New technology available has made it possible to improve your ride. It’s growing, and it’s helping more Americans consider bikes as a method of transportation than ever before.If you’re a cyclist, or have friends who prefer two wheels vs four, you are aware of how passionate people can be about bicycles, and their enthusiasm for bike evangelism.
Anyone who has biked down a busy city street or had to drive around a cyclist can understand how this might deter potential bikers. If you’re the type of person who can’t get anywhere without GPS or Google Maps directions, getting lost may also be a concern. You may have already heard about biking apps like MapMyRide and Strava, which can be used to find a bike route and track your progress.
San Francisco has taken this idea even further by asking cyclists to collect data while they ride using the smartphone app CycleTracks. The city can then use this information to make improvements for cyclists by looking at the collected data to compare various options. San Francisco also takes into consideration factors learned by the first phase of the program, such as how a route with a bike lane feels half as far as a route without one even if the routes are actually the same length. Gear heads and data heads who want to collect and use information for their own benefit can tap into Cyclemeter.
While apps can be useful for navigation, they require mounting your smartphone to your bicycle and distract your eyes from the road. The Hammerhead and Schwinn’s CycleNav are tools that attach to your bike’s handlebars and provide simple LED signals for directions. Hammerhead boasts a collaborative database of bike routes and lets you race against yourself to push yourself harder and faster. CycleNav includes spoken navigation so you can keep your eyes on the road 100% of the time. In addition to these great apps solid mounting gear is essential to keep your smartphone in place and also allows you to plug in for tunes to make your ride the ultimate experience.
Knowing where you’re going is essential, but what about when you arrive at your destination? Bike security is a major issue for many riders and bike thefts are a common occurrence in major cities. The options for bike security now are much lighter and smarter.
However if you want to know where your bike is and what it’s doing at all times, even when you’re not riding it you’ll need a higher-tech solution, which is where BikeSpike and Bike+ come in. BikeSpike is a small piece of equipment that acts like Big Brother for your bike by tracking it on GPS, notifying you if the bike jostles, falls, or moves, and even alerting emergency contacts if you and the bike get into an accident. Bike+ also includes ride tracking features, so you can measure your own progress and keep the thieves at bay at the same time. Just in case these systems fail, you can register your bike on the Bike Index and if any well-meaning cyclist comes across your bike they can cross-reference it with the index and let you know! Plus, unlike the aforementioned gadgets, the Bike Index is free.