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The quest to reinvent bicycling

Late 1800s, meet 2013. (Photos courtesy of J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry and bicymple)

Bicycles have been around for hundreds of years, but there’s still room for improving the experience. As more and more city dwellers turn to bikes as a way to get around, a market grows for technology to help those on two wheels.

(Courtesy of Revolights)

Wheels that light your way.

At $229, the price for Revolights is steep, but it is tough to find cooler looking lights for a bike.

(Courtesy of BitLock)

A lock you can’t lose the key for
BitLock senses when your smartphone is within 3 feet of it. All you have to do is hit a button on the lock to unlock it, thanks to Bluetooth technology. If you ever forget where you locked your bike, BitLock can show you on a map in its app. As of Thursday, it had raised more than half its goal on Kickstarter.

Meet the FLyKly. (Courtesy of FlyKly)

Don’t want to work up a sweat on a bike? These wheels will help.
The FlyKly is an electric motor attached to the rear wheel of a bike that assists with pedaling. In May, FlyKly expects to deliver the wheel to Kickstarter backers who pledged $550. Superpedestrian is launching a similar project, the Copenhagen Wheel. Both systems can last for up to 30 miles without being charged.

(Courtesy of Fortified Bicycle Alliance)

Indestructible bike lights.
How often should you have to replace the lights on your bike? Slava Menn and Tivan Amour of Fortified Bicycle Alliance say never. They’ve been extremely successful on Kickstarter, with the help of a clever video, and expect to begin shipping the lights in April.

This bike is off the chain.
Think a fixed-gear bike is simplistic and minimalist? Well you should meet the bicymple, which doesn’t have a chain. It’s tough to get simpler without buying a unicycle. Because there’s no chain, the back wheel can turn as well. A downside: you won’t be able to travel as fast as on a typical bike.

(Courtesy of J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry)

Will a cardboard bicycle be next?
Cardboard Technologies, which aimed to build an inexpensive bike out of cardboard,  announced on indiegogo this summer that it was returning funding to supporters and instead partnering with investors to build a production facility. Inventor Izhar Gafni has attracted plenty of attention for the idea. Stay tuned for what will be thought of next…

Matt McFarland is the editor of Innovations. He's always looking for the next big thing. You can find him on Twitter and Facebook.

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