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Interbike 2017 show report: Trends and new products

Posted by on September 29th, 2017 at 11:35 am

The bicycle industry’s annual trade show sets up in Las Vegas each year.
(Photos: James Buckroyd, usually)

James Buckroyd is a professional product designer who happens to be addicted to cycling and is always seeking out the perfect route and the perfect piece of gear. He blogs at BuckyRides.com. His last review was Chrome’s Hondo backpack.

Last week I headed to Interbike Vegas 2017, where cycling industry veterans gathered to show off the latest trends and technology in cycling. The first two days of Interbike were the “Outdoor Demo,” where cycling industry pros get to view and ride new bicycles, followed by three days of trade show. With three exhibition halls full of gear, Interbike gives you a glimpse of the future.

Trends
“Smart” becomes integrated
The influx of smart technologies is finally surfacing in the bicycle world, from integrated GPS on e-bikes to speakerphones in helmets. Electronic technologies are blurring the lines between accessories and finding themselves in new products and previously mechanical-only items.

Electricity opens the door for more riders
E-bikes, e-bikes and more e-bikes. For those deep in the cycling world, the mention of motors on a bike can be controversial and start a passionate discussion, whether in regard racing or bike lane etiquette. Without being political, I can say the amount of diversity in e-bikes this year has exploded: Mountain, road, commuter, commuter drop bar, cruiser, folding and cargo bikes. There are more consumer options from the lower price points to $10,000 luxury urban transportation, catering to a wide range of categories with technology platforms from Bosch, Yamaha and Shimano.

 

Safety is king
In years past, the speedy lines of high end road bikes and the new geometries of mountain bikes led the way. Now, safety is king and accessories that provide safety and visibility are growing – from turn indicators built into helmets to GPS safe traffic routing. The bike light market is moving into the equivalent of the auto industries daytime running lights and hi viz is a staple in apparel lines. As an industry priority, safety is here to stay and technological developments only push things forward.

Innovations

The area of new exhibitors revealed helmet maker Annee London. The new helmet design is made from dense fabric material, which folds like a candy wrapper down to the size of an ipad mini. Pretty cool in itself. The material is said to have a 6-7 year life and have a much higher impact absorption than regular helmets. The innovation was inspired by personal empathy and while what you see here are development prototypes, I cannot wait to see if this starts any sparks in the industry.

Ever wrecked your bikes by running them into the top of your garage? If it hasn’t happened to you, you probably know someone who has and the damage to the bikes and the car are not minor. Raacked decided to take this on with some gadget wizardry. An ultrasonic sensor mounted on your roof rack measures proximity and when it senses an obstacle it wirelessly triggers a warning system on the inside your car. $125 to prevent thousands in damage–that’s an easy one in my mind. Raacked is aiming to go to market at approx. $125 a unit in the early 2018 timeframe, and is looking to bring a kickstarter to life soon: www.raacked.com.

Speaking of e-bikes, Stromer, a well known brand, had a couple of special editions with an impressive list of features: The LTD ST2 (only 555 of which will be made globally) and the top of the line ST2S. Stromer make the flagship of e-bikes and these come at flagship prices, $7,999 and $9,999. Packed full of tech, the Swiss have thought out every detail on this rear-wheel-drive e-bike. GPS tracking, remote bike locking, theft motor disablement, electronic diagnostics, 110 mile range, integrated smart lighting, variable brake lighting and get this -regenerative electricity to charge the battery while going down hills (how much charge would you get out of Thompson/ Cornell from skyline?). All this comes in a stylish package built with the quality of a German car.

SKS launched a line of clever lighting products integrated to stem and rear fender called Monkey Link. As well as being highly visible and stylish, the products include a powerful assisted magnetic snap attachment for easy on and off, and also internal wiring integration (called connect) is provided for e-bikes. Rear fender lights are $29 to $35, front lights from $59 to $99.

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Local Hits

Tim from Kool Stop, based in Lake Oswego, brought a few new products to the show, including e-bike specific brake pads and revised compounds on their classic orange/black combination pads.

Being a huge cat fan, Meghan from Nutcase Helmets in Portland was really excited to tell us about the great success of the quirky “Space Cats.” This irreverent yet adorable design seems to appeal to a lot of people.

Also for 2017/2018 from Nutcase: a new color palette for the Tracer helmet line, whose minimal modern looks have a lot of appeal to various types of riders from the commuter to the mountain biker. On the arty side, Nutcase is currently looking for new entrants in their Artist series, which encourages submissions of designs for helmets.

Joel from Lake Oswego-based Yakima Racks really wanted to talk about a nifty new product to make life a little easier. Anyone with a hitch knows that it can really get in the way when accessing other gear in the car or truck. The BackSwing ($299, available April 2018) allows you to swing out any hitch rack (tray or mast style) – well out of the way even with bikes loaded, extending out and rotating the rack 90 degrees. This means getting gear in the back of the car and carrying bikes has never been quicker, easier and less bruises on your ankles. It’s a slick little mod that can also retrofit a lot of existing hitch mounted racks rated to 250lbs.

Yakima also announced a special edition Camo Skyrise tent colab with Poler available for the holiday season.

Made in The USA

Phil Wood came out with a new rear hub system, the 2nd generation consisting of 5 double row pawls and a 40 engagement points on the ratchet ring, for better faster power transfer. The new design also has the advantage of easy servicing with common tools and replaceable pawls. Phil also launched this cute mini hub for Bromton wheels plus a 1 1/8 to 1.5″ headset.

— James Buckroyd, @jbucky1 on Twitter

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82 Comments
  • Spiffy September 29, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    that folding helmet is really cool… great for traveling and bike share…

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    • caesar September 29, 2017 at 1:02 pm

      But it is so ugly…

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      • ed September 29, 2017 at 2:17 pm

        As the text says you’re looking at a prototype here; unreasonable to pronounce superficial judgement on appearance at this point. Look at the concept. While folding helmet’s aren’t new (I own 2 versions currently in the marketplace) what is new here is the impact material unlike the EPS, EPP you normally see. (picnic cooler type material) This is much thinner so will be interesting to see if it meets safety tests, hard use etc.

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        • Clark in Vancouver October 1, 2017 at 9:29 pm

          Folding bike helmets are a but useful in places with helmet laws to avoid fines but are missing the whole point of bike helmets which is to sell cars.

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          • BB October 2, 2017 at 9:03 am

            My helmet has, as of yet, failed to sell me a car. Can you explain what I may be doing wrong?

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  • Chris I September 29, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    That E-mountain bike thing is really pushing limits on vehicle classification. It seems like we are just a few iterations away from E-bikes that have the size and power of lightweight gas-powered dirt bikes. Good luck getting access to new trails with those things flying by hikers and other trail users.

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    • Alex September 29, 2017 at 3:14 pm

      If you have been keeping up what has been happening in the past few years, you would know that you can make a differentiation between ebike trails and non-ebike trails. We need new rules for new modes of transport and technology.

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      • elyhim September 30, 2017 at 3:45 pm

        If you took Mtb ebike demos to Elementary schools you could change a generation’s attitude towards biking. Parents would realize they could learn skills, watch their kids and not have a heart attack or worry about hitting trees from exhaustion. More people would be biking and demand access to outdoor areas. Eventually people wanting a challenge would move to non-assist but ebikes are so much fun it’s like riding for the first time all over again.

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        • Kyle Banerjee October 1, 2017 at 9:22 am

          They have these things called “motorcycles” that kids do ride. There is an entire culture built around motorized conveyance in wilderness areas.

          Never realized parents were so concerned about kids crashing into trees from exhaustion. I always thought the concern about crashes had more to do with speed and conditions.

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      • Kyle Banerjee October 1, 2017 at 10:03 am

        The differentiation is important. These changes are coming whether people like them are not

        Given the culture of this blog, I’m surprised driving to motorized entertainment in a natural area is regarded as something that should be encouraged.

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    • wsbob September 29, 2017 at 6:47 pm

      Very likely, e-bikes could be a great thing for people that would love to get out on some natural land trail, but can’t because of physical disability. Bikes having electric assist, doesn’t mean they have to be ridden extreme.

      For just cruising along at close to a normal walking speed, they possibly could work out alright, even on trail used also for walking. If e-bikes in mountain bike form come to be used for extreme mountain bike riding on natural land trail, I expect there definitely will be resistance for use of this type of bike on trail.

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      • Cyclekrieg October 1, 2017 at 7:11 am

        Actually, e-MTBs are a huge issue for access for all mountain bikers, especially in city, county and state lands. They are growing issue for federal lands too. For city and county lands specifically, they are almost always “non-motorized” and guess what, e-MTBs have motors.

        wsbob, you have many times mentioned opposition to mountain biking in parks in Portland. Well guess what, if you support e-MTBs, you support them in Forest Park as there is no way (currently) to prevent e-MTBs on trails. Its a known issue with e-MTB manufacturers and re-sellers as they often sell the bikes without explaining where one can and can not ride.

        My local trail allows e-MTBs. They are few and far between for now. But I can assure you, the people riding them aren’t individuals with medical issues who need a little boost. Its not NICA dads or moms. Its rich bro-dudes who want to be on the Strava boards but don’t want to put in the training. That may change, it may not.

        I firmly believe every trail project going forward should have discussion about whether e-MTBs should be allowed. There might be reasons why they can or can not. But the one place they should remained banned is urban mountain bike trails. The (false) perception of impacts and safety are hard enough to negotiate now. Lets not throw a motorized use in there to complicate matters.

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        • wsbob October 2, 2017 at 1:12 pm

          “…wsbob, you have many times mentioned opposition to mountain biking in parks in Portland. Well guess what, if you support e-MTBs, you support them in Forest Park as there is no way (currently) to prevent e-MTBs on trails. …” cyclekrieg

          I definitely have reservations about the use of bikes on natural land parks within urban areas, in Portland, Beaverton where I live, and other towns and cities in the Willamette and Tualitan Valley’s. I think most people living in these areas do too.

          A condition of these reservations, is that I feel also, that e-assist in mountain bikes could be a great means of enabling people that wouldn’t otherwise be able to get out on the trail, to do that with the help of this technology. That’s not to say that people having such bikes, or a level of disability that would justify their use on trail, should or would be given carte blanch to ride wherever they wanted to in any natural land park in the area.

          For example, noting first I haven’t personally been to the local off road biking parks, Stubb, Sandy Ridge or Gateway….what I know of them from reading about them, is that not one of them probably has the type of trail, terrain or surroundings I’m thinking would be suitable for the type of e-bike rider I have in mind.

          I’m thinking of a very sedate type of riding, outdoor experience that many mountain bikers, maybe most, wouldn’t even consider at all with any level of enthusiasm. To people stuck in houses, being driven everywhere, short walks in town…e-mountain bikes could be a marvelous opportunity.

          I’m glad to hear your concern about how e-mountain bikes could potentially have an adverse effect on use of natural land where mountain biking already is a designated, well managed, responsible activity.

          If people have the physical and muscle potential for mountain biking ranging from energetic to radical, they should be pedaling…without any e-assist. People that want to use e-mountain bikes mainly so they can go further, ride faster, or do some kind of hot roddin’ thing, are probably going to run into lots of opposition. For this type of riding, I wouldn’t favor the use of e-mountain bikes in any of the aforementioned parks. Out of respect for natural land and the positive ethics of mountain biking, I hope most people would feel similarly as the public becomes more familiar with e-mountain bikes. Maybe their sport idea is ok, somewhere. They’re going to have to find someone to support them in the pursuit of it.

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          • Alex October 4, 2017 at 4:29 pm

            That sounds more like just an eBike and not an eMTB.

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            • wsbob October 5, 2017 at 11:52 pm

              Being used off-road for easy riding, an e-bike might need to have tread with better grip than street tires. More relaxed geometry, most likely some suspension.

              Unless the riding is going to be aggressive, a rider wouldn’t probably need an e-mountain bike like that Haibike shown in one of the pictures accompanying this story.

              Cool looking bike, but how many just out for a quiet ride on trail out in the back country, need a bike like that? Just assuming by looking at the thick downtube, that it is an e-bike. Exactly what people are using e-mountain bikes like that for, I can only imagine. Looks like something for motocross rather than mountain biking. Except coincidentally, I’m not following this recreation in the news and magazines. Are pedal exclusive mountain bikers going to want to be sharing trail with someone riding one of those e-mountain bikes like the Haibike? Good question probably.

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      • Kyle Banerjee October 1, 2017 at 10:00 am

        People always focus on the disability angle here, but I expect that would be far from the predominant use.

        MTBs are heavy enough before they’re electrified making them difficult for those with disabilities to get on/off racks, and adding a motor and batteries makes them heavier still. Climbing may be way easier with a motor, handling is a significant physical challenge. In addition, you need to be able to do repairs out in the field.

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        • wsbob October 1, 2017 at 3:01 pm

          “People always focus on the disability angle here, but I expect that would be far from the predominant use. …” banerjee

          I would hope most of the appeal of e-mountain bikes would be for simple, easy going off road biking, whether or not the people that choose to ride them, have any disability. Mostly for level trail with gentle up and downhill grades, rather strong climbing and descents.

          People really serious about off road biking, shouldn’t really need motors. Isn’t becoming fit and strong by riding out on natural land, off road, a big point of riding mountain bikes as compared to motor powered dirt bikes? (although I’m aware that serious mx dirt bikers can become very fit to do kind of riding they do.).

          I’m watching to see how consumer interest in all types of e-bikes, e-scooters and e-motor cycles proceeds. All of these types of e-bikes have been available for some years already. The technology and design ideas are rapidly moving ahead. The word about is spreading too. These bikes aren’t household words yet, like i-pad, i-phone, hybrid, bluetooth, but they seem to be moving steadily in that direction.

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          • Kyle Banerjee October 2, 2017 at 7:01 am

            Scooters make more sense for most people with mobility issues — they can be used in more situations, they work better with a wider variety of physical/balance/control issues, and people who need them can often get assistance for the cost. I’m seeing more of them.

            There will be a market for people who need the electric assist on bikes, but this strikes me as a niche thing where the rider really wants to be able to a bike of some sort. Trikes also strike me as good electrification for some people.

            One thing I haven’t seen much of in Portland that I’d think would both be practical and fit with the culture are electric unicycles. Fast, small, highly maneuverable, and can easily be carried indoor and on transit. Need to be able bodied to use them though.

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            • wsbob October 2, 2017 at 12:41 pm

              By “…scooters…” do you mean those rigs that look like a chair on wheels, designed specifically for people with serious disabilities? Not the kind of scooters I was thinking of. Saw a guy a few days ago with a great looking e-scooter, looked like a Vespa. Sounded like low quality product after I talked with him. 1400 new, liquid acid batteries, not li-on, only two years old , and range down to 17 miles. He was debating about switching out to li-on, or getting a better model.

              Level of disability I had in mind, thinking e-bikes and e-mountain bikes would be a great aid, are people that can walk some distance, but not far, or with ease, that still have good balance. Lots of people out there like that, I think. Some of these people, I think are the market for atv’s.

              My dad is one of them. Not a crazy rider, but likes to get out on the trail into the countryside. Too old to consider riding a bike anymore, but with e-assist, new generations as they get to 60’s and beyond, might take to the idea. Personally, I have no interest in riding gas powered atv’s…the noise, dirt they kick up, and the potential for crazy fast riding is not good. I’ve never gone with my dad on his trips with the atv. If he rode an e-bike though, I most likely would.

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              • Kyle Banerjee October 3, 2017 at 9:25 am

                I was thinking the 4 wheel rig. They can take them in stores, on paths, etc.

                The scooters you’re talking about look cool and are fun to ride, but aren’t as stable or easy to handle as a small motorcycle. Even gas powered doesn’t have to be that loud.

                I would personally never send someone on a trail who wasn’t equipped to deal with problems or accompanied by support that could provide this service for them. People get hurt, mechanicals happen, and conditions can totally change in a short period of time.. It really doesn’t take much for a minor problem to turn into something very serious.

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            • wsbob October 3, 2017 at 12:20 pm

              “…I would personally never send someone on a trail who wasn’t equipped to deal with problems or accompanied by support that could provide this service for them. People get hurt, mechanicals happen, and conditions can totally change in a short period of time.. It really doesn’t take much for a minor problem to turn into something very serious.” bannerjee

              A few years back, I did a fair bit of reading on bikeforums/e-bike category. There, I read a number of people’s stories about their having some level of disability and finding e-bikes able to help them get out into the woods on old logging roads and so forth. Definitely, a buddy or small group of three or four would be advisable I think, to deal with something serious. I wouldn’t say ‘here’s your e-mountain bike!’, and let someone that didn’t know, get stuck out the boonies, 5 to 20 miles from a well traveled paved road.

              Don’t know why, doesn’t have anything to do with e-biking, but that image of cheryl strayed out on the PCT comes to mind. That poor gal didn’t even have the knowledge to get proper sized boots. There she was…stuck out in the middle of nowhere with messed up feet due to too tight boots.

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              • Kyle Banerjee October 3, 2017 at 9:38 pm

                I never could figure her out. She wasn’t an outdoors person and had no knowledge, skills, or even previous interest and suddenly goes out on an epic trip. Really bad idea even if it worked out fine for her.

                People do stuff like that, but I don’t think it should be encouraged. Respect for conditions and what might happen is critical to safety everywhere.

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              • wsbob October 5, 2017 at 12:46 am

                “I never could figure her out….” bannerjee

                Read her book. That will give you some insight into who she is and why she does what she does, and the mistakes she has made. I read most of it, probably the first 80 percent. She’s a wild girl, or was. Lots of tough times but has deep running solid family values that carried her out of disastrous situations. Lives in Portland, married, has kids. I’ve never met her.

                She’s one of the people that has done crazy things and survived, that other people do and die from. I think of a number of people I’ve known, that did crazy wild things, and when they crashed, had nothing left to carry them back up from desperation.

                It can be a great thing to do things solo, but doing so does carry risks that are lessened some with a pal or a buddy, a partner. It’s easy to make little mistakes that can turn into a big deal when a person is off by themselves.

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              • Kyle Banerjee October 6, 2017 at 12:54 am

                I read all of her book. Still didn’t make any sense to me.

                I seek out adventurers, explorers, and nuts. As someone who has spent a lot of time with such people, I would say that most are experts but some know don’t know that much and get by on their drive, ability to suffer, and gumption — a category she falls into.

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              • wsbob October 6, 2017 at 10:11 am

                “…but some know don’t know that much and get by on their drive, ability to suffer, and gumption …” bannerjee

                That’s alright with me. I admire people that do the best they can despite whatever comes at them. It’s not good when people allow themselves to be compelled, repeatedly, to do things they know are stupid, and keep on doing it until they get into serious injury or die, or badly effect someone else as a result of their stupidity.

                As long as they learn something out of the deal, are willing to learn and make efforts to stop failing and falling, I think they’re worthy of my admiration. Vast knowledge is helpful, even essential, depending on the circumstances, but it’s not everything. Just simple, basic knowledge about accomplishing routine daily tasks well, is all most people need.

                Bikes are, or can be liberating, compared to exclusive reliance on motor vehicles for travel, and recreation, which some people are helplessly dependent on. I think for some people, e-bikes could be the means that will help them explore and recover some of the ability they lost long ago, if they ever had to use it, to rely on themselves to get out of simple predicaments that reliance on motor vehicles for travel obviated for them, long ago.

                Strayed’s experience with too small boots stays with me. I’ve thought about what she could possibly have done in the interim while she was waiting to get new boots from REI delivered to a way station. Instead of duct taping the crummy sandals she had. I would have considered cutting the toe out of the boots. Horizontal cut across the front so it would flop down, have a soft surface for the toe to rest on. Tape the top and lower flaps together to make longer toe. Still would have to be watching not to stub a toe, but at least there’d be a good solid sole underfoot. If she had a decent knife along to do the work. If she didn’t, someone else along the trail most likely would have.

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    • Tim October 2, 2017 at 8:40 am

      E-mountain bike are hugely popular in Europe. People use them to go up the hills, and the alps are pretty big hills. Going up, they are still pretty slow, going down they are not any faster than any other bike. Taking the chair lift up is still popular, but I suspect it is loosing ground. In tourist areas of Bavaria and Austria, hotels have E-bikes for rent and charging stations. They even have E-bike tankstella stations at popular tourist attractions. All that and I I didn’t notice any problems, unless happy families out seeing the sites by bike is a problem.

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  • wsbob September 29, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    Who is the designer and manufacturer of the green in color, illuminated bike helmet you have a picture of? Interesting design. I wonder about its functionality.

    Doesn’t look like Lumos, the illuminated helmet with integrated front light, rear light, turn signals and brake light that’s been produced for several years, started up through kickstarter. Lumos has been advertising on bikeportland for some weeks. Bike Gallery carries it. I’ve tried one on. Seen somebody in Beaverton using a Lumos. It could use improvement, but the idea has potential, I think. At 200, costs more than I want to spend to try it out.

    I’d love to someday maybe have a practical, light weight closed cockpit e-bike trike or quad for nasty weather riding and grocery shopping. Any chance you saw such a critter at the show? The Organic Transit Elf was an ok idea, but the realization had much to be desired; it was huge, heavy, not space efficient, solid but crudely constructed. It’s body looked good.

    The folding helmet. Funny. One guess why there’s no photo of someone actually wearing it: because it’s ‘oogly’? Shown in the photos, open and upside down, it looks like some kind of baby car seat. If there’s anything less visually appealing than wearing a badly designed bike helmet that looks like a beer cooler on your head, it’s probably a bike helmet that might like a baby car seat. It seems like a practical idea though. Like the looks of the pads inside the helmet.

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    • James Buckroyd (Contributor) September 29, 2017 at 6:23 pm

      I have a few more images of the helmets, I will try get them posted up. The company is Livall, the helmet above is $159 and called the BH51 HelmetPhone. There is also a sportier more race helmet by this company.

      The foldable helmet is a tested prototype but I expect the appearance to change a lot before it hits the market.

      Cheers James
      http://www.buckyrides.com

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      • wsbob September 29, 2017 at 7:00 pm

        james…thanks for the additional info on the green BH51 HelmetPhone, by Livall. Tell us more about it if possible. I guess I could do a web search in case the company has a website. Am I correct to understand this helmet is different from the helmet, a couple pictures of which show the underside of the helmet with a speaker?

        I think there’s definitely a market for this kind of technology in helmets, if it can be made to work well. I just don’t like the ‘in ear’ type ear buds at all for riding.

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        • Ted Timmons (Contributor) September 30, 2017 at 2:38 pm

          I run a helmet with built-in bluetooth (Coros Linx), it uses bone conduction for the speakers.

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          • wsbob October 1, 2017 at 2:42 pm

            It’s interesting to compare Coros. Livall and Lumos. Like the latter, Livall has integrated lighting and turn signals. Lumos though, doesn’t have the communication functionality Livall and Coros both have, at least not yet. . Livall has six different models of helmets. The other two have just one style. How the brightness and visibility of the LED displays of Lumos and Livall compare, is something many people would be thinking about.

            Not having seen it first hand, the BH60SE with the rear display and turn signals, looks like the Livall model I’d be most interested in taking a closer look at. The 50, 51 commuter, and the 62 racing styles are interesting too. Slightly amazing that walmart is boldly listed as a retailer for this manufacturer. I’d rather see a Portland area bike shop’s logo appearing on the company website.

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        • James Buckroyd (Contributor) September 30, 2017 at 2:48 pm

          The greenish “commuter style” one is what they were talking about the most, that is the BH51, the other photos above it in this report were of the BH60SE, they have quite a few models, check out http://www.livall.com

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      • wsbob October 3, 2017 at 12:08 am

        …by the way…yesterday, I dropped into the nearby Bike Gallery (they carry Lumos) to see if they carried or were aware of Livall or Coros helmets. Busy, so I only had a chance to talk with one salesperson, who was unaware of Livall. They don’t carry either. Some of the other employees at the BG might know about these helmets.

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    • Kyle Banerjee October 2, 2017 at 10:05 am

      wsbob
      I’d love to someday maybe have a practical, light weight closed cockpit e-bike trike or quad for nasty weather riding and grocery shopping. Any chance you saw such a critter at the show? The Organic Transit Elf was an ok idea, but the realization had much to be desired; it was huge, heavy, not space efficient, solid but crudely constructed. It’s body looked good.

      Meet my Velokit — http://photos.alptown.com/images/Oregon.2006.VelokitAtNight.jpg It weighs only 45 lbs for the whole rig. What it really is is a fairing and canvas sides mounted on a 2004 Catrike road. I commuted on this 22 miles each way for awhile. I still have it.

      What you’re asking for is a velomobile and unless you do something like what I have, they’ll always be heavy (even 45 lbs is heavy when you get down to it). They are not practical for in Portland for a bunch of reasons. They are wide, low, you need to have electric turn signals, they’er noisy inside, it’s too easy to overheat (mine has an open bottom to let in cool air). and people assume you’re an electric car. They’re a beast on hills. If you’re fully enclosed, your aero profile is huge so you’re slow. As you would imagine, changing flats is fun.

      Many of the people I know with velomobiles have electric assist. These of course are easier to pedal, but that makes them heavier still and doesn’t mitigate any of the other issues.

      Since moving to Portland, I pulled the velomobile off and just ride a bare trike. Much more practical and fun in town no matter what the weather. BTW, it’s great on ice.

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      • wsbob October 2, 2017 at 12:23 pm

        Haven’t yet looked at the photo of you trike. Canvas could be ok though. Velomobiles are cool, but yes, I definitely think they’re too low to the ground, as to me, most bents seem to be. There’s exceptions though. Four or five years ago, Downtown, I saw a guy riding a quad, I think it was, upright seating. Had canvas fairings. Something he fabbed himself, exploring a a potential market. I didn’t get the details, assuming that his rig or something similar would hit he market. Maybe there has been….I’m not really actively searching them out.

        For a lot of people’s short trip travel needs, I’m not sure 45lbs would be a such a great adversity. For me, and hundreds of my neighbors, it would be a flat terrain two mile round trip to the grocery store, and dozens of other regular destinations. With e-assist, pedaling would be no problem for this distance, or even twice that, I think, even with say, an additional 25 lbs cargo.

        For recreational and sport riding…different story entirely. This type riding calls for a lightweight bike. At least, that’s what I enjoy…something light, responsive, quick. But then, plenty people love tooling around on their cantilever frame heavy steel cruisers. For them, transition to a practical quad or trike might not be much of a big deal at all. Except for the likely much higher cost.

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      • wsbob October 3, 2017 at 12:23 am

        …had time to check out the picture…that’s some photo! Not bad fairings. Thanks for showing it!

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  • Justin September 29, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    I need to know more about this bluetooth helmet! So cool!

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    • James Buckroyd (Contributor) September 29, 2017 at 6:26 pm

      Hey Justin, Livall is the brand, I have a few more images of the helmets, I will try get them posted up. The green one is called the BH51 HelmetPhone

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  • Motor Cycle? September 29, 2017 at 6:21 pm

    What’s the difference between a motor cycle and a bicycle with a motor?

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    • Dan A September 29, 2017 at 7:15 pm

      Welcome to earth.

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    • elyhim September 30, 2017 at 3:47 pm

      What’s the difference between a human with a pacemaker and one without? After all the pacemaker is the motor assist for the heart.

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      • Kyle Banerjee October 1, 2017 at 8:54 am

        There is no motor and they don’t help the heart pump blood — they only send an impulse telling it when to beat.

        From what I can tell, the only thing that distinguishes the two is that bicycles have pedals and a motor while a motorcycle lacks the pedals. It is not important to actually use the pedals or supply significant energy for it to be cheered as a bicycle, but from what I can tell, electric motorcycles are not cheered here.

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        • elyhim October 1, 2017 at 6:46 pm

          It depends on what we’re talking about, Responsible manufactures (those making e-mtbs) make class I pedelecs they cannot outperform non-assist bikes. There’s no throttle, resistance just like a normal bicycle. It’s kind of obvious you haven’t ridden any e-mtbs. The pacemaker example is spot-on.

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          • John Liu
            John Liu October 2, 2017 at 10:29 am

            You mean like these https://www.electricbike.com/10-fastest-ebikes/

            50 mph top speed from 6,000 watts . . . production e-bikes.

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          • Kyle Banerjee October 2, 2017 at 12:03 pm

            For being such the expert, you seem very unaware of what is out there. BTW, I’ve ridden more different kinds of electric bikes than I can remember, including a few MTB’s. The most recent one I tried was a fat bike in the snow. Many have throttles, and even pedal assist often goes way beyond what a normal rider could ever put out. The wattage alone should tell you that.

            When I encounter these things, I have yet to hear the selling point being that it doesn’t go faster than a normal rider. Quite the opposite. And when I try them, I find I can go way faster than I ever could pedal up hills or on soft terrain. It’s fun, but we shouldn’t pretend a motorcycle is a bicycle. If you’re getting speed and not exerting yourself much, it’s a motorbike. Sticking pedals on it doesn’t change where the real power comes from.

            The pacemaker example is as logic challenged as it gets. First of all, it is necessary for survival, not entertainment. Secondly, as I mentioned in my first post, it doesn’t do the work for you — it only signals when your heart should beat. It’s more like a cadence meter in that respect. It does not drastically amplify the power you apply to do a task.

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            • elyhim October 2, 2017 at 3:57 pm

              I doubt you’ve ridden e-bikes at all but sounds like you have seen them on youtube from the likes of Lunacycle or other Chinese crappy manufactures. Class I pedelec – it’s a thing google it – it isn’t faster than humans go. The Strava times in my area prove this.
              Class II pedelec sometimes called a speed pedelec is made for road/commuting. I can’t think of one reputable company manufacturing anything more powerful than a class I pedelec for E-mtb. Brose, Shimano, Bosch, Yamaha, I’ve tried this responsible manufactures products and they are amazing. It’s not a moped – it’s a bicycle.

              Here’s an example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-HS0PYsy9E

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              • Kyle Banerjee October 2, 2017 at 6:08 pm

                Doubt all you like. Where is your great experience from? A shop where you sell these reputable bikes?

                I’m well aware of what the law is and that a bunch of bikes comply with that. You may try riding yourself a bit and see what you actually encounter. Check out some bike shows and outdoor events too. There’s some neat stuff out there. I’m happy to call the stuff that kicks out at 20mph a bike, but there’s a lot out there that doesn’t apply to.

                Why on earth would Strava be any kind of proof? Strava “racing” is pointless enough, but doing it with a motor is just silly.

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              • Kyle Banerjee October 3, 2017 at 9:36 am

                Ahh, I didn’t realize you’ve only been riding a few months. I’m pretty sure I’ve ridden more e-bikes than you and certainly a greater variety.

                Just so you’re aware, most people don’t buy whole e-bikes, they build them up. There are lots of ways to subvert speed limits even with well established companies that make honest efforts to discourage people from doing so. Crank and inline power is especially easy to get more speed, and all you should need to do for extra speed on a hub based wheel is tell it your tire circumference is much smaller than it actually is. Even a system didn’t allow you to do that, you could always get a system designed for a 20″ wheel and lace it to a much larger rim.

                And BTW, I encountered one of these overpowered e-bikes on my way in to work this morning. I caught it at a stoplight and paced it at 28mph on flat ground before letting it go because I can’t hold onto that kind of speed very long and don’t like torching my legs.

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      • wsbob October 1, 2017 at 11:22 am

        “What’s the difference between a human with a pacemaker and one without? …” elyhim

        Easy: if both people need it, the person with the pacemaker, lives…the person without the pacemaker risks dying. As I understand it, pacemakers just regulate the beat of the heart. Kickstarts it when it’s inclined to beat irregularly. The heart is still doing the work.

        Similarly in a different sense, this is the potential beauty of e-bikes for people that need a little help propelling their bike. Aside, of course, from all the annoying people that are itching to hot rod and generally ride their e-bikes like bats from hell. This technology could open some doors to again experience with some physical workout, natural land settings, for people that have had to gradually give up being out there instead of the gym or sitting in front of the tv.

        I’d hope that most people using e-bikes will do so to at least do some pedaling because they want a workout. Instead of only using electric motor technology to power bikes as a motor vehicle, not requiring any physical exertion at all.

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        • elyhim October 1, 2017 at 6:49 pm

          I used an e-mtb since April and lost a ton of weight, I’m transitioning to a non-assist bike now but my lungs are still recovering from 35 years of smoking. I think e-bikes are fantastic for parents, for partners, for kids, for older folks. They are a great equalizer and are no more detrimental to the trail than a regular bike.

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          • wsbob October 2, 2017 at 12:06 pm

            Excellent change of lifestyle choice on your part! Getting to and maintaining a sensible body weight is a good thing. I hope you can swear off tobacco too, not just smoking. That’s more of a personal choice though, and a sensitive subject for many people.

            With the type of use you’re making of your e-mountain bike on natural land trail, it may not be doing damage more significant than walking does. As I think I’ve said elsewhere already though, with any new gadget, there are people inclined to fuss and fiddle with it, push it to its limits to see what it can do.

            This is one of the cautions associated with e-bikes that I think people will have to deal with, whether the use is on road or off road. On MUP’s people already have had to deal with some bad consequences of the speed and manner of riding that being able to propel a bike without physically having to exert serious muscle effort allows. Hope for the best.

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    • Sukho Goff October 2, 2017 at 1:04 pm

      The naming convention/branding.

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  • Jim Lee September 29, 2017 at 6:49 pm

    Why celebrate all this hyper flamboyant rubbish when no one has bothered to figure out Archibald Sharp’s mathematically demonstrated superiority of fixed-gear drive in 1896?

    Stuff and bother!

    Do the math!

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    • ed September 29, 2017 at 7:41 pm

      Why of course it’s because everyone clearly lacks your genius seeing what no one else apparently understands… for more than a century! We bow at your feet Mr. Lee 😉

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    • El Biciclero October 2, 2017 at 9:34 am

      Multi-gear derailleur shift bikes (non-e-assist) are the new fixed-gear.

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  • Al September 29, 2017 at 9:35 pm

    While I have seen ebikes really take off this year, I have yet to see any on MTB trails.

    Personally, I find this an exciting development given that I can now hope to extend my riding years another decade or two.

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    • B. Carfree September 29, 2017 at 9:56 pm

      I’m good with electric motors on bikes, but the cranky old fart in me must be served, so I still despise the very concept of driving to ride. That makes me excited by electric assist mountain bikes because this technology may get more folks to ride without using shuttles and to even, gasp, ride to the trails on occasion (once the range improves).

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  • Vince September 30, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    Want to make sure you don’t drive into the garage with bikes on the roof? First step in loading the bikes should be to remove the remote from your car. Then when you cone home, you can’t get back in without first getting out of the car. If you don’t notice tgat you have bikes on thbe car, then maybe you shouldn’t be driving. You are welcome. $124.99 please.

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    • James Buckroyd (Contributor) September 30, 2017 at 4:46 pm

      Maybe it’s someone turning into a public parking garage?

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      • Vince September 30, 2017 at 5:16 pm

        That’s a very good thought, but if you ask anyone who has worked in a bike shop or for a place that sells racks, they will tell you that home garages are the leading killers of bikes on roof racks. One reason may be that public garages almost always have some time of swinging barrier at the entrance, hung at the lowest height in the structure.

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    • Ted Timmons (Contributor) September 30, 2017 at 5:42 pm

      Yep- my habit is to hide the remote under the passenger side floor mat. Still horrified that something might happen.

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    • Kyle Banerjee October 1, 2017 at 5:10 pm

      Note that this isn’t actually available yet. According to “Kyle’s Iron Clad Law of Product Development,” everything works better before it is developed than afterwards.

      Even if it does what it says, I’d guess false warnings are an issue — for example when you pull behind a large vehicle or truck at a stoplight. And you’ll need to keep it clean for it to work and remove it every time you stop or someone will probably swipe it after awhile.

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      • James Buckroyd (Contributor) October 1, 2017 at 5:18 pm

        Correct, this is still proto. Might be a good suggestion for the developer to add a key lock to lock it to the crossbar.

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    • Dan A October 1, 2017 at 5:44 pm

      I’ve driven into my carport with bikes on top. Dented the gutter on the carport, bent some pieces on the rack (easily replaced) and dented the roof on my car a bit (who cares). I replaced it with a hitch rack and I’m much happier. The roof rack is now used for SUP boards.

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    • Ted Timmons (Contributor) October 3, 2017 at 4:23 pm

      I train.

      I pay attention to my personal KOMs (not actual KOMs, I’m not that fast).

      What am I training for? Being healthy. Why do I pay attention to my climb times? It’s a good metric of my fitness, which is a good proxy for how I’m doing to preserve my mental health.

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      • Kyle Banerjee October 3, 2017 at 9:51 pm

        I get that Cat 6 racing is only one use of Strava, and that many riders don’t really use it for this purpose. There are many uses that make plenty of sense such as using it as a training and and evaluation tool. I was just objecting to the idea that uncontrolled Strava data in a public area can prove anything in particular.

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  • SAM jonas October 4, 2017 at 8:36 am

    City planners tap into wealth of cycling data from Strava tracking app

    https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/may/09/city-planners-cycling-data-strava-tracking-app

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  • SAM jonas October 4, 2017 at 8:37 am

    STRAVA’S CYCLING APP IS HELPING CITIES BUILD BETTER BIKE LANES

    https://www.wired.com/2014/06/strava-sells-cycling-data/

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  • SAM jonas October 4, 2017 at 8:44 am

    I believe the claim was:

    “Why on earth would Strava be any kind of proof? Strava “racing” is pointless enough, but doing it with a motor is just silly.”

    Apparently city planners think otherwise and lots of commuters as well. So….data from Strava DOES provide a tremendous amount of proof…and yes, even with a motor.

    Ted, keep logging in those miles. It means better bike paths for everyone.

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    • Kyle Banerjee October 4, 2017 at 9:46 am

      Portland has been using Strava data for years. As is the case with all data, it needs to be taken with more than a grain of salt which Portland planners have fortunately been doing.

      Strava data is not representative. Want to see the map for Portland?

      http://labs.strava.com/heatmap/#12/-122.72068/45.49234/yellow/bike

      Note that the heaviest traffic is in the hills. Lots of roads with no shoulders there and the traffic moves right along — so do you think this should be the infrastructure priority?

      And if you do feel this is representative, note the huge areas on the map that shows practically no riding activity. If you feel that infrastructure helps people ride, just maybe the priority needs to be to get good routes in these areas than to continue to dink with the same tiny areas over and over again.

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    • elyhim October 4, 2017 at 4:58 pm

      1200 miles of single track on my local trail compared to the regular riders would seem like a good sample from the summer. The ebike is not faster than traditional bikes. Racing? no lol.. flow fun – yes.

      Ebikes are not the throttle “kits” from yesteryear. It’s a blooming billion dollar a year industry in Europe and it’s just getting started in the states. All the knuckleheads already have their lead sled throttle kits, now we’re talking about mid-drives (because really, hub motors=cheap for a reason). People want reliability and warranty not some battery that may/may not explode. I’m not going to argue anymore, it is what it is. You can get on board the billion dollar untapped as-of-yet market or be rolled over by it. it’s coming either way.

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      • James Buckroyd (Contributor) October 4, 2017 at 5:02 pm

        I like your points here. This tech is here to stay and we have to embrace it. In my mind more people cycling is always a plus. We will work out the growing pains.

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      • Kyle Banerjee October 5, 2017 at 12:42 pm

        Agreed that they’re here to stay as well as with your comments on mid drive. I also think a lot more will be sold as e-bikes as things designed from the ground up will work better.

        Integrating the technology strikes me as one of those cases where if the culture can be encouraged to develop in a productive way (much the way that responsible outdoors people take all the stuff they’re supposed to do seriously), things will be fine.

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        • elyhim October 5, 2017 at 1:06 pm

          One of the biggest takeaways from ebiking is the affect on other trail users. I’m pretty much the ONLY one stopping for hikers/joggers and often enough bikers that are passing me and my group. I think the more people use ebikes and aren’t breathless and discouraged from stopping/starting on a trail the more people will let the right of way rules happen and joggers, hikers and walkers will be more accepting of bikes on trails.

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          • wsbob October 5, 2017 at 11:23 pm

            “… I think the more people use ebikes and aren’t breathless and discouraged from stopping/starting on a trail the more people will let the right of way rules happen and joggers, hikers and walkers will be more accepting of bikes on trails.” elyhim

            That’s a good point, I think. Specifically what I’m thinking about is the ability of e-bike technology to be an equalizer in terms of accessibility to trail that basically has required being not just physically sound, but fairly fit too. Hiking nor off-road biking works too well with a bum leg, heart conditions, etc.

            Just hearing the acronym ATV probably provokes revulsion from a lot of people that find that type of transportation abhorrent, but as I’ve touched on earlier, I think there may be a lot of people using that mode of travel, just because it enables them to get out there, and because up until relatively recently, good e-bike technology hasn’t been available.

            Having on the trail, some of these people on e-bikes that aren’t out for a fast, aggressive ride, could go a fair way to helping promote and maintain a quiet, positive, trail user environment.

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            • elyhim October 6, 2017 at 6:40 pm

              I’ve joined several ebike groups that are sourced mostly in Europe. I also am part of the “strava clubs” and the longest emtb rides are generally 20-25 miles between 9-11 mph. (excluding Alps/Asia vacation rides) I’m sure there are aggressive riders but for the most part these are people who found a way to enjoy riding in a way they thought they had left behind with youth. None of them want a throttle and literally all of them are purchasing from longtime manufactures that only make class I pedelecs. I keep saying it, in the USA if you demo’d this at elementary schools we could effectively change a generation. You may scoff at parents “too exhausted to avoid trees” but I’ve seen the look. I’ve seen the patterns of rides.I’ve seen the people attempting a first pass at a wellness activity. Giving people this ability to ride, improve stamina and get outside will likely bring half of them to non-assist bikes in a year or so just for a challenge. IMO there should be ebike trails in every locality just to start documenting the facts. My pulse rate is 54, last April 80ish. I wish insurance companies would buy ebikes instead of lap bands. Now I’m looking for a non assist bike (saving for a Fuel).

              Emtb’s changed my life, they can certainly help others like me.

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  • SAM jonas October 4, 2017 at 9:59 am

    ODOT embarks on “big data” project with purchase of Strava dataset

    “Last fall, the agency paid $20,000 for one-year license of a dataset that includes the activities of about 17,700 riders and 400,000 individual bicycle trips totaling 5 million BMT (bicycle miles traveled) logged on Strava in 2013. ”

    https://bikeportland.org/2014/05/01/odot-embarks-on-big-data-project-with-purchase-of-strava-dataset-105375

    So yes, Strava data is real…

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  • SAM jonas October 4, 2017 at 10:16 am

    https://www.curbed.com/2016/9/2/12749686/cycling-city-planning-app-strava

    “….use data from Strava Metro, including Glasgow, Brisbane, and towns in Oregon.”

    https://www.bdcnetwork.com/city-planners-find-value-data-strava-cyclist-tracking-app

    http://fortune.com/2014/08/29/improve-urban-infrastructure-theres-an-app-for-that/

    “Margi Bradway was the planner at the ODOT who first saw Metro’s potential. “When we started looking at the heat-maps, we could see patterns,” she says. “You’d see people riding a bike lane and then jumping through a park to get to the next street, instead of going through a busy intersection. Or you’d see cyclists on one side of the road choosing to go against traffic, because there was no shoulder on the correct side. You’d see the streets and intersections that weren’t serving cyclists’ needs.””

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