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Hammerhead System Offers a Better Way To Navigate While Cycling

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the where-you-going? dept.

Technology 249

Mark Gibbs writes "If you've ever tried to navigate using a smartphone while cycling you'll know full well that you took your life in your hands. By the time you've focused on the map and your brain has decoded what you're looking at you've traveled far enough to be sliding on gravel or go careening into the side of a car. What's needed is a way that you can get directions from your smartphone without having to lose your focus and possibly your life and Hammerhead Navigation have one of the most interesting answers I've seen."

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249 comments

Really? (0)

msauve (701917) | about 5 months ago | (#45487579)

If you have a problem navigating at a cycling pace, you have more serious issues.

Re:Really? (5, Insightful)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about 5 months ago | (#45487629)

Define cycling pace? There's people who struggle to go faster than 10mph, and there's people who can hit 40 or 50mph on a good road bike. My personal record is about 35.

Also, even at 10mph, looking at a map while you're moving isn't a very bright move. When I was learning the bike route to get to work, I would stop to check maps. Not sure why people can't do that... seems a perfectly sane way to navigate on a bike.

Re:Really? (-1, Troll)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 5 months ago | (#45487645)

No one cares about you, your supposed bicycling prowess, or really, any other people on bicycles.

Re:Really? (3, Insightful)

Garridan (597129) | about 5 months ago | (#45487703)

No, you're wrong. Not everybody has your opinions, despite your insistance to the contrary. There are people that care about other people on bikes. Also, I agree with GP as far as "anybody with some skill on a bike can properly evaluate risks before taking attention away from the road". However, this is for n00bs who want to spend crap to feel like they're more into biking. Not interested.

Re:Really? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45488105)

Cyclists around here love to pick the busiest, curviest, narrowest roads they can find and they JUST LOVE the morning and afternoon rush hours. That's when and where I see them the most. Did I mention they overwhelmingly pick roads with no real bike lanes or even decent shoulders?

There are three possible conclusions. One of them is "meh" and the other two are distinctly negative. "Meh" conclusion: they're men who want the biggest possible audience available while they hang their spandex-laden asses in the air. There is no beach here or anything like that, so there is no other occasion in this area where men are widely seen wearing such tightly form-fitting garments. Perhaps this is how gay men in this conservative area find each other? I don't know and I'm too embarassed to ask them. If they are homophobic they may become downright hostile at such a question, not understanding my curiosity is scientific in nature.

Distinctly negative conclusion 1: they have a death wish, suicidal tendencies, or one of those weird desires to be an amputee. If that is the deal, they should seek professional help immediately. And they shouldn't be so damned selfish: there are ways to fulfill those desires without damaging other people's cars, causing accidents between cars, or subjecting motorists to the horror of having hit somebody. Never done it, but I imagine that's frickin horrible even if you know it wasn't your fault.

Distinctly negative conclusion 2: they're idiots who engage in such unnecessary and unsafe practices not because they like injury and death, but because they just haven't thought this through. Not much to add to that. It's sadly pretty standard and very well documented elsewhere.

I am sorry but it does not surprise me if some subset of cyclists are running into things or causing accidents because they can't or won't understand that some distractions are dangerous. It is consistent with the behavior I have witnessed.

Re: Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45489211)

Since this is already a slashvertizement, I feel confident in promoting our own biking navigation:

Oh music where art thou

http://www.usinet.nl/omwat

It uses music for navigation, runs on aroid, is free and about 20 times cooler than the Hammerhead solution*

*approximately

Re:Really? (5, Insightful)

LuckyPhil (549767) | about 5 months ago | (#45487657)

Also, even at 10mph, looking at a map while you're moving isn't a very bright move. When I was learning the bike route to get to work, I would stop to check maps. Not sure why people can't do that... seems a perfectly sane way to navigate on a bike.

I couldn't agree more - just stop and check the map.

Too many people are trying to solve problems with technology when often a non-technical option is the better one.

Re:Really? (5, Interesting)

milkmage (795746) | about 5 months ago | (#45488137)

but the thing about biking (at least for some) is cadence - stopping breaks cadence.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadence_(cycling) [wikipedia.org]

Re:Really? (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45488295)

Then perhaps you should FIGURE OUT WHERE THE FUCK YOU'RE GOING BEFORE YOU FUCKING LEAVE. I mean jesus tittyfucking christ, automobile drivers are supposed to pull the fuck over when using a goddamn smartphone, what makes bikes so fucking special?

Re:Really? (0)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | about 5 months ago | (#45488687)

automobile drivers are supposed to pull the fuck over when using a goddamn smartphone

Unless they are drivin a Flintstone "car" they don't use their muscles, so stopping doesn't break anything. Also, compared to bikes, cars are like turbo tanks.

Re:Really? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45489437)

Obiously you've never been to Zoetermeer. Honestly, studying maps in advance won't help you and half the signs are pointing in the wrong direction. Heck, even if you have a map with you, you'll still get lost.

Re:Really? (2, Insightful)

fatphil (181876) | about 5 months ago | (#45489369)

Get over yourself. The thing about biking is getting from point A to point B. If it's not, you're doing it wrong. However, getting from point A to point B is a mostly solved problem - do your groundwork and plan, before you even set off. For another 9, have something to refer to when the route doesn't match your plan. It's worked for centuries.

"Cadence", sheesh, I almost feel embarassed to have never had a road-going vehicle with more than 2 wheels in my 3 decades of adult life. And you wonder why Critical Mass Porto Alegre happened?

HEATHEN!!!! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45489025)

This is slashdot! technology solves all problems! Even those that don't exist!

Re:Really? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45487665)

Stopping isn't always safe or convenient; where do you stop on a road with a small shoulder? "You shouldn't be there"? In much of the country, shoulders are a non-existent luxury.

Re:Really? (5, Informative)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 5 months ago | (#45487769)

where do you stop on a road with a small shoulder?

You stop at the next intersection. I have been biking about 100 miles/week for 30 years. During that time, I have never, not once, needed to check a map while pedaling. If you are in such a hurry that you can't pull over for 30 seconds, then maybe you should have taken the car.

Re:Really? (5, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | about 5 months ago | (#45487879)

where do you stop on a road with a small shoulder?

You stop at the next intersection. I have been biking about 100 miles/week for 30 years. During that time, I have never, not once, needed to check a map while pedaling. If you are in such a hurry that you can't pull over for 30 seconds, then maybe you should have taken the car.

It's nice that you always bike in familiar areas, but I like to explore new places on my bike, and often map out my course in advance so I can stay on bike-friendly streets. While I could print out a paper map and keep it in my back pocket, or stop every few turns to consult my phone to see if I'm on course, I can appreciate why someone might want a GPS to help them. Why should I pull over for 30 seconds to consult a map when I could have an unobtrusive GPS aid on my handlbars to tell me which way I should be turning at the next corner?

Why do you think that a GPS is any less useful for a cyclist than for a car driver?

Re:Really? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45487947)

You might try pausing at those octagonal red signs you might have seen. They have white letters on them.

Not that any other bicyclist does...

AC

Re:Really? (0, Troll)

hawguy (1600213) | about 5 months ago | (#45487965)

You might try pausing at those octagonal red signs you might have seen. They have white letters on them.

Not that any other bicyclist does...

AC

You're not a cyclist are you? Stopping on the road (even at a stop sign) to bury your head in a map or phone GPS is a good way to get rear ended by a car and you'll never see him coming since you're looking at your map. You could pull off the road onto the unpaved shoulder, but that seems like a lot of work to avoid using an electronic navigation aid.

Re:Really? (0)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 5 months ago | (#45488625)

Well, as a bicyclist I have the right to treat stop signs as yield sign (I am assuming you are talking about stop signs, if you not I would appreciate if you were a bit more specific) and even red lights as stop signs. Idaho rocks

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45489085)

Have been reading this thread for about 5 or 10 minutes, I can't fucking believe how much arguing is going on about this shit.

Hey, everybody, my favorite color is BLUE. I think BLUE is the BESTESTEST color there is. I defy anyone to disagree with the supremacy of the color BLUE to all other colors.

Wanna fucking argue about THAT?!? Jesus H.M.F. Christ, people, grow the fuck up already. Fuck.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45489361)

Have you ever seen a stop sign on a bike path?

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45488093)

Because a car driver's GPA also displays a map thus the driver can also see if the GPS thinks the car is in a different location than it actually is. Bikers using the Hammerhead system have no such map and will blindly follow whatever it tells them. Worse, GPS doesn't work as well in a city which is exactly where you'd need such a device. Smaller cities tend to have less complicated roads thus making it easier to know where you are and where you need to go in the first place.

But I still think it's a neat device.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45488155)

agreed - i struggle to find a usage scenario for another peace of expensive kit on my bike.

we are talking about someone who is taking their bike to various different unfamiliar locations on a regular enough basis that this becomes a requirement?

Outside of a cycle courier (who should know the area anyway) and the occasional long distance explorer (who generally looks for a reason to stop and get out the map as a bit of a recovery) I don;t see it.

Anyway good luck to them.#

PS if you can have a retractable low drag bike flag to keep the traffic away during heavy periods i'd be interested - something that would damage cars if they hit it would be great.:D

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45488193)

> If you are in such a hurry that you can't pull over for 30 seconds,

Many of the places where I ride my scooter, I would be dead if I pulled over. It just isn't safe in much of this country to stop.

I have a mount for my iPhone for my scooter, but GPS is just too slow to use for navigation. By the time it updates, you're always past the turn. It is completely useless for that purpose, and it's sad to see scammers that are still trying to sell this scam to the public.

Re:Really? (1)

Aighearach (97333) | about 5 months ago | (#45488601)

If it isn't safe to be stopped on that shoulder, it isn't safe to be riding on it, either. Like, duh.

And if you have that little clearance, you shouldn't be navigating at all, you should have your attention affixed firmly to the road.

Re:Really? (2, Interesting)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 5 months ago | (#45487739)

Please, explain why people need all this navigation. I simply don't understand it. I can start any place in the continental United States, refer to Rand McNally, and maybe write a few notes on a scrap of paper. I can drive ANYWHERE in ConUS or mainland Canada, without any further guidance.

Now, I may be pretty smart (like most people I like to think that I really am smart) but it doesn't tax my mind to remember a series of route numbers and directions. I don't need a cell phone, or a GPS to hold my hand, and tell me whether to turn left or right, or how many yards to travel before turning.

Cycling is somewhat different than driving on the highway - but FFS, everything comes at you slower, there are fewer things to remember, and landmarks should be more "intimate".

I'm sorry, but I see all this navigation software as just a tool to help dumb down America. Better to learn to read a map, then actually read the damned thing, then do your own thinking. Hey, I'll admit that software such as Rand McNally produces are beneficial. I can't know the current construction status of every mile of roadway in America. If you update McNally regularly, the software will warn you that US 1 and 9 are under construction in Smelly Swamp, North Carolina. That's a great feature - I can decide to take I-95 to avoid the construction. But, that's a simple decision, that should be made BEFORE you ever start out on your trip!

Alright, so maybe I'm off on a tangent here. The discussion is about cycling. Let me think - ride down my home street to Oak Street, make a right, ride to the library and make a left, go across the bridge then take the third left, go to the crest of the hill and cut down the alley next to the yellow house, wave at the old dude sitting on his back porch, turn right at the HUGE magnolia tree, watch on my right for the hot chick who often waters her flowers, at the church make a left, and I'm at work. Do I REALLY need navigation? Getting across town isn't exactly rocket surgery . . .

Re:Really? (2)

hawguy (1600213) | about 5 months ago | (#45487937)

Please, explain why people need all this navigation. I simply don't understand it. I can start any place in the continental United States, refer to Rand McNally, and maybe write a few notes on a scrap of paper. I can drive ANYWHERE in ConUS or mainland Canada, without any further guidance.

Now, I may be pretty smart (like most people I like to think that I really am smart) but it doesn't tax my mind to remember a series of route numbers and directions. I don't need a cell phone, or a GPS to hold my hand, and tell me whether to turn left or right, or how many yards to travel before turning.

Cycling is somewhat different than driving on the highway - but FFS, everything comes at you slower, there are fewer things to remember, and landmarks should be more "intimate".

I just counted, and my commute to work takes me on 18 different streets - it winds through several neighborhoods and on some bike-only paths. When I drive my car, I drive on 5 different streets, most of it on a freeway. Why do you think there are fewer things to remember on a bike? When I drive my car I stick to larger streets that have clear signs for major destinations, when I ride my bike I stick to smaller streets and I check a map first to help me stick to bike friendly streets... my community doesn't yet have comprehensive bike route signs, so I have to remember the street names myself. Now that I'm familliar with the route I don't need a GPS, but the first few times I had to write down each turn, and still had to consult my phone GPS after I missed a turn.

I'm sorry, but I see all this navigation software as just a tool to help dumb down America. Better to learn to read a map, then actually read the damned thing, then do your own thinking. Hey, I'll admit that software such as Rand McNally produces are beneficial. I can't know the current construction status of every mile of roadway in America. If you update McNally regularly, the software will warn you that US 1 and 9 are under construction in Smelly Swamp, North Carolina. That's a great feature - I can decide to take I-95 to avoid the construction.

So what do you do when Rand McNally tells you that the freeway to your destination is closed for construction and you have to go through some smaller towns?

The discussion is about cycling. Let me think - ride down my home street to Oak Street, make a right, ride to the library and make a left, go across the bridge then take the third left, go to the crest of the hill and cut down the alley next to the yellow house, wave at the old dude sitting on his back porch, turn right at the HUGE magnolia tree, watch on my right for the hot chick who often waters her flowers, at the church make a left, and I'm at work. Do I REALLY need navigation? Getting across town isn't exactly rocket surgery . . .

Not everyone rides on familiar roads every day - some of us like to go someplace new.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45488369)

Please, explain why people need all this navigation.

Well, I for one ride 2000 to 4000 miles per year, and most of it is on unfamiliar roads. Someone in the bike club plans out a route and I ride it. If I were faster and could stick with the leaders I would never get lost, but I do at times get off on my own and need to find my way.

I must admit that I have gotten by to this point without using a gadget... my rides are documented on a "cue sheet" that has instructions like "at mile 2.3 turn right on 123 Street; at mile 4.6 turn left on 456 Avenue" and so on. I have two odometers on my bike; if one flakes out, I use the other one. When you have a cue sheet, you want a working odometer to help you know when to even start looking for a turn.

But in 2014 I will try out a gadget. I bought a Garmin Edge GPS. I mainly bought it for data capture (heart rate, elevation, miles, speed, that sort of thing) but it does also work as a GPS navigation device, and many of the rides I will do have GPS files available on the Internet. (Why not? All it takes is for one person to ride the course with a Garmin and record, or for one person to painstakingly click a bunch of turns on map software, and then any number of people can download and use it.)

There are two main problems with a piece of paper: (0) I have become a bit farsighted and it's harder to read than it used to be. (The Hammerhead's simple flashing lights would work well for me without needing any glasses.) (1) I don't always recognize turns. I can well remember rides where I missed a turn and overshot, and had to turn around and go back. Not a big deal most of the time; but when you are trying to beat a rain storm, or when you were rolling downhill when you missed the turn and must climb back up to the turn, you are not happy.

So while I don't really need this gadget, I'm kind of interested in it. But given that I already bought the Garmin, likely I won't buy this.

Interestingly, the Garmin has features that work by tethering to the phone. It can alert you that bad weather is predicted to come, and I think it can relay text messages or something like that.

Re:Really? (2)

Will.Woodhull (1038600) | about 5 months ago | (#45488461)

I bought my first automotive GPS when I was doing a driving tour through cities I had not visited for over 30 years. It proved its worth on that trip. It not only led me through the spaghetti maze of Boston streets-- just as bad as it was back in the day but now with lots of changes-- it also routed me around road construction and a traffic jam. No amount of studying a paper map will do that.

I use a GPS on my android phone on the bike. It is not only aware of current traffic conditions, but it also tells me where the nearest pub is when I'm ready for a break. The bicycle mode is getting better, though it still doesn't know about some of the alleyways that can avoid busy streets. But then, paper maps are even worse for that.

If you are going to get an android for some other reason, it makes sense to install a GPS map app on it-- it probably comes with one. Depending on the price of the Hammerhead, it might be a good accessory. There are times when I'm sharing the road in city traffic when there is no place to stop to read a map or cell phone; hell, there are times when I can't even look at the street signs between dealing with traffic, potholes, and road debris, even at 10 or 12 mph.

Re:Really? (1)

xaxa (988988) | about 5 months ago | (#45488967)

Because, to pick a random bit of North Carolina: http://opencyclemap.org/?zoom=16&lat=35.80116&lon=-78.64709&layers=B000 [opencyclemap.org] the route a cyclist follows is often more complicated than that for a car driver.

To drive (or take the bus) to work, I would make three turns. I could cycle the same route (it's not forbidden), but there is a more direct route which avoids the unpleasant, busy roads. That involves 13 turns. I have another route, which is a little further but nicer (along the river for half the distance) and that's 10 turns. When I first moved here, I studied a map and set off early to give myself time to find the route, checking on my phone where necessary.

If I regularly wanted to cycle in unfamiliar places, but didn't want to follow the easy routes -- the big roads full of cars -- I'd be interested in a better GPS.

Re:Really? (1)

N1AK (864906) | about 5 months ago | (#45489057)

Please, explain why people need all this navigation. I simply don't understand it. I can start any place in the continental United States, refer to Rand McNally

As you asked: The fact that I 'can' plan a route and follow it doesn't mean I'm any smarter if I choose to do that instead of allowing a device to do it. I don't see handing over simple tasks like route planning for a car to a device as dumbing down. It frees up the nominal amount of attention that it requires and lets me use it to be even more aware of the road and traffic around me. It also routes me around heavy traffic, accidents and road closures without me having to stop.

I've also never got the strange pride about being able to follow roads. Like it is somehow a tough task to be proud of mastering. Any muppet can drive 500 miles along interstates. It's a lot easier to get from the beginning of the M6 in London to the Inverness than it would be to get from a terraced domestic area on one side of a reasonably sized city to another in the UK due to the one way networks, pedestrianised zones, bus lanes and minor roadworks.

Re:Really? (0)

mjwx (966435) | about 5 months ago | (#45487885)

Define cycling pace? There's people who struggle to go faster than 10mph, and there's people who can hit 40 or 50mph on a good road bike. My personal record is about 35.

Also, even at 10mph, looking at a map while you're moving isn't a very bright move. When I was learning the bike route to get to work, I would stop to check maps. Not sure why people can't do that... seems a perfectly sane way to navigate on a bike.

Cyclists dont reach 80 KPH.

Normal cycling pace is 20-25 KPH because this is how fast the traffic stuck behind them is moving.

But I agree, if you need to look at a map whilst moving you should pull over and do it. Regardless of what vehicle you're in control of. A 20 KPH crash on a push bike can be as bad as a 60 KPH crash in a car, easily fatal if you're not wearing a helmet.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45487967)

Cyclists dont reach 80 KPH.
 

I do 80 KPH regularly down a hill on my daily commute, and others are much faster: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Whittingham

Re:Really? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45487981)

BS. I've been over 50mph several times. But I don't weigh much so the last time it took a good tailwind coming off Squaw Pass into Evergreen, Colorado, and I had to spin out a 53x13.
Cyclists don't reach 80kph? Better have another Mars bar buddy.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45489065)

I live in Evergreen. I'd love to see you get that 50mph going the opposite direction...:)

FWIW I've ridden from my house here down to Denver - downtown, City Park, Cherry Creek etc. numerous times. I will say that it takes me less time to get down than to get back!

(For those not in the know, that's about 35 miles each way and a 3000 ft elevation change)

Re:Really? (1)

Will.Woodhull (1038600) | about 5 months ago | (#45488543)

Cyclists dont reach 80 KPH.

Maybe that's true in the Netherlands. On many of the roads in around Portland Oregon cyclists regularly reach 50 MPH (a tad faster than 80 KPH).

A 20 KPH crash on a push bike can be as bad as a 60 KPH crash in a car, easily fatal if you're not wearing a helmet.

Define "push bike"; I don't know what you are talking about. Adults around here ride various types of pedal bikes; the push bikes are the tiny things without pedals for toddlers.

A cyclist crashing at 14 MPH (faster than 20 KPH) is unlikely to sustain anything worse than a bit of road rash if he's using good equipment (gloves and helmet being part of good equipment). His vehicle will usually be undamaged as well. A similar crash in a car will often result in a busted headlight or damaged bumper. Since cars are designed to crush in a controlled way.

Normal cycling pace is 20-25 KPH because this is how fast the traffic stuck behind them is moving.

Only when hill climbing or riding into a strong headwind. Commuting cyclists in Portland generally ride at 15 - 25 MPH, often faster than cars in downtown traffic. That's one of the reasons why more people are now commuting by bike.

Re:Really? (1)

Aighearach (97333) | about 5 months ago | (#45488653)

I live in Oregon, and I lived in Portland for a couple years including downtown... and you're totally full of it. Cyclists here ride the same speed as everywhere else, and if there are idiots that get up to 50, that's because they're going down a hill. If you aren't sure where you're going or if you need to turn before you get to the bottom, you don't want to go that fast anyways. Anywhere that you need navigational assistance, you're going much slower; even, a controlled speed. ;)

The reason cyclists downtown pass cars isn't that they're going 20+ MPH. That's actually kinda funny. It is because the traffic is going like 10MPH, and bike is going 15. Obviously downtown has hills but see above; if you're not sure where your turn is, you're going slower anyways.

The trees are taller out here, but the bicycles go the same speed.

Re:Really? (1)

xaxa (988988) | about 5 months ago | (#45488975)

Define "push bike"; I don't know what you are talking about.

We have this Internet thing, it cures ignorance: http://lmgtfy.com/?q=push+bike [lmgtfy.com]

Adults around here ride various types of pedal bikes; the push bikes are the tiny things without pedals for toddlers.

No, they're called balance bikes.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45489245)

People have hilarious ideas about bicycle speeds. No, a crash at 14MPH does not leave a bike undamaged, unless it's just a "fall over to the side all by themselves" kind of accident. A bike with a carbon frame is a write-off after a collision at 14MPH. No, commuters do not regularly ride at more than 20MPH, unless it's downhill or with a strong tailwind. They may occasionally reach speeds up to 25MPH, but no commuter sustains that speed. And no, cyclists do not regularly reach 50MPH.

A lot of people who have never ridden a bike since they were 10 comment on cycling. Did you note that the author of the Hammerhead review does not even regularly ride a bike? He writes about the product: "Makes me want to start cycling again." Thanks, next time start with that, so that I don't waste time reading the review.

Re:Really? (3, Funny)

Jamie Ian Macgregor (3389757) | about 5 months ago | (#45488141)

Anyone has got to be a bit retarded to be doing 35-50mph without knowing where they are going. do they run face first into walls when it is dark too?

Re:Really? (3, Informative)

s.petry (762400) | about 5 months ago | (#45488169)

What you said! If you are bicycling and need turn by turn GPS to help you, you are doing it wrong.

I really don't get people today feeling like they can't move without having a GPS mapping system showing them their route and telling them where to turn and when. Look at a map ahead of the ride, plan the route, and ride. Like you said, bring a map if it's a new route and stop and look if you need to.

And yes, I ride. I'm only doing about 60-100 miles a week. No map, no GPS. I ride every day to and from work, and I don't carry anything but work gear. Road runs on weekends, I carry water, a bit of food stuffs, cell phone for emergencies, repair kit, and small first aide kit. If I get lost, I backtrack the way I came if all else fails.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45489281)

It probably depends on the street layouts where you are. In an area with grid-like streets, I agree: What do you need turn-by-turn navigation for? But in areas with winding roads, lots of one-way streets, natural barriers and different road types with maze-like interconnections, turn-by-turn navigation really helps me enjoy rides in unfamiliar territory. Yes, I could stop and look at a map, but with navigation I don't have to. I have been using a Garmin handheld outdoor GPS with handlebar mount for the last 10 years and it's been great.

Re:Really? (2)

dunkelfalke (91624) | about 5 months ago | (#45489471)

So basically you don't cycle much and you mostly use the same route. This does not work if you make bike tours into unknown places. I find my turn by turn GPS navigation very helpful when I do the 60 miles on a single day, exploring the surroundings, and mounted on the handlebar the voice output of the navigation is loud enough so I don't have to look at the screen. I do not know where you live, but here in Germany towns often are a mess of small alleys of, apparently, non-Euclidian geometry, very easy to get lost.

Re:Really? (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 5 months ago | (#45488231)

I use a Garmin e-Trex (battery powered GPS designed for hiking) mounted on my handlebar. That works pretty well.

Re:Really? (2)

MisterSquid (231834) | about 5 months ago | (#45488365)

Also, even at 10mph, looking at a map while you're moving isn't a very bright move. When I was learning the bike route to get to work, I would stop to check maps. Not sure why people can't do that... seems a perfectly sane way to navigate on a bike.

Checking maps while cycling is inadvisable at best. You're right to consult a map while pulled over. Perfect.

But even checking a map is unnecessary and brings me to the point that this article is really pretty silly. I'm not normally one to complain about Slashvertisements (first time I've even used that word) but this is definitely a time to complain about it because SMARTPHONES

Both Android and iOS have Google Maps which delivers turn-by-turn directions for bicycles. I have a bluetooth speaker built expressly for cycling (Boombotix, you can search for it, but there are other) so when I am somewhere I don't know and which does not have a gird-based layout, I let Google Maps on my smartphone give me audible turn-by-turn directions.

The sound sometimes is not perfect and I might mishear a direction or two, but it's not much more difficult than using turn-by-turn in an automobile.

This front page story is really trying hard to make a problem when an 80% solution already exists.

Re:Really? (1)

RearNakedChoke (1102093) | about 5 months ago | (#45488591)

People can 40 or 50mph on flat road? For what, 10 seconds? At any rate, this invention is pointless. I put my smartphone on a phone mount on the bike, crank up the audio and simply listen when it tells me to turn.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45487641)

I guess you ride slower than I do.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45488163)

What do you expect from a slashvertisement? This isn't even a product yet. This is just a pre-order cash grab.

Wrong Color (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45487617)

Those LEDs look blue. Red would be better when biking at night. Such a minor change yet a major difference in usability.

Re:Wrong Color (1)

Aighearach (97333) | about 5 months ago | (#45488665)

Yeah, in my State if you mount something with blue lights on your handlebars, and you're not an emergency vehicle, you can get a huge fine.

Yay another infomercial (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45487627)

All its missing is a buy now button

Silly hype. (3, Informative)

foobar bazbot (3352433) | about 5 months ago | (#45487653)

If you've ever tried to navigate using a smartphone while cycling you'll know full well that you took your life in your hands. By the time you've focussed on the map and your brain has decoded what you're looking at you've travelled far enough to be sliding on gravel or go careening into the side of a car.

Actually, after making a proper bike mount for my N900, I had no trouble using satnav while cycling.

Unlike TFA author Mark Gibbs, I'm aware that my experience is not universal, as people in some other cities have to deal with worse traffic than I do.

How about... (0)

ApplePy (2703131) | about 5 months ago | (#45487669)

...knowing where the fuck you're going, before you head out?

I remember back in the Stone Age, we had these things called "maps" that we could use to determine a route to take, and then we could write down or memorize the turns to make. Believe it or not, we still have this technology.

People are seriously getting waaaaaay too dependent on their little gadgets. I have this friend who puts his phone in a windshield bracket and turns on the GPS nav to get 3 blocks from his house to the supermarket. It's fuckin' pathetic.

Me, give me two major cross streets and I can get to anywhere in my metro area, and a good part of the rest of my state, without looking at a map. Call me old-fashioned, but it works.

Really, if you are riding a bike watching a screen, you deserve your lacerations.

Re:How about... (1)

mechtech256 (2617089) | about 5 months ago | (#45487695)

"Really, if you are riding a bike watching a screen, you deserve your lacerations."

Perhaps you didn't even read the article, but the device shown has no screen and is basically just a turn signal.

I remember back in the stone age we had these things called stone tools that we would kill Mammoths with. Now people go to the market just to get a bite to eat. It's fuckin' pathetic.

Re:How about... (5, Informative)

Albanach (527650) | about 5 months ago | (#45487717)

...knowing where the fuck you're going, before you head out?

I'm guessing you either don't cycle much or don't ever travel and cycle some place new?

Some of us happily ride 50, 60, 70 ... 100 miles when we go out on the bike. Typically it's on rural roads with lots of turns. Sometimes you might make a new route to suit the distance you want to cycle. So you combine lots of bike friendly roads you are used to riding on, but you use them in a different way. Remembering which turn you're planning to take typically involves printing out a map or cue sheet.

Other times, someone else will have plotted a ride using bike friendly roads you are unfamiliar with. Thirty turns wouldn't be unusual. That's a lot to remember, even if you have a pretty good idea of where you are.

Surely this is much better than a cyclist constantly checking their odometer so they don't miss the next turn.

Re:How about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45488197)

Why would one not want to pre-check your route instead of relying on a device, to me this would defeats the purpose of cycling, obviously if you are in an area such as mountains or woods and you decide to go off (if there is a clear tract) the usual cycling routes carved out. What happen to a compass and knowing the direction you want to go if you end up lost, maybe I am to adventurous in this sense.

To me the whole point of doing these activities is to rid yourself from the sense of time and having to know every little detail in currently in your life. Your comment mentions city like routes, when your only going 10-20 mph on a bike you should be able to figure it out without a device. This is bothersome that people rely on devices instead of pre-planning (again if you want to plan it) . If your cycling is for making deliveries, then I I can see this being a problem in which using a GPS would help, but after working for UPS and FEDEX we didn't have those devices we had to pre plan and study maps of the areas we were covering, to know where to go without wasting time circling 2 blocks till we figured it out or asked someone from the neighborhood.

Re:How about... (2)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 5 months ago | (#45488845)

I'm guessing you either don't cycle much or don't ever travel and cycle some place new?

Looking at your UID you're not a spring chicken: your UID is older than mine.

What this means is that you were alive and mobile before satnavs existed as a consumer item. What on earth did you do back then?

I remember what I did. I looked up the route on a map, and would try to memorize a few key points for the next chunk of the journey, things like big road intersections etc. Worked well. Still worked well.

Oh yeah and that was in London where there are (a) no road names[*] and (b) a lot of roads.

[*]Seriously, this is one thing I really miss about the US. You guys religiously lavel every road at every intersection. It makes navigation much easier. We prefer a more homeopathic approach to road labelling here.

Re:How about... (0)

N1AK (864906) | about 5 months ago | (#45489123)

What on earth did you do back then?

People sent telegrams before email, sent letters before phones and I bet you whined about change over the fence to anyone who'd listen before the internet came into your life and allowed you to disseminate your disdain for change more widely. "We managed before" has got to be one of the stupidest arguments for anything in existence.

Re:How about... (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 5 months ago | (#45487785)

LOL, I remember the stone age. I posted a rant along those lines above. I just wish the kids would stay off my lawn while they are trying to figure out where they hell they are going! ;^)

Re:How about... (0)

N1AK (864906) | about 5 months ago | (#45489103)

I remember back in the Stone Age, we had these things called "maps" that we could use to determine a route to take, and then we could write down or memorize the turns to make. Believe it or not, we still have this technology.

No; back in the stone age they had stars, and I'd give about as much of a damn about the opinion of a caveman pointing out that they still exist as someone who thinks his ability to use a map is in some way merit worthy. You are old fashioned, I really don't care if you want to think of that as a strength and I'll bet that I'm not the only GPS user who doesn't care what self declared 'old fashioned' navigators think.

Um, voice directions? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45487677)

I usually listen to music while cycling, and my smartphone is perfectly capable of giving voice directions (turn left in 300m, etc).

I don't see why there is any need for custom hardware.

Re:Um, voice directions? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45487721)

I generally like to keep my ears open when cycling, so I can hear the truck coming before it runs me down.

Re:Um, voice directions? (1)

Hidyman (225308) | about 5 months ago | (#45488065)

That doesn't mean you can't use open-ear Bluetooth headset for voice navigation/phone usage, without music.

Re:Um, voice directions? (4, Interesting)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | about 5 months ago | (#45488577)

I take care that I am suitably visible and if I share a road with cars that means that the max speed should be 60km/h for the cars. If it's faster then there is usually a separate bike lane. This gives them enough time to avoid me properly. If I dodge for every truck that will pass me the I will never arrive at my destination and I would look like an idiot. This means that I would not use the information, so I don't need to have it. Mind, I have my headphones on so softly that I can still hear traffic sounds. Not near hard enough to drown out a blaring car horn, because that would mean that I would get hearing damage and I like to hear my music properly.
Then again, I don't live in the US. I live in the Netherlands and biking is far more common here.

Re:Um, voice directions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45488791)

Yes my dear brother, but you are also driving a giant red cocoon, your visibility is quite a lot better then someone wearing black with faulty lighting. The technical solution to the second type of person would be "Lights and orange clothing".

Re:Um, voice directions? (1)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | about 5 months ago | (#45489007)

When I am done with my current set of modifications that red cocoon [velomobiel.nl] will have orange sidelights almost over the complete length of the body.
But even when I am not Questing I wear a fluorescent yellow jacket and my lights work. I like to be visible because I don't like to be a bloody mess. It's hard to clean blood off a jacket.

Re:Um, voice directions? (1)

peppepz (1311345) | about 5 months ago | (#45488855)

Sigh, I'd like to live there. Here, bike lanes do not exist. Extra-urban roads have a speed limit of 90 km/h and you have to share those with buses and trucks, because most often there's no other road at all. Not that speed limits matter, because people don't respect them anyway. The roads are of two kinds: either they're newly-built, and therefore they're designed only for motor vehicles and they're either dangerous or inaccessible for cyclists and pedestrians, or they were built for donkeys and ox-carriages, which is actually the best occurrence for cyclists. Car drivers treat bikers just like a sidewalk: they make the minimum effort to avoid them, and that's it. Occasionally they will put your life at risk for no reason: you get buses overtaking you so close that you can feel the temperature of their metal on your left shoulder, on a sunny day, with zero traffic, and on a straight road with two lanes per direction. Or people might overtake you dangerously, only to brake in front of you at the traffic light which is red. You need to listen carefully for engines' noise not only for ordinary traffic, but also to detect if there's some Michael Schumacher-wannabe that is using the state road as his own personal driving circuit assuming that there's nobody else on that road because, say, it's Sunday morning. In that case it's best to find some sheltered spot and wait there for him to arrive and pass. That's also the best thing to do in the case of clandestine horse races. Inside cities, articulated trucks run on streets that would be narrow for a car, and to respect the readers' sensitivity I'll spare them from the details of what happens when they hook some cyclist, pedestrian or motorbiker with some component of their coachwork.

non-issue (5, Interesting)

SuperBanana (662181) | about 5 months ago | (#45487743)

As a many-years bicyclist, for transportation, recreation, exercise, etc...I offer the following advice:

Any time you see some new device being marketed, consider that the bicycle in its first forms dates to the early 1800's, nearly a century before cars were commonplace. In that time, cyclists have figured out the solutions to most problems, and those solutions have been refined as material sciences, engineering, and whatnot have evolved. So, for example, my front light uses a sophisticated mirror and LED to light 50 feet of bike path in front of me, while my back light uses LEDs and light pipes to provide a 2-inch wide big glowing red bar...all powered off a smooth, unnoticeable generator in my front wheel's hub.

The solution to this "oh my pretty little cyclist head just doesn't know where it's going" problem is one of the following:

  • I look at my phone as I start my journey, figure out the first 2 or so turns, and look again at said phone when I get to a light or a convenient place to stop. I typically note approximate distance between turns and street names. It's a skill pretty quickly learned.
  • I can place an earphone in my ear. Both Apple and Google provide spoken directions.
  • I can place a GPS cycling computer with route navigation on my handlebars. They're daylight-readable and backlit, the batteries last 8-9 hours while navigating, they make a nice loud "BEEP DA DA BEEP!" for an upcoming turn, show a big-ass arrow you can practically see in your peripheral vision, along with the street name/distance, too, usually.
  • I can place a "cue sheet" on my handlebars in any of half a dozen different ways. Clips, clear plastic holders, you name it.

The device strikes me as rather ignorant of how most cyclists travel, anyway. Most everyone I know, including if not especially beginners, consult Google Maps and think carefully about their route because of safety concerns. By the time we're on our bike, we probably know where we're going and how to get there.

Damn near everything bike-related that has come out of Kickstarter either solves a problem that was already solved, and was solved better...or solved a problem that didn't exist. Both are usually due to ignorance on the part of the designers, or designers preying upon ignorance among the general public.

Sadly, an increasing number of these products are designed to prey upon people's fears about danger, or continue a culture of placing the onus on cyclists to protrect themselves from other people doing stupid, dangerous, or illegal things with large, fast-moving vehicles who then strike them.

Re:non-issue (1, Troll)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 5 months ago | (#45488195)

Sadly, an increasing number of cyclists continue a culture of placing the onus on vehicle drivers to avoid cyclists doing stupid, dangerous, or illegal things with small, fast-moving vehicles who then get struck.

FTFY
There are similar number of bad cyclists as there are bad drivers. I was making a right turn on a green. A cyclist on the two way crossing street in the far lane passed several cars on the right barely slowing down, did not stop at the stop light, turned left in front of the stopped vehicles into the crosswalk and passed in front of my vehicle. Had I not noticed him and stopped he would have been a hood ornament and his fault. Legally he broke the following laws; passing on right without enough room, failing to stop at a stop light, turning left from the incorrect lane(there was a left turn lane) and riding a bicycle in a crosswalk. Bicycle vs vehicle accidents are not always the vehicle's fault. I ride a motorcycle sometimes and know that a fight between a 4 wheel vehicle and a 2 wheel vehicle will always be won by the 4 wheels. I call it right of weight.

I have seen many cyclists push their rights to be on the road until it is inconvenient and then want to be treated as a pedestrian. Cyclists are one or the other. Not both. If you want to be treated as a pedestrian get off your bike. Many time cyclists break laws so they don't have to expend energy. I don't think I have ever seen a cyclist stop at an intersection with a stop sign when making a right hand turn.

Most apps are disappointing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45488889)

I ride my MTB in the woods (40 to 80 kms), on dirt roads, single tracks and open fields. I have tested most popular apps for biking.

Smartphone apps for biking are written by young people with good sight, using large monitors. Tipically, those apps are like desktop programs, having lots of menus and options, and are nearly unusable under open sky. Really; and having menus, options, alerts, ads and whatnots, in a small screen doesn't make then easy to use. Been over 50 doesn't make small text easy to read for me. And also, I don't need any "social apps" that need an account and connection to a web site for checking travel data.

A good cycling apps must have: a) good color scheme, visible even under brigth light; b) most simple menu navigation, to avoid errors and confusion on the road; c) exporting/importing to KMZ/GPX; d) complete independence from any website.

At the end, I fire Google Earth and put a sheet of paper over my 19" monitor, tracing the route I'll use with a pen, with distances between relevant waypoints. That's enough even for exploration rides on unknow areas.

Oh, I also carry my smartphone with my own tracker app, just for recording my whereabouts. At the end of the day, I put my data on Google Earth, where I store all my rides and routes. Later, I post them in my blog, http://SenderosDePichilemu.blogspot.com, for others to use them.

Re: Most apps are disappointing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45489197)

Hey, you sound like you should be using our app to navigate. no tiny screen to look at

Oh music where art thou

http://www.usinet.nl/omwat

It uses music for navigation, runs on aroid, is free and about 20 times cooler than the Hammerhead solution*

*approximately

Re:non-issue (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | about 5 months ago | (#45489355)

Exactly. On a bike the cost of stopping is negligible, even when we factor in that you might need to get off the road to safely stop. When I need to look up something I stop, look it up and continue. Problem solved.

Actually, I don't even see the market. I've never seen someone go "I want to visually consult my smartphone's navigation app while riding my bike but there's just no safe way to do so!". Stopping to take a glance at the map is just that obvious a solution. I mean, sure, it's basically an expensive smartphone peripheral that emulates a cycling computer but then again most rides either don't require navigation or aren't time-critical enough that stopping and taking a look at the map is unfeasible. Even if you are something like a bike courier a single open headphone provides you with spoken directions form your smartphone (as the parent noted) and doesn't significantly impair your hearing. And it costs much less, to boot.

Warble feature on this GPS I use to like (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45487765)

I quite liked the warble feature on this GPS, not suitable for bikes but great for finding your way around town:

http://youtu.be/hZBlSSkJSUA?t=5m7s

Cheap Low Tech Wins! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45487831)

When in doubt, stop bike, look at map, get oriented, start bike. Very safe. Very cheap. Very simple.

author isn't qualified, nice (4, Insightful)

SuperBanana (662181) | about 5 months ago | (#45487867)

"Makes me want to start cycling again."

Translation: the author, like most tech bloggers, doesn't actually use a bicycle, but considers themselves qualified to speak about bicycle products.

Re:author isn't qualified, nice (5, Informative)

RobertinXinyang (1001181) | about 5 months ago | (#45487975)

Correct observation, this product has already been discussed on bicycle forums and has been dismissed as not very useful. http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php/917472-new-procuct-take-a-look?highlight=hammerhead [bikeforums.net]

When out on a multiday ride in an unfamiliar area I want more than a blinking light. Frequently the GPS picks, plain stupid, route detours. A look at the map or the map screen shows these obvious errors quickly. Even when routing my way back home form an unfamiliar location at night I need more than the hammerhead provides. About the only use for the hammerhead is when riding a, tested and proven, preloaded track. A GPS enabled bicycle speedometer will do the same and more.

Because this thing still requires the smartphone to be present, just mount the smartphone and be done with it. At best it is an interesting gift for the cyclist who has everything. . . just don't let your feelings get hurt when that cyclist 're-gifts' it.

Re:author isn't qualified, nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45488769)

Because this thing still requires the smartphone to be present, just mount the smartphone and be done with it.

With this thing, the smartphone will burn its batteries to operate the GPS radio and the Bluetooth radio.

Without this thing, the smartphone will burn batteries for both of the above radios *plus* the display. On most phones, the display is a major drain on battery life. And my phone at least pretty much sucks in direct daylight.

Still, I met one guy who had his iPhone in a mount on his handlebars. He had a cord going from the iPhone mount to a bag mounted on top of a rack, and in that bag he had a 10 amp/hour battery pack (10000 milliamp/hour). Kinda heavy.

I bought a Garmin Edge 815 because it claims to have 15-17 hour battery life. Don't want to mess with battery packs in bags on my bike.

Once a year I ride from Seattle to Portland in July. That's a little over 200 miles. I have heard that there are people who can do that in 8 hours, but I am not one. My best time was about 15 hours. For training rides, I may be out up to 10 hours, sometimes even more. The Garmin should have enough power for any ride I do (although I might need a battery pack to top it off toward the end of the Seattle to Portland). Even with this Hammerhead thing, my phone won't have that kind of life, and with the screen lit... forget it.

vibration (1)

Rixel (131146) | about 5 months ago | (#45487895)

Why not use the same vibration tech that bugs me when my ringer is off. Use bluetooth and have the left or right handle bar start throbbing when you need to turn. Or if you don't keep your hands on the wheel then use the vibration on the L/R of your seat. ....what was I talking about again?

The perfect machine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45487963)

Bicycles have only two wheels so stupid people can learn to pay attention.

Humanity just jumped the shark (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45488059)

Last one on the cyanide pills turn off the lights.

they beat me (1)

Jamie Ian Macgregor (3389757) | about 5 months ago | (#45488095)

dammit, I was going to do something similar, but with vibrating motors on each of your temples and call it hammerhea...damn I suppose the only thing left is to add blackjack and hookers... without the stupid navigation thing.

it's simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45488127)

Every cyclist in Vancouver knows that any time you run into a car, it's the car's fault. Doesn't matter what you're doing or not doing, it's simply the cars fault that you've run into it. If you run into another cyclist, you find a car nearby, blame it and make a claim against its insurance, even if it's parked.

Remember, it's always the car's fault.

Learn from history (1, Funny)

Nyder (754090) | about 5 months ago | (#45488135)

Before smartphones, cyclist still managed to get around fine. And back then they had *gasp* paper maps. ya, I know, how did they manage?

Re:Learn from history (1)

pr100 (653298) | about 5 months ago | (#45489203)

Before maps people got around by dead reckoning, trial and error or talking to the locals. That doesn't mean that maps are not useful.

By the same token the existence of maps doesn't mean that gps navigation aids are not useful.

Overthinking it (2)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | about 5 months ago | (#45488263)

Why not a smartphone app that hooks into the mapping/GPS/nav services, shows a large flashing arrow and reads out navigationally with vocal commands via a bluetooth earphone?

Re:Overthinking it (2)

drcheap (1897540) | about 5 months ago | (#45488291)

Why not a smartphone app that hooks into the mapping/GPS/nav services, shows a large flashing arrow and reads out navigationally with vocal commands via a bluetooth earphone?

Yeah, it could even have voice recognition capabilities so that you can speak to it and ask it how to get to location XYZ.
I should go patent that before someone else .... aw dammit!!

Bike HUD (3, Interesting)

MarkvW (1037596) | about 5 months ago | (#45488329)

All this is nothing to me. I'm waiting for a viable, programmable (and private) bike HUD (with rearview, HR, wattage, and navigation data.

That's what I'm waiting for.

Re:Bike HUD (1)

David Off (101038) | about 5 months ago | (#45489081)

Strava have just launched a doo-daa that works with Google Glass. I don't know whether it does any of what you want but may be worth a look.

For bike navigation, when I'm going somewhere in town I just pop my car's TomTom in my pocket. It has a 2 hour battery life, has cycle routes and speaks the direction. Pretty straightforward.

Navigate by sound... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45489047)

I personally navigate by sound. Just put on the GPS, on speakerphone, and let it tell me where to go.

cue the (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45489173)

bike nuts 3... 2... 1... seriously, those fungus-helmet heads will argue endlessly over issues that would cause a twit with overbite a bit of a problem

Free as in beer (1)

spectrokid (660550) | about 5 months ago | (#45489187)

Open Streetmap has (where I live) much better cycling maps than any other. Offline, so no data charges. OSMAND (for android) is free as in beer, and gives you spoken instructions in the language of your choice. And if your favorite track is not on the map, it is very satisfying to draw it yourself and share it with the community.

Step In The Right Direction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45489241)

Anything that gets me closer to playing Skyrim and surfing porn while I cycle sounds good to me.

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