What cycling needs next – your personal drone (although unarmed so what is the point)


The product design firm that brought the world the Sony Walkman has unveiled a conceptual design of a drone that it says could help improve the safety of lone bike riders.

Drones have attracted a lot of attention due to their use by the military as well as strong rumours, neither confirmed nor denied by the Metropolitan Police, that they were deployed above London during the Olympic Games in 2012.

They were back in the headlines last month as a result of the news that Amazon.com is considering using them for deliveries.

That’s despite the fact that the unmanned aircraft have not yet having been approved for civilian use in the United States, although Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos says it may be five years before they come into use.

But in a post on its Design Mind blog, the consultancy Frog highlights several potential civilian uses, included mock-ups of how they could look in action.

“This is our vision of a future where drones are not spies, weaponry or scary agents of evil; they can be trusted aids that assist humans tasked with doing some of the most dangerous work we know,” says Frog product development director, Cormac Eubanks.

And besides rescuing people trapped by forest fires or preventing avalanches, one example of that “dangerous work” appears to be riding a bicycle alone on the road.

“The Cyclodrone is a flying beacon that can be configured to fly ahead of and behind a bicycle rider on roads to improve visibility and reduce the chances of being struck by a vehicle,” writes Eubanks.

“The drone is paired to the rider’s mobile phone and flies along a predetermined path programmed before the ride.

“Sensors in the drone maintain a safe distance from the rider using a combination of an Infrared sensors and a WiFi connection strength.

“The large beacon on top creates a highly visible warning to cars for safer solo outings on narrow one-lane roads and a camera records dynamic video of each ride.”

One potential drawback, of course, is that the driver may be so mesmerised by the site of the drone, particularly if they haven’t seen one before, that they fail to notice the cyclist it is designed to protect.

And while the device might be suitable in open countryside with very little traffic, how would it cope in more built-up areas with heavy congestion including high-sided vehicles, with the cyclist often moving faster than motorised traffic?

Then there’s the issue of whether civilians can actually use a drone in the first place. As with many fields of technological development, the law is slow to adapt, and as the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) points out, rules surrounding use of unmanned aircraft were drawn up primarily with model aircraft in mind.

Highlighting that “there are no established operating guidelines so operators may not be aware of the potential dangers or indeed the responsibility they have towards not endangering the public,” the CAA says:

Operators of Small Unmanned Aircraft are required…to obtain permission from the CAA before commencing a flight in certain circumstances; these circumstances cover flights for aerial work purposes and flights within a congested area, or in proximity to people or property, by Small Unmanned Aircraft equipped for any form of surveillance or data acquisition.

On the plus side, the built-in camera could be a nifty feature – imagine being able to not just fancy yourself on a solo Tour de France break while you’re out riding on your own, but being able to watch aerial shots of your bid for glory afterwards?

And just imagine some of the near-miss videos that could pop up on YouTube from riders having a drone follow them on their commute.

There’s no word on whether the drones might ever see the light of day, let alone how much they might cost, and the Design Mind piece may be nothing more than a piece of blue sky thinking, for want of a better phrase – although certainly you could imagine them being used in the emergency situations highlighted.

Their use by cyclists is therefore fanciful, perhaps – but so too, 40 years ago before the Sony Walkman came along, was the idea that you’d be able to listen to your own choice of music through headphones while on the move.

If this doesn’t give you faith and hope in humankind then nothing will

18 years ago a slight lapse in concentration crushed Pascale’s dreams of surfing. With the help of a family friend and a roll of duct tape; she can now call herself a surfer.

Pascale Honore & Tyron Swan

Film/Edit : Mark Tipple
http://MarkTipple.com | Facebook.com/MarkTipplePhoto

Support their journey West at http://DuctTapeSurfing.com |http://Facebook.com/DuctTapeSurfing | ducttapesurfing@gmail.com

Music : Halfway House, Apricot Rail
music.HiddenShoal.com | Facebook.com/ApricotRail

What more is there to say other than HUMANS ARE AMAZING. Or should that be the unbreakable human desire to live and experience the world freely is. I ADORE this video. And how the surfer dude is so blasé about it too, it’s just what he does, because, why wouldn’t he?




Mixed messages

The frustration of being a cycling parent with a social conscience in a sea of cars

Hum of the city

Nearly every day on the bike I’m confronted with a mixed message. Most often, it’s the sign on a sidewalk curb cut that says “NO BICYCLES.” This wouldn’t be a problem if it weren’t for the fact that bicycle RACKS are placed on sidewalks, typically a good distance away from the only access, which is that same curb cut. The signs don’t say “no bicycle riding on the sidewalk, not even to get to the bike rack” although that would be annoying enough. Nobody is ever forced to get out of their car and push it on foot to a parking place. The signs say “NO BICYCLES.” That means that there is often no legal way to lock a bicycle on a bicycle rack. (There may also be signs insisting that I not lock my bicycle to anything that I could reach from an area where bicycles are legally allowed.)

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Exercise when feeling ill

Been avoiding a little cold for a while but it snuck up on me Tuesday pm after this little jaunt on the mountain bike

Screen Shot 2014-01-23 at 20.09.34 Screen Shot 2014-01-23 at 20.09.21


a nice 45km poodle …. but as i was going around I felt tired a clear indicator that the body was already struggling. Two early nights and some lem sip later the snot is gone … and it is 5 a side footie night. Tried to get a substitute player but no one available so will just have to take it easy tonight (or at least try)

Quick metabolism curse – quick to go down but quick to get up …..