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Crowdfunding Chronicles: Campaigns to Help You Pimp Your Bike
Jenna Polito | Photo: Courtesy of Daniel Haarburger | July 31, 2013
Three local bike innovations that want to ramp up your ride
Entrepreneurs, take note: tech-driven bicycle inventions are heating up. And while some of the innovations generating buzz online are admittedly indulgent (will the Backbrat bike grill actually fuel the barbecues of future summers?), there are also a few new ones that meld technology with the bike gear you already own, creating practical—if often pricey—solutions. Here, three local Kickstarter-funded inventions, each having met more than 100% of their fundraising goals, that may very well change the way you ride.
If you need an eco-friendly charge on the go:
Can't bear to part with your iPhone, even while pedaling? The Siva Cycle Atom (pre-order $99) is a lightweight bicycle generator and rechargeable battery pack that powers any of your electronic or mobile devices via USB. The Atom mounts on standard bicycle frames, clamping between the hub of your back wheel and the frame of your bike, and harnesses the kinetic energy you generate while pedaling to store in the detachable battery pack or even charge your device while you ride. Siva Cycle also emphasizes the Atom's green appeal, touting the project as renewable energy technology.
If you want the Swiss Army knife of smartphone mounts:
"Why don't we use our smartphones with our bikes more often, when they can help us in so many ways?" That question drove designer and Stanford mechanical engineering senior Daniel Haarburger through nine months of planning and dozens of prototypes to create the Handleband (pre-order $25), a smartphone mount that works with any phone and any bike. It's essentially a lightweight silicone strap, reinforced with aluminum, that wraps around your bike’s handlebars and your phone. Once attached, your phone becomes more accessible as a navigation system, or when turned to the front, a headlight. The Handleband can also be strapped to your seat post to hold a pump or adjustment tool, or used to secure a flashlight as a cheap and effective headlight. And if you’re still unimpressed with its versatility, know that the Handleband moonlights as a bottle opener. "It brings a smile to my face every time I think about it," says Haarburger. "After all, who doesn't like a bottle opener on their bike mount?" Good luck pedaling without distraction!
If your other bike is a BMW:
Fresh off the launch of their hardware startup SoundSlug, the creators of Helios Bars ($199) have created an integrated headlight and blinker system that increases biker visibility on the road, and also turns a standard bicycle into a "smart" bike. Helios Bars are weather-proof, offer proximity lighting, push-button turn signals, and a headlight with an output of 500 lumens, which makes it about five times brighter than a standard bike light. More features include a GPS that tracks your bike via text message, turn-by-turn navigation (the rear lights will indicate when a turn is approaching), and a visual speedometer function that uses your phone's GPS to determine your speed and changes the color of the rear lights to reflect it (are you cruising at a cool red pace, or soaring at an alarming speed of blue?). Helios Bars' rechargeable battery lasts seven hours, and a wall charger is provided with purchase.