This year I was able to spend 3 days at CES (the Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas. This event is usually crazy – tons of exhibitors and hordes of people all over the place, hence my hesitation to attend, but my the projects I have been working on in the last 12 months and those that will be on my plate in 2016, required me to attend. So, I jumped on the plane and joined the throngs of people at the show.
While I had to spend a lot of time with customers and partners, I was able to allocate some time for visiting various exhibits. The show was heavily dedicated to automotive products – but there were some interesting new products for bicycle enthusiasts as well. The product that caught my attention was the Garmin Varia Vision Headset – the headset has some very interesting capabilities
It allows you to view statistics about the ride – ride in your field of vision – i.e. without have to look down (to the stem or handlebars mounted smart phone with Bike Applications); The display provides the essential stats right in front of your eyes – thus acting also as a much safer way to show you information
2) When paired with Varia Rear View Radar it provides you with the necessary information on approaching traffic. The display can show you approaching traffic and warn you of potential issues on the road;
Overall a very clever contraption and in my opinion useful application all around. The device warns you of approaching traffic as far as 140-meters away (per Garmin.com)
The headset is also integreatable with your smart phone. Garmin will provide you with the compatibility list. I have not tested that feature – eventhough I hat my phone with me on the tradeshow floor – I did not test the ability of the feature;
Ultimately, safety is a huge factor for most of us cyclists and to this effect these new products appear to address it in a fun and cheerful way.
Please let me know with your thoughts on these new gadgets – I think they are a great steps forward on safety!
Fly6 Camera and LED Light – New Gadget and Safety Tool
I just came across the newly available Fly6 taillight and HD Camera combination product. The idea of building such a device is really great! Why – well, because it will provide cyclist the world over with a very good safety device. Here is a view of the product from Fly6.com
Excellent Lights and Recording Gadget
This video from the company itself is a great description of the idea that drove the product: all in all, drivers are often careless and do not really pay enough attention to the dynamics of the road. Why do I know this? Because of my personal experience. I have been involved in accident where the other party was a truck driver who hit me as I was going along a main street in the city and he was stopped at a street corner waiting to turn onto the main street. After he hit me the guy swore he never saw me (on a bright sunny day i.e. in full daylight) — I guess he did not BUT THE MAIN REASON was that he was not paying any attention….but just decided to turn onto the main street and I happened to be there…Too bad for me right…? Well with this new gadget many such situations will be well documented and will drive awareness and attention across all of us…
The other interesting aspect of this gadget was the STRONG interest in it – its creation was funded on Kickstarter in only a couple of months. This diagram is sourced from Kickstarter.com and shows results from user surveys:
In summary, I really like the idea behind this product. Will look into getting one – and will post here my experiences soon enough…
Now that the day light hours are shrinking fast we have to think about bike lights even more. There are few things more dangerous on the roads of the city other than biking without proper lights on your bicycle and on your body. But before we talk about some good choices for your bike ilumination, let's take a look at some very cool pictures…
Austin Sunrise (Yes, this is a sunrise on a cool September morning)
And this then is a Sunset as seen from Barton Creek Rd
As you can tell from the photos above, the visibility could be pretty poor. Here come in very handy a bunch of different LED based tail lights.
The one I rely on in my biking recently is the Planet Bike BRT-3Tail light – a very good choice for your bike ride. Why? Here are its key characteristics:
3 super bright LEDs (which contribute to the light's visibility)
Visible from approximately 2000 feet
Can be attached to your clothes or mounted on your seat post (with the supplied components
Two AA batteries power the light for about 200 hours
Well, that is it for time being. If you would like to buy the light — I got mine via Amazon.com — here is the link:
Bicycle lights are extremely important part of your overall gear for biking. I cannot stress enough their importance – that being not only in the evenings / at dark, but also in foggy, rainy, and any otherwise reduced visibility weather. With the advent of the LED, bicycle lights have become both a lot more practical, as well as more efficient to maintain.
So, now lets take a look at some of the better choices for us bicycle enthusiasts:
Bike Lane Safety Light
This is a bright tail light for riding at night; In this light though you get a second (and mind you) a useful second feature — the ability to project on the road surface a bike lane – by projecting from a couple of LEDs mounted at 90-degrees to the main red light and projecting a continuous strobe on the ground – thus forming a bike lane around you. This LED light could be set for steady state or blinking / changing light configuration;
This by the way is what is also being considered by the average biking enthusiast – another rear bicycle light:
We will continue to examing various biking accessories and provide our input on the level of goodness in those; In the mean time – please check these two…
Well folks, technology is great! Mind you, I do not mean that in terms of getting access to the latest smartphone or shiny new iPad or android tablet….Sure those are great tools and also devices that offer an incredible amount of entertainment and channel for learning, but this time I am writing about something much more pedestrian BUT at the same time a device that could save your life (if you are biking for example)
Earlier today, after quite a bit of research, I ordered my new red LED light — Planet Bike Blinky, and by next weekend plan to provide you with a nice review of its capabilities and a short video of how it works in the day time and in the dark. Based on what I have been reading, the light provides for about 100 hours of operation, which was one of the key attraction points for me, and second — supposedly a much brighter LEDs vs previous models. So will see…
Now, why am I writing a whole article about this? Well, it is important — turns out (as some of you probably already know), bicycles are really tough to spot on the roads. I prefer biking in the parks on mountain bike trails but even so every so often I tend to get on the local roads as well in order to just exercise or go and meet friends. Havind said that, the importance of us bicyclists being visible on the road is extremely important.
The visbility aspect is especially important at dusk / late in the afternoon when the light changes and drivers tend to have a lot more difficulty detecting a bicycle on the road. Another factor is the degree of congestion and busy conditions on the road — the more other vehicles are on the road the less likely is that a driver will detect a bicycle near by.
So we really need to make all efforts possible to increase the bicycle visibility — and a flashing red light on the back of your bike is CERTAINLY a step in that direction.
Well, enough for today — I will report on the light once I have had a chance to test it next weekend.