on either side. One side of the band was too short. While the ID could be put on the side with the buckle and the slotted band it was a tight fit and she feared her watch band would come loose allowing the ID to slide off. This reviewer worked out a solution to her problem, strapping the ID to her shoelaces. That worked out well for her and, incidentally, for another reviewer. The first reviewer said, “With the velcro I can move it from shoe to shoe with ease, no unlacing needed.” One male with smaller wrists could only fit the band on one side of his GPS. The only reviewer who could not fit the 1BandID on her watch band attached it to her hydration pack. She went for a 24 mile run with the 1BandID and it stayed in place with no chaffing or hotspots. Her assessment: “I think the strength in the idea of the 1BandID is in its versatility. While marketed for use on a GPS watch or similar, it works with any piece of equipment you take on the road with you.” She added this one suggestion: “I'd like to see it available with different widths and lengths of velcro to further expand its usability.”

One reviewer noted a feature that the 1BandID currently lacks. There is no online interface where users can update medical info that emergency workers can access by phone or online. They suggested that this might be important to athletes with lots of medical problems, especially those whose conditions are potentially life threatening. He hopes that the 1BandID might include this feature sometime soon at least as an option.

Taking all things into consideration, every gear tester felt they could recommend the 1BandID to their friends. They talked about the peace of mind they had wearing this piece of gear.

Here are a few of the comments that team members made about the product:

“I would highly recommend this to any runner or anyone needing to always have ID or special instructions on them.”

“I'd recommend this product to anyone that wears a watch or Garmin while training.”

“Overall a great item to have in my running gear!”
 “1BandID is a fantastic safety option…when you can't carry your wallet, purse, or I.D. on you.”

“This is one of those, ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’ products. Genius!”

“My wife loves the fact that I'm running with ID now.”

“I highly recommend 1BandID, it is a brilliant idea!”

Interested in another safety product for athletes? Check out my review of Knuckle Lights.
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