Fold up your Brompton, pack away those fancy fluorescent pants and bin the flashing bike lights, there's a cycling revolution on the horizon and it will make the whole business of facing the elements on two wheels much more pleasant.
Whether it's electric cycles taking the strain out of the climbs or innovative helmets that read heart rates, this new breed of bicycle tech will ensure your beloved steed is safe, seen and running as slick as a greased weasel.
Take a look at the gallery for the 10 ways to be a future-proofed rider.
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Connected Cycle Smart Pedal
Thwarting bicycle thieves is a multi-million Pound industry but apart from producing ever more robust locks, very few have come up with an innovative way to keep bikes safe. Apart from French start-up Connected Cycle, which has created a pedal that will send a push notification to your phone whenever it detects movement i.e. when some rascal is cycling off with your pride and joy. The pedals don't require batteries and they fit to pretty much every kind of bicycle on the planet. Plus, because of their ability to track movement, the pedals double-up as a handy fitness tracker when used in conjunction with the firm's app. Better still, they are fitted with a bespoke key, so crooks can't simply remove your pedals before stealing your bike.
Think of the Gi-Bike as the Brompton 2.0. It can easily fold away - making it perfect for lugging onto a bus or train - its wheels light up and more expensive versions offer pedal assistance from powerful built-in electric motors. Commuters can breeze along at speeds of up to 15mph for up to 40 miles on a single charge, plus smartphones can be plugged in to a bespoke handlebar mount and used as a navigational tool. It'll also charge your device so you don't turn up at work with a dead phone. The electrically assisted version weighs 17kg, which isn't bad considering battery technology is still heavy, and it can sync up to your mobile so it can be locked an unlocked remotely.
Not only are Helios handlebars dead sexy, they could also save your life. The bars, which come in a number of designs, feature a powerful headlight, a GPS tracker system and rear LEDs that can act as indicators. Riders simply press the button on either side of the stem to activate the blinkers for five seconds. The lights can also be set to a colour of your choice by synching the system up to a smartphone. Furthermore, the bar-mounted lights can provide turn-by-turn directions when hooked up to a navigation app. The lights gently pulse to indicate when a turn is coming up. The faster they pulse, the closer the turn is. No more map reading while pedalling to that meeting.
LifeBeam SMART cycling helmet
This crowd-funded project is for serious cyclists who require accurate heart-rate readings for training and competing purposes. Up until now, Bradley Wiggins wannabes had to fit a cumbersome chest strap and tether it to a smartphone or bike-based GPS in order to receive precise read-outs but, thanks to Fighter Jet technology, the SMART helmet can do the same thing from the head. The neat piece of kit packs a microprocessor integrated with the firm's advanced algorithm, a state-of-the-art optical physiological sensor, accelerometer, and full wireless communication capabilities. In short, you now get accurate heart rate readings straight to a device of your choice from a lightweight, good-looking noggin protector.
Flykly Smart Wheel
Transforming your rusty old bike into a futuristic smart steed is much easier than it seems. The Smart Wheel from Flykly turns any daily ride into an electrically assisted bicycle in seconds. Simply replace the rear wheel with one of Flykly's contraptions and you now have a battery, motor and sensors built in to a single hub. Keen bikers can now travel up to 100km on single, three-hour charge without putting in anywhere near as much physical effort. It even comes in a number of sizes, so you can whack it on mountain bikes, BMX bikes and little foldable commuters.
Most electrically assisted bicycles are limited to a fairly sedate 15-20mph speed limit but this isn't the case with the madcap Trefecta DRT. The futuristic speed machine packs a 4kW electric motor and 60-volt battery, meaning it can hit a top speed of 43mph and run for 60-miles before the batteries need topping up. Its chunky, mountain bike-esque suspension system means it can tackle the rough stuff, as well as providing a smooth cruise through town. Clever innovations, such as the easily swappable battery packs and 14-speed electronic gearbox, make it one of the most advanced electronic bikes on the market. Just as well, because it costs just over £16,000.
The Swedish Car manufacturer is not new to this whole cycle safety thing. In fact, it was one of the first auto manufacturers to experiment with cyclist airbags on its passenger vehicles and it is currently dabbling with chip technology that will allow its future cars to recognise when a vulnerable cyclist is in the vicinity. LifePaint, the latest innovation to come out of its Gothenburg HQ, isn't actually paint, but rather a washable material that can be sprayed on to any surface. It's not visible to the naked eye but when it is hit by the glare of a car's headlights, the magic material lights up like a Christmas tree. LifePaint could see an end to not-so fashionable fluro outwear, as you could simply apply the stuff to your favourite jacket. It lasts around 10 days after application and is currently available in a few specialist cycling shops. Volvo plans to roll it out if it is successful.
Skylock Bike Lock
Keyless entry is already a big deal in the automotive industry but the folk behind Skylock want to bring it to the two-wheeled world. Quite simply, Skylock allows you to unlock your bicycle at the tap of a button on a smartphone, rather than having to mess around with keys. It is solar-powered, so it never runs out of juice, and it can be authorised so friends and family can unlock your bike with their devices. Better still, it can detect untoward motion and send a push notification if anyone tries to tamper with the lock or make off with your wheels. Skylock claims its sturdy D-lock can also detect serious crashes thanks to a built-in accelerometer. In fact, if you're in an accident and you're too mangled to respond to a phone alert, it will automatically contact people in your network and send for help.
During the "fixie revolution", courier bags became a must-have item. The waterproof messenger satchels looked hip and were great for carting around gear but they did little to warn other road users of your presence. Lee Myungsu, the man behind the Seil Bag, has moved the messenger bag on so it now displays a graphical lightshow to whoever might be following. It works using a wireless controller that is mounted on the handlebar, which can be edited via an Android app to trigger displays. Set the waterproof LED display to depict a giant heart or warn drivers to give you some space, whatever you choose, it's bound to attract some attention.
Veglo Commuter X4
Cycling during the sunny summer months is one thing, but commuting during the short days of the winter presents a fresh safety dilemma. The Commuter X4 light system aims to make cyclists stand out in the dark by providing multiple focal points to drivers, making it easier for fellow road users to judge distance, width and speed of a cyclist. It also gives those pedalling after dark a side profile, which is great for cars pulling out or turning in to dangerous road junctions. Plus, it allows lorry drivers to spot vulnerable road users, even when they are perched way up in their cabins. USB rechargeable, water resistant and adjustable to fit over backpacks, it's every winter commuter's must-have gadget.