I've been documenting the making of a new bike for Josh Zisson of Bike Safe Boston, and he has this crazy idea to make the entire bicycle reflective - as in tire sidewalls, wheel rims and even the frame itself. Apparently there is a paint and powdercoating company in Indianapolis called Halo Coatings and they've developed a way to add an ingredient to powdercoat that would make it reflective under direct light ("halo patented retro-reflective powder coating"). I had a hard time believing this until I saw it in person. The orange paint chip above would be the colour used on his wheel rims. And watch what happens to it when it's photographed with flash:
Neat, isn't it? Examining the colour chip up close, it's got these tiny mirror-like particles embedded in the powdercoat and they create the reflective effect. The technology is very new, and so far there is only one bicycle I know of that it's been used on - a cargo bike by Tsunehiro Cycles that won 2nd place at the Oregon Manifest last year. Here is what that bike looks like in the dark. The potential of this product is exciting - though personally I can't decide whether reflective paint is a genius idea for city bikes, or whether it's sensory overload. I would need to see it in person I guess. What do you think - would you want a reflective bike?