Innovation and Technology Taking the Cycling World by Storm

Cycling technology and innovation has changed cycling completely for all those who take part

Cycling has come a long way since the Penny-Farthing in 1869, Bicycles themselves have been modified, updated and modified again to create the best possible performance. Technology has transformed and innovated the cycling world to create bicycles made from titanium that offer maximum endurance, but minimum weight. Bicycles have now become much more than simple contraptions allowing people to get from A to B. Cycling technology, and cycling as a sport has become something serious, with elite athletes to your next door neighbour all seeking to get from A-B in the quickest, most efficient time. The technology now involved within cycling is vast; ranging from lycra that allows for maximum breathability to onboard monitors that measure incline, speed, miles travelled.

Over the past decade, cycling has become a sport attracting people from all walks of life, Team Sky have taken the world by storm with their latest innovative concept to cycling technology. Adapting and changing bicycle mechanisms, cycling techniques and training regimes to optimise performance and presenting quantifiable data within professional cycling that allows intricate measures to be taken dependent on each individual racer. These technologies have become more widely available and have allowed everyday cyclists to take adopt technology within their cycling, it’s transgressed throughout the cycling population and fundamentally changed the face of cycling.

Without a doubt, cycling has become one of the most accessible sports in around the world. Cycling schemes have been set up around the world, with many nations all seeking to be the most active nation; the aptly named ‘Boris Bikes’ were set up in London in 2010 and in Paris the ‘Vélib’ system was set up in 2007, both with exactly the same premise of getting people to use cycling as a regular form of transport. In 2010, London also set up the Cycle Superhighways, that have since allowed cyclists to reach destinations quicker than driving, once again plugging for the greener alternatives. Paving the way in innovative cycling schemes is the Netherlands and Denmark who have created raised cycle paths, that allow cyclists uninterrupted cycling routes that make an increasingly safer journey for all included.

The Hovenring, Eindhoven, Netherlands. Credit: The Daily Telegraph.

Not only has cycling become one of the most popular hobbies, Bicycles, and cycling in general, have made it into the technological world with apps being created for cyclists to receive data and information about each and every ride via onboard mechanisms that monitor a wide range stats as well as some of the latest app technology. Apps such as Strava permit huge amounts of stats around performance in cycling and running, but not only can they measure their own stats, but compare against others doing exactly the same route; fueling the competitive fire.

Planning your route has become staple in most cycling apps, but Strava goes a step further; using GPS to meticulously plan your route and further dividing routes into segments in which users can then measure further and analyse which segment was the slowest and fastest.

Strava holds a high reputation within the world of cycling, the app for android and IOS, not only allows for data analysis from every user, but the social functionality of the app. The ’segmented’ routes can be published onto leaderboards or shared with friends so as to ad the competitive edge. The leaderboards allow you to check not only your performance, but others too, the social functionality allows user to invite friends to take part too. On an individual level, Strava acts as an ideal port of call for cycle enthusiasts to compare and compete with their cycling ability, as well as managing your wheels. Users can input bike details such as fixes and issues, and monitor issues over prolonged periods of time. Early August saw the release of Strava Beacon, enabling for app users to post their location to three other contacts, allowing cyclist to not only boast to others about their location but quashing any safety concerns others may have.

Credit: Strava.com

Strava has seemingly taken the consumer world by storm with their app, but it’s their innovation with governments that astounds many. Strava Metro acts to make cycling, running and walking better and easier in cities. Millions of people use Strava to upload their routes and compare their times, Strava analyses the most popular routes, and shares these with transportation departments and city planning groups to improve cycling and running routes. It’s enabled cities to tackle, directly the safety issues involved within cycling and allows governments to build and increasing their cycling infrastructure, which in turn helps cycling grow in popularity and get more people out on the road.

With the ever-growing popularity of cycling comes the want for many to explore the world via two-wheels. After seeing the likes of Chris Froome and Peter Sagan scale the likes of Mont. Ventoux in the Tour De France, cycling holidays has become ever popular.

Ride 25 offer unique cycling expeditions for all shapes, sizes, and abilities. Ranging all over Europe, Ride 25 plan cycling expeditions including London-Paris, Paris-Milan, and Milan-Rome, booking hotel destinations all along the way. Ride 25, with the help of Puzzle, have also created an app that allows for crew and participants to monitor their location the entire expedition too. Acting, not only as a safety precaution but also as a useful tool for participants.

One of the latest innovations in the technological world has been the emergence of VR, and its making its way into the cycling world. Aaron Puzey will be cycling the historic trail of Lands Ends to John O’Groats, all from the comfort of his own home using VR, using the latest VR headset from Samsung, and Google Maps Street view, though slightly distorted throughout, Puzey has used some of the latest technology available and combined it with the cycling world. No doubt the concept of VR in cycling will be carried further forward with the likes of Sky Sports releasing their very own VR App.

It’s difficult to even begin to predict, with the innovation and technology that we’ve witnessed over the last 2 decades, where cycling will be in the future. No doubt, VR within cycling will be taken seriously, given the opportunity that stands within the VR technologies.

It would seem that the bridge between cycling technology has been well and truly made; the technology will be adapted to provide cleaner, more efficient results but as cycling has quickly become a popular interest to many people, nations will continue to build and create cycling schemes that ensure safety and allow increased amounts of participation. Strava Labs allows members of the public to see how Strava are looking to progress and further develop cycling, and it seems that they’re are striving to receive more data from cyclists, and allow users to increase their own performance.

Feature Image Credit: Team Sky