Although traditional bike shops are still very popular with avid cyclists, new and innovative bike services are also on the rise for today’s riders. The following are a few of these unique and modern options that make cycling easier and even more fun.
For R&D firm Cambridge Consultants, the bike of the future can be controlled by smartphone technology. According to Tim Ensor, a business developed in the Wireless division of the firm, the wireless bicycle can include GPS and map data into the application and allow automatic gear shifts in anticipation of upcoming changes in the road or terrain such as upcoming hills or turns. The bike can be outfitted with sensors to measure speed and the rate of pedaling. Depending on the speed and rate of pedaling, the application can automatically send a signal for the bike to make gear changes. The future bike can also be integrated with personal trackers like a heart rate monitor for use during training sessions.
Wuppertal’s hackerspace club consists of a group of individuals–each with their own expertise on different things–who gather together to fix broken appliances or devices. These engineers, computer enthusiasts, and DIY junkies gather regularly and repair items together as a group. Every month they invite friends and neighbors into their ‘lab’ and encourage them to bring any broken item that they want repaired, be it old toasters, alarm clocks or VHS players. These sessions are known as repair cafés and the group may just open one for bicycles.
In preparation for the launch of Citibike, the bike share system sponsored by Citibank and Mastercard, local cyclists taught bike maintenance and road awareness to novice riders. The bike share system provides stations with bikes that people can rent and use with the Citibike app, which tells users where to find these bikes and help them plan their route as well. The cycling teams from Bike NYC and Brooklyn Skillshare also offered classes on further biking groups and advocacies like Recycle a Bicycle and Transportation Alternatives.
Mapkin is a new app that lets users create and send customized directions to friends. Users can also add instructions and voice recordings to the directions. When the users have created a route, they can include interesting stops like restaurants or stores and even add comments along the way like which roads to take or avoid. The finished maps can be shared to friends via SMS, email or through social networks.