That’s a stocking cap with a built-in LED light. Really.
I’ve had it for a few years and paid, I think, about 10 dollars.
I bought it for the cold months when darkness extends into the early morning hours, which is when I try to do my walking. I’ve found that it’s best to exercise in the early morning so it’s done and nothing can get in the way of your exercise.
The problem with early-morning walking during the winter months is that it’s dark. Really dark.
And that means you’re invisible to people driving cars.
When I started this early-morning-walk routine 20 years ago, I realized that I needed some way to make sure I was seen. So I bought a reflective vest that looked ridiculous. But it did reflect headlights, so I hoped it gave me a certain level of safety.
Let me interrupt this blog post to meditate on the rapid progress of technology in just 20 years. Apple hadn’t introduced the iPad or the iPhone yet, and if you wanted to listen to anything during a walk or run, you had to take along some dedicated music player with wired earplugs. Now any smartphone can play music through wireless ear plugs.
There have been similar leaps in reflective wear and wearable light technology.
The first “headlight” I owned weighed more than a pound and had a strap so you would wear it like a headband. I always wore it with a baseball cap so the actual light rested on the bill. That made the thing close to comfortable.
Today? The stocking cap is nice and comfy, but if the temperature is too warm for a stocking cap, I have a couple of lights that I can just clip on. The pair cost about $25 and I clip them onto my current reflective “vest,” which is really a couple of straps that look like the thing crossing guards wore when I was in grade school.
I could get a vest that lights up and spend less than $20.
In case you’re wondering, no, I have not become a sales agent for reflective and light-emitting exercise gear. I’ve just always been an advocate for making sure drivers can see you when you’re out running or walking in the dark.
And I was reminded of the importance of that concept one recent early morning.
I was all lit up and walking on my town’s main street, which doubles as a state highway, when I nearly collided with someone who was running in the opposite direction. In the Year of Our Lord 2022, this person was running in the dark without any lights or reflective gear.
I don’t get it. This stuff is widely available and it’s cheap. Especially when you consider that a good pair of running shoes will set you back about $150, gear to make you visible is really cheap. And it lasts longer than a pair of running shoes.
So, if you’re up and running or walking in the predawn darkness, please please please buy some visibility gear. If you don’t, my next blog post could be about you!