In the same way that it’s influenced the fitness industry through wearable tech and innovative studio spaces, advances in technology have had a massive impact on cycling culture across the world over the last few years. Thanks to an influx of innovations making cycling safer, easier and more fun, people are cycling around more than ever before, be it a lengthy commute, adventure trip in the outdoors or just an occasional jaunt to the shops.
But with so many devices on the market claiming to improve your cycling experience, it’s hard to know which are worth the investment. So I’ve picked out some of the best bike gadgets for anyone looking to pimp their (two-wheeled) ride.
Blubel bike navigation
Blubel is an innovative Bluetooth-connected bicycle bell that doubles up as a navigational guide to tell you how to get from A to B via the safest bike-friendly routes, meaning you no longer have to follow confusing directions on your phone.
Using your phone’s sat nav tech, Blubel displays simplified directions using the bell’s LED design and your phone can stay in your pocket or bag, meaning fewer dangerous distractions, phone accidents or theft. Blubel works by using gestures on its 12 LED dial. All you have to do is type your destination into the supporting app and follow the lights on the bell, which indicate where to go.
There are also audio signals that prompt you when turns are coming up so you can keep your eyes safely on the road the rest of the time. The bell will also show the direction of your final destination, so you never lose your bearings, using responsive routing that quickly recalculates if you take a different route or a wrong turn.
Beryl lights system: Pixel, Burner Brake and Laserlight Core
Navigating yourself through busy city streets at rush hour on a dark evening can be stressful enough to get any cyclist’s handlebars in a twist. Enter Beryl’s extensive lighting system, a range of rechargeable LED bike lights with bonus safety features. There are three main lights in the offering. The first is the Pixel, a small round clip-on light that you can put anywhere that takes your fancy, and the second is the Burner Brake, a rear light which is able to tell other road users behind you that you’re coming to a stop. It does this by detecting when you slow down, accurately warning other road users that you are putting your brakes on by intensifying the light.
The core product to the firm’s series, however, is the Laserlight Core. Thanks to “forward projection” technology, Laserlight combines a white light and a bicycle laser image to beam out of blind spots, junction, and situations where you’re otherwise unseen. The laser projects a bike symbol six meters in front of you, visible by fellow road users from various perspectives and increasing your safety.
Garmin Edge 1030
The Garmin Edge 1030 is the perfect companion when doing longer cycling journeys, such as sportives or challenges, as opposed to simple commuting. It’s the firm’s most advanced Edge computer to date and sits on your handlebars and thanks to built-in GPS, doesn’t rely on your phone to tell you where you are or which way to go. Like a sat nav for bikes. Its feature list is never-ending and it even can record your biking route. There’s also the addition of Bluetooth Smart connectivity for the first time in a device like this, alongside Bluetooth and ANT+.
It really does do it all and was able to measure everything I needed as it tracked my cycle adventure during a sportive in the New Forest last year, from the speed I was going as I bombed down the country lanes, to the miles I’d covered when I got back home. If you’re serious about cycling and want to keep a dedicated track your rides, the Garmin Edge 1030 is an ideal companion.
Ever forgotten your bike lights? Lumos is the gadget for you; it’s a next-generation bicycle helmet that goes out of its way to make sure you’re seen when cycling thanks to integrated LED lights with brake and turn signals. A tap of the helmet’s Bluetooth handlebar-mounted remote control means you can communicate your intentions to drivers and people around you. It’s probably one of my most-used gadgets in this list and it means you don’t have to remember to take your bike lights with you whenever you leave the house.
Making its first appearance on our telly boxes as a pitch on BBC’s Dragon’s Den, the CYCL WingLights is a pair of bright LED’s that give cyclists 360-degree visibility in all lighting and weather conditions for a safer ride. But the really cool thing about WingLights is that you can use them to tell fellow road users which direction you’re going to turn. No more stretch your arms out in the dark and hoping they’re seen, simply tap a button on the side and it will flash, acting like a car’s indicator lights.