When non-cyclists design

I always thought this was very very very stupid (and maybe i am not alone)


Screenshot 2014-11-26 10.51.20When we initially reported on the Smart Hat, the overwhelming response we got was that it must be some sort of joke. This has apparently been a common reaction and the cycle helmet’s Australian designer, Toby King, is rather puzzled by how cyclists have greeted his work. “I’m going ‘it’s a safety device – it’s for yoursafety’.”

Speaking to SBS Cycling Central, King explained how his unique design had evolved.

“My thinking was, here’s something that will improve safety with the same mechanisms and devices of other road users. Brake lights, headlights, indicators. It’s a simple and intuitive system to use. And then the extension of that line of thinking was; if you’re going to put a power system in a helmet, there’s a lot of other things you can do which are interesting and useful. Ultrasonic proximity was one thing, someone gets warned when there’s somebody close to them.”

King is hoping that the Smart Hat could one day be available for A$200 (around £110) but an industrial designer has estimated the price to be at least ten times greater than that. They also pointed out that with all the various gizmos, the helmet would be extremely cumbersome to wear for any length of time. King disputes this and also appears unconcerned by a potentially high cost.

“I know people are willing to spend 10-15K on a bicycle. What’s the value of safety, or saving yourself from trauma to your head?

“I don’t think it will weigh too much either. Our heads and necks are designed to take quite a load anyway. We’ve got eight kilograms of weight in bone and brain already.

“It’s not going to be a major problem, but if it is, some of it can be put in other areas of the bicycle. And there’s not much weight in there anyway. There’s batteries, there’s an iPhone, and a display. It’s something you don’t really know until it’s been prototyped.”

Love the way the display is for city and the mockup shows country.

Love the way the display is for city and the mockup shows country.

King describes overall reaction to the Smart hat as ‘mixed’.

“I’ve had the knee-jerk from cyclists, ‘it’s horrible’, ‘we hate it’. But I’ve also had a lot of people saying this is a really interesting idea – you know – nobody has done a sophisticated safety helmet before, some have said, ‘where can I buy it’, others have phoned up saying they want to invest in it.”

Screenshot 2014-11-26 10.52.18

King admits that he doesn’t actually ride a bike himself – he “honestly prefers vehicles”. However, he says that people like him might be persuade to cycle if it were safer. He believes his design would help in this regard.

“It is a safety device. It makes other road users understand what cyclists are doing, it allows cyclists to understand what other road users are doing with proximity sensors and mirrors. It can only be a good thing. Which is why I’m a bit puzzled by the reaction from cyclists, when I’m going ‘it’s a safety device – it’s for your safety’.”

Screenshot 2014-11-26 10.52.04

People would definitely call out to you ‘Oi HELMET HEAD….’

Pre winter depression


Liking this snow

Originally posted on -Bike Life in Swedish Lapland-:

I´ve bee lazy. No riding, no writing, no podcasting. All work and no play just like on the Overlock hotel.
October and November is just the worst time of year. It´s all a long wait for proper winter to arrive. We had some cold beautiful days with temperatures below freezing. Then when it starts snowing it gets warmer and the lovely white stuff is just a grey wet blob. Also its so dark when the snow is not here. It´s a pain in the ass to just wait for winter trails and the ice to freeze up so we can go ice riding in the archipelago. Inspiration for riding now is just gone. Still i got a lot of stuff going on and great plans for the winter. But i´ll get back to that i later posts.

One thing i´d sure like to do more this winter is ride the…

View original 5 more words

Loch Lomond ride

Ortlieb Front, Axiom Rear, Arkel Handlebar

Ortlieb Front, Axiom Rear, Arkel Handlebar

Took the touring bike with loaded panniers for a test ride (for future touring)

Nice ride down the canals


Then wee stop at Loch Lomond for a sandwich and flask of coffee. This is the benefit of having 4 panniers on the bike – loads of space.

duck pond infinity pool

duck pond infinity pool


my feathered friends

my feathered friends

5 reasons we don’t ride at night

From single track


According to our survey data, 55% of mountain bikers have tried night riding. That means that 45% of mountain bikers haven’t even tried it, and of that 55%, I’d be willing to bet the number of riders that strap a light to their bike at least once per week is much, much less.

As I thought about it, I realized that lately I haven’t been night riding nearly as much as I have in past years. Here are 5 things, based on my personal experience and my conversations with others, that might keep you from riding at night… and reasons why they shouldn’t hold you back:

1. It’s expensive.

The number one excuse I hear from mountain bikers who don’t even want to dabble in night riding is, “Lights are so expensive! I can’t afford one of those!” Yes, there are expensive lights out there on the market. But if you took a look at our light buyer’s guide, you’ll realize that there are plenty of lights right around the $100 price point. And if you shop eBay, there are even no-name bike lights on sale for much cheaper than that.

My first night ride of the season. Pictured here is the Fenix BT20, which is a good-quality light set that can be purchased for about $150.
My first night ride of the season. Pictured here is the Fenix BT20, which is a good-quality light set that can be purchased for about $150.

In my opinion, buying a light is the #1 thing you can do to extend the amount of time you can ride your mountain bike in the fall and spring. Even if you have a lower-end bike, chances are your bike is worth at least $1,000. What good is a $1,000 (or a $10,000) bike if you can’t ride it during the week? Drop a hundred bucks on a light, and keep on pedaling!

2. It’s dangerous.

There seems to be this pervasive opinion among night riding n00bs that riding at night is dangerous. But the reality is, it’s no more dangerous than riding during the daytime. With even low-priced bike lights pushing 750-1000 lumens, and some lights boasting a whopping 6000 lumens, these lights can illuminate the trail as brilliantly as the sun.

3. It’s cold at night.

This one really depends on the time of year and the location, and in the northern reaches of the continent during the middle of the winter it can get really frigging cold at night! Honestly, sometimes this is a really good reason to stay indoors. However, with the advent of fat bikes, clothing manufacturers have made huge strides in recent years in producing lightweight, low-profile bike clothing that is surprisingly warm. With the right layers and preparation, you can easily mountain bike comfortably in zero degree (F) weather… or colder.

4. There’s no one else to ride with.

While at times it can be daunting to night ride alone, I’ve found that night riding solo is the most peaceful mountain bike experience ever. There’s usually no one else on the trails, and the quiet and solitude can’t be matched! Of course, if that makes you uncomfortable, it’s pretty easy to find people to ride with. Many shops conduct night rides all year long, as do mountain bike clubs and individuals. There are tons of people who night ride, and many of them will be willing to show you the ropes!

5. It’s hard to get motivated when it’s dark outside.

If we’re honest with ourselves, many of us already know the points and counterpoints listed above. But really, most of the time it’s just hard to get motivated to wrangle all of your bike gear, and pedal your bike in the pitch black of night. However, there are some steps you can take to make it easier.

The first step is to find a regular night ride to be a part of. I touched on this above, but there’s nothing more motivating than knowing a group of your friends will be riding at the same time, on the same day, every week.

The second step is almost just as important, and that’s to keep your gear ready to go, all the time:

When you get back from a ride, toss your battery on the charger so it’s ready to go at a moment’s notice. (Some higher-end lights feature charging stations that you can leave your battery on, ensuring your battery is always topped off.)
Wash your clothes quickly, and keep your warm winter riding clothes in a dedicated pile, ready to be donned in minutes.
Keep your hydration pack full of all the gear and layers you might need, so all you have to do is fill your water reservoir.
If you run a bike-mounted light, keep it mounted on your bike at all times so you don’t have to take it on and off.
And if you’re partial to a helmet-mounted light, dedicate one helmet to night riding alone, and leave your mount attached so you’re not constantly putting it on and taking it off when switching from night to day.
While at first blush going out for a night ride can be a daunting task, the right mindset and the proper preparation can make it a true joy and an utterly unique experience!