The bike is back, and why not? Few things in life beat the feeling of satisfaction you get when you blow your way past a stack of cars filled with frustrated drivers on your two wheels. Makes up for all the times you want to snatch some paint with your keys when the bike lane becomes someone’s ‘temporary’ parking spot.
But, we live in the age of accessories. Your trusty steed deserves better than just a water bottle holder and a pair of safety lights. It’s time to tech your ride out like it deserves. Well, mostly tech. But hey, you’ll soon find that there are still some low-tech things out there you never you knew needed.
For example, you clearly need this. Just, you know, keep in mind that you really can get a DUI riding a bicycle. If where you’re going requires the wonderful marriage of grapes and alcohol, strap this wine rack to your bike – beats having it rattle around in the basket, where you’re just one unexpected bump away from tragedy. And, if you’re thinking ‘hey, I can just fit my wine bottle in my bike’s water bottle holder,’ well, no, you can’t, because this one is made from olive oil-treated, vegetable tanned leather. That’s what a good bottle of wine demands. Meanwhile, the wine rack will demand $30 from you for its services.
You know what’s just as bad as being stuck behind someone driving a car while using their phone? Being stuck behind a cyclist using their phone. Don’t be that cyclist. If you really need to make some calls while riding (and good luck hearing the person on the other line if you do), at least get the Buckshot Rugged Bluetooth Speaker. You can strap it to the center of your handlebars safe in the knowledge that if you take a spill on the concrete or crash into a fountain or something, at least your new speaker will be alright – it’s covered in rubber to protect against shock, and is water-resistant. It has a microphone as well as a speaker, so you can use it for music and calls alike. The Buckshot Rugged Bluetooth Speaker will run you $50.
If you love cycling, chances are your bike didn’t come cheap. And, we have apps that can protect and track stolen phones – why can’t we have the same tech for bikes? Well, we can, and it’s called Bike+. Bike+ is a gadget you strap to your bike and promptly ignore. It has its own cellular modem, so it can connect to a 3G network. That means a few things. One is that it will always broadcast the location of your bike thanks to GPS – if your bike gets stolen, you’ll know exactly where it is. Bike+ will also supply you with biking fitness stats that are uploaded to an app, and the device’s sensors will start reading movement all on their own, without you having to remember to turn the thing on. And, if the things go wrong on the road, you can program Bike+ to alert selected people if you’re in a bike crash automatically. All this, and it’s small enough to where you’ll still have room for your wine rack.
But then, maybe you don’t like those Bike+ guys. Well, they have competition. Good old capitalism has ensured that there will be plenty of products out there competing for your affection (and dollars). BikeSpike is another take on the bike security/stat tracker device. You’ll have crash detection and alerts, GPS tracking, and stats uploaded to an app on your smartphone. But, here’s a little extra – geofencing. You can set a safe zone around your bicycle, and receive an alert if someone tries to make off with your ride. Or, you can receive an alert if someone so much as nudges your bicycle while it’s locked to the rack. Probably go with the latter. BikeSpike protects your bike for a modest $130, and will ship sometime this winter.
Mission doesn’t leave much in the way of mystery. This thing is everything described in the name above, plus a handy handlebar mount. The MP3 player + speaker part features a vacuum-sealed speaker and 2 GB worth of storage, while the Light part is USB rechargeable and will give you 10 hours. You can also toggle between bright, ultra bright, and flash settings. If the sound doesn’t let people know you’re coming, the 100 lumens of light flashing in their face certainly will. Mission will grant you the bicycle equivalent of the Swiss Army Knife for $80.
If you absolutely, positively can’t be without your phone for the duration of your bike ride, well, it’s probably a bad idea to try to fish the thing out of your pocket and one-hand it while pedaling. Instead, you can toss Arkon’s smartphone bicycle mount on your handlebars. The mount clamps down on your phone, so you can use phones of all sizes, whether they’re in cases or not. Great! Now, you can video chat with someone while biking, and they can watch what happens when bikers don’t glide around potholes. The Arkon Smartphone Bicycle Mount, which is definitely a great idea, is also just $14, so, I mean, why not?
You didn’t think we forgot about the wheels themselves, did you? Revolights are here to put a new spin on bike lights. Four LED lights can be hooked up to your bike’s wheels – two red lights for the back wheel and two white lights for the front wheel. To save power, there are magnets you’ll attach to your bike that will ensure that the lights only shine when facing outward. When you ride your bike, the effect will be a constant arc of light emanating backwards and forwards from your bike, so you can see where you’re going and others can see you. And yeah, you could just get regular bike lights, but come on. Those don’t look nearly as cool, and this way you can kinda pretend like you’re in Tron or something. The Revolights system does your wheels up right for about $230.