back to article On yer bike: Hammerhead satnav for cyclists – just don't look down

Cycling an unknown route can be tricky. Either you have to keep stopping to check the map app in your pocket or, if you have your smartphone strapped to your handlebars, you have to take your eyes off the road in order to peer the screen. You also have to decide whether to leave it on for the whole journey, running the battery …

  1. Pavlov's obedient mutt

    add audio-comments/updates/street names

    via a bloooootoof headset and this is a total winner

    1. MoreBeerPlease

      Re: add audio-comments/updates/street names

      Seriously? I think you've missed the point of the device.

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: add audio-comments/updates/street names

      So you do not hear any of the cars approaching. Fantastic. The only thing I hate (as a driver which also cycles in excess of 1K miles a year in traffic) more than joggers with headphones on is cyclists with headphones on.

      1. honkhonk34

        Re: add audio-comments/updates/street names

        As somebody who uses a bicycle as their main form of transport, I've always had an issue with those who cycle with headphones on. I also suspect those reading this don't need me to list the reasons it's not wise; in a sense my biggest gripe is that those who cycle with headphones on are detrimental to the respect and consideration that entirely sensible, safe and conscientious cyclists receive.

        Having said that, a Bluetooth ear bud in one ear, which only makes sound when required (ie every few minutes "Take left filter" or "Turn on Rosemary Lane") is a likely safety improvement in my view. The cyclist's awareness could be marginally impacted because of the lack of hearing clarity, but in a situation where keeping your eyes on the vehicles around you is integral to your safety, a vocal cue could ensure that cyclists can respond with confidence - and a lack of confidence (or inversely, respect from other road users) is often the most dangerous situation a rider can find themselves in.

        1. Drummer Boy

          Re: add audio-comments/updates/street names

          Just use bone conduction headphones, no ear blockage at all.

          1. Alan_Peery

            bone conduction headphones

            Any recommendation for particular models?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: add audio-comments/updates/street names

          I must confess that in my better life, I greatly enjoyed riding with my earphones on. Yes, I had this nagging feeling it was wrong (WROOOONG!!!!), but young age does funny things to your brain, aka "bad things happen only to other people". Fortunately, I matured before I got to be a one paragraph news in metro, or whatever free junk paper they had those days.

          That said, cycling with earphones on IS great fun "as such", but in any kind of traffic, just insanely stupid.

      2. 9Rune5

        Re: add audio-comments/updates/street names

        "So you do not hear any of the cars approaching. "

        ...do you really need to? It has been a few years since I cycled actively, so things may have changed, but back in the day, cars passed me all the time.

        Whether you hear them approaching or not, what would you do differently? Jump into the bushes and hide? Try to squeeze away another centimeter between you and the edge? Or maybe you don't look over your shoulder when passing something on the road, thinking you will hear something approaching from behind (not many EVs around your neck of the woods?)?

        I remember the winter of '96 I think it was. The snow was piled up so high the only road left was the highway. Although strictly not legal, I chanced it. The motorists weren't driving that fast anyway (barely going faster than I managed on a bike – too many RWD noobs on the roads back then). Again: Aural cues would not have made much difference (don't remember if I had the Stones playing or not – chances are I did). If somebody had their heart set on ramming me they would have, regardless.

        OTOH, the KOSS clipons I had did leave ample room for road noise to pass through.

        Which leads me to my next question: What about motorists who crank up the stereo and have absolutely no idea of what sounds exists outside their car? (pretty much what I do most of the time) Is that somehow considered 'safe'?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: add audio-comments/updates/street names

          In the simplest terms possible...

          An individual driving a motor vehicle has three points of reference for what is happening behind them, these are left and right wing mirrors and rear view mirror. To look at all three of these in under a second requires at most 160-170 degrees of head movement (as ones eyes make the last degrees to focus on the wing mirror in question)

          A cyclist, in order to view what is behind them has to turn much the same 160-170 or so degrees to focus on anything behind them. The issue is that while in a car, the positioning of the wing mirrors ensures drivers are still looking forward. With a bicycle, the rider must turn their head in such a way that they have no peripheral vision to their front.

          Depending on which shoulder the cyclist looks over, they have a large blind spot to the opposite side.

          The use of one's ears to identify vehicles which are in reasonable proximity without being able to visually identify them is invaluable to a cyclist if they wish to remain cyclists for any length of time.

          1. John Robson Silver badge

            Re: add audio-comments/updates/street names

            @AC - Depending on which shoulder the cyclist looks over

            Unless of course the cyclist is using their mirrors. Far more useful than ears IMHO.

            Motor vehicle noise doesn't actually tell you much - certainly not in a city where the plethora of junctions would make an audio queue for navigation much more important.

            As for motor vehicle drivers, how many of them actually use their mirrors? I frequently sit just behind the offside of cars, watching the drivers face in the wing mirror - In stop start traffic they are generally completely hypnotised by the vehicle in front, absolutely no awareness of anythign around them at all (note I said generally - some do, but more don't than do).

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: add audio-comments/updates/street names

              @John Robson - Cyclist Mirrors?

              I think in my entire life of cycling, I've met two people who had mirrors attached to their bike. Are you suggesting all bicycles should have mirrors? Until the day it becomes a legal requirement for a bike, I think you'll find that the reality is the vast majority of cyclists do indeed look over their shoulder to see what's behind them. I reckon the pair of ears most people have is still more useful than the pair of mirrors most people don't have, personally.

              I've always found vehicle noise useful, the noise of a black cab's engine is clearly distinct from the engine of a bus, the tone of the engine suggests which gear a vehicle is in as well as if they are cruising or gaining power to overtake me on my bike. Ears should never replace using ones eyes, but they can enhance the information the cyclist has to work with to keep themselves safe.

              And complaining about drivers having a lack of awareness for not looking in their wing mirror, while you yourself are sitting staring at their wing mirror and not looking at what's going on around you is hypocritical.

              1. Simon Harris Silver badge

                Re: add audio-comments/updates/street names

                "I've always found vehicle noise useful"

                Except for the bloody Prius that silently sneaks up on you!

              2. John Robson Silver badge

                Re: add audio-comments/updates/street names

                @AC

                Well, my bikes all have mirrors, and they aren't actually rare any more.

                They're not always as obvious as mine either, indeed there are some which fit inside cycling glasses...

                The noise of a vehicle is almost always useless - yes you can tell whether they've put a baked bean can on their exhaust - but you can tell that from one ear as easily as two.

                I don't think I've ever had to make any sort of manoeuvre based on hearing a vehicle - and I have been cycle commuting for about 9 years now. I don't wear earphones normally, but have been on the odd conference call whilst cycling home, and one earbud in makes absolutely no odds to my awareness of other road users - a buff is useful to keep the earbud in whilst cycling though, and reduces wind noise (which is a much bigger issue for some cyclists than you think - a 25mph wind over your ears makes it fairly hard to hear anything).

                I have cringed at least once - hearing the squeal of tyres and a car in a clear loss of control line astern is an unpleasant sound - but there was nothing I could reasonably do about their problem (I put some more power in, and they stopped (in a cloud of blue smoke) before hitting me).

                When I'm in stop start traffic I'm normally watching for the attention of the driver of the vehicle I'm about to pass - you know making sure they're not about to just randomly pull right without indicating, other things like that. I'm not exclusively staring at their mirror, but it has the majority of my attention.

                Motorists tend to fall into two camps: Those who have seen me coming from a way back and pull left as I approach, and those who wouldn't see a fire engine.

                From my ears (which are reasonably good, as attested by an audiologist, and I do occasional tests on higher frequency stuff) I can't tell which lane a vehicle is in - I can tell that I want to look in my mirror, or make eye contact with the driver. I also can't do anything with the information - so what there's a car coming up behind me - I can't teleport (or I'd have teleported to somewhere prettier to do my riding). My only reasonable choice is to continue doing what I'm doing.

                In a city environment this is even more so - there is so much traffic noise coming from all around, and bouncing off so many buildings, that there is almost no information left in it. There are also lots of close junctions, and an audio queue that tells you what road name you want makes far better use of one ear's attention than "there's still traffic around"

          2. Tikimon Silver badge
            Happy

            Head-mounted rear-view!

            "A cyclist, in order to view what is behind them has to turn much the same 160-170 or so degrees to focus on anything behind them."

            NO THEY DO NOT. There are several designs of rear-view mirror that clip onto your helmet or sunglasses. They provide an excellent view behind, and only small motions of the head are needed to aim the view where you need it.

            I commute daily with one, and road-skated for years with them. Total game-changer, no head-turning needed! I don't know why more riders don't use them, unless it's the ten grams of weight or their mates' stupid comments.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Head-mounted rear-view!

              The point isn't really about what a person could have, it's about what most people do have. The vast majority of cyclists do have to turn their head because they don't have a mirror.

              I'm not here to make the argument that mirrors are bad or that they shouldn't be used, I'm just pointing out that the reality of the situation is that most cyclists look over their shoulder to identify other road users. The day the majority of cyclists have mirrors I'll stop saying that cyclists turn their head to see vehicles behind them.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: add audio-comments/updates/street names

          do you need to hear cars around you while cycling? Abso-fucking-lutely. You rely on your sense of hearing so much more, and given you're flesh surrounded by metal boxes travelling much, much faster, any extra help at judging how far they are from you, particularly approaching from the back, is a matter of life and death, potentially. I don't mean to say that you go out there on your bike every day thinking: this is gonna be the day I die, you're just aware of your chances against motor vehicles. Generally cyclists can calculate the odds well enough.

      3. IanTP
        FAIL

        Re: add audio-comments/updates/street names

        unless you know what volume i have my headphones on or the ambient wind noise in my ears you cannot judge. (cycling 40+ years, only one collision with a taxi, who the police said wouldn't have seen me hivis or not because he wasn't paying attention to the road.

        1. honkhonk34

          Re: add audio-comments/updates/street names

          You can and will be judged by your stated actions. I've never heard an argument which suggests that having headphones on improves the situational awareness a cyclist would have, and ambient wind noise exists with or without headphones (making it completely irrelevant).

          If your own situational awareness is completely indifferent to aural cues, I'm torn between commending and condemning you. Good for you, you're either incredibly aware without hearing other vehicles or incredibly lucky not to be dead already. Either way, I'll trust to using all my senses to their fullest to keep myself safe on the road. Boredom is bad, but being dead is ...probably worse.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

      4. gaz 7

        Re: add audio-comments/updates/street names

        Ah right, so in your perfect little world what do deaf people who want to ride bikes supposed to do?

        And that's ignoring the fact that studies have proven that cyclists WITH earphones in still hear more than drivers with the windows shut and car stereo off. Let alone with the booming you normally get.

        You also assume that a cyclist with earphones in is listening to something. there is also an increasing trend for car drivers to have ear-buds in, presumably to listen to music from their jesus phones or as handsfree.

        so lets have some perspective and sense please

      5. Anonymous Coward
        WTF?

        Re: add audio-comments/updates/street names

        If I need to hear your approach to be safe, then there is something seriously wrong with your driving.

        Before I cross the road or make a turn on a bike I am going to look over my shoulder. If that small turn, just a couple of inches, puts me in your way then you have plainly failed to allow me sufficient room.

        Also, if you consider hearing essential to cycling safely are you going to ban deaf people from cycling?

      6. Paul 77

        Re: add audio-comments/updates/street names

        I cycle with headphones on, and I *can* hear traffic noise. I am aware of what is going on around me - not a problem.

        I have used the Google Maps navigation whilst on the bike before, listening to its voice prompts with the phone (also providing the FM radio) in my pocket. It did work, but used an awful lot of phone battery life.

      7. Alan_Peery

        Re: add audio-comments/updates/street names

        Do you roll down the windows of your car when driving, if you rate audio so high?

        It might seem I am just taking the mickey here, but I am not.A bicyclist wearing headphones is suffering about the same level level of impediment for hearing *outside* audio cues as someone with the windows rolled up. (Volume of music in either car or headphones can obviously block anything.)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: add audio-comments/updates/street names

          @Alan_Peery

          But as discussed above, most motorists have the ability to view what's behind them more easily than most cyclists. A cyclist without mirrors (most cyclists) has to sacrifice looking forward in order to look behind, unlike somebody driving a car. Because looking behind is potentially dangerous, audible clues about vehicles behind become more relevant. It's a somewhat apples and oranges comparison because it's about the person's perception of their environment and the tools available to them to do so, and bicycles and cars have quite different tools in the majority of cases.

          Never mind engine noise when driving a car vs noise of a bicycle, again making comparisons redundant, or that motor vehicles are treated very differently than bicycles on the road by many road users - again making the environments and risks between the two very different.

  2. J. R. Hartley

    The title is no longer required.

    So what happens when you are at a roundabout? What a load of shit.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The title is no longer required.

      A roundabout's a type of junction, isn't it? And the display can indicate a circular path using the grid of LEDs at the apex. So what's the problem? It seems to me that deciding something's shit based on a complete lack of knowledge of how it deals with a potential problem is pretty... shit.

      1. J. R. Hartley

        Re: The title is no longer required.

        So what happens when you reach a roundabout with 5 exit lanes? Did IQs drop sharply when I was away?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The title is no longer required.

          So what happens when you reach a roundabout with 5 exit lanes? Did IQs drop sharply when I was away?

          Here's a thought. Show the circular path with the general direction of your exit on the approach to the roundabout. When you've reached the roundabout then use the normal junction "countdown" and turn indications to indicate your exit. There, that wasn't difficult, was it? I'm not saying that's exactly how they do it, but it shows that it is possible to give effective directions, at a roundabout, using their display. You may have a high opinion of your IQ, but it doesn't seem to do much for your imagination.

      2. Lusty

        Re: The title is no longer required.

        Can I decide that it's shit based on the fact that it appears to use the same mount as a Garmin Edge (not mentioned in the article from what I could tell) while offering considerably less functionality than said unit? The Garmin is a little more expensive, but offers cyclist friendly routing with maps and directions on the screen with better battery life than this LED thing. The Garmin also offers offline mapping stored on a huge SD card, and internal GPS which won't run your phone battery down. The garmin gives a polite beep when you need to take action and then displays a nice big arrow on the screen to show where to go.

        This is a device that simply doesn't need to exist, the problem was solved many years ago with GPS bike computers.

        1. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge

          Re: The title is no longer required.

          @Lusty

          Nice though the Garmins are, this device could solve a serious problem - navigating in the rain. Add rain covered screen with rain speckled eye protection and it's a tough job with a Garmin. LED prompts would be a significant benefit.

        2. MrWibble

          Re: The title is no longer required.

          Garmin 810 (full mapping) = £300ish (last time I looked).

          Hammerhead = £75

          More than a "little more expensive"

          (I probably would have a Garmin, if I wasn't such a tightwad!)

          1. Lusty

            Re: The title is no longer required.

            While true, the Edge Touring for £130 has the same mapping functionality (and hardware) as the 810 and the lower down Garmin devices include turn by turn but lack the maps. Even if someone, somewhere finds this useful it will surely not succeed because everybody else will buy the vastly superior devices leaving this lot bankrupt.

        3. GroteGeer

          Re: The title is no longer required.

          Oh a beep - are there different beeps for left, right, straigt, back ?

          Hammerhead released the biker from the overload of unnecessary visual map images.

  3. druck Silver badge
    Stop

    Rules are for you too.

    Hopefully the app wont do things like route cyclists the wrong way down a one way street. But I'd also add some audio reminders that stopping at red lights and pedestrian crossings also applies to cyclists too.

    Working in Cambridge you take your life in to your hands crossing the road, and not because of the motorised traffic. Even walking along the pavement is difficult enough with bikes chained 3 deep to every bit of street furniture and railings.

    1. Red Bren
      Thumb Down

      Re: Rules are for you too.

      Because no motorist has ever jumped a red light or pedestrian crossing. No pededtrian has ever stepped into the street without looking.

      1. Steve Knox
        Meh

        Re: Rules are for you too.

        Because no motorist has ever jumped a red light or pedestrian crossing. No pededtrian has ever stepped into the street without looking.

        Don't know how it goes in your neck of the woods, but the percentage of motorists jumping red lights round here is in the single digits.

        The percentage of cyclists doing the same is in the high nineties.

        As for pedestrians, well, they just do as they like.

        1. Red Bren

          Re: Rules are for you too.

          In my neck of the woods you get 2 or 3 motorist jumping the red light with every change. That's pretty much 100% offending rate. I've even had impatient arseholes behind me sounding their horns when I've stopped at the red that they were planning to jump after me!

          So, one anecdote all.

          1. TeeCee Gold badge

            Re: Rules are for you too.

            I call bollocks!

            If that were true TPTB would have fitted the lights with a camera by now. They wouldn't let a revenue opportunity like that go untapped.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Rules are for you too.

            > In my neck of the woods you get 2 or 3 motorist jumping the red light with every change

            In my neck of the woods they stole the traffic lights.

          3. Alan_Peery

            Light jumping danger spot

            It would be helpful to know which area has such a bad record, so we can take precautions...

        2. John Tserkezis

          Re: Rules are for you too.

          "As for pedestrians, well, they just do as they like."

          I was classed as a "high volume cyclist" on a medical report (whatever that means), before the arthritis kicked in an put an end to all that.

          In that time, I spent a lot of if on a variety of roads, some paved, some not.

          Just my observations: Trucks and motorcyclists were no issue at all. Cars were sometimes an issue (helps if you look where you're going you idiots), but cars pale into obscurity when it comes to pedestrians. Seriously, they just don't give a fuck about anyone or anything, anytime or anywhere.

          1. Disko
            Coat

            Re: Rules are for you too.

            Pedestrians? you mean motorists who just parked....gotta hand it to them they're consistent road hazards.

        3. Phil Lord

          Re: Rules are for you too.

          > The percentage of cyclists doing the same is in the high nineties.

          Very sensible cyclists. Sitting at traffic lights on a left turn is one of the more dangerous things that you can do on a bike. Obey the traffic lights, or reduce the risk to your life. Now, let me think about this...

      2. RISC OS

        Re: Rules are for you too.

        or crossed the road when it was red for pedestrians

        1. jzl

          Re: Rules are for you too.

          Crossing the road when it's red for pedestrians isn't against the law, at least not in the UK. The red pedestrian light is advisory, not compulsory.

    2. m0rt Silver badge

      Re: Rules are for you too.

      'you take your life in to your hands crossing the road'

      As opposed to relying on others to keep you safe? Sorry. Couldn't resist...cheap shot. I knew what you meant.

      We are all trying to coexist with each other. A bit of courtesy goes a long way, cyclist or pedestrian or driver or motorcyclist.

      As for chaining bikes to street furniture? Fairly selfish. I suppose they should just do what the rest of normal, sane individuals do and use a car and park it in the adequate parking facilities that are provided. Or use trains with the adequate service. Or they should stop being so silly and just live in the middle of Cambridge and walk everywhere. After all, the provision of living accommodation is perfectly adequate for a sensible price.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Rules are for you too.

        > As for chaining bikes to street furniture? Fairly selfish.

        I can't remember which country it was--somewhere in South America maybe?--that it was common to see lorries chained to street furniture, trees specifically.

        I never asked.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Rules are for you too.

        As for chaining bikes to street furniture

        Not such an issue but when said action stops people passing or opening their door (YES London has twat's that chain them to parking meters whilst a car is parked there) it becomes an issue.

        We have loads of paved area's now blocked by cycle racks and boris bikes, but still people insist on parking their bike on the lamp post outside their work and causing issues for people in mobility scooters and with buggies.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @druck - Rules are for you too.

      Cycling and walking around Cambridge is always a challenge because these are the only practical ways to get around town. The town just wasn't designed with the motor car in mind.

      Many pedestrians unfamiliar with Cambridge can get caught out by roads that are one-way for cars but two ways for bikes. Pembroke Street/Downing Street is a classic here. This situation isn't helped by cyclists who don't look out for other people and plough on regardless.

      As to bikes being chained to anything: I agree that this can be a hazard (Outside Emmanuel College is one place that springs to mind) But I would argue that this is because there are too few places to park bicycles. In the past 12 months the council has added a lot more bike racks around town, but these fill up very quickly.

    4. skeptical i

      Re: Rules are for you too.

      Hi, Druck: If bicyclists are chaining their steeds three deep to railings, benches, street signs, and/or any other similar object, that sounds like an infrastructure problem: the municipality (or private property owner, if the premises is a shopping center or apartment complex) is not supplying adequate bicycle facilities and cyclists are making due. Sucks for pedestrians, but it ain't hardly the cyclists' fault.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Rules are for you too.

        Did you just say that motorists can now double and triple park because there weren't any spaces available in the parking lot? Or do you just think the police (traffic wardens, whatever) should drive pickup trucks and carry bolt cutters to deal with bike chained to poles/signs/etc?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Rules are for you too.

          > Did you just say that motorists can now double and triple park because there weren't any spaces available in the parking lot?

          You havenna been to Italia?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Rules are for you too.

        If bicyclists are chaining their steeds three deep to railings, benches, street signs, and/or any other similar object, that sounds like an infrastructure problem .... but it ain't hardly the cyclists' fault.

        Wow. A wonderful example of the 'absolute rights, zero responsibility' school of thought. Just to clarify: it is the cyclists' fault, they need to find somewhere else to keep their bikes. Simple.

        1. Stuart 22

          Re: Rules are for you too.

          "Wow. A wonderful example of the 'absolute rights, zero responsibility' school of thought. Just to clarify: it is the cyclists' fault, they need to find somewhere else to keep their bikes. Simple."

          Quite correct. Given that you could relocate more than a dozen bikes into the space occupied by a parked car the answer should be obvious to those managing our streets. Net gain in mobility and convenience around our towns and cities. Or is Copenhagen a mirage?

    5. jzl

      Re: Rules are for you too.

      Never broken the speed limit? Never used your phone while driving?

      When will drivers learn that rules are for them too?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Rules are for you too.

        > Never broken the speed limit?

        I did once get flashed. On a bicycle.

        Took me a few tries too. :o)

    6. Lamont Cranston

      Re: Rules are for you too.

      Normally I'd see a comment about cyclists, pedestrian crossings and red lights, and immediately summon the waaahmbulance, but I see you're talking about Cambridge, so you're concerns are fully justified.

    7. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: Rules are for you too.

      @Druck - Working in Cambridge you take your life in to your hands crossing the road, and not because of the motorised traffic.

      Out of interest how many pedestrians have been killed by cyclists in the last decade?

      It's less than 5, across the whole of the UK - as opposed to how many pedestrians killed by motor vehicles?

      It might give you a shock - and it's stupid of any cyclist who does just blast through - but it's really not threatening your life...

    8. Andrew Taylor 1

      Re: Rules are for you too.

      Last time I visited Cambridge it was the cars that failed to stop at red lights & pedestrian crossing & the difficulty on footpaths was from locals with their noses stuck in their phones not cyclists. I hate to spoil your jaundiced & incorrect view but the only independent research carried out blew this myth out of the water as far more cars failed to stop than cyclists. Still never let the truth get in the way of your prejudice.

  4. Khaptain Silver badge

    Improved or alternative version

    Rather than have that hammerhead thing sticking out the front why not simply place two small electrodes on the handle bars or seat...

    From here we have two choices, small vibraiting panels that activate briefly to indicate to the hans which direction to turn or a small electric shock to the gonads.... The female version might have something inside the bra...

    If nothing else there might be some cyclists with large smiles on their faces even though they have completely lost their direction... unless of course the BOFH turned up the power to 11....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Improved or alternative version

      While your suggestion of shocks is obviously absurd the concept itself isn't as it is pretty much what the Apple Watch (Cue down votes, other smart watches are available) does for routing, a different pattern of vibration of turn left and turn right.

      1. Khaptain Silver badge

        Re: Improved or alternative version

        I honestly believe that there is nothing "shocking" about the idea other than when the intensity is too high. Below a certain threshold it would represent nothing more that tingle..

        Would some of the DVers care to explain their position....( or maybe they don't have the balls, pun intended)....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Improved or alternative version

      Personally, I really like this idea!

      http://www.bikebiz.com/news/read/innovative-gps-grips-give-cyclists-directions-through-haptic-feedback-3/017335

  5. Ol'Peculier

    Shoes

    I'm sure I read that somebody was developing a system that would fit in your shoes and vibrate when you needed to go left or right when walking about. As somebody who hates to look like a tourist when I'm, um, a tourist, it would work for me...

    1. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

      Re: Shoes

      "system that would fit in your shoes"

      Left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot ......

      I know a few people who could benefit from this.

    2. D@v3

      Re: not looking like a tourist

      I have found that as I am often already listening to music if I am walking around a city on my own, then having the appropriate app set up so that every now and again, I get in my earphone "in 50ft turn left down this road" is quite helpful for making me look like I know where I'm going.

  6. Infernoz Bronze badge
    WTF?

    What an impractical monstrosity

    My flat commuter bicycle handlebar has only practical hardware on it including an Exposure front light mount and a Garmin GPS/speed device, both of which need to be near the centre of the bar, so no room for this monstrosity, especially not in front of the handlebars because it'll get in the way of most front lights and probably be swamped with light by them!

    The static and rippling LEDs may be too distracting and make an accident more likely, especially at night with no obvious allowance for an unobstructed front light; no I don't rate under handlebar front lights because these can be obstructed by gear and brake cables. This might be more practical if the display was split in two so that it does not hog valuable space close to the centre of a handlebar, and maybe included indicator lights for other road users to see too.

    I've seen other Kickstarter bicycle stuff appear too but quickly dismiss most of it as impractical or bad design, even if some may initially look interesting.

  7. Nick Kew Silver badge

    Interesting ...

    I'm thinking of the situation where one is traditionally faced with a choice between getting lost and getting choked on a nasty main road - for example navigating central London from one mainline station to another. Put these on a Boris Bike and it could be Just the Ticket. Or anywhere in the country (or world) there's a potentially-decent cyclepath but absolutely no signposts to anywhere you've ever heard of.

    Talking of tickets and Boris-bikes, why does a train ticket valid via London include a tube fare but not give me the option of a Boris-bike instead of that tube?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why need phone on trip

    From the article it sounds as if the thing needs a constant connection to your phone, which in turn needs a constant connection to the internet.

    Surely they could put some memory and processing chips in the thing and make it work offline. This would save battery on the phone but also save money on internet costs, make the thing work in areas with poor phone reception, and even dare I say it allow for more privacy.

    As it is it's a nice accessory for a phone, not a thing unto itself. About as keen as a music-streaming app as compared with an iPod.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Map Source?

    OpenStreetMap I imagine?

    I'm surprised they did not include off-line navigation in the requirements, given the disappointing state of mobile data coverage anywhere outside towns.

    PS: For me, this doesn't beat the thrill of navigating with an old school paper map, but horses for courses. I live in the forest too.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Map Source?

      >PS: For me, this doesn't beat the thrill of navigating with an old school paper map, but horses for courses. I live in the forest too.

      More and more people expect to be spoonfed... Defending for oneself appears to have become taboo, they are no longer proud enough to use their own skills and prefer to have something else to blame their failures on.

      1. Lamont Cranston

        Re: More and more people expect to be spoonfed

        I only cycle at night, so I can navigate using the stars. I'll bet you've got a sextant installed on your handlebars, like some sort of cissy.

        1. Khaptain Silver badge

          Re: More and more people expect to be spoonfed

          I sympathize with you on the cloudy nights... I can only imagine that you have to resort to actually reading the street signs, or worse still actually having to "ask someone"....oh the shame, oh the shame...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Map Source?

        > More and more people expect to be spoonfed...

        That's some silly extrapolation going on in there. I just said that I like paper maps, not that there was anything wrong with any other approaches. Use whatever works for you and let everyone else do likewise.

        1. Khaptain Silver badge

          Re: Map Source?

          @AC

          Please excuse my lack of clarification I was being generic rather then specific, I couldn't agree more and would quite happilly encourage anyone to return to using physical paper maps..

  10. Bluto Nash

    For what it does, it's a far cry from having to constantly refer to your phone to see where the heck you are. Were I a cyclist I would have one in a jiffy, as it's a nice solution to the problem and the interface is a bout as intuitive as one could ask for - easy to understand, ~10 hour runtime and lets the phone do the thinking - effectively a remote "runtime" display for the app.

  11. JP19

    "it's a far cry from having to constantly refer to your phone"

    You mean like just about every sat nav user in a car does?

    Would anyone dream of using this hammerhead thing in a car? What makes it so much better/appropriate when used on a bicycle?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Would anyone dream of using this hammerhead thing in a car?"

      As the article points out it finds cycle-friendly routes pretty well. You would probably be ill-advised to use them with your car.

      I'd love to have one of these hammerhead gadgets for my motorcycle because I hate using in-helmet headsets on the road. But unfortunately, the same limitation re choice of routes applies.

      1. Lusty

        Why don't you just use a Garmin Edge on your motorbike?

  12. hplasm Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Idea!

    "I'd love to have one of these hammerhead gadgets for my motorcycle..."

    Drop them a line- it sounds like a good idea for v1.1

  13. Gomez Adams

    A solution looking for a problem?

    The need for such a device suggest cyclists are so unaware of their surroundings that they are unable to take in at a glance the information displayed on your usual sat-nav screen as other road users seem able to do. This I do not accept.

  14. Mike Taylor

    mi.taylor@elsevier.com

    Nice idea. I use my phone, plus a single ear bud when I'm cycling in London (instructions only, am not suicidal), the idea of cycle route preference is very sweet

  15. hatti

    He slimed me

    When it goes green and flashes like that, does that not mean there's a ghost nearby?

  16. IHateWearingATie

    Can it take routes from strava and other cycle planning software?

    Lots of people use strava or other apps to plan their rides - a killer feature would it being able to accept tcx or gcx files for routes. Will have to investigate

    1. MrWibble

      Re: Can it take routes from strava and other cycle planning software?

      Not yet - it is promised in a future app update... In fact, going by their facebook page, it should be here very soon.

  17. Lionel Baden

    Ok Seriously you all seem to think its ok ??!?!

    Ill tell it in a tale format.

    So a car slams it's brakes on, hoping to stop before it slams into the waifer thin cyclist ahead of them that they only noticed at the last moment due to blacked out SUV that completely blocked the road view ahead of them.

    Unfortunately the cyclist had no idea this was happening because they had ACDC cranked up nice and loud to give them the motivation to get on the cycle in the first place.

    In the car things are going badly, the driver notices that they are not going to be able to stop in time. The car coming the other way, although still slightly annoyed the SUV had aggressively overtaken on a light bend cottons on there was a cyclist that caused the abusive behaviour. They Go into Full Brake Mode as well, This about the point that the cyclist oblivious to all the noise behind them cottons on something is potentially not going to well. They start to look round behind th.... BLAM.

    Or

    Cyclist has full hearing, hears car full on braking behind, Throws bike into ditch with themself on bike. SWEARS at driver calls them everyname under the sun, but the cyclist lives. the driver has a nasty shock. SUV driver is still an Arshole

    Best post i have seen is the one advocating Bone conducting headphones, so you dont loose any stereo hearing (if you have it in the firstplace)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ok Seriously you all seem to think its ok ??!?!

      I may have misinterpreted your story but bear with me.

      So your driver has failed to drive at a speed appropriate to the conditions, i.e. they are blindsided by the blacked out SUV and are traveling too fast to avoid the obstacle in their path.

      At 30MPH their car is traveling at 13 or 14 metres per second . When they clear the SUV and see the cyclist, how far away is that cyclist? Probably less than ten metres.

      Irrespective of what the cyclist is listening or not listening too, they are not going to be able to throw themselves clear in that fraction of a second.

      1. Lionel Baden

        Re: Ok Seriously you all seem to think its ok ??!?!

        Unfortunately, yes but only slightly. although to turn around and just blame the car driver for driving to fast you still end up with a dead cyclist. your reactions may be to slow, but not everyone's are, that fraction of a second can make all the difference.

        Cars are able to mingle with cyclists along roads up to 60MPH on a single carriage way, let not faff about at 30. if a cyclist is unable to hear a car horn (yup happened the other day to me his music was that loud), he is unsafe on the roads. Same goes for drivers, if they impede their audio to a point they cannot hear the warning sounds of surrounding traffic, they are idiots as well

        1. Nick Kew Silver badge

          Re: Ok Seriously you all seem to think its ok ??!?!

          I must've missed the bit in the article about how it impedes anyone's hearing. Not like a sealed cage, or even a silly hat.

          But in a past life I use to ride with a club, where one of our members was completely deaf. Helps readjust expectations about another road user hearing what's going on. You shouldn't assume it of a random road user, either.

          1. Lionel Baden

            Re: Ok Seriously you all seem to think its ok ??!?!

            Hi nick,

            My post was not in relation to the article, it was the mass of comments that seem to think you dont need to have your ears about you.

            My son is half deaf so I understand how much it can affect you not having full hearing. Sorry, but it is safe to assume a road user has a certain level of awareness. Where do we stop assuming ? deaf dumb blind and mute ????

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

  18. MrWibble

    I have one

    As a backer for the past 2 years, or whatever it's been, I finally got mine a few weeks ago.

    I like it, but it definitely a work in progress. The hardware is pretty good (except the cover for the USB port is very stiff, so I think it'll snap off eventually).

    The software is pretty awful. It uses openstreetmap, and the actual navigation is OK, but the planning of a route is pretty hard work - it doesn't seem to get the balance between distance and "busy" roads right - I end up on a lot of roads I wouldn't chose when riding. Also you can't chose routes based on hills, traffic, time, etc as we were originally promised.

    GPX upload (i.e. pre-planned routes) is promised within the next week or so, and once this is working correctly, then I think that's a great step towards fulfilling it's potential.

    For stats nerds: I used it on a quick 25 mile ride, and it used less than 10% of the hammerhead battery (it only reports in 10% blocks - they suggest at least 10 hours operation on a charge), 5% of my Moto E battery, and less than 2mb of data.

    Should you buy one? if you ride new routes regularly, yes - it makes navigation so much easier. But maybe wait a few months until they get the software udated fully.

  19. Yugguy

    Does it have the three main cyclist instructions?

    1) Cycle through red lights.

    2) Cycle straight through pelican crossings without looking. Scream at any pedestrians who might have the temerity to be actually using said crossing at the time.

    3) If the road is busty, bump on to the pavement. Do NOT lessen your speed whilst on the pavement.

    1. Jay 2

      Re: Does it have the three main cyclist instructions?

      I dispair at the behaviour of some of my fellow cyclists sometimes.

      Much as I dislike disrupting my flow for things like red lights, it has to be done or where would we be (probably in A&E)? Though it does irk me when someone then cycles past me because the various roads/crossings look to be clear.

      Mind you the other day I stopped good and early at a red light for a pelican crossing and I was thanked by a pedestrian for doing so! I can guess what a previous experience of a cyclist may have been.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Does it have the three main cyclist instructions?

        I always thank cyclists and motorcyclists who stop

  20. NightFox

    Warhammer

    "It takes the form of a rubberised, soft-touch black device shaped like a letter T – or a hammerhead shark, if, like the inventors you're feeling whimsical"

    Pedantic I know, but I didn't see the inventors compare it to a (hammerhead) shark at all - I think that was *your* whimsical inference. They just call it a hammerhead, i.e. a shape which is just like - well, you know, the T-shaped head of a hammer. It could just as well be compared to any of the other hundreds of objects similarly-named for their hammerhead shape, all of which have temporaily escaped my mind at this current time.

  21. Jay 2

    I recently had to go somewhere new on my bike, so ended up using Google Maps on my phone (as I have a waterproof handlebar mount for it). I checked the route out using Streetview first to get an idea of what I'd be letting myself in for. Generally it was OK, but there were a few occasions where there was a disconnect between Google Maps, the real world and myself which led to an odd detour.

    I've also got a Garmin 810, but I'd forgotten it will do directions! I mainly use it to get all the data of what I've been up to.

  22. myhandler

    why don't they just add some bleeps ..one for turn right, a double beep for turn left ..

    and a ***##@@** beep for cars that get too close

    (seems to have too many leds - half that number would do the job)

  23. IanCa
    FAIL

    Is this just a london thing?

    curious, so I just installed their app and asked it to plot me my route across milton keynes from home to work. Which can be done 95% on cycle paths, the remaining 5% on quiet residential roads.

    instead, its directing me down multiple derestricted (60mph) single carriageways, around two of the worst multiple roundabouts, couple of dual carriageways round a huge 3 lane roundabout on the A5... methinks it's route planning hasn't got a clue about anything outside london?

    ok so my garmin edge doesn't do much better either - but I know that is only a roadies route-finder and accept it as such. I don't use the route finding anyway, as I generally know / plan where I am going in advance. Based on the description of this I was expecting true cycle-path aware route-planning and guidance ... seems like this is a waste of time unless the mapping and route planning takes a significant step up.

    and to the other MK cyclists (usually lycra roadies on skinny wheels) who use the roads when there is a perfectly good cycle path next to it - GET ON THE CYCLE PATH PLEASE you will do all of us a favour. I wish there was a hand signal I could use when in my car to tell you this without causing a road rage incident. you might think that you can go 5mph faster on the road, and it might even be true...but you will be 25mph slower dead.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    It'll never work.

    The majority of cyclists won't pull their heads out of their arses long enough to look at it. If (by some miracle) they do, it's a good job those little lights are green because they sure as fuck can't see red ones.

  25. Zmodem

    buy a xperia z3 handlebar mount for £15 and use googlemaps

    http://www.mobilefun.co.uk/sony-xperia-z3-bike-mount-kit-p53343.htm?referer=PLA&utm_source=google%2Bproducts&utm_medium=comparison&utm_campaign=google%2Bproducts&currency=1&gclid=CKe076Dr28YCFSQFwwod2_EDMg

    no more missing a lake like a garmin, if you want some skinny dipping while out freeriding around the dales

    1. Zmodem

      you have tools to download offline maps for googlemaps, if you actually go inbetween mountains

      https://support.google.com/gmm/answer/3273567?hl=en-GB more so, https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.runtastic.android.mountainbike.lite&hl=en

      gps essentials is top notch and some SAS stuff https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mictale.gpsessentials&hl=en

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wind noise

    I found that ambient wind noise is severe at any appreciable speed. I noticed that I had unconsiously developed a habit of turning my head sideways when approaching intersections while riding because it would substantially lower the wind sound to allow me to hear cross traffic before it could be seen. Maybe it's my big ears?

  27. James 63

    Pebble is good too

    NavMe running on a Pebble watch is my current solution to this problem. Google Maps to plan route, then Pebble displays directions (with phone safely tucked away in a pannier). Watch vibrates when approaching a turn, quick glance tells you where to go.

  28. The Abbot

    I am one of the early backers and I have one of these. The routing is still a real issue for me. I cannot even get a viable route home from my office in Seoul. The app keeps trying to put me on the freeway even though I can make almost the entire journey using great cycle paths. Routes are constantly doubling back on themselves and making ridiculous detours. Hopefully this will improve but, as of today, the product is unusable and product support is non-existent.

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