With the advent of websites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter, clever minds from around the globe suddenly have the reach to broadcast their product pitches to the world. Fortunately for us, cyclists are already seeing lots of interesting bikes and components coming from upstart inventors using this new tool to launch into production.
While we don’t tend to see high-end, competition grade product coming from crowdfunded projects, we are seeing plenty of cool ideas for commuter bikes where performance isn’t as crucial and riders tend to accessorize with lights, racks, or other devices.
In this article we’ll look at two cool commuter accessories that came to light this way- Keep on reading to check out a portable, waterproof seat cover and grips that light up the ends of your handlebars…
On a recent vacation, CitySeat designer Chelsea Petrozzo saw throngs of businesspeople riding bike share bicycles in their formal work attire. On wet days, she noticed most of their seats were covered with plastic bags so the idea was hatched that something much better could be made. Petrozzo teamed up with Colin and Hal, two engineers with textile backgrounds who are major advocates of bike share programs, to design the CitySeat.
While the CitySeat cover was initially designed for bike share programs, it’s also ideal for people who attend spin classes (like Petrozzo), or any cyclist who wants a portable, waterproof seat cover they can quickly slip on their bike. The updated CitySeat version 2.0 also includes a removable pad for some extra comfort.
You don’t have to be a clinical germ-o-phobe to appreciate the barrier the CitySeat creates between you and a public bike seat. Bike share users probably don’t want to think about the last rider sweating into the saddle from their nether regions, and this is even more relevant for spin class bikes where every rider leaves sweaty. The cover also protects you from dirty saddles, keeping your clothing neat and ready for business time.
The CitySeat’s proprietary Italian made fabric is waterproof and stretches to fit over nearly any type of seat while tightly contouring to match its shape. When not in use, the cover folds up into a portable pouch that measures about 2×2”. The CitySeat is hand or machine washable, but must be dried at low heat.
The CitySeat comes in ten different designs, and two models are currently available- The basic model can be pre-ordered on Indiegogo for $25 USD, and the updated CitySeat 2.0 with removable padding sells for $35.
Check out the Cityseat’s Indiegogo campaign here.
During his four years of commuting through New York Victor Shapiro felt invisible on the roads, so he created a new lighting concept that provides lateral illumination for cyclists. His solution was the HueRay grips, which house LED lights in the end of a semi-transparent silicon grip to make riders more visible and add some colorful, fun flair to your bike.
On their Kickstarter page, Shapiro quotes a study by the IIHS (the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) that found 38% of fatal motorist/cyclist collisions occurred at intersections, and the most common way they collide is when vehicles are turning right. The HueRay grips are designed to combat such incidents by providing side-lighting that drivers can see.
The grips feature an ergonomic design made from a durable silicon compound that retains its feel in hot or cold temperatures. A small housing with two super bright LED’s slips into a pocket at the end of each grip, and the lights can be set to flashing or steady modes. The 200mAh batteries provide six hours of use in flash mode, and three hours on steady.
The light assemblies are removable from the grips so people don’t steal them, and for easy recharging. HueRay was smart to provide a double ended USB cable so you can charge both lights simultaneously. The batteries take 40-60 minutes to charge up, and should last for 500-800 full charge cycles.
The grips are waterproof for use in all kinds of weather, and the company says the light housings are durable enough to endure bike drops and other impacts. The HueRay grips weigh 6.4oz per pair.
The grips are available in a spectrum of colors, including pineapple, water, kiwi, bubble gum, papaya, and marshmallow. Early bird supporters can pre-order a pair for $50 (with limited color options).
HueRay’s Kickstarter campaign launched on May 26th, and product delivery is expected for around March of 2016. Check out their campaign page here.