They call it a bike umbrella, but it's more like a removable windshield. Either way, it looks like a great cycling accessory.
Plenty of us are fair weather cyclists, but when the rain starts falling, many people shy away from commuting by bike (if they have another alternative transport, such as a car). And although the full-body experience of riding a bike can be invigorating when riding for fun, it's a challenge to continue to cycle to work or school or shopping when the weather threatens to soak us, especially if you don't own proper rain gear.
However, one UK company is taking aim at this issue with its "Bicycle Umbrella" that promises to keep riders (mostly) dry while on the bike, without having to commit to something like an enclosed recumbent bike, and to do so at a relatively small price. The Leafxpro is a removable canopy that can be attached or removed in minutes, and which can be fitted to most bikes, that claims to be rugged enough to withstand high winds (up to 50mph / 80km/h) without getting "the umbrella effect" or getting blown out (although who's to say what might happen in a nasty tailwind).The Leafxpro is a modular system, and with the addition of either the Storm Accessory (side panels for more protection) or the Baby Accessory (which offers coverage for a child in a rear seat), could potentially keep more people on their trusty two-wheelers in all sorts of not-so-pleasant cycling weather. According to the Indiegogo campaign page, once the initial mounting hardware is installed on the bike, attaching or removing the Leafxpro is a matter of minutes, and a carry bag allows for the product to be hauled along on those days when it's better to be safe than sorry.
As well as providing some protection from the elements, the Leafxpro essentially also acts as an aerodynamic nose to the bike, so there could be a bit of an additional advantage to riding with it, albeit with bit of a loss to the rider's ability to see clearly.
The Leafxpro is currently offering the basic model to backers of the Indiegogo campaign at the $49 USD level (said to be worth about $100 retail value), or with the addition of either the Storm or Baby Accessory to backers at the $89 level (estimated value of $150), with an expected ship date of October of 2016. The campaign only has a crowdfunding goal of $8500, which is rather small in the age of multi-million dollar crowdfunding campaigns, but it hasn't seemed to attract a critical mass of cyclists yet.
Whaddya think? Practical and worth the fifty bucks, or not yet ready for primetime?