Cool, Favorite, and Necessary Bicycle Accessories, Gadgets, and Toys

Cool, favorite, and necessary bike accessories and toys

Today there is an excess of gadgets, accessories, and toys for every bike rider.  Whether you are a commuter, recreational rider, or hard-core trail rider, there are literally hundreds of accessories for you.  Below is a list of the newest, craziest, and most useful gadgets and accessories used by riders today.

Get to work (in style):

Bike commuting has gained a lot of popularity.  Many companies have implemented incentive programs to encourage their employees to ride and provide them with bicycles storage, showers, lockers, etc.  However, most employers do not offer these amenities yet, and commuting to work can present certain problems like sweat, hair/helmet incompatibilities, dealing with the weather, etc.  Fortunately, several companies have set out to solve these problems.

The Apollo shirt:

For those who have to dress up for work, the Apollo shirt will make sure you arrive at the office cool and dry.  The Apollo shirt is a dress shirt by Ministry of Supply that uses NASA space suit technology to regulate body temperature.  The Apollo also has unique “moisture wicking” construction and is antimicrobial. Another bonus, it is also wrinkle- free, so you never have to iron it.  Apollo shirts are, however, not cheap.  The Apollo shirt starts at $105 at the Ministry of Supply website. Ministry of Supply also offers the Agent shirt, which has all of the technology of the Apollo shirt, minus the heat-regulating technology.

The Hovding:

The Hovding is a stylish working girl’s or metrosexual guy’s dream.  For fans of the elaborate hairdo, wearing a bike helmet has always been a problem.  No more, say the Swedish makers of the Hovding.  Working on the same principle as automobile airbags, the Hovding is a collar worn around the neck that pops out into a full helmet when triggered by sudden movements.  The Hovding is currently only available in Europe and sells for around $600.

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7Oud3iGXWY

Veltop Convertible Canopy:

For rainy days, even the most well dressed commuter can arrive to work in style with the Veltop Classic Canopy.  The Classic Canopy attaches to the handlebars and a saddle shaft of a bicycle to hold up a full canopy that protects the rider form the elements.  It has a front windscreen and side protectors.  Currently, it can be ordered online; prices start at $350.

Umbrella mount:

If you think spending over $350 is too much for rain and sun protection, there is also an umbrella mount for your handlebars.  These can be found on Amazon for less than $5.  Even though they look pretty sturdy, I’m not sure how well this would do at higher speeds or with heavy wind and rain, though.

Be safe

Safety is a big concern, especially for those who ride in the city.  When riding in traffic, visibility is of the utmost importance.  There are several new and DIY products that can help you stay visible and safe on the road.

DIY light up turn signal armbands:

One of the scariest things about riding with traffic is turning.  I am always afraid that a car will not see me and plow into me.  User CTY1995 on Lifehacker came up with a do-it-yourself, seemingly simple way to be much more visible when making a turn.  The signals are made with electroluminescent (EL) panels that light up when you extend your arm, and the instructions on the site seem pretty straightforward.

Mirror/ signal:

The Winkku is a mirror, running light, and turning signal in one.  It requires no wiring, is powered by 3 AA batteries, and clips on and off almost any bike handlebar.  The Winkku has 5 orange LED bulbs to the front, 5 to the back, and 3 to the side to warn motorists at all vantage points.  It also has front and rear running lights.  The turn signals are activated by pressing a button on the handlebar for ease of use.  The Winkku seems like a great idea if you are used to cycling when it is dark or in heavy traffic.  It does seem to be a bit large and clunky, though.  The base model is priced at £24.92, roughly $40.

Pedalite 360 Degree Visibility Pedal Lights:

For a much less obtrusive way to be visible, Amazon has the Pedalite 360 Degree Visibility Pedal Lights.  The pedal lights charge as you pedal to flash the lights, which stay on for a full 5 minutes after pedaling stops.  The reviews form customers, however, seem mixed.

The PUYL tire pump/ headlight:

Winner of the 2009 Eurobike award, the PUYL combines a bike pump and headlight in one gadget that fits to the frame of the bike.  The LED light charges with pumping through electromagnetic induction.  The PUYl can be viewed in formpasch’s website, but I have not been able to find it for sale anywhere.

The ICEdot Crash Sensor:

Launching next year, with a projected price of $200, the ICEdot Crash Sensor is a tiny circular sticker- the “dot”- that goes on you helmet.  The “dot” detects and measures force and impact.  Once it detects an impact, the dot sends a message to your smart phone starting a counter that alerts your emergency contact numbers and provides coordinates of where you are should you fail to stop it in time.

 

Other fun gadgets

Other gadgets help you harness the energy produced while you pedal, and even solar and wind energy.   Several products just make riding easier and more enjoyable.

Charge your iphone while you pedal:

The Biologic Reecharge allows you to charge your iphone or ipod while you pedal.  It has a 1600 mAh Lithium polymer battery and can be mounted on most bikes.  The battery can also be charged via USB for extra juice while on your ride.  Again, it seems like the reviews on this are mixed.  The Biologic ReeCharge sells for about $110.

The MiniWiz HYmini:

If you want to spend half as much or don’t have an iphone, the HYmini may be more suitable.  The HYmini harnesses solar and/or wind power to charge any device.  It also has an LED night-light and charge indicator.   The Editors at PC Magazine gave the HYmini a 3 ½ star “good” rating, citing its multiple charging methods and designs as pros.  However, they also found that the charge capacity was relatively small and that the recharge time was considerably long.

SportHolster by Urban Tool:

An award- winning design, the SportHolster by Urban Tool has 5 different pockets for various media and other necessities, as well as a cable router, key strap with yo-yo, and reflective patches for the ultimate hands-free experience.  “This is the most practical cycling (hiking, running and other outdoor sports) item that I own,” says Lesly Jones of Black Women Bike DC (BWBDC).

 

GoPro HD HERO2 Outdoor Edition Wearable Camera:

Self-confessed gadget junkies and avid recreational riders like Jacquelyn Roberts of BWBDC admit that the GoPro HD HERO2 is on their wish list.  From GoPro, the cameras used more than any other camera by athletes, sports filmmakers, and other enthusiast, the camera comes with waterproof housing, a vented helmet strap, a head strap, 4 different adhesive mounts, a three-way pivot arm, and assorted mounting hardware.

The road popper:

Who doesn’t want a bottle opener mounted to their bike seat?  Well, for $38.58 you can have one too at Shapeways.com.

The riding necessities

Gadgets and toys notwithstanding, there are a few essentials that every cyclist should carry.  “I carry a copy of my license, medical card, emergency contact, $20 bill, spare tube, repair kit and tools, Allen wrench tools, cell phone, extra GLU, electrolyte pills, potassium pills and hand pump.” Says Royston Taylor of BWBDC.  No matter what you feel you need with you when you ride, experienced bikers share their favorite finds and the easiest ways to carry their essentials.

To carry of all of her fundamentals in a small and conveniently located place, Taylor uses a Bento Box.  The Bento Box can be found in several different styles on Amazon, and mounts to the bike frame near the handlebars.  It has a single zipper for easy opening and attaches to your bike with Velcro straps for easy removal.   Given the economy of space, Taylor also throws in some MiniTissues, which “are about he size of two lifesavers.”

Finally, Jacquelyn Roberts suggests carrying a pair or two of disposable gloves in case you have to change a tire or put a bike chain back on.  Hand sanitizer and a pump are also necessities for most riders like Delores Simmons and Roberts.  Roberts also suggests a Travel-John or GoGirl disposable urinal, “for the just-in-case emergencies.”

I would like to thank all the ladies at BWBDC once again for their knowledge, support, and humor.  Ride on, ladies!

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