Lumos Bicycle Helmet with Integrated Lights

I don’t ride at night often, but when I do, my lights are always dead. Or I don’t have them with me.
But if integrated with my helmet, I think I’d remember to keep it charged, and I’d certainly not be without that.

What a great concept, automatic brake lights, always on blinking rear and front lights, turn signals… yeah how about keeping your hands on the bars while signaling a turn in traffic? nice.

Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. Unfortunately, it’s a year away. I have no doubt this one will get funded.

Check it out on Kickstarter. The early bird offers of $85 for your own helmet are still available.

UPDATE after a day, this kickstarter is funded, and then some. The early bird offer is gone, but there are others. Hurry!

The ultimate bicycle helmet with brake lights and turn signals to help cyclists stay safe and visible on the road.

We Have Met The Enemy and He is Us

Road rage is a serious problem for cyclists. If you’ve ridden any amount of time, you’ve certainly experienced the extra loud horn, the close pass, the over-revved engine, shouts, and the hand gestures.

And at the same time you’ve probably thought, “What the F***?!? I wasn’t doing anything. Jerk.”

Where does the road rage come from?

Well, I saw them today. From the perspective of a driver. The reason for all the road rage.

I was driving through my small town today, which is itself a small slice of cycling heaven. Lots of cyclists start here or ride through here. I often get groups of 30 riders coming past my house on big club rides, and there are endless solo or pairs coming through all the time.

The roads are narrow, there are few painted lines even, blind corners and hills, and there are no sidewalks. Just road and soft shoulders. It’s a place where drivers and cyclists truly need to co-exist.

There’s one particular fun hill to climb and descend. It’s about a half mile up and another half down. The downs end at stop signs.

I was driving my kids to camp this morning heading up this hill as I approached a line of three cars stuck behind a group of four cyclists, and I quickly caught up. The car in front couldn’t pass because the group was pretty well oblivious to the fact that there were cars lining up behind them. They were attacking the hill, standing, riding hard, bikes jerking back and forth as happens in a sprint, passing each other erratically as in a race. It was pretty well impossible to pass safely, or at least comfortably, in a car even though they were going well under the speed limit up this hill.

They reached the top of the hill, still without allowing anyone to pass, and bombed down the descent, pulling ahead of the cars. (No problem with that part.)

Until they reached the bottom, where they took a left turn at a 4-way stop at full speed. In full view of at least 4 motorists who are already watching closely and shaking their heads at these guys.

Inconsiderate and reckless. And damaging to the entire cycling community.

Now these guys are serious cyclists. They know what they’re doing. They all wore the kit from a local racing club.

They are too serious, apparently, to care.

I’m no stickler for traffic rules on the bike. I’ll run stop signs, but certainly not without slowing down, and only if I can see that there’s no cars around, or at least if there are, if I have eye contact of a driver who is letting me go through. And I’ll wave thanks.

And if I’m at all in view of motorists, I’m much more careful about how I behave. Because I know that they’re watching and judging.

Does this make me any better than these guys? I don’t know.

How we behave affects all of us.

What is a bicycle club group ride like?

Photo Notes: 23 club members with three unidentified bicycles and a BSA Path Racer, somewhere in Springwood.

Springwood Cycling Club

As you improve in your cycling, at some point, you may want to test your skills against others. And rather than jump right into a race, you can join a group of other riders. If you don’t have 6 friends ready to take off for 4 hours on a Saturday morning, there’s usually a local bike club as an option.

Bike clubs come in different shapes and sizes. Some are hard-core and others are more friendly to noobs like us. They usually have websites that contain descriptions of their rides and the skills needed to join them. Many clubs have different levels based on the average speed you can maintain, like 16-18, 18-20, and 20+ mph. Keep in mind that you can typically ride a few MPH faster in a group than you can alone, which is also why group riding is fun.

The craziest group ride I’ve been on is a local one called the Bullet Train in the club called “Monsters in the Basement”, a friendly club here in nearby Concord, MA. We achieved a crazy 25mph average over 30 miles. I’m lucky to average 20 solo, on my best day.

Don’t be afraid to show up and give it a try.

What’s it Like?

Here’s what an actual group ride looks like. I happened to be on this ride. I’m in the blue helmet and black and yellow kit. Coincidentally, that’s me on the video image, and you can see me at about 30 minutes in after taking a corner.

Not that you should watch the entire hour-plus of this ride, but there are some interesting things to see in it. We start out in the dark, at 5:30 am. You can see the dynamics of a fast group ride with lots of uphills and downhills.

This particular ride is FAST. It’s a “drop-ride”, which basically means that it’s cooperative, but if you fall off the back, they’re not waiting for you at the top of the hill. It certainly adds some urgency to the ride and keeps you pushing hard or you’re on your own.

Most club rides are “no-drop”, which means the group will stop at important points to let people catch up. So if this looks scary, this isn’t necessarily typical. It’s about as hard as they are likely to get.

Also, this is historic Concord, MA of Revolutionary War fame, which may be interesting to those of you from around the world.

Holy cow, that video is cool.

It was taken with a Garmin Virb Elite, which not only takes video, but it connects to other ANT+ devices and/or your Garmin 500 or 800 cycling computers to sync up all of your ride stats and get those cool dashboard graphics.

This Looks Dangerous!

Well, cycling is dangerous. And riding in a group has its own risks. There are definitely more crashes in a group. When a rider in a paceline hits the wheel of the rider in front of him, he’s probably going to go down.

I’ve crashed once at speed and walked away with just some bruises. Others aren’t so lucky with broken collar bones and dislocated shoulders, or worse. Most crashes that I see or hear about end in only scrapes and bruises, which is good news because if you ride a lot, especially in groups, chances are you’re going to go down at some point.

On the other hand, group riding can be safer as you’re easier for motorists to see.

What Club Should You Join?

There are clubs everywhere, and they are becoming more and more popular every year. You should be able to find one near you. Ask around and keep your ears open for people talking about it. Look at the kits other cyclists are wearing as clubs usually have branded kits for their members to buy.

Also, here’s a great post by someone in my local club, who also has a cycling blog, about cycling clubs…

What’d I’d like to offer you, and ask for your help as In The Know Cycling readers, is a way for anyone to find the best enthusiast cycling clubs near you, ones that can offer you the kind of exper…

Get Some!

Want that camera? I do!

Walmart has just about the best price I could find for this camera, under $200. It’s $269 most places. If you would rather shop at a cycling website, Competitive Cyclist carries them too…