BikeCommuters.com

technology

Need to carry a suit? Here’s a product for you

There’s a lot of Eurobike coverage all over the web right now…tons of new bikes and parts being revealed in advance of our own Interbike visit in a few weeks.

Almost all the coverage I’ve seen has been racing-oriented — new race bikes, new racing kit, new racing components. What about us commuters? What’s new for us?

One thing that DID catch our eye, thanks to the good folks at Bike Biz, is a clever new way to deal with fancy work duds. Do you happen to work in an office where formal attire is required? Struggling to juggle your bike commute and your need to wear a suit? Enter the Freefold:

Presumably, the Freefold works on business suits/attire for men AND women.

There are a couple of kludgy bags on the market now that purport to make suit-carrying easy…and while they work adequately, this Freefold system seems very simple and VERY versatile (you can fit the folded assembly into any messenger bag, backpack, or pannier). This might be just the thing suit-wearers have been looking for!

We’re going to reach out to the Freefold people and see if we can run into them at Interbike. Who knows, we might be able to score a test version to show you.

New Bike Doctor app guides you through bicycle repairs

Here’s a cool one for you smartphone users — our friend Andreas over at London Cyclist just released “Bike Doctor”, an app for iPhone, iPad and Android devices. This app guides users through over 40 of the most common bicycle repairs:

Bike doc promo image showing it on different devices

Read about its development by visiting the London Cyclist page, go to Google Play or the iTunes Store to download the app, or take a look at the video below to see how it all works. The app price is $2.87 USD.

Friday Musings: Would you ride…uh, FLY these?

Here are a couple of oddities that popped up in the Google News feed recently. The first is an experimental bike by the Czech manufacturer Duratec:

More information is available here.

The second is a project developed by two British creators. Dubbed the Paravelo, it’s a bike/plane hybrid:

More information on the Paravelo can be found here.

Now, the big questions: Would you ride these things? Are flying bikes the future of two-wheeled commuting?

Hiccups in NYC’s new CitiBike bike share scheme

You may remember that NYC launched their huge (and long overdue) CitiBike bike share over the Memorial Day weekend. Mostly, good things are being said about it. However, all is not rosy in the Big Apple, as Felix Salmon reports for Reuters that there appears to be a sizeable software issue:

The answer, it seems, is that it does work; it just doesn’t work very well. Or, to be a bit more precise, when it works, it works fabulously. But when it doesn’t work — which is all too often — it doesn’t work at all.

He goes on to state:

I’m not certain, however, that Alta and PBSC [the contract holders] are on top of this problem and know how they’re going to fix it. They’ve had an extra year to get this right, but if the app doesn’t know when a station isn’t working, my guess is that the system as a whole doesn’t know that either. And that’s going to be hard to fix. What’s more, if there’s some kind of failsafe mechanism which shuts down an entire station when some reasonably common thing happens, that mechanism is likely baked into the system and will also be hard to patch with some kind of simple software update.

Read the full article by visiting the Reuters page.

At least one group is doing something about the outages…not to fix them, but to at least monitor them and alert users which docks are working. WNYC reports that:

Ten months ago, when Mayor Bloomberg announced Citi Bike would be delayed, he explained why: “The software doesn’t work. Duh,” he said on his weekly radio show. “Until it works, we’re not going to put it out until it does work.” Two weeks after the system launched, complaints of software failures are rife. And though the city refuses to release specific information on outages, a WNYC analysis indicates on any given day, about ten percent of docks have been failing.

Moreover, the city had ample warning the software was buggy — and launched anyway.

Luckily, they got the data on those stations and developed a real-time map that shows the stations and outages:

We love the idea of bikeshare schemes, and hope that CitiBike figures out the problems in a timely fashion. New York City can really use this bike share, and the system there is expected to grow rapidly over the next years — if they can get over their teething pains and straighten things out.

Handleband for your phone, light, or GPS

Here’s one that caught our eye recently — a unique mounting system for most smartphones. If you follow bike-accessory developments like we do, you may have noticed that there are a ton of mounts available for the ubiquitous iPhone. What about those of us who don’t have/use/care about iPhones, and prefer an Android-based environment? Not nearly as many choices on the market…and we know, because the entire staff here at Bikecommuters.com is iPhoneless. We have to pass up so many mounting devices to test that it would make your head spin!

Enter the Handleband, a simple strap system to mount virtually whatever you want onto your handlebar:

handleband

According to the product website:

(1) In use, it is smaller than a deck of cards.
(2) It is removable (so it doesn’t clutter your ride)
(3) It works with any phone, bike and case.
(4) It is simple and robust. (One reinforced unit)
(5) It holds a lot (flashlights, pumps, diplomatic flags)
(6) It is a bottle opener.

Currently in pre-order phase on Kickstarter, we’ve been promised a review sample just as soon as one becomes available. Stay tuned for that in the coming weeks.

And yeah, it works for iPhones, too.