Give Your Bike a High-Tech Makeover

There are a slew of new bike gadgets recently released that, when combined, can turn your basic two-wheel into a self-navigated, powered-up ride that also keeps you looking chic! Here are three we're intrigued by:

1. Pedal Powered Headlight and GPS/Mobile Device Charger by EcoXPower
The EcoXPower is an environmentally friendly way to keep your phone or GPS device powered up on those long rides. It also keeps a headlamp and tail light illuminated if you should ever find yourself on your bike in the evening hours!

You can charge your devices through a USB cord that attaches to a water-resistant, touchscreen-friendly case. And you don't have to keep energy reserved: The device instantly generates electricity as soon as the cycling begins. ($99, ecoxgear.com)

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Photo credit: www.ecoxgear.com

2. Invisible Helmet by Hövding
Essentially an airbag for your head, this "invisible helmet" accomplishes a lot while remaining chic and sytlish. It's ergonomic and meets all of the safety requirements of a normal bike helmet, but is only released from it's ever-fashionable neck pouch when its sensors detect irregular movement, as in the instance of a crash.

The idea for the gadget started when Swedish law threatened to make bicycle helmets mandatory for adults. Two graduate students at Lund University in Sweden who, according to their site, "wouldn't be seen dead in a polystyrene helmet," used their industrial design degrees and addressed the issue for bikers who wanted to be safe but didn't want to be unfashionable or have the inconvenience of carrying around a hard helmet. Two designs for the shell are available to match whatever outfit you're in while going out on your afternoon bike ride. ($600, hovding.com)

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Photo credit: www.hovding.com

3. Google Voice Navigated Bike GPS for Androids
Google has released voice-guided biking navigation for Android devices in all of the countries that have the feature available (U.S. and Canada in 2010 and this year Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the U.K. have been added to the list). The maps feature more than 330,000 miles of green biking lines. On its official blog, Google recommends mounting your device on your handlebars and turning the speaker on to hear the directions. But this begs the question, will bikers be tempted to listen to headphones to hear the navigation in noisier cycling spots? This could present a safety hazard while you whip through a busy city street.

You can keep your device powered and guiding you with the EcoXPower phone charger, but you should definitely grab a Hövding invisible helmet if you choose to don ear buds to hear the voice directions. We want to know: Do you think using earphones is out of the question for bikers?

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Photo credit: www.googleblog.google.com

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