Contest: Win the Gadget of the Month!
Lighted turn-signal gloves and a tiny GPS system for your bike
In case you missed it, 2017 is the 200th anniversary of the invention of the two-wheeled bike. German inventor Baron Karl Drais put the first contraption together in 1817. It looked remarkably like bikes today, but there were some significant differences. Most notably, it didn’t have a drive chain or brakes. You straddled the seat and propelled yourself forward with your feet, as you would today’s bikes – if you don’t use the pedals.
The Baron called it a running machine. You could move at up to 15 kilometres an hour on it and it was Drais’s intention that it would help the poor who could not afford a horse to get around. Instead ,it was adopted by wealthy young men and enjoyed a short-lived craze in Europe where it became known as the “dandy” or “hobby horse.”
The concept never died completely. In 2005, Austrian Walter Werner rode one the entire 3400 kilometre length of the Danube in five months and, more recently, a similar device has been marketed in Germany as a kids “glide bike.”
Clearly the bicycle has come a long way since then. In some urban centres it has begun to challenge the car as a favourite mode of transportation. It’s a trend that is likely to continue and, coupled with the current movement toward shared city transport, may come to alter the way inner cities are designed.
We’re not there yet, however, and these days cars and bikes too often challenge one another for the right of way with unpleasant consequences.
Enter a small step forward for the cyclist: the Zackees Turn Signal Cycling Gloves which incorporate bright red LED lights. Activated by touching two metal rivets that sit between the thumb and the side of your palm along your index finger, the lights are a godsend to night bikers and are bright enough that hand signals are seen even in daylight. An ambient light sensor increases the brightness.
The well-designed bike gloves have a breathable mesh back and a foam-padded palm to absorb shocks. Winter models are also on offer. US$75. zackees.com/product/zackees-turn-signal-gloves. The gloves are listed on Amazon.ca, but were unavailable at the time of writing.
Also consider adding the Garmin Edge 20 GPS Cycling Computer to your arsenal. This, the smallest of cycle GPS systems, will track your speed and distance, and point the way home if you get lost on the trail. There are even preset courses you can download if that’s your fancy. $148. Available at bike and sports stores, and at Amazon.ca.
Win your choice of either a pair of gloves or the Garmin bike computer by entering the Gadget of the Month contest here.
This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.