Saturday, May 21, 2016

'Smart' Bike Technologies

Visiting Santee Cooper Country around Lake Marion, SC? So many Nature & Outdoor Recreation activities for you to enjoy. Biking is just one them.

Biking, also known as bicycling or cycling, involves the use of bicycles for transport, recreation, or for sport. Today, there are more than 1 billion bicycles in use worldwide. The more common types include utility bicycles, mountain bicycles, racing bicycles, touring bicycles, hybrid bicycles, cruising bicycles, and BMX Bikes. You can also find tandem bicycles, low-riders, folding models, ergonomic recumbent bikes, and 'smart' bikes.

According to CEO Arnold Kamler of Kent International, by the end of 2016 over 500,000 bikes should be rolling off their new assembly line in Clarendon County, South Carolina. Kent’s bicycles will be the first US-made bikes sold in Wal-Mart stores in more than 15 years. The company is also a major supplier to Toys R Us, Amazon, and Academy Sporting Goods.

'Smart' Bikes

The world of biking is changing! If you are interested in taking up biking, you might want to look into the emerging world of 'smart' bikes. There have been some amazing advances in the past few years. For example, check out the following articles on the subject:

  • Ampler e-bikes look just like bicycles on the outside, but - Ampler's e-Bikes conceal a smart electric drive system stealthily hidden within the aluminum frame of the bike. Its lithium-ion battery pack is said to take just three hours for a full charge and delivers an average range of about 43 miles, while the motor enables the rider to boost their speed to about 15 mph. An app also offers an estimated range display, a navigation maps option, the ability to receive and apply software updates to the bike's electronics, and more.

  • Livall, Maker of Smart and Safe Bicycle Systems - Advanced helmets, bikes, and accessories from Livall, the leading designer and producer of smart bicycle riding systems. They have developed wearable technology solutions to improve safety and provide communication technology deliver helpful information to riders. At the heart of their smart riding system is the Livall Bling series of helmets that feature a built-in Bluetooth windproof microphone and speakers. With the press of a button, riders can take phone calls, listen to music, initiate a walkie-talkie chat with fellow cyclists, or snap photos.

  • LeEco Smart Bike Has 4GB RAM and runs on Android - Part mountain bike and part mobile smartphone that you can actually ride across country. Nestled between the handlebars is what appears to be a small phone with camera. The handlebars have built-in indicator lights similar to ones on a car. You will also find buttons in the handlebar for controlling music on the built-in phone. At night, a red laser shines on the ground on your left and right side of the bike to give closing car drivers a warning of the safe distance to keep away from the bicycle.

  • SpeedX's 'smart' road bikes - The SpeedX Leopard and Leopard Pro ‘smart’ road bikes from China feature composite frames with full internal cable routing, drive-trains, carbon wheels, and a variation of their SpeedForce stem, called ‘Smart Control’.

* Check out some of these many other companies selling 'Smart Bicycles' and Accessories.

Examples of 'Smart Bike' Accessories

  • GeoOrbital Wheel replaces a standard front wheel in under 60 seconds, immediately turning it into an electric bike (e-Bike). Simply clip its thumb activated throttle onto your handlebar, and you’re set up.

  • ShareRoller portable motor is a 7-pound unit that mounts onto a docking station above the front wheel. It installs in less than 10 seconds and can boost a rider to 18 mph without pedaling for up to 20 miles.
  • Fontus water bottle is a self-contained system that generates its own water. It attaches to the bike frame and captures air during motion, then sends it through a solar-powered cooling device that extracts moisture and funnels it into a detachable water bottle.
  • Sense ICON, is a lightweight USB-rechargeable bicycle LED lamp that also incorporates a set of sensors that includes accelerometer, temperature gauge, ambient light detection, and Bluetooth connectivity to a sophisticated smartphone app.
  • Valour VanHawks has an amazing feature with the ability to sense what’s around your bike. Using a set of proximity sensors, it will alert you via haptic feedback signals delivered to the handlebars. It vibrates when there’s a car or another bike coming up behind you.
  • Solar Bike Wheels - A new solar-powered e-Bike doesn’t even need to be plugged in. It has solar cells built into both wheels and these recharge when the bike is idle. According to the inventor, it has a 40-mile range and can travel up to 30 mph.
  • Connected Cycle has built a smart bike pedal equipped with Bluetooth, GPS and GPRS sensors. As soon as you start pedaling, the sensors activate and track your movement, speed and route.

Just a few of the many other 'smart' bicycle accessories that have hit the market include foldable bike helmets, air-bag helmets, puncture resistant tires, and smart bicycle locks and alarms.

Spreading the word about Bike Share in the US - Bike sharing companies are now springing up in many cities across the country. They allow bikers to rent and reserve a bicycle online using a mobile app. Using an RFID dongle they automatically unlock the bike from its secure docking station. While in use, a GPS unit in the bike pings off a satellite every few seconds, sending critical data to the bike share back-end system. It allows the company to track its bikes, builds rider profile, and provides a range of helpful information to users.

Next Generation 'Smart Bike' Features

As for me, I look forward to some of the many other 'next generation' smart bike features that may be in the pipeline, such as:

  • Smart seats that massage your butt and back
  • Smart wheels with built in springs for a smoother ride
  • Real time weather alert app
  • Pop-up umbrella and/or shade
  • Autonomous self-driving bikes
  • Built-in balancing technology
  • Smart finger print activated lock and starters
  • Built in solar powered cooler and hot plate
  • Solar powered mini-heater
  • Smart wearable cycling togs
  • Rack for gun and/or fishing pole

Finally, whether you are ride a 'smart bike' or an older traditional bicycle, when you visit Summerton, Santee, and nearby Lake Marion, you will find many nature trails and back roads to ride as you explore the wildlife and historical sites throughout the region. Some of these include:

Selected Resources

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