Smart phones and bikes don't always play together nicely. Often when I try and use it to follow a route somewhere I don't hear it talk to me from my pocket (I don't like to wear earphones while I ride). When I was trying out Anton Ryslinge's wonderful Bike the City tours in Copenhagen, I almost ran into a tree while looking at the screen on the phone mounted on the handlebars. What the cycling world needs is a bluetooth connected device that talks to your phone, tells you where to go in a loud enough voice that you can hear it, and hey, why not throw on lights that act as turn signals for you, pointing you in right direction.
And that is exactly what Schwinn has done with their wonderful little CycleNav Smart Bike Navigator. For just sixty bucks.
CycleNav is the first navigation device that, when connected to a smart phone via Bluetooth, provides audio commands and visual light indicators to direct riders to their desired destination. With your phone in your pocket, basket or bag, your hands are free to steer while CycleNav speaks directions and flashes turn indicators. With your attention on the road and not on your phone, any type of bike riding you’re doing – from exploring new trails or commuting to work – is safer and easier than ever before.
You set your destination using the CycleNav app (android or IOS). If you miss the instruction, press the button in the middle (no fiddling with your phone) and it will repeat it. Of course, at the end of your ride it will let you share your excitement, your route and your calories burned with your friends through social networking integration.
I do hope that Schwinn is open source about this, I can see a whole range of possibilities, from programmed tours like Anton does in Copenhagen, to exercise programs, to urban history lessons. All the while, letting you keep your hands on the bike and your eyes on the road.