BUILDING A BETTER BIKE

By admin
September 17, 2014

Think of the proverbial mousetrap…After all the years and creative efforts to find a better design for “eliminating” the perpetually unpopular pests, for financial reasons, many of us still opt for the traditional spring trap and a generous chunk of cheese for household mouse control. Not so in the world of bicycles. As cycling continues to grow in popularity, for fun, fitness and basic transportation, there are several viable advances in bikes and accessories that can help make cycling safer, more user friendly and even more sustainable.

Stay on Track. Finding your way via GPS on your cycle computer or phone can be dangerous – you don’t have to be in a car to be a distracted driver and there is much less protection between you and the danger. The HAMMERHEAD syncs to the smartphone in your pocket and guides you via three rows of bright LED lights that you can follow with your peripheral vision. It also conveys information on distance, speed, hills, and road hazards, and even doubles as a headlight.

LIGHT THE WAY AHEAD. Emily Brooke invented the BLAZE laser, which projects a flashing green image of a bike on the pavement about 15 feet in front of a cyclist. Many nighttime accidents, she says, are caused by drivers turning into cyclists’ paths or failing to see them approaching intersections or driveways. The Blaze eliminates these blind spots by heralding the cyclist’s approach.

Get by with a Little Help from Your Wheel. Many potential bike commuters aren’t keen on sweating up hills in spandex on the way to work. Enter the COPENHAGEN WHEEL. As you ride and brake, it stores up energy that you can later call on to climb hills, or when you simply get tired. Its motor, three-speed gear, batteries, and torque sensor fit wirelessly into the hub, and you can control it via your smartphone. When you reach your destination, cool and composed, the wheel will even lock itself.

The Alabama Bamboo Bike. HERObike, in Greensboro, Alabama uses locally grown bamboo to build bikes that are fun to ride and are both environmentally friendly and sustainable. The Semester is the newest bamboo bike. The frame is made from bamboo with carbon fiber lined, engineered hex tubes. The Semester comes in three standard sizes: (Small) 52 cm; (Medium) 56 cm and (Large) 60 cm.

Want to build your own bike? HERObike offers “build-a-bike” workshops in Greensboro, where anyone, from a novice to a bike veteran, can get their hands dirty and learn to build a custom bicycle. The HERObike staff assists and guides participants through every step of the bike building process, that by the way, takes just three days. All the tools and materials are supplied, along with as much or as little help as needed. The workshops are small which allow for tremendous amounts of hands-on instruction.

SEE AND BE SEEN. The ILLUMINATED HELMET by Torch increases riders’ visibility by elevating LED lights (clear in front, red in back) higher than the usual attachments on handlebars and seatposts. Lenses disperse the light, giving the rider a 360-degree view. Torch raised the funds to launch this product via the crowdfunding site Kickstarter.

Sources: Sierra Magazine: “INNOVATE: A Better Bike by Paul Rauber; KICKSTARTER

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