Reblog: How the Internet of Things is Changing the Way You Commute

[In honor of Bike To Work Day, I am sharing this post I wrote for my company’s blog. Originally posted over at the YTA blog here.] Anyone else depressed about gas prices? Rhetorical question. (Also, apparently Antarctica is melting. So there’s that.)

I, for one, just really cannot handle traffic.

I was raised on windy back roads, and the first time I took my driver’s ed teacher for a ride through the city, he gave me directions for the first fifteen minutes, and then told me to find my way back to the school.

He eventually gave up on that exercise because he didn’t want to miss lunch. Fast forward to my city-living self, and I love bike commuting because it forces me to know my way around the windy roads of Pittsburgh.

Bike commuting also helps with the traffic, because it’s not like you can really go that fast anyway so you’re not stressed that traffic isn’t moving, either. Then there’s the added benefit of not feeling guilty about skipping a gym membership.

But what to do when it’s 90 degrees out plus 80% humidity, and the only “showers” available at your office building are the sinks in the bathrooms? Enter the Copenhagen Wheel!gallery_004 The Wheel essentially works the same why hybrid cars do: you charge the battery as you would normally charge a battery, use it to augment your peddling, and it recharges when you break or go down a hill. A battery charge can last a while, depending on how traffic-heavy or hilly your route is. It enters the Internet of Things through its smartphone integration. You can set the power level it assists you at, depending on how sweaty you want to be when you arrive at your destination, and it also allows you to lock and unlock your wheel and track a variety of stats so you can compare your biking to your friends.

Don’t mind detoxing on your commute?

Vanhawks ValourWell, lucky for you, Vanhawks Valour has much of the same smartphone integration in terms of tracking stats, just without the pedal-assist.

And while you can’t lock your wheel remotely, you can set an alert if your bike is stolen. Valour’s main goal, from what I gather, is to crowdsource traffic, road condition, and general biking data and share that information with other bikers.

Other bikers who are using Valour bikes, of course! It feeds you info — such as directions or if a car is coming up behind you — through your handlebars, so your eyes are never off the road.


Want to get really fancy? A Copenhagen Wheel on a Valour bike. Too much?

If you’ve been reading this post thinking, “Huh. I just like biking and beer,” then you are in luck! I feel obligated to mention that the National Bike Challenge is happening right now, and Pittsburgh is battling Cleveland to retain the Rust Crown. OTB Bicycle Cafe pledged their support by continuing their Pedal for Pints program from last year.

Ride your bike, drink beer, beat Cleveland!

That has nothing to do with the Internet of Things, but it’s just as important.


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