There is no shortage of great innovations on their way over to cycling commuters everywhere, as inventors rush to create new products that solve problems cyclists face on a daily basis. From the bike bell, to the bike light – nothing is safe from being ripped apart and reimagined.
We feature many of these new innovations on our newsletter on a weekly basis. I’ve picked out three that I’m personally very excited about.
Take the next left turn
Using an awesome app like BikeHub, it’s easy to plot a great cycling route, but it’s much harder to follow it. The turn by turn navigations are always a little slow and even with a bike mount, it’s tough to focus on the road and the navigation.
Enter the magical, mythical Hammerhead. Launching in September of this year for roughly £50 (if you pre-order), this device aims to make navigation for cyclists easy.
The lights count down how long before you need to turn your handlebars, meaning you can focus on the road, while your peripheral vision picks up on the directions.
Aside from the device, there’s also an innovative app promised for September. This will show you the best cycling route, based on numerous factors such as traffic, cycling infrastructure and elevation.
The founders have also promised that it will help you find out where any friends that are also using the app are cycling, so you can join a spontaneous group ride.
It’s even got a bike light.
Great! But what about battery life? What about in the UK? What about thieves ripping it off your handlebars? What about cycle hire bikes?
According to the funding page on Dragon innovation, it’s looking like your phone will run out of juice after 5 hours of use. Far longer than 99% of commutes, but not really long enough for anyone who wants to do some serious long distance cycling. The device itself is set to work for 20 hours before it needs recharging.
I haven’t read any information yet about whether their app will work well in the UK, which is why I haven’t pre-ordered yet.
You wouldn’t need to worry about thieves, as the device clips in and out easily, so you can take it with you when you walk in to the pub. Also, the mount is designed to fit cycle hire bikes. A really nice touch!
I’m really excited about this device, it’s affordable, and as I love trying out new cycle routes, it’s something I can see myself getting a lot of use out of.
Reinventing bike visibility
The Commuter X4, the bike jacket with turn signals, the Blaze bike light and the Fly6. All products that are aiming to keep cyclists more visible. Whilst opinions will vary as to the effectiveness of these products, it’s a good sign that innovators are dreaming up new ideas.
Personally, I probably would rather not wear something like the Commuter X4. I’d find it a little fiddly when I reached my destination. However, the X4 has some major things going for it. It can be fitted to a backpack or on your back and it provides a good angle of visibility.
If you get in early, it costs £32. Not cheap, but considering it’s a brand new product that hasn’t yet been manufactured in large numbers, the price seems reasonable.
The bike jacket with turn signals, which shows a stop symbol when you suddenly slow down, looks cool, though once again, would probably seem a little excessive to me. However, you can’t argue it would draw attention to you. There are no plans currently to release it as a commercial product.
We’ve already written about the Blaze bike light and we should have a piece on the Fly6 soon.
We’ve already written a piece titled “Google Glass and cycling – a match made in heaven?” and I believe the answer could be yes, depending on how distracting the display is while you are cycling.
However, you could see some amazing uses for it beyond just navigation. How about a safety camera if you are ever in an accident? Accessing the Bike Doctor app so you can repair your bike? When you are close to the supermarket, seeing a notification to pickup some milk? Tracking your cycling?
The possibilities are great and Google Glass isn’t the only option. Recon Jet is another and wearable technology is increasingly making the headlines.
I’ll leave you a recent video by Google, with a vision of what a smart watch would look like and how it would work.
Any other tech you’re looking forward to? Leave a comment below.
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.