If you could had a bicycling 6th sense, or magical power – what would it be?
Here are some suggestions, and a few examples where technology has made an attempt at creating them in reality…
Eyes in the back of our heads
It would be really helpful to know what was going on behind us. For example, to see when a driver is about to overtake, and have a better idea how much room they are about to give.
One of the best bits of advice that cycle trainers give, is to glance behind you regularly, to avoid surprises from cars creeping up on you and to establish eye contact with drivers.
You can get a better idea of what is going on behind you with bicycle mirrors, but they don’t give an absolute full view as one might get from a second pair of eyes.
In the case of wanting to re-live your ride, or even make an insurance claim in an accident, Fly6 have got you covered with a video camera which is embedded into a rear light – and we’ll be reviewing one of those next week.
Flashing arrows to indicate with
As I explained in the Morning Routine piece last week I live at the bottom of a pretty steep descent.
Now, I do a bit of yoga, I’ve got a kettlebell – I try to look after my core, and my balance isn’t too awful – but from time to time I do struggle riding down the hill, and taking one hand off the drop for long enough to indicate for a good period of time when travelling at 35pmh. I’d blame this on my own ineptitude, but my road racing fiancé has just as much struggle and I’d say his riding skills are decent. My general approach is to quickly indicate left, then cock my head to the left, then point my knee to the left – generally trying to make it as clear as possible that every part of me is going left.
If I had little flashing arrows that could appear from my shoulders – well, that would help.
There was once a SEIL backpack that displayed indicator signals seeking Kickstarter funding – but sadly the project never reached the target – and I have to admit, if it had, for the one single junction where I don’t feel able to indicate easily, I’m not sure I’d invest.
Of course, if you’re just looking for more visible hand singnals, there is an option – with Limin8a gloves – these display arrows when directed by the rider and could be a help in the dark.
Leading on nicely from my ‘everything left’ approach to making my intentions clear – the ability to just speak to drivers through their aluminum boxes would be nice.
I could say “thank you” to the driver who didn’t rev their engine as I took up more road than usual when ploughing down my 15/20 per cent hill, and I could ‘have a word’ with the one who passed with about 2mm room just as I approached the omnipresent pot hole (which, in fact Mr Driver, was the REASON I was taking said position).
I’ve yet to see technology make any attempt at this one – and I can’t say I blame the professors, it’s probably quite tricky.
My only answer to making this one a reality is to use the tools you do have available – body positioning, gestures (of all kinds, waves and selected figures includes) and voice. For more advice on that, we’d always recommend a free cycle training course, where you’ll learn how best to ride in an urban environment safely.