The Habit-Forming Neoprene Hug of Owl Band

This is like one of those “When You See It” pictures that your friends send you on Facebook.

I took this photo while commuting by bus in Madagascar. Do you notice anything odd?

Owl Band Leg Strap on a Bus
Something is out of place…
Photo: Ted Johnson

This was during my “Bikeless in Madagascar” period. It was a weird time. I would do my normal morning get-ready-for-work routine. I’d go out the front door, and it wouldn’t feel right.

My morning pre-flight checklist is blend of conscious and subconscious. I think many people, if not most people are this way.

By the time I get to the door, I don’t remember consciously loading my body with the stuff I take with me every day. Instead, as I am preparing to lock the door, an involuntary body scan happens. I am more likely to notice what is absent — such as the absence of my wallet from my pants pocket, or the absence of pants from my lower body. I am not a morning person.

On the day I took that photo on the bus, it was at the end of a full week of not commuting by bike. And it still felt strange not to have pushed the bike out the door ahead of me; not to have my helmet on my head; not to have gloves on my hands.

And then, sitting on that bench seat on the bus, I noticed the familiar neoprene hug of my Owl Band cuff strap.

Owl Band Answer
Did you see it? It wasn’t that hard, was it?
Photo: Ted Johnson

I brought several cuff straps of different designs with me to Madagascar. The Owl Band was sent to me after I arrived here, and I’ve been using it exclusively ever since. The width and the stretchy neoprene make it really easy to use. The fact that I automatically put it on while in a morning grog says something.

Owl Band
Sold as a pair.

The stretchy-huggy quality is not just a weird thing that I have about liking my ankle embraced. There’s a mechanical fact of pants that causes the cuff to come up your calf when you bend your knee to attach one of these straps. The cuff strap gets adjusted to a larger circumference than it will need when your leg straightens out. A non-stretchy cuff strap becomes loose, slips below the cuff, and I often discover it later lounging on my sock like a dangly ankle bracelet. The bigger your calves are, the bigger this problem can be.

Cuff Straps
Owl Band its rivals on my majestic commuter calf.
Photo: Ted Johnson

With the Owl Band, I learned to put a little extra squeeze into it when I connect the Velcro. When I straighten my leg and the pants relax, the Owl Band continues to hold my cuff against my leg, just above my ankle, but not too tight.

I wear a cuff straps for keeping my pant legs out of my chainring, so I didn’t capture any photographs showing the reflective quality of the Owl Band. Except for the time that I picked up a pizza on the way home, and improvised a method for strapping the pizza box to the tops of my rear panniers.

Owl Band and Pizza Box
Reflections on take out
Photo: Ted Johnson

Owl Band Reflective Ankle Bands sell for $11.95 for a pair.

If you are into the reflective thing, the same company makes an ultra-reflective yellow Leg Shield that’ll cover half your leg. (I reviewed the ninja version of the Leg Shield awhile back.)

Ted Johnson is lives and works in Antananarivo, Madagascar. Follow his hardly-ever-about-bikes blogging at Half-Hearted Fanatic, and tweeting at @TedJohnsonIII.

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