Cycling is generally thought of as a mostly analog activity: more legs and lungs than bits and bytes. But even if you’re not one with the Strava crowd, it’s hard to ignore the fact that electronics are playing an increasingly prominent role in our sport. Gears are changed more often than ever with motors and batteries instead of cables and housing. Rides that aren’t tracked via GPS are regarded by some as never having happened. There is an ever-increasing array of sensors available to measure anything and everything. All of it is intended to enhance our experience and performance in one way or another.
Whether or not that’s actually the case is up for debate, but there’s no denying that the electronic wave is not only heading toward the cycling shore, but steadily building in size and intensity.
There is arguably no better showcase for how our worlds are becoming increasingly connected and digital than the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. The convention center halls may shine a brighter spotlight on massive TVs, fancy cameras, smart homes, and drones galore, but there’s also a healthy collection of cycling-related gadgets tucked away in between if you’re willing to do a bit of digging.
CyclingTips US technical editor James Huang brought his shovel to Sin City and found all sorts of intriguing gadgets for the two-wheeled crowd, including sunglasses with built-in heads-up displays, GPS locators to help recover your stolen gear, and fitness trackers of all shapes and sizes. Perhaps most interesting, however, is how the automotive world is figuring out how to make self-driving cars self-aware of cyclists on the road — because if our increasingly distracted population of human drivers isn’t going to take responsibility for their actions behind the wheel, maybe it’s best that something else take the controls instead.