September 18, 2015
Available for pre-order, and shipping out this month, BikeTag takes ride tracking to the next level by adding a crash detection feature. Measuring just two inches in diameter, and less than a half inch in thickness, the BikeTag can be paired to your smartphone, then stored in a jersey pocket, saddle bag, or even affixed to your bike. Using the BikeTag app, rides are automatically recorded when you hit the road, and can even be uploaded automatically to ride tracking services such as Strava.
The BikeTag has a battery life of one year, and there's no on-off switch. Using various motion detection algorithms, the BikeTag can sense when you start riding, and when you're done. This helps greatly reduce battery drain on the BikeTag. In addition to knowing whether or not you're riding, it can also detect a crash.
If a crash is detected, it has the ability to notify your friends and family. The algorithm used for this is pretty impressive, as it is setup to avoid false positives. For instance, I can throw the tag around the room, and it won't detect a crash. In other words, simply dropping the tag or setting down your bike won't alert anyone that you have fallen.
Live tracking is another feature that will be available with the BikeTag. When you head out for a ride, friends and family can check in on your progress, and any of your followers can be notified of when you both start and stop a ride.
The obvious question that comes up is: Why do you need a separate piece of hardware paired to a smartphone when you can already track rides straight from a standalone smartphone? The answer to that question is that you can save a lot of your phone's battery power by transferring some of the data processing load onto this separate unit.
It's great to see new and innovative safety devices coming out, and this one can be yours for under $100.
Photos by Josh Tack
TOURING GEAR & TIPS is written by Joshua Tack of Adventure Cycling’s member services department. It appears once each month, highlighting technical aspects of bicycle touring and offering advice to help better prepare you for the journey ahead. Look for Josh’s “Fine Tuned” column in Adventure Cyclist magazine as well.