Kickstarter Love: SHY-SPY | GPS/GSM Tracker For Bicycles

Hey Bike Commuting Ladies and Gents! As you know, the Bike Commuters staff are not about blasting you with Kickstarter bike-related paraphernalia, since gods know that there are fluffy piles of that out there in internet land… like bunnies in a pillow fight, yo. But once in a while, there comes a Kickstarter campaign that tickles our fancy. So we are throwing out some virtual Kickstarter Love for the SHY-SPY GPS/GSM Tracker for Bicycles.

Stealing bikes is mean, but real.

Short of bringing your bike indoors with you on a leash at all times (“What, you’ve heard of guide dogs for the visually impaired? This is my guide bike, and I’m car impaired, okay?“) there comes a time in every bike commuter’s life when they have to address security. Bike theft is a problem in all cities and neighborhoods, despite the cycle-owner’s best efforts. Cycle gators, in an effort to protect their bike offspring, may go so far as to register in free city-wide systems, implant smart locks, or OnStar the hell out of your ride.

What? Guide Dogs and Bikes… obvious combination.

So what’s so special about the SHY-SPY? Yet another GPS tracker for your bike… you Cycle Cynics may say, as you virtually (or literally) roll your eyes at this post. Well, let me let them tell you (because copying and pasting is way easier than reading comprehension ;):

When it comes to keeping track of our cycling activity, there are a large variety of choices:

  • Inexpensive Cycle computers: to record the distance, speed, total travel time, but no geolocation data.
  • GPS trackers: There are a lot of GPS trackers out there, in form of wearable watches, or mountable on your stem or handlebars. Professional models could have many additional functions such as power meter, heart rate and cadence sensors; And yeah… they cost a fortune. So you have to protect it as well; Mount it when you ride and take it away when you leave the bike unattended.
  • Smartphones: Using our cellphone  along with popular sport tracking apps such as Endomondo, Strava and Sportstracker is another convenient choice; There is a compromise though and it’s the risk of running out of battery on your mobile phone when you need it the most.
  • With SHYSPY however, you always have a tracker with your bike; The  long battery life of 30 hours, lets you track all the activities with no concern of any kind. Using the SHYSPY app you could monitor you activity and/or download it in GPX standard format to be later uploaded manually to major sport tracker platforms such as: Endomondo, Strava and Sportstracker, so you could compare your data with other members and socialize your cycling experience.

SHY-SPY GSM is our low cost alternative to GPS tracking.

Get inside my seat tube any day, SHY-SPY!

What Mir.I.Am loves about this idea:

  1. Welcome to 2014, people: Mir just got texting, so a GPS tracker that can text me the location of my bike sounds pretty nifty and high-tech.
  2. The SHY-SPY can mount  inside your seat tube, for incognito theft-tracking action.
  3. I’m not so interested in tracking my cycling “performance” while commuting, by I am interested in making my life more like any episode of Get Smart.

Click here for the full SHY-SPY Kickstarter details, non Cycle Cynics and skeptics. Enjoy your week and keep your ride safe, however you can!

News: Change Out Your Wheel for a Smart Wheel!

Any of you bikey kids lookin’ to cut the sweat out of your long commute? Or maybe you’ve been thinking about e-pimping off your bike, but it just looks too tedious and technical to set up on your own? Well, check out this Euro-stylized invention coming out soon: the FlyKly Smart Wheel!

“We want to make cities more livable, and more people, not car friendly!” – FlyKly on the Smart Wheel

I know there have been a butt-load of Smart-themed kickstarters and new projects out, but check the article if you’re interested. Plus there is gray-themed fancy people on bikes photos for your enjoyment, like this:

Thoughts, Cycle Ladies and Gents? Is the “Smart” fad more trouble than it’s worth… Smartphones unlocking your precious commuter bike and programming the speeds on your electric-assist rear wheel? Or is it the unavoidable future?

You know my thoughts, with my lack of texting and my dumbphone and all… Chime in with some comments, puh-leeze.

News Flash & Preview: LOCK8 – the World’s First Smart Bike Lock

Bike Commuters with a love for all things techie, edgy, smart, and sleek: LOCK8‘s kickstarter campaign is coming along with England’s one and only “Smart Bike Lock!” We took a looksie over at their kickstarter page  to check out how this crazy gadget all began, and it goes a little something like this:

“At University both our bikes got stolen multiples times. So over a coffee on a sunny day in England, we started talking about bike theft. Surprised that there wasn’t a technologically advanced bike lock on the market, we decided to build one ourselves. We installed our own little workshop, decided not to tell anyone and started drawing, machining, soldering and testing. One year later we are extremely excited about the launch and would like to thank everyone who has supported us! Particularly our families and friends!

Since September ’12 we have been refining LOCK8.”

Unlucky for those two University students, long, long ago, but lucky for SCIENCE! Bike Commuters will be receiving a sample to test out ASAP. This lock seems like it’s a product for a bike commuter that’s riding in areas teeming with thieves, bandits, or pirates. The price point seems TBD… but the concept sounds more bulletproof than anything else on the market.

And here’s the obligatory spec run for those readers who are not into clicking links:

  • Keyless: No more keys! Use your smartphone as an e-Key to easily lock and unlock your smart bike lock. We will also provide a keyfob in case your smartphone runs out of battery.
  • Integrated GPS: the integrated GPS/GSM chip makes LOCK8 fully internet connected and is the first truly smart lock. Your bike is able to transmit its location at all times. If you lend your bike or forgot where you put it, or if it gets stolen, you can track it in real time.
  • Alarmed: LOCK8 has multiple theft deterrents, such as a motion sensor, gyro-accelerometer, temperature sensor and hot-wired cable. Any tampering with the lock will trigger a painfully-loud alarm and trigger a push notification to your phone. Alerts can also be sent to friends or the community.
  • Share: You can easily share your e-Keys with friends and family, or share keys with particular groups on Facebook. LOCK8 eliminates the need to physically hand over keys, just send your e-Key with your bike’s location.
  • Rent: Clicking the ‘offer’ button allows you to rent out your bike to verified LOCK8 app users or Facebook friends. Earn money with your bike.
  • Induction Charged: Best of all, LOCK8 is constantly charged through induction while cycling. We will provide spoke reflectors with built-in magnets, so every time the bike moves, the battery charges.

Hopefully we will get our hands on a sample of one of these mo-friggy high-tech bike locks to test out in the name of bike commuting SCIENCE!

My dumbphone and I will not be participating in this little experiment… maybe we’ll test the Ghost Rider by sending him a sample LOCK8 and fake stealing his bike in the middle of the night. Muahahahahahaaa!

Check out the LOCK8 website for more details.

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MonkeyLectric launches Kickstarter campaign

You may have noticed that we don’t pitch very many Kickstarter campaigns here — and lord knows we field a TON of them every week. It’s sort of an unwritten rule here at…you want crowd funding? Take it somewhere else.

There are exceptions, of course, and here’s the latest from MonkeyLectric, which happens to make really great bike lights and has been good to us over the years, letting us test prototypes, shooting the breeze with us at Interbike, and advertising here to help us keep the site running.

Along with the lights we’ve reviewed here, MonkeyLectric also makes a “Pro” series light (mostly a prototype/custom-orderable) that is, well, frighteningly expensive. Enter the Kickstarter campaign — seeking a way to be able to mass-manufacture this light system at a better pricepoint:

MonkeyLectric Kicks Off Funding Production of Revolutionary New Bike Light via Kickstarter
Monkey Light Pro gives bike riders a novel way to express their unique individuality in a dazzling manner

BERKELEY, CA. MAY 22, 2013 – MonkeyLectric announced today the launch of a Kickstarter campaign to fund manufacturing efforts of its new product, the Monkey Light Pro, a unique bicycle light that utilizes cutting edge technology to allow users to display images and animation on their spinning bicycle wheel. The Pro series is for people who want to get their message out, express their individuality and be seen. The company is using the crowdsource fundraising efforts of Kickstarter to finance the manufacturing, which can be found at

The Monkey Light Pro, a more technologically advanced version of the popular Monkey Light Mini and the original Monkey Light models, features 256 LED lights and 4,096 colors that can be customized into designs uploaded via Bluetooth. Monkey Light Pro also allows users to upload up to 1,000 photos or 90 seconds of video. The Pro series is mounted to the bicycle wheel where it is easily viewed from both sides and multiple angles; the Pro is shock resistant and weatherproof.

Driven by MonkeyLectric’s eclectic backgrounds, the lighting art featured in their namesake product are designed by various graphic and psychedelic artists, including the well known David Ope, and provides riders the ultimate way to express their creativity. When the bike is in motion, it uses the “persistence of vision” effect to display the images that come pre-loaded or created by the users through its open source API.

Previous prototypes and models of the Monkey Light Pro are currently on display at major shows, in museums, as well as in Japan in collaboration with the Fukushima Wheel Project. This particular project utilizes a modified Monkey Light Pro attached to environmental sensors, where light patterns adjust to the levels of environmental pollutants in the area. The Kickstarter campaign hopes to make the product more accessible to developers, artists and the general public.

“Our first Kickstarter campaign allowed us to establish our own manufacturing line here in the USA,” said Dan Goldwater, MonkeyLectric’s CEO. “The success of that campaign helped us create 3 new jobs, make fixed capital investments in machinery, and relocate to a larger facility. With this campaign we hope to continue to invest in our manufacturing capabilities and make the world’s most advanced bicycle display system available to the market.”
During the campaign, Monkey Light Pro will be available to the first twenty pledges for $495, forty at $595 and 100 at $695. The price point after the campaign will be $895.

The Kickstarter page for the new Monkey Light Pro can be found at:

About MonkeyLectric, LLC

MonkeyLectric was founded by Brown graduate and MIT scientist Dan Goldwater in 2008 and is the leader in fun and visible bike lighting. Based in Berkeley, California, the small company aims to make cycling fun and visible. They created the Monkey Light to be make to make riding at night just as fun as during the day. Over the top creativity and tongue in cheek marketing campaigns have put MonkeyLectric on the map, and all products are proudly made in the USA. Learn more at

Just to give you an idea of how amazing the Pro light system is, check out this video that showcases the capabilities:

The Torch T1 Helmet: Putting the Head in Headlight

Are you concerned your lights make you visible from the front and back – but not the side? Have you ever wished for lights on your helmet… but not wanted an expensive lighting system with an annoying cord and battery pack? Does it occasionally occur to you it might be nice if passing drivers could see your head, not just your rear? Do you think “too many lights” is still just a few lights away?

If your answer to any of these was yes, Nathan Wills of Los Angeles just may have you covered. He’s got a helmet up on Kickstarter with integrated front and rear lights that are also visible from the side – a critical area many light manufacturers virtually ignore.

Right now it looks like Nathan has a good working model, but needs a cash infusion to make it a reality. Like most Kickstarter projects, you can contribute as little or as much as you want… but $80 will get you a helmet (in red, black, or white) that’s CPSC certified, offers adjustable dial fit, has some cool lights, and makes you look like a commuter instead of a racer. Assuming the funding happens (which I’m hoping it will), the cost will rise to $100 later on – which is maybe a bit pricey, but not really any more than a decent helmet and a decent set of “be seen” lights will set you back, so I think it works out.

The Torch T1 from the side

I personally wouldn’t ride with only this helmet for light – and in many states it’s the law to have lights mounted to your bike after dark – but I think it’d be a pretty nice addition. Here’s hoping the final versions (expected in October 2012) are as awesome as they look!

H/T to James at Bicycle Design.