EcoHelmet Wins Dyson Award

folding, paper helmet has won the prestigious Dyson Award.

Intended for bike shares and travel, the EcoHelmet is constructed from waterproofed recycled paper in a radial honeycomb pattern and folds flat for easy vending. It fits most head sizes and the inventor claims it absorbs impact as well as traditional polystyrene.

It’s also disposable with an expected short life, if put in a bag, or banged around on a bike rack. It’ll cost less than £10.00.

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The inventor, Brooklyn-based Isis Shiffer, will use the money from Dyson—£30,000—to bring the concept to market and for certification. Folding helmets exist now, like the Pango, but not normally sold as they don’t meet standards. Isis told the BBC that a paper helmet is a “tough sell.” It isn’t the best looking design.

With backing and certification, I could see the helmet being used by bike shares and travelers. In the rainy parts of the world, such as Europe, the EcoHelmet is coated with a rain-resistant material that’ll last for a few hours!

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Fake bike helmet inspired by Playmobil hair needs to become reality

Style and safety can go hand in hand.

In 2015, Simon Higby and Clara Prior Knock at DDB Stockholm and Copenhagen (respectively) set out to create a bicycle helmet that would get kids excited about bicycle safety. Collaborating with Danish company MOEF to create the prototype, they were inspired by Lego and Playmobil plastic, toy hair pieces.

Not only is the final design beautiful, it’ll make the wearer look like a vintage Justin Bieber.

The project was part of Higby’s MBA thesis. MOEF produces “special effects and visual concepts for advertising, film and exhibitions.” So far, neither Lego nor Playmobil have picked up on the idea.

Someone please make this helmet a reality.

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Chemical warfare against bike thieves

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If you’ve ever had a bike stolen, your compassion for bike thieves probably went right down to zero percent. After losing a few bicycles, Daniel Idzkowski spent time thinking how to deter thefts, and he’s come up with a nasty surprise for thieves- the Skunk Lock.

When a thief breaks or grinds into the Skunk Lock, it releases a potent (but non-toxic and legally compliant) formula which makes breathing difficult, may compromise eyesight, and induces vomiting in the victim! It’s pretty hard to pedal off on a bike when you’re suddenly choking and puking instead, and this scene would likely draw enough attention for the thief to abandon the attempt…

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The Skunk Lock’s creators say any bike lock can be cut in less than a minute with the right tools on hand. With their clever design even well-equipped bike thieves can still be deterred, and just when they think they’ve almost got your bike they’ll get a face full of skunky chemicals instead!

The Skunk Lock is made from hi-tensile and hardened medium-carbon steel like a typical U-Lock, but its unique feature is the pressurized noxious chemicals hidden inside. Once the chemical chamber is compromised the formula escapes into the air, choking out the thief and making them sick to their stomach. Not only that, but the chemical spray will also ruin any clothing it touches, which actually costs the thief money.

While the Skunk Lock should effectively deter a thief at close range, the chemicals don’t expand enough that innocent bystanders would be impacted any more than noticing the smell. If the chemicals get sprayed on your bike the company provides instructions on how to remove the formula, but by design it should project towards the thief.

The lock does not rely on any electronic components, and it’s guaranteed to be safe for normal use without accidentally deploying its chemical weaponry. The chemicals are contained within a sealed chamber inside the U part of the lock, so nothing short of power tools or prying it apart will release the substance.

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Each lock comes with a unique code which customers can use to get extra keys if needed. Skunk Lock plans to provide overnight delivery for replacement keys.

The Skunk Lock’s Indiegogo campaign has just begun, so they still need some funding to go to production. Early bird buyers can currently pre-order a Skunk Lock for $109 USD, and delivery is expected for June 2017.

skunklock.com

Designer turns bike parts into new Type-Cycle 3D font

Computer graphics and motion designer Marcel Piekarski has created this bicycle themed 3D font, complete with animations for some letters. Check out his personal site for more, including a full alphabet photo:

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Check out the full gallery with closeups on his Bechance page.

Bike thief reveals tricks of the trade

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Stolen Ride recently interviewed a reformed bike thief about his old trade in Cycling Weekly. It makes for some scary but not unprecedented reading:

Did you target specific types of bicycles and locations in London? What was the thought process?

High-value bikes were the main targets like Carrera racers, no-logo fixie bikes, Boardman racers and Ridgeback bikes. These were the popular quick sale bikes that were called golds (because of the payback to time value of them).

At first it was a hit and miss game. Grab the bike and go kind of thing, but as time moved on and we worked out there was money to be made, we stepped up our approach. For example, if it wouldn’t sell for more than £200, it wouldn’t be taken.

How did you steal the bikes? What tools and techniques did you use? 
At first it was with basic wire cutters and the average bolt cutters you could buy in somewhere like Homebase. As time went on the tools upgraded to a pair of bolt cutters a friend bought in America for us on his holidays. These were 42-inch high toughened, foldable bolt cutters, which would fit into a rucksack and would cut through any D-bar, or any chain.

Don’t be fooled by Kryptonite locks, they’re not as tough as made out to be. Also D-bars with tubular locks, never use them, they’re the most easy to pick with a little tool. It’s small and discreet, no noise and it looks like you are just unlocking your bike. With the bolt cutters we would go out on high performance motorbikes, two men on a bike.

The pillion would carry the cutters. When we found a bike the pillion would jump off, snip the chain in seconds. ‘Boltys’ back in the bag, the driver would take the bag and drive off whilst the pillion, who is now on the push bike, would cycle off. We would do this up to five times a night, every weekend.

How quickly could you sell a bike on and how much would you get on average for each bike?
A bike could be sold in a matter of minutes at the peak of it, to one of many known regular contacts. Longest was around a day. Bikes were never kept at home, they were always locked back up on the street. Somewhere, even outside police stations locked up. If the police ever raided your house then no goods would ever be found.

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Foldable bolt cutters used to slice through locks.  Shown next to domestic vacuum cleaner for scale. 

Was stealing and selling bikes full-time for you? How many bikes would you steal each month?

No, I worked as a full time forklift driver, but the money was barely enough to pay bills and rent. You can’t live on today’s minimum wage.

The prices work out at half the retail value of the bike in the shop. So a £1000 bike would be sold for £500, to a person on Gumtree, or if it was to a regular link then £400. We would work Thursday, Friday and Saturdays as soon as it was dark. Police are extra busy dealing with drunks at these times. We would get on average 10 bikes a weekend.

Did you ever steal to a specific request or demand? Did you watch certain cyclists and bikes for a period before the theft?

No, that makes it long; we would literally go out on the motorbike into central and just pick bikes up anywhere. Front of tube stations, bike racks, metal fences, underground car parks, bike parks, etc.

From the moment you pull up, to the moment the bike is cut and bolt cutters are back on the motorbike would be 10 seconds at the most, so no one really knew what was going on, almost I imagine like you have to question yourself like, did I really just see that?

No one ever confronted us or said – what are you doing?

Were you ever put off stealing certain bikes? Was it due to location or security measures?
CCTV was not a put off. We had helmets on so we couldn’t be identified (well, we thought so at least). Location didn’t matter, we were young and reckless, and we didn’t care about security or people. If it went wrong, just get back on bike and go.

How would you prevent your own bike becoming stolen? What are your top tips?
Never use a chain, they’re too easy to snip. Use a small D-lock on front and back wheels. If your lock can be moved about that means the thief’s bolt cutters can get around them, at the right angle they won’t. Stiff D-locks are hard to snip because you need the right angle on the cutters to get the force to close them.

Team Sky test aerodynamics

GCN, (Global Cycling Network) presenter Matt Stevens sits down with Team Sky’s management for an exclusive behind the scenes look into their week long testing to get faster.  Like many other Tour teams, Sky invests a lot into the “off-bike” crew because regardless of the riders’ talents, the simplest of outside variances can make or break a victory.

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One of Sky’s key members is Master of Aeroness, Robbie Ketchell. Rob has taken the data analytics of aerodynamics to another level by using technology in a real world environment rather than a wind tunnel. Taking a rider’s power output while he is actually riding (novel idea, I know), they take a live look at power while at a “Set Speed” to determine the Drag in current riding position. They then take a look at the rider’s bio-metric data to make sure the rider is not in too extreme a position to produce said results to prevent injury.

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Doing this, they can adjust the rider with the goal of either increasing the rider’s speed at the same power output, or decreasing the rider’s output at the same speed without risking injury during a very long and fatiguing season. By measuring everything during a rider’s more natural state, the results will be more likely to be reproduced during a race.

Check out the insightful video past the break that takes you behind the scenes of Team Sky’s aerodynamics testing:

 

Kickstarter: Lumos – A Next Generation Bicycle Helmet

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In order to combat challenges with visibility at night, Lumos was created to be an all-in one solution to help keep you safe in the dark. With over 60 LEDs integrated into the shell, the helmet is visible in all directions with a high positioning that makes it easy to see by motor vehicles. With automatic brake lights and a signaling system built in, the Lumos helps cars to see and anticipate your movements whether stopping or turning. It’s all wrapped up into a durable and comfortable package that you only have to worry about keeping recharged.  Check out the Kickstarter video

This smart helmet features a built in accelerometer to sense when you’re slowing or stopping aggressively, to increase the brightness and number of the lights in the rear.

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Most exciting about this model, however, is a turn signal system that features a wireless remote signals for your handlebar. The button remote automatically pairs with your helmet when they are in close proximity and boasts a six month battery life with regular use. The remote, like the helmet, is water resistant to keep it running in wet weather conditions.

There is a single port for a USB charger, so it is simple to keep lit, and a single button to turn on. With daily use on a 30 minute commute, the Lumos should last a week on a single charge.

The Lumos comes in Charcoal Black or Pearl White, so you can match your color scheme, and two sizes to fit heads 54cm-62cm in circumference. The helmet meets CPSC and EN1078 safety requirements for the UK and the US. The electronics meet both FCC and CE standards.

You can get your very own Lumos for $119 through this limited Kickstarter Special deal.

Kickstarter.com