This week on The CultCast: Alex Jones and free speech, Part 2. Plus: Ming-Chi Kuo says the Apple Car is real, and you might drive it off the lot in 2023! And stay tuned for our most-loved tech! We’ll discuss the gadgets and apps we can’t go without.
Best List: Priority Bicycles Classic Diamond frame bike
When it comes to bicycles I am profoundly inept. Riding is fine. Just don’t ask me to fix it when it breaks.
My assembly and maintenance skills are so bad, the last time I reviewed a bike I put a critical piece on the wrong side and didn’t realize my error for weeks until someone finally pointed it out in pics.
So when the folks at Priority Bicycles told me they have a bike that pretty much never ever needs repairs, I couldn’t wait to saddle up and see how well it rides.
LAS VEGAS — If you need proof that the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in the bike industry, look no further than Interbike. The massive bike show here is an undeniable indication that innovators are still plugging away in their garages, trying to build the next big thing and prep it for Kickstarter.
Independent innovators are making cargo bikes one at a time, marketing lightweight welding masks to protect riders from the rain, and dreaming up helmet inserts for the world’s great sweaters. Cult of Mac takes one more lap around the convention center hall …
SALT LAKE CITY — Mother Nature’s got a million ways to make your life miserable. Luckily, the outdoor industry is filled with innovators, entrepreneurs and inspired inventors working incessantly to make your adventures more epic and less stressful.
The sheer number of companies hawking advanced snowshoes, crampons and things made of Merino wool proved a little mind-numbing last week at Outdoor Retailer 2015, the industry’s largest convention.
Everything from stitch-free puffy jackets to shoes made with Michelin tire technology were on display in the giant convention center, but we waded past the immense numbers of mannequins and bowls filled with enticing fresh fruit (rather than convention-standard Red Vines) to bring you a few of the more interesting gadgets, clothing items and even a new camera strap for your micro 4:3 camera.
The Brompton’s not a new bike. It’s not even new to me. But it is the best folding bike around, and it will change how you travel long distances, too. I’ve had mine ever since I recovered enough from a broken leg (busted playing bike polo) to hobble up to the local bike shop and order one. That was a few years ago, and since then the bike has come with me to three different continents, traveling on planes, trains, trams, automobiles and buses.
You can even ride it to the airport and pack it up when you get there.
SAN FRANCISCO — Sometimes even a great idea falls flat at first. Take Pump-Hub, a self-inflating bike tire gizmo. It was rolling along at trade shows and getting lots of good press before the financial crisis of 2008 sidelined the project.
Now its creator, engineer Kevin Manning, is getting back on track with a new team behind him and plans to expand his original idea — an automatic, adjustable, tire-inflation system housed in the hub of a bike wheel.
For cyclists, the Pump-Hub means no remembering to check the tire pressure or pack a pump, no fiddling around with the valve and then racing to put the cap back on before the air wheezes out and your aching arms have to start all over again. It inflates the tires to the proper pressure while you ride, making a gentle clickety-clack sound reminiscent of spoke cards from childhood days. When the tire hits the designated pressure, the fluttering sounds stop. If you get a flat, just upend your bike and spin the wheel until pressure is restored.
“It’s like how using a Macintosh is easier than using a command-line interface,” Manning says, turning his Gunnar bike upside down on the Embarcadero to show me how the Pump-Hub works. If you really boil down all the technology behind his invention, he adds, the main advantage basically ends up being “it’s easier.”
Fresh photographic equipment stole the show this week, but we also got wind of some great new outdoor gear (and some stuff for desk jockeys).
First the camera news: Sony is coming on strong with the amazing R100 III camera, while Nikon’s most exciting new gadget is an underwater flash. On the outdoorsy front, San Francisco is gearing up for summer with new bags from my favorite bag makers Rickshaw and Waterfield, and if you’re out in the warm/cold spring on your bike, you might like to do it wearing the beautiful Vulpine merino wool cycling jersey. If you’re not the outdoors type, we have you covered too — you can stay home and organize your desk with a handsome wooden pen and phone holder.
Here we go: Just as the spring eases into the seasonal throne and forces winter to curl up and pretend to be a footstool for the next three months, along comes the Allo, a combination bike mount and speaker for your iPhone. It’s a Kickstarter project, but as the expected delivery date is May, you should get one in time for summer.
This lovely retro-style bag is made to carry over your shoulder, or on your bike. Made by the Goodordering Company of Hackney, East London (in England, for those of you who may still be half asleep), the bag can be quickly converted between shoulder bag, pannier (“saddlebag”) or handlebar bag.
Commuter 2.1 byRickshaw Category: Bags Works With: iPad, MacBook Price: $180 as tested
I’m a huge fan of Rickshaw’s bags. Pretty much everyone in the Rickshaw office cycles to work, and it shows in the design of the bags. They’re well made, practical and light, but still full of clever design details. The Commuter 2.1 is no exception, somehow managing to offer a huge collection of pickets and cubbyholes, and yet remaining light enough to be more comfy on the shoulder than many more simple messenger bags.
Wahoo has added yet another low-power Bluetooth sensor to its range of bike fitness gadgets. The RPM is a cadence sensor which works without magnets, or bulky attachments on the frame, and talks direct to compatible apps on your iPhone.
What would happen if you took a dork-o-lithic nylon “Executive Laptop Case” and tossed it onto a (giant) blender with a Chrome messenger bag? Well, I guess the blender would choke and break, but if you used a metaphorical blender then you’d end up with a slurry that could be turned into the Boa Nerve, a bag designed to take you “from the conference room to your bike.”
PROTKT byWahoo Category: Sases, sports Works With:iPhone 5/S Price: $60
Take a look in your local bike emporium and you’ll see zillions of options for mounting your iPhone onto your handlebars. Wahoo’s PROTKT, as its name suggests, goes for boxy protection above all else, although the iPhone within remains quite usable. But should you go for this coddling case, or would you be better off with a super-simple silicone band?
Lost your keys? Sure you have, you absent-minded fellow you. And you iPhone? No frickin; way, right? What you clearly need is a way to replace your keys with your iPhone. That’s already been done for the home, and now you can toss the keys for your bike lock.
You should really stop reading here and check out the video of the FlyKly Smart Wheel, which is utterly hilarious. In i you’ll see an urban-warrior type taking his bike up into his beautifully-designed apartment and swapping out his back wheel for the FlyKly. This is fine, until you see him lowering the monstrosity into the rear dropouts of his frame.
The big, ugly plastic wad at the wheel’s center reminds me of nothing so much as generic prosthetic limbs: paint this thing ‘skin’ color and you’ll be done.
However, it’s this wad which holds the key to the FlyKly’s mysterious iPowers.