By Karen Kefauver
August 21, 2015
Link to Sentinel Article
The Copenhagen Wheel, invented at MIT and licensed by Superpedestrian in Cambridge, Mass., can transform a bicycle into a smart electric hybrid. It’s named after the city of Copenhagen. Superpedestrian – Contributed
If I don’t have time to jump on my bike for a noon ride, I can still bump up my heart rate just by clicking web links and reading about futuristic-sounding bike technology. It’s thrilling how mobile applications, solar power and new manufacturing techniques are intersecting in the world of bicycle tech. While cycling purists may shy away from some of these ultra-modern developments, I find the possibilities exciting, particularly if the benefits are increased cyclist safety and bike theft prevention.
For you, fellow cyclists, I skipped my lunch ride today, gobbled energy bars at my desk and researched three cutting-edge cycling products: a helmet, bike lock and bicycle wheel. They were once from a galaxy, far, far away, but now within grasp.
SKYLOCK NEEDS NO KEY
Skylock – Contributed Skylock, with release slated for 2016, is a bicycle lock that connects with your bluetooth device to provide keyless entry, theft detection, crash alerts and more.
I have trouble keeping track of keys, especially bike lock keys. Twice in Santa Cruz, I called my handy bicycling friend Andrew Murray and begged him to bring his tools, rescue me and free my bike when I lost my Kryptonite lock keys. It was expensive to replace the locks and even worse, embarrassing to feel like an irresponsible kid again. So when I learned that Skylock (in development) wouldn’t require keys, I was eager to learn more.
Skylock is the first product of San Francisco-based Velo Labs, which was founded in 2013 by CEO Jack Al-kahwati and CTO Gerardo Barroeta. Drawing on its founders’ Boeing and Jawbone engineering expertise, this startup has reinvented a U-lock with a solar-powered rechargeable battery, plus theft and crash alerts, keyless entry, and even the possibility of bike sharing.
Skylock works in conjunction with a smartphone app, either iOS or Android. Users can use their phones to lock and unlock their bikes, add other users, and toy with the settings to receive alerts if their bike is jostled while out-of-sight. The theft alert system works with either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. And, if the lock’s internal accelerometer senses a severe impact while a rider is on the bike, it has the ability to alert emergency responders.
Velo Labs launched its own crowd-funding campaign on its website and expects to ship the product within the next 12 months.
LUMOS, A SAFER RIDE
I love the idea of my helmet not only protecting my noggin but also sending its own signals about when I am braking or turning. I go nuts when I see anyone, any age, on any bike not wearing a helmet. There is no excuse not to protect your brain. A head injury sustained on a bike can be fatal or change your life forever.
Eu-wen Ding and Jeff Chen, the creators of Lumos, are avid cyclists who recognize the importance of wearing a helmet. They designed a helmet that is smart, safe and stylish. Their mission was to improve cyclists’ visibility and the ability to communicate to motorists while riding in traffic. After all, how many times have you seen a cyclist make a hand signal and not really know where they are going?
Featuring turn signals and automatic brake lights that are built into the helmet, Lumos comes with an integrated accelerometer. It senses when you slow down, and automatically turns all the rear lights bright solid red to signal when you are braking.
With funding from Kickstarter, the company aims to start shipping in April 2016.
Talk about reinventing the wheel. You can pop this rear wheel on your bike and have magical superpowers — really.
Transform your bike into an electric hybrid with this wheel that contains a motor, batteries, multiple sensors, wireless connectivity, and an embedded control system. The wheel learns how you pedal and integrates seamlessly with your motion, multiplying your pedal power 3 to 10 times. And of course, it comes with an app that allows you to lock and unlock the wheel, track personal usage and more.
The buzz about this wheel has been happening for a few years and it’s finally getting closer to launching. According to a recent article inbikebiz.com, Assaf Biderman, co-founder and CEO of Superpedestrian confirmed at Eurobike: “We will be shipping soon. We have been manufacturing since December last year, and we’re currently doing all the certification tests required for selling around the world. We’re ramping up, but slowly. It’s a complex product, and we care about quality.”
Visit the Copenhagen Wheel’s website, superpedestrian.com, to see about locations for test rides.
See you on the bike tech highway to the future!
Cost: $250, online pre-order: $159.
Cost: Prices vary according to Kickstarter’s beta testing and pre-orders.
Cost: $949 pre-order online
• Full disclosure: I have not personally reviewed these products nor have I received any products for free from these companies. These are random selections from your Spin City columnist. Please share online what you are excited about in bicycle technology.