We all enjoy cycling and the benefits it brings to our health as an active past time or hobby.
However, there’s no getting away from the fact that it comes with risks too. If you’re a road rider there’s the risk of dealing with other road users (who generally come encased in large fast moving metal boxes with wheels), and we all run the risk of putting a foot, or wheel, wrong and going off our originally planned track and often coming to an abrupt stop once we meet with a tree, ditch, pothole, boulder, signpost, kerb… I’ll end the possibilities there. If we’re lucky we can dust ourselves down and carry on. If we’re very lucky we’ll be cycling as part of a group who will check we’re OK before helping us on our way – although that generosity is often equaled out by some friendly mocking banter later on from the some folk at the coffee stop or end of the trail. Unfortunately it doesn't always end well, and most of us have experienced some level of injury as the result of a fall or crash.
We can of course try to protect ourselves by wearing helmets to minimise the longer term potential damage but more and more products and solutions are coming to the market to assist us when things go badly wrong where family members may need to be contacted or those aiding us need to be aware of vital information such as allergies, etc. These are often referred to as ‘ICE’ (In Case of Emergency) products. Some are more well‐known than others thanks to high profile endorsements and advertising , while other solutions are well known through word of mouth.
I’ve broken down some of the more well know solutions below, along with a few less known and new up and coming products. There should be something here for everyone, suiting all
budgets. One common benefit I’ve found when looking at a the different solutions is a simple one – the more relevant information you can make easily available to your aid the better.
I’ve left out exact cost of the products as many have different options which obviously effect the price, all of this is visible via the website links however.
One of the better known ICE products on the market thanks to high profile endorsements from the like of Levi Leipheimer along with some fairly heavy marketing in cycling, tri and running websites and magazines. Road ID offer a number of solutions but are best known for their wrist band type solution which has a hard wearing metal badge with personalized engraving displaying your vital details. They also offer an interactive badge, displaying a link to their own online resource
containing a more detailed breakdown of your ICE information, including allergies, GO details,
alternative contact details etc. Road ID also offer a number of spares so any worn out or broken parts can be easily replaced via their online store.
Pros: Easily visible, looks good, readily available spares.
Cons: Only available via US website, however European postage appears to quick.
SOS Talisman have been making ICE products before they were even known as ICE products, and have been about for over 30 years according to their website. In fact, my fist ever ICE product was an SOS Talisman given to me from my parents as a teenager when I started taking to the roads. The biggest endorsement I can give to it is that I still use it on every ride 20+ years on. They’re probably not considered to be the most trendy pieces of kit and that’s probably due in part to the fact the core design hasn't changed during its 30 years existence. The Talisman is not aimed exclusively at the sports person but is pitched as being a piece of jewelry that doubles as an ICE solution. Each to their own, I see mine purely as an ICE solution and only wear it when I see fit. It’s essentially a pendant that can be opened to reveal a piece of paper with all your details recorded – no high tech to be seen here. Changing your details can’t be easier, you simply replace the paper enclosed.
Pros: Details can easily be updated, longevity, available via local jewelers, simple design.
Cons: Looks not for everyone, cost more than some of the alternatives.
Onelife offer a range of products from wristbands to ID cards and stickers which can be displayed on your helmet or frame. With each purchase they also offer a free screensaver builder for your smartphone which displays all your vital info on your phone screen. The tags are interactive, with a barcode style link with the option to include a web address to your info or your name and first ICE contact number. Why you wouldn’t want to have your primary ICE contact number physically displayed on your tag is beyond me, but it’s an option nonetheless. While barcode scanners are becoming more popular for all sorts of products and advertising you are relying on the reader to readily have access to the software on a smartphone or similar device if choosing this option.
Pros: products looks good, interactive service allows access to more details info, plenty of
customizable options, readily available spares, free smartphone ICE screensaver.
Cons: Barcode option reliant on your aid having suitable software/scanner.
The Army Dog Tag
Every young lad’s had an army dog tag at some point in their life, haven’t they? It was the ultimate Rambo accessory in the 80's that could be worn discretely at all times only to be revealed to your pals in the playground. Many of the above companies offer a dog tag style pendant with personal etching or engraving, including interactive services. Nothing’s to stop you buying your own tags of course or even rummaging through that top drawer to find one at the bottom and taking it to a local engravers to get your details on there. Tags can bought almost anywhere, a quick search on eBay and I found tags that could be personally embossed and delivered for less than a fiver. Just try not to put on a red bandanna style headband when you wear it, at least not in public anyway.
Pros: Great value, completely up to you what details you have recorded
Cons: Not everyone wants to look like John Rambo, who knew?
“ICE” mobile phone entry
For some time now many have went with the simple solution of adding a contact to their mobile phone under the name “ICE”, those assisting the injured could simply search the contacts on your mobile for ICE and call the number. Of course you’d be relying on whoever’s come to your aid to know to do that, and in fairness most first aides would know to look for ICE. The problem arises as security becomes a higher priority for mobile phone users and almost all now put passwords on their phones. Some phones allow you to display a message before the password screen, but not all.
Pros: Cost – it’s free, apart from the small cost of the call which is likely to be made from your
Cons: Most mobile phones now locked, reliance on aid to know to look for ICE on phone.
The ICEDot is a new product and service with an innovative idea that I can’t imagine won’t be copied and developed by other companies for multiple uses. As a product it’s a lot more reactive than any of the above and it’s exactly that which helps it stand out from the crowd. The ICEdot is an ICE ID that also serves as a notification service to your ICE contacts via an SMS text message should you be involved in a crash or fall. It’s essentially a small sensor that mounts onto your cycle helmet and detects motion, changes in forces and impacts. If it detects what it suspects to be a critical force the ICEdot triggers an SMS text to be sent via a low energy Bluetooth signal to your iPhone, containing your GPS co‐ordinates so the emergency response can begin. All very impressive and smart. It doesn't come cheap of course, the actual device is vastly more expensive than any of the other of the services looked at here and there’s also an annual charge for the service to consider. When you consider the potential service it could provide you however, it could be money very well spent.
Pros: Immediate reactive service, no waiting on someone to find you.
Cons: Comparatively expensive, on‐going annual charges. Limited to cycling only. Availability.