Let’s go way, way back in time. The year is 1817 and German inventor Baron Karl von Drais created a two-wheeled, human-propelled machine. This has been called the first verifiable claim for a practical bicycle. Going by that date, we are now celebrating the 200th anniversary of the bike in 2017.
The original design from von Drais was mainly constructed from wood and ran on iron wheels. The basic concept and look of that early bicycle are still familiar today, but von Drais would have a hard time recognizing all the fabulous technology accouterments available to modern riders.
1. Garmin Varia Rearview Radar
Bicyclists need to be defensive riders, always on the lookout for cars, other bikes and pedestrians. It can be especially challenging to keep an eye on vehicles approaching from behind, so Garmin developed a very interesting product called the Varia Rearview Radar. The gadget uses radar to detect the proximity of cars and other vehicles up to 153 yards behind.
The tail unit part of the system brightens and flashes when it detects traffic, but there’s a lot more going on here. An optional radar display unit mounts to your handlebars and uses dots to show you when vehicles are near and how far away they are. According to Garmin, the display also communicates “the relative speed of approach and threat level.” That can give you a valuable early warning if a car is coming from behind at a fast clip. The whole system with the display unit costs $300, but the safety advantages could outweigh the price tag for riders who spend a lot of time on the road.