Whether it’s a quick jaunt to the local shops, or the everyday commute, cycling is easy, efficient and fun. What’s more, there are a whole range of independent businesses in the city that are coming up with awesome solutions to life’s everyday challenges. Here’s our top ten gadgets and products that will revolutionise your commute.
Dry Patch: The Velo Seat Cover
No one likes cycling with a wet bum, but with the UK’s weather, there’s always a chance of getting caught out by the rain. Rather than reaching for a plastic bag, keep your bike looking smart with a Dry Patch Velo Seat Cover. It’s made from synthetic leather, meaning it actually provides comfort and grip, as well as being fully waterproof. What’s more, it’s lightweight and durable, and is made to fit any saddle.
If you need to navigate the city and don’t want to risk damaging your phone, there are several products on the market that can help you get from A to B quickly and easily.
Beeline is a smart and intuitive device that helps you navigate the city without getting distracted by maps. Its simple interface provides you with an arrow and your remaining distance, so it’s easy to glance down and immediately know where to go.
It comes with two modes: Route and Compass, so you can choose between a smart, cycle-friendly route when you need to get somewhere quickly, and a simple distance and direction to head in when you want complete freedom.
It’s water- and shock-resistant, fits any bike, has a 30-day battery life and also provides you with a speedo and clock, making it a really handy gadget to carry around the city.
Another of these devices is the Blubel, which is approaching its first birthday in September. Shaped like a classic bicycle bell (which is also doubles up as!), it shows upcoming turns and final destination using lights and audio signals.
Coupled with the Blubel app, you can plan a route quickly and easily, and then off you go! It’s easy to pop on and off your handlebars, and is weatherproof for when you can caught in a shower. With a 21-day battery life and no-glare lighting, it’s another option for simple and intuitive navigation that keeps your precious phone away from the dangers of the roads. It’s also available in a range of colours, as well as two different bell tones, so you can customise it to suit your (and your bike’s) personality.
Altum: MODUAL tool system & roll
It’s important to carry some basic tools with you, in case you get caught out by a puncture, a slipped chain, or something worse. Having said that, who wants to carry an entire toolbox with them when they ride to the shops? If only there were a way to carry a huge range of tools, so you always have what you need, in a way that takes up as little space as possible.
That’s where Altum’s MODUAL range comes in. Their tool system has 14 functions, and its clever modular design means it can be orientated like a spanner or a screwdriver, with magnetic tyre levers which double up as an ergonomic handle. It also has space for four further tool parts, so you can configure it to suit your needs.
RW Works: Saddle Tool Roll
If you’ve already got a selection of tools, or need something that also fits your spare inner tube, we’d also recommend the Saddle Tool Roll from RW Works.
Made from 1000D Cordura and a black leather trim, this saddle roll will keep the rain away from your tools. It has four internal pockets for your tools and spares, and also comes with a detachable leather strap to keep everything together neatly. It’s designed to fit any bike with exposed seat rails, and also comes with a smaller velcro strap to attach to your seat post, for extra stability if you need it.
We all know how important it is to indicate our intentions to other road users, but what if you’re not a confident cyclist and you find lifting your arm causes you to wobble? Or, what if you’re riding in the dark, and you’re not certain if the motorist behind you can see your lhand signal?
If you want a surefire way of indicating that you know will be seen, then CYCL have you covered. Their WingLights are an innovative design that you may have seen on Dragon’s Den, when they first brought it to the public. It was described as ‘exceptional’, and received backing from Nick Jenkins.
Their WingLights are bar-mounted indicators with 360-degree visibility in all lighting and weather conditions. They’re 100% waterproof with a long-lasting battery life, and they come with three different mounting options, so there’s something to suit everyone. What’s more, they offer a magnetic option that can be easily removed from your bar-ends, clipped together and then fastened to a backpack or belt loop with a handy carabiner.
Speaking of innovative light options, we’re a big fan of SureLight. Not only is it a clever rear light that brightens as you brake, much like you’d see on the back of a car, but it was also designed and developed by pupils at St Paul’s School. Just last month, the team picked up a handful of awards from the JA Europe Company of the Year competition.
These young entrepreneurs went through 32 prototypes to perfect their product, which is water-resistant, USB rechargeable, and comes with a long-lasting battery life. Packaging is made from recycled materials, while the case is made from biodegradable plastic, so that gets a big thumbs up from us.
Its algorithms can detect braking, coasting and accelerating, so the light’s brightness changes, depending on the bike’s movement. By mimicking a car brake light, it speaks a language that is immediately understood by motorists. This can be a huge confidence-boost for the less-confident cyclist.
The People’s Poncho
With the autumn fast approaching, we’re reaching that awkward part of the year when you have to dress for multiple climates. Warm, dry mornings, followed by a wet afternoon, can very easily catch you out if you’re not prepared for the changing weather.
Not all of us like to carry hefty waterproof jackets when it’s still 20 degrees outside, so what you need is a lightweight and durable solution that can keep you dry as well as pack away into your bag when you don’t need it.
The People’s Poncho create good-looking, hardwearing and fully waterproof ponchos designed specifically for cyclists. Their special blend of Japanese polyester, TPU coating and Tricot Knit, ensures full breathability as well, so you won’t ‘boil in the bag’.
We liked this product so much, we wrote a full review of it.
One thing we love about London is its Bike-sharing scheme. You now don’t even need to own a bike to cycle to work! If you’re a regular user of these bikes, then you may be interested to hear about BikeShare Bags, a tote bag specifically designed to fit snugly in the luggage rack of the Santander bikes.
They come with two colour options (red and grey), and are made from durable and highly water-resistant Cordura 1000, so they’ll help you get your laptop to the office safely. The bag features an elastic panel to secure it safely to the Santander bike luggage rack, without the need for the shock cord to hold things in place. This means no crushing, and no need to worry about your things falling out.
What’s more, it features prominent reflective piping on the front and the back, for added visibility, and has a handy internal pocket for your valuables. A detachable and adjustable shoulder strap with magnetic poppers finish the whole thing off, making it the perfect bag for the Bike-share commuter.
Ascent: Cycle Insurance
While this is not so much a tangible product to attach to your bike, we still think it’s pretty important. Hopefully the worst won’t happen, but since accidents and theft are a fact of life, it’s better to keep yourself covered.
Ascent insurance by Worry and Peace gives you the security of knowing that all is not lost. They provide cover for theft, accidental damage, public liability, and also for sportives and events, and travel in Europe. If you renew from their specialist insurers, they’ll even give you a discount.
At CycleFox we believe the bicycle has a big role to play in building happier, more vibrant and connected communities. Our mission is to help more people enjoy the fun and freedom of cycling.
Join our community and help make happier places to live – our membership card will give you discounts on a range of cycling stuff.