The number of bike commuters may still be a small minority, but an increasing number of people from coast to coast are ditching their cars in favor of a bike. Not only does biking provide a healthy way to get to work, but also it’s one of the best things you can do for the planet. And avoiding all of that soul-crushing traffic doesn’t hurt, either.
In honor of Curbed’s Transportation Week, we’re diving into the world of bike gear to dish on the latest and greatest. From bikes that get you to work quickly to innovative lights that make visibility a breeze, here’s what you need to know about the best new tech for commuters.
New electric bikes help you go farther
If you’re biggest concern about electric bikes is that they won’t take you where you need to go, think again. A new class of bikes can go much, much further on a single charge than the electric bikes of the past.
The brand new Delfast bicycle, for example, has an astonishing 236 mile range on a single charge, without any pedaling. That’s comparable with a lot of electric cars, and the Delfast can also handle any terrain you put in front of it. This bike is a hybrid between a mountain bike and a motorcycle, with features like GPS tracking, a remote starter, cruise-control, and a built-in computer. It’s used extensively as a courier bike in Europe, and the Delfast is used to the everyday wear and tear of commuting. Prices during a soon-to-launch Kickstarter campaign will start around $2,449.
Better lights help keep you safe
Another road block for bike commuters is lighting. Especially in the fall and winter when dusk comes early, darkness can make city riding much more dangerous.
A new lighting device called Laserlight hopes to prevent collisions and save lives by visually alerting pedestrians and drivers to oncoming bicycles at night. Attached to the bike’s handlebars, Laserlight projects a bike icon onto the street about 20 feet in front of the cyclist.
Created by the U.K.-based bike accessories company Blaze, the Laserlight first launched in 2012 with a Kickstarter campaign that was fully funded in just five days. On London’s streets, the product has already proven its value, and New York’s Citi Bike system will be installing the safety lights on its fleet by the end of the year.
Another seemingly simple—but brilliant—new solution is a helmet with an integrated light system. The Lumos Helmet uses 48 white and red LEDs to make sure you stand out on the road. The helmet also has left and right turn signals that users can activate via a wireless remote.
Similarly, WingLights are small, all-weather LED lights that fit onto the ends of handlebars. A quick tap turns the light to flashing so cars know that you’re turning, and once removed from the bike they link together into a carry-away key-ring.
Air-free tires could make flats a thing of the past
Nothing’s worse than being late to work thanks to a flat tire. But Tokyo-based tire company Bridgestone wants to make flats a thing of the past with air-free tires. Instead of pumping air into a tube, the new tires support a rider’s weight using thermoplastic resin spokes that stretch along the inner sides of the wheel.
All of the materials used in the airless tires are recyclable, and the company hopes that the tires will be available to the public in 2019. That may seem like a long time out, but there’s no doubt that other companies will be exploring similar ideas.
Cargo bikes let you haul whatever you need
Part of the reason cities like Copenhagen and Amsterdam are two-wheeled paradises is because whole families commute every day by bike—often in large, bucket-style cargo bikes. That might seem revolutionary here in the United States, but a growing number of parents and their kids are looking to get out of their cars and onto two wheels.
Cargo bikes may not win races, but they do an excellent job of getting you, your kids, and even your animals to where you need to be. They can come with racks for surfboards and extra baskets, are often available with electric assist to counteract the added weight, and have plenty of space for groceries. Head over here for a run-down on three different options to purchase.
New locks that protect your gear
You’ve made it through a work day, you step outside, head to your bike rack, and your heart drops: the bike is gone. Fortunately, new locks are easier to carry and do a better job of protecting your two-wheeled investment.
The Hiplok DXC is a maximum security D-lock and cable duo that’s made to clip onto bags and belt straps. A wide shackle area makes hooking up a breeze, while the compact design means that you won’t be hauling around extra weight.
Other bike locks are going high tech. The Skunklock is a u-lock that has a mixture of smelly gases that are released if someone tries to break inside. Insect is an alarm system that’s connected to your phone; if someone tries to steal your bike Insect sends out a 100 dB alarm and a push notification to your pocket. Even more interesting is the Seatylock, which features a saddle that detaches and transforms into a bike lock. Even the most hardened bike criminals might pause at riding away without a seat.