10 ways tech is transforming cycling, from outrageous lights to ebikes

Technology is everywhere these days. Indoors, outdoors, at work, and at play. So it’s no surprise that plenty of technological advances are changing one of the mainstays of mobility: bicycling.

From advanced cycling computers that monitor nearly everything to smart helmets, wearable lights, and GPS trackers that help recover stolen bikes, technology is everywhere in the cycling world. So much so, in fact, that it can be hard to narrow down just what is a must-have and what’s extraneous fluff.

Get outside: 5 high-tech tents that light up, blow up, and even transform

“With technology and cycling, you’re going to find things you like and don’t like,” says Dylan Carrico, a service mechanic at Bike Gallery in downtown Portland, Ore. “There’s always answers for all of those things — there’s just more answers now.”

For some of the best tech cycling answers out there, check out these 10 ways that technology is transforming cycling. Whether cars see you better or you just find a more enjoyable way to pedal to work, you’ll be glad you did.

Apps for all that – Strava, Weather Underground, Dark Sky, and St. John Ambulance


Like every sport or activity these days, there’s no shortage of apps that can make cycling that much more enjoyable, practical, and fun. The list of good ones is a long one, but start with Strava (iOS, Android) to easily plot, track, and share all your rides. No cyclist is set without a good weather app either, so try Weather Underground (Android, iOS) or Dark Sky (Android, iOS). Accidents can happen anywhere, so it’s wise to have a first aid app on hand, such as St. John Ambulance (Android, iOS, Blackberry), and if your rig gives you grief, try Bike Doctor (iOS), an easy-to-use guide for most bike maladies.

Download one now from:

Strava Weather Underground Dark Sky St John Ambulance

Pedal power – Bosch Pedal-Assist eBike System ($4,000)


Would-be commuters turned off by the prospect of arriving to work sweaty and spent are among those who have begun to see the light of pedal assists. Essentially a small electric drive system that engages when you pedal to help give you an extra boost, pedal assist kits or bikes have become more prolific as their technology has improved. Carrico likes models from Bosch best, but says Shimano and other manufacturers aren’t far behind. “We’re seeing a lot more of these all the time,” he says. Read our full review here.

Buy one now from:


Light the way – Revolights ($199) and Garmin Varia ($200)


You’d think that a bike light is a bike light, but you’d be wrong. In this day and age, options for how you illuminate not only your route but yourself are as varied and advanced as they come. “It’s not about those little store-bought lights that take 10 AA batteries anymore,” Carrico says. Revolights are a new take on lighting up your bike, offering a unique forward light and a functioning brake light that blinks when you change your speed. Bright LED lights from companies like Blackburn or Axiom have also taken illumination to a new level, and Garmin’s Varia Smart Bike Light automatically adjusts based on speed and surrounding light conditions. What’s more, most new lights are rechargeable via a standard USB charger. Read our Garmin Varia review here.

Buy them now on Amazon:

Revolights Garmin Varia

Share the road – Biketown ($2.50 per trip, $12 per day, $144 per year)


It almost seems quaint, the idea that people in an urban area could walk up to a bike rack, unlock a bike for a small fee, ride across town, and then drop the bike off again. But that’s just how modern-day bike share programs work. In Portland, Ore., for example, the recently-launched Biketown placed 1,000 bright orange bikes at 100 stations throughout the inner urban core. Users download the Biketown app (iOS and Android), and, for $2.50 for 30 minutes, grab a bike from a rack and pedal away. They’re able to return the bikes, which feature solar-powered LCD displays, to racks all over the service area. And New York City has a similar service, Citibike ($12 – $155), subsidized by the banking giant.

Sign up here for:

Biketown Citibik

Be heard – Hornit dB140 ($32) and Loud Bicycle ($149)


Ever wish you could be not only seen but heard while you’re pedaling through downtown? There is technology out there to help with the latter in a big, bold way. Loud cycling horns are becoming more and more mainstream with the advent of devices from companies like Hornit (“The world’s loudest cycle horn”!) and Loud Bicycle. Though Loud Bicycle’s horn, which claims to be as loud as a car horn, will only be available for preorder in August 2016, its volume seems like it would be pretty impressive and effective. The same goes for Hornit’s horns, which are available for order from the UK now.

Buy one now:

Hornit dB140 Loud Bicycle

Lock and load – Skylock ($179)


It’s a shame we even have to worry about bike locks, but we do. Luckily these days, they’ve gotten better than ever. Skylock, which should finally be available in October 2016, utilizes some of the latest technology to keep your bike safe. The lock connects to your phone, which eliminates the need for a key, gives you the heads-up if someone is trying to make off with your bike, and even notifies your contacts if you’re in a crash. Even better? The built-in solar panel charges the battery. Read more here.

Pre-order one now from:


Find it – Spybike Spylamp Tracker (£83)


Even the best bike locks can have weaknesses. Should a thief find a way around yours, modern GPS technology offers a way to help get your bike back. Companies like Spybike make covert GPS tracking devices that clip on your seatpost or act as a light. Bluetooth-enabled, the trackers will detect unauthorized movement of the bike, shoot you an SMS alert, and start tracking your bike so the authorities can help you find it safely.

Buy one now from:


Power up – Siva Atom ($120)


Don’t let all the energy you create when riding go to waste. The Atom, by Siva Cycle, is a tidy little power generator that attaches to your bike and captures the power in a battery pack that can be used to charge up any USB-compatible devices.

Buy one now from:


Techno threads – LifeBEAM Smart Helmet ($200) and Zackees Turn Signal gloves ($75)


Wearable technology is becoming all the rage, and that includes in the world of cycling. Plenty of heart monitors and other activity trackers are available on the market. One of the latest is the LifeBEAM smart helmet, which not only protects your noggin, but also monitors your heart rate, calories, and overall performance. Californian company Zackees makes rechargeable turn signal gloves for cyclists, and Swedish company Hövding makes a low-profile bike helmet that’s more like an airbag for your head. Read our full Zackees review here.

Buy them now on Amazon:

LifeBEAM Smart Helmet Zackees Turn Signal gloves

Low tech – Donkey Products 6PACK (40 euros)


OK, so these last few may not be setting the tech world on fire, but there’s something to be said about innovation in cycling. For those who like to bike to barbecues, tailgates, or other social gatherings, companies like Donkey Products make stylish six-pack and wine bottle holders for your bike, while reams of high-design cupholders make it easy to bring coffee, soda, or any old libation along for the ride. Now that’s smart innovation.

Buy one now from:

Donkey Products


Keep your noggin protected in style with this 3D-printed bike helmet

Kupol is the bike helmet that uses 3D printing to improve the design, making it safer, more comfortable, and better ventilated than traditional cycling helmets while remaining lightweight and attractive at the same time.

Safeguard your new Apple smartphone with one of our favorite iPhone XS cases

If the iPhone XS is your next device, then you’ll want to shop for some proper protection now. That glass sandwich design is all too easy to scratch or crack, so make sure you snag one of the best iPhone XS cases to keep it looking good.

Make some time for the best smartwatch deals for October 2018

Smartwatches make your life easier by sending alerts right on your wrist. Many also provide fitness-tracking features. So if you're ready to take the plunge into wearables and want to save money, read on for the best smartwatch deals.

Suck up the savings with these vacuum cleaners on sale for $100 or less

Keeping your floors clean around the home is a constant chore. To help make things a whole lot easier, we've picked out 12 great vacuum cleaner deals available on Amazon right now, from full-sized upright models to robot vacs.

Garmin’s new Instinct GPS watch is built for the sportsman in all of us

The new Garmin Instinct is a GPS multisport watch for people who love to be outdoors. The $300 Instinct takes the best features of the company's popular Fenix watches and packages them into rugged, military-grade package.

Our favorite fitness trackers make it fun to keep moving

Looking for your first fitness tracker, or an upgrade to the one you're already wearing? There are plenty of the wrist-worn gadgets available. Here are our picks for the best fitness trackers available right now.
Product Review

Biolite's new headlamp is brilliant -- and we're not just talking about the LEDs

BioLite's new headlamp turns heads with its lightweight profile and innovative design that integrates the light right into a comfortable moisture-wicking band. Once we put the headlamp on, we never wanted to take it off

The Wau stands out in the crowded ebike market with its 60-mile range

The Wau ebike is a high-tech commuter that offers onboard GPS tracking, geofenced alarm systems, built-in front and rear lights, and pedal-assist speeds of up to 20 mph, with a range of as much as 60 miles between charges.
Emerging Tech

Here’s all the best gear and gadgetry you can snag for $100 or less

A $100 bill can get you further than you might think -- so long as you know where to look. Check out our picks for the best tech under $100, whether you're in the market for headphones or a virtual-reality headset.

Sleep comfortably under the stars in one of the best tents

An essential piece of gear whether you're camping in your backyard or on a multi-day backpacking trip, here are our picks of the best tents currently on the market from car camping varieties to the best three-person option.
Smart Home

These awesome treehouses will make you question life on solid ground

Check out these truly awesome treehouses from around the world. From a three-story treehouse in the Costa Rican jungle to a mirrored cube hidden among the trees of Sweden, we’ve got you covered.
Emerging Tech

Ekster 3.0 lets you ask, ‘Alexa, where did I leave my wallet?’

Ekster's newest smart wallet is its best yet. It's slimmer than ever, boasts a neat card-dispensing mechanism, and will even let you know where it is, thanks to smart speaker integration.
Smart Home

The best treadmills of 2018

The exercise of running can burn up to 900 calories per hour, melting away fat and strengthening your muscles at the same time.  Compared to running outdoors, you're safer staying indoors on a cushioned track.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: A.I.-powered cat toys, wallets, food containers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!