1. Helmets are getting less dorky.There's a whole new segment of commuter bike helmets that are more comfortable and with better features than the helmet you might be wearing. The helmet debate may never be over, but there are loads more styles of helmet to choose from if you decide you want to protect the brain with extruded polystyrene, including the non-helmet helmet; the smart helmet, and the folding helmet.
2. E-bikes are getting cheaper (plus more efficient, and even solar powered).You can now buy an electric bike at Sears. This may not be a good thing, but it does mean that e-bikes, after a long time being ignored by North Americans, are now in the mainstream. While the $500 Storm e-bike is likely too good to be true, it signals an attempt to make e-bikes more accessible and economically priced.
3. Bike share systems are getting smarter (and more ubiquitous and friendly).The next generation of bike sharing systems is upon us with Social Bicycles and Open Bike. These bike shares let the user be less tethered to the docking stations of previous systems by employing smart locks and smart phones. In Phoenix, Arizona, where a 500-bike sharing system is being deployed by Grid BIkes, a four digit pin allows a user to walk up to a bike and unlock it, then park it at any bike rack within the system's radius.
4. Cities are getting savvier.Cities have realized that we're in the urban century, and that the benefits of providing good bicycle infrastructure are many. Cleaner air, healthier people, and overall better livability comes when bike lanes are installed. There's now even a term for it: "bicycletecture" and it's happening from New York to London and from Buffalo to Boulder.
5. Bike clothing and gear is getting more diverse.There's a plethora of new bike-enabled clothing and accessories out there. Companies from Betabrand to Levi's are providing stylish and comfortable gear for the bicycle commuter. You can find great rain gear and studded snow tires, bike jeans and bike panniers, colorful bells and custom leather accoutrements. Bike world is better than ever.