by Amanda MacMillan
Courtesy of HammerheadIf you've ever biked your way to an unfamiliar place while trying to read directions directions on your phone, you know it can be a total hassle at best -- and downright dangerous at worst. Even with a handlebar mount for your phone, you either have keep your screen on the whole time (like hello, low battery) or constantly fidget with it -- hopefully while stopped in a safe spot -- to wake it up periodically. And it's not like people actually memorize directions before they go places anymore; what is this, the nineties?
That's why we are so stoked about Hammerhead, a turn-by-turn navigation system for cyclists that sends you visual cues -- but won't sap your phone's energy -- while you ride. A small black device (shaped like, you guessed it, a hammerhead) mounts to your handlebars and syncs up with your cell phone to provide directions for your route in real time: Left turn coming up? The lights on the left side of the device flash. Distance to your destination? The center strip of lights gives you a good idea.
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And that may not even be the coolest part: Hammerhead users are part of a community -- a social network, if you will -- and can share riding routes or use the app to find each other when they're out riding. You can also upload routes from sites like Strava and MapMyRide, and you can use Hammerhead as a bike computer to measure your speed while you're out training for a race.
The device will also snap onto the handlebars of bike-share bicycles in cities like New York, San Francisco, Boston and other major urban area (any that use Bixi/Alta or B-Cycle bikes). The Hammerhead will tell you how much time you have left in your ride, plus where to find the closest available docking station. Coming from the girl who accidentally rode an extra 25 minutes during her first jaunt on a Citibike (time flies when you're having fun!), that is a very good thing.
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Hammerhead's not available yet; it's currently taking pre-orders on the newest crowdfunding site, Dragon Innovation. If they reach their funding goal by October 12, they'll deliver their first units (for $75 a piece, or $78 with a bike-share mount) in May 2014. We can't wait!
What do you think: Would you use the Hammerhead navigation system? Tweet us at @amandaemac and @SELFmagazine.
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by Amanda MacMillan