There are many issues that bike commuters face, especially in urban areas where cars reign supreme and distances between a commuter’s locations can make biking impractical. More environmentally friendly cities have implemented bike trails, but often this does not combat factors like weather and geography. Commuting by bike in cities like Los Angeles where the heat can be unbearable or San Francisco with its hilly terrain imposes challenges that make traditional biking difficult.
Problems like these are what prompted FlyKly’s CEO, Niko Klansek, to invent a wheel that could turn any bike into a smart bike. With the help of their Kickstarter program, the New York based company can now make it possible. The company earned over $700,000 to manufacture the Smart Wheel, far exceeding their goal of just $100,000.
The Smart Wheel can replace almost any bike’s back tire and contains a battery-powered motor that recharges as the bike coasts downhill, reaching speeds up to 20 miles per hour. It can run as much as 50 miles on one charge.
The wheel is operated through FlyKly’s smartphone app. The user connects to the Smart Wheel via Bluetooth, adjusts the settings to the top speed needed and then attaches the phone to the Smart Wheel’s handlebar mount.
The app monitors speed, distance traveled and it can lock the bike wheel when it’s not in use. If the wheel begins to move while it is locked, the app alerts the user to possible theft. The app also begins learn your habits and can further suggest new and safer routes to and from your destination.
Klansek’s goal for the Smart wheel was “to make cities more livable, and make them more people -- not car – friendly.” FlyKly assures that the wheel will make bike commuting easier as the commuter will not have to worry about extreme heat, hills or traffic.
FlyKly is also hoping that their app users will use their route data and share them with city officials. By doing this, it could increase the likelihood of planning and building bike trails and making urban areas more bike-friendly.
According to the FlyKly Kickstarter, “The FlyKly vision is to reshape the cities bottom-up to improve citizens' quality of life by providing a more people-, city- and environmentally-friendly solution to the problem of transportation. We try to empower people with tools that will start to reshape the cities with mass use in a way that again people, not cars, come first.”