Cyclists can be a beautiful sport, but it can also be a bit nerdy at times.
Racers are often willing to put fashion and form second if they think it’ll help gain a couple seconds in a time trial. Companies are always looking to reinvent the wheel, along with your frame, saddle, helmet and any other part on your bike.
Some of these technologies do change the sport for the better. Carbon frames and aerodynamics have made pro racing measurably faster over the last couple decades. Other “game changing” technologies aren’t quite as long lasting, or well thought out. At their most entertaining, these novel ideas look more like novelty props borrowed from early science fiction films.
So, for May the Fourth, we’re looking at five technologies that fall somewhere between NASA-level cool, and 70’s Star Wars science fiction.
Time Trial helmets
TT helmets, and TT bikes and gear in general are always a bit goofy looking. Lining up to race against the clock, racers are very willing to sacrefice looks to shave a second, maybe, off their finish time. Sometimes they end up looking more like a storm trooper wandered off the set of Empire Strikes Back than a pro cyclist. Or, sometimes, like they’re straight out of Spaceballs.
UCI’s motor testing iPads
The UCI is doing its best to crack down on any potential mechanical doping, which is great. Using iPads to scan for hidden motors before and after stages makes UCI’s officials look like they’re medics from Star Trek, playing with oversized Tricorders. Hopefully it’s working better than the props from the show.
Virtual training and racing platforms
Virtual training platforms have seen a massive growth in popularity recently. It could be because of the ease of training and ability to ride when the weather outside doesn’t cooperate. Or it could be because cyclists secretly want to pretend their racing one of those super cool bikes from Tron. When the legs aren’t there, though, riding in a virtual training world can feel less like a speed bike and more like navigating the dystopian Matrix of Neuromancer.
Everysight Raptor AR smartglasses
Everysights Augmented Reality glasses give cyclists all the data they need, displayed in their sunglasses instead of having to look down at a bike computer. They say the Raptor AR technology is developed from the Israeli military, but it looks alot like the heads-up displays X-Wing and TIE fighter pilots had in the original Star Wars trilogy.
With the legalization of weed spreading through the U.S. and Canada, there’s been a huge surge in the popularity of CBD creams, gels, and recovery drinks to help cyclists feel fresh after training. Like most health claims coming out of the cannabis industry, though, the healing powers of CBD creams remain largely unproven. All it reminds us of is Luke Skywalker dunked in a Bacta tank. Hopefully CBD creams work just as well.