I am fortunate to live in a city (Canberra, Australia) that has good off-road cycle paths. I can get from A to B without interacting with cars, for the most part. But even here, I still occasionally need to ride on the roads, and when I do, I am exposed to car-centric road design, and impatient, intolerant and downright aggressive car drivers.
Every week when I ride, I have close calls with car drivers. Sometimes the car driver is just driving stupidly, sometimes they seem to be actively homicidal. They overtake too close, or when there is oncoming traffic. They overtake and then immediately hook-turn in front of me. They overtake around one-lane roundabouts. They do not give way at stop signs or intersections, because I’m “just a bike”. Sometimes they seem to deliberately swerve to hit me.
When these interactions happen, all I can do is shout a warning, or abuse, and shake my fist in pointless frustration.
I used to ride with two bike-mounted GoPro cameras, one on my handlebar facing forward and one on my seatpost facing back. At the end of each ride, I need to remove the cameras, recharge the batteries, and wipe the SD memory cards so that they are ready for my next ride. Sometimes I have forgotten to recharge and the batteries are dead, or I have forgotten to wipe the SD cards, so there is no memory left to record. Sometimes I’m just lazy and don’t mount the cameras, and I miss a critical clip. The GoPros are good, but they are expensive, heavy, and so fiddly to charge, wipe and re-mount that I often just don’t bother to use them.
Rideye will change all that. Rideye is a Kickstarter-backed project that makes the whole process of bicycle video much more simple and therefore much more doable.
Rideye is a tiny HD video camera that attaches to your handlebars, your helmet or your seatpost. They are light-weight, waterproof, self-contained, have crash-detection sensors, and promise to make the process of recording rides a one-touch affair.
The Rideye cameras record on a continuous loop. There is no memory card to install. All you need to do is press a button and recording starts. If the memory is full, it automatically records over the oldest video, so you never need to manually wipe the memory. It has crash-detection sensors, so it will automatically save the video clip around the time of a crash. You can also choose to save any video even without a crash being detected.
The Rideye battery promises to last an entire month of rides, at 1 hour per day.
The Specs are impressive:
- HD video at 1280 x 720, good enough to detect licence plates
- audio recording
- 120 degree wide angle view
- triple axis accelerometer for crash detection
- one-touch start and saving of video clips
- Lithium ion battery lasts 24 hours
- 8GB memory for 2.5 hours continuous HD recording
- CNC machined aluminium
- 185 grams – smaller and lighter than most bike lights
- USB charging and video downloading
The Kickstarter campaign is finished, but Rideye is expected to be available in March 2014, for $149 each including mounting hardware from Rideye.com.
Why ride with a bicycle camera?
Apart from getting high quality video of your favourite rides, you will be empowered in the often unbalanced relationship between cars and bicycles. You will have hard video evidence that you can bring to bear should it become a legal dispute.
More importantly, these cameras have the power to change car drivers’ behaviour. If drivers are aware that many or most bikes are riding with cameras and that they are being recorded, their driving behaviour will improv, making the roads safer for all of us.
Cycling as a form of general transport has just got a big boost in the European Union. The European Tourism and Transport Committee has voted to include cycling as part of the multi-billion Euro Trans-European Transport Network. (more…)
Is this the perfect cyclist commuter bag? Read on to find out.
Read on about The Perfect Bicycle Commuter Bag
I recently moved to Vancouver, the largest city in British Columbia, Canada, and spent 18 months there. At first, I was a bit disappointed by its lack of cycling infrastructure. I had come from Canberra, Australia, and was used to its extensive off-road bike path system, which there seemed to be no direct analog in the Pacific Northwest city.
But it dawned on me that Vancouver has its own bicycle network, with a hugely different philosophy to what I was used to. It was an on-road system, and a bit hidden if you didn’t know about it. Once discovered, however, I quickly realised what a great system it was.
The greater Vancouver area has a population of about 3 million people, and about the same number of cars. The city was largely built during the mid 20th century, when cars were the only answer to the transportation question. Driving from one end of Vancouver to the other can be an exercise in frustration, gridlock, endless red lights, narrow lanes and tired, intolerant drivers. Taking a bicycle on any of the main roads that go North-South or East-West would be a life-threatening experience.
So for my first few months in Vancouver, I didn’t ride long distances within the city. It was simply too dangerous.
Every now and then, I caught hints that there may be more to cycling in Vancouver. There were cyclist around, an occasional signpost, and finally a bike shop with a free cycle map.
What I discovered is an extensive, almost comprehensive on-road cycle system using a clever variety of techniques to make the cyclist’s journey safe.
Read on about Vancouver’s On-Road Bicycle System
Where I hail from in Australia, it rarely rains. So fenders (or mudguards, as we call them) are little used and regarded as very nerdy.
Then I moved to Vancouver, BC. Its a different cycling world here. Here, the weather comes in two flavours: raining, or about to rain. Fenders are an ugly, but useful necessity.
So when I built my Surly Long Haul Trucker, I started looking for the perfect set of fenders to match its cool, retro lines. Somehow, I stumbled onto Woody’s Custom Wooden Fenders.
Like your factory-made plastic fenders, these fenders will protect you from mud, rain and slush. But unlike a factory-made plastic fender, these fenders are custom-made, sustainable and true works of art.
Read on about Woody’s Wooden Fenders
Anyone who cycles at night or during bad weather knows the feeling of vulnerability as they hear a car approaching from behind. “Have they seen me?” is the thought that goes through my mind.
Cyclite have released an all-weather cycling jacket with a surprise literally up its sleeve.
Read on about Cyclite Illuminated Cycling Jacket
Pedalite is the first integral lighting system for bicycles. Pedalite requires no batteries as the cyclist is the source of energy. Even when the cyclist is stationary or free-wheeling, Pedalite’s unique energy storage system ensures that the high-efficiency LEDs remain flashing for up to 12 minutes. These LEDs provide a 360 degree warning signal to the motorist.
Read on about Pedalites – pedals to be seen with
Reelights are unique in their method of generating electrical energy. While the high-performance LED front and rear lights are conventional, they are powered by a wheel-based induction system.
Two magnets are attached to each wheel, and as they sweep past the light/generator assembly, electrical energy is generated, enough to power the lights. Unlike conventional dynamo systems, there is no drag and no wear on moving parts.
Read on about Reelights Induction Bicycle Lights
One of the big dangers of riding a bike at night is being seen by cars. Sure, you could put the world’s most powerful headlights up front, and a dozen flashing LEDs on your rear, but many bicycle-car collisions involve a car not seeing a bike from the side.
There are very few side-lighting systems available.
Hokey-Spokes fills this gap very well. Hokey-Spokes are a strip of LEDs mounted within the spokes of either the front or rear wheel of your bike. As your wheel spins, the LEDs trace a pattern of light. If you are going fast enough, the human eye’s persistence of vision sees this as a semi-solid face of light.
This is great, but what is really wonderful is that with different combinations of LED patterns, a myriad of images can be created. In fact, the LEDs can be programmed to spell out individual words.