In the continuous battle with congestion and traffic, I really think the future of transport lies in public transport and bicycles. It might sound a little crazy, but with increasing urbanization, constantly expecting roads to be upgraded to handle the higher volumes of traffic is not feasible. Being the active person that I am, I am a big fan of people instead riding to work. However, one of the many things holding people back from cycling regularly, aside from their laziness, is safety. As much as we’d like to believe everyone looks out for the little guy, the truth is on the road they don’t, and a big fear I have in cycling on our roads is that people won’t notice me – especially if it’s dark.
This new bike, named the Lyra, that is looking for backing on Kickstarter and designed by Mission Bicycle wants to try and change that by including built-in LED lighting to make it instantly noticeable on the road, while also looking like something right out of the world of Tron. It’s an interesting take on the lighting of a bike. Most riders make use of a wide number of reflectors to make themselves more visible on the road, but with this bike you might be visible from much further afield.
The lighting system, as detailed by Digital Trends, is powered by a battery that lives in the head tube. When it’s running low, you simply remove it from the tube and charge it using the USB cable. Mission Bicycle says that testing shows the battery is good for around 20 half-hour night rides, which is what they estimate should be all that’s required for a month’s worth of commuting.
The Lyra also solves another one of the big problems we have in South Africa, as it comes with a built-in GPS tracking device so should your bike get stolen, which sadly happens far too often here, you should be able to track it down. And if it’s night time, you will have the added advantage of seeing the bike from a mile away, too, with its lighting. The GPS tracking also helps you to find your bike if you forgot where you parked it or if you want to check up on it during the day to make sure it’s still where you left it.
If you’re a bike enthusiast, you probably could care less about its ability to light up and are more interested in its specs. Well, they don’t have too many details on those, though there will likely be a host of add-on extras made available to give you what you need. It’s important to remember that the bike is designed for commuting and not sport, so don’t expect this to improve your performance in next year’s Cape Town Cycle Tour. At least then though if it is windy, your family will be able to find you and your bike when you get blown off the road…
Most people locally use their bikes for recreation purposes, but with the price of petrol likely to climb and traffic getting worse, cycling is definitely becoming more of an option and travelling in the dark is a likely option for many people based on their work hours. Hopefully this idea makes its way to South Africa where it could certainly come in handy improving the cycling commute. Its currently retailing on Kickstarter for $1000, so by the time it eventually retails here expect the Lyra to cost around R250000, given the current rate of rand depreciation. Tough times indeed.