Two bicyclists wearing the LifeBeam Smart Helmet. Two bicyclists wearing the LifeBeam Smart Helmet. Two bicyclists wearing the LifeBeam Smart Helmet. (Photo: LifeBeam)

New technology ushers cycling into the future

New gadgets are changing the way we bike.

Whether biking the streets of your neighborhood, or perhaps somewhere more lavish like the hills of Tuscany or the coast of Israel, new technologies are helping to enhance the experience and make your ride a smoother and smarter one.

Some wearables such as chest straps and wristbands tend to be impractical, especially while riding a bike. Several companies, however, have thought of a few handy solutions to such problems.

LifeBeam, an Israeli company that originally developed wearable technologies intended for pilots and astronauts, has begun to produce fitness devices, too. Unlike most products on the market, theirs do not require the use of traditional chest-strap heart monitors or other encumbering gadgets.

The Smart Helmet, first launched in 2013, looks like a regular bike helmet, both sleek in shape and light in weight. But it doesn't end there: LifeBeam’s Helmet also monitors your heartbeat, counts the calories you lose, and gives you a precise analysis of your performance.

“We decided to use the bio-sensing technology we were using for our aerospace products and apply it to fitness devices,” said Cidney Carver, an account manager at LifeBeam. “It is very accurate and could be implemented to many body parts, such as ears, fingers and lower back. It is not limited just to the head or to the heart.”

The LifeBeam Smart Helmet monitors your heartbeat, counts the calories you lose, and gives you a precise analysis of your performance.The LifeBeam Smart Helmet monitors your heartbeat, counts the calories you lose, and gives you a precise analysis of your performance. (Photo: LifeBeam)

To make your biking experience even smarter, there are several other products to keep in mind.

A GPS bike computer is always useful. Kansas-based Garmin offers a wide variety of products, features and price ranges, but their Garmin Edge is especially impressive; among its many features is its ability to track speed and the round-trip routing feature that calculates up to three cycling-friendly routes based on a distance you enter. 

For those folks sutured to their smartphone, an iPhone mount allows you to attach the device to the bicycle handlebars. The StormCruiser Bike Mount from Irvine, Calif.-based Joy Factory is a lightweight, resistant option suitable for all weather conditions; it can protect your iPhone from water, dirt and oil. 

Cycling late at night can be tricky; however, the San Francisco-based Zackees Turn Signal Gloves offer a safety-enhancing accessory. The Turn Signal Gloves feature a blinking arrow on the dorsal part of the glove to allow the biker to signal others with a wave of the hand. 

And finally, all this new technology means you'll want to protect your investment. There's no better way to do that than with the BikeSpike, developed by a Chicago-based dream team of Ivy League graduates, high-powered lawyers and accomplished athletes. The device uses a combination of GPS technology to locate your bike and keep track of whether it's been damaged or stolen.

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New technology ushers cycling into the future
New gadgets are changing the way we bike.