Commuting on bike in a city gives you freedom. You’re not stuck in a traffic, you can ride on bike lines, streets and sidewalks. You can explore the city at your own pace and escape the whirlwind of stop and go vehicles. The experience is great but at the end you want to reach your final destination and for that you might need a navigation.
Bike sat-nav is not a new thing. There are several devices dedicated for cyclists but most bike commuters will anyway use Google Maps app (or their other primary navigation app). Your device or app will guide you to selected destination but street by street instructions take away all the fun that comes from freely exploring the city.
Now, there is a solution for that. BeeLine, a product launched originally on Kickstarter, is a simple and inexpensive device that doesn’t show you a specific, pre-determined route, and instead simply gives you direction and remaining distance to your destination. A bit like a compass that points you precisely where you want to go rather than to north.
The concept is simple. The BeeLine uses your smartphone to do most of the heavy lifting. You start with the BeeLine app where you enter your destination, and the direction and distance is then shown on the device strapped to your handlebars. Everything is quick and easy.
The hardware itself is also pretty clever. BeeLine is a round-shaped device that sits inside a silicone band. The band is used to attach the device to your bike but you can also reverse it and use it as a protective cover for the display. The band allows you also to attach it to your keys or a bag.
The device has no built-in GPS but it relies on your smartphone as well as magnetometer (compass), accelerometer (movement sensor) and gyroscope to know the direction. It is equipped with a e-ink display and can last upto 40h on a single charge.
The concept itself is not new, at the end my Garmin Fenix 3 outdoor GPS watch can also guide me in a similar manner to a selected point… But applying it to city biking, adding handy design and making it simple and attractive makes it a great and useful gadget.
Starting this week you can order BeeLine on their website for £99 but you can soon expect some discounts as it was initially available on Kickstarter for as little as £30.