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November 15, 2012

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Tim Dees Police Tech & Gear
with Tim Dees

Innovative gear for bicycle officers

New gear on the market may make your riding experience safer and more pleasant

Most of the technology directed at improving bicycles these days seems to be directed at reducing the weight and improving ergonomics, resulting in bikes that cost as much as a car.

There is some new gear on the market that won’t cost nearly as much as that, and may make your riding experience safer and/or more pleasant.

Laser Bike Lanes
It’s always nice to have a bike lane to ride in, even if motorists don’t always pay attention to their boundaries. For times when you don’t have a marked bike lane, you can bring your own with you. The XFire Bike Lane Safety Light mounts under or on the back of the seat and projects red “lane markers” onto the pavement on either side of the bike.

It’s powered by two AAA batteries and the projected markers are visible even under streetlights and car headlights.

The device is $39.95, but a notice posted on the company’s website last month indicated their inventory is backordered.

Shock-absorbing Seat
If your butt is sore and numb after a day of riding, you might benefit from the Bodyfloat seat post. The Bodyfloat uses a unique dual-spring, dual-parallelogram design to help isolate the rider from bumps and vibration from the road surface. It will adapt to most any bicycle and rider, since the spring tension is fully adjustable.

The rider uses an Allen wrench to set the tension of the springs to suit the bike, riding conditions, and weight of the rider. The device allows for 1.5 inches of vertical travel, and can be pre-loaded down to ¼ inch.

Bodyfloat is a pricier item, at $199 for version 2.0 and $349 for version 3.0. Manufacturing was funded through a Kickstarter campaign. Version 3.0 will be available in December 2012, with Version 2.0 out the following February.

A model that incorporates a saddle is in the works.

Helmet with Integrated Sunglasses
This one I’m not so sure about, but I can see how it could be useful for some folks. The Dux Helm bike helmet incorporates retractable sunglasses into the helmet design. If you’ve ever wanted to channel a fighter pilot by snapping down a pair of dark lenses out of your helmet, this gadget is for you.

The lenses come in several colors and are swappable and replaceable. The helmet has 24 vents for air circulation and has an aerodynamic design. You can get it in eight colors, with six different colors of lenses.

The helmet with a gray lens set is $179. Replacement lenses will sell for $30-$35.

Detachable Kickstand
The bicycle I had as a kid had a kickstand, but they don’t seem to be popular now. I imagine they’re eliminated to save weight and reduce projections to get hung up on. For the times you would like to prop the bike up by itself, there is the Click-Stand.

The Click-Stand is a support for one side of the bike that collapses into four segments, similar to the way some white canes for the visually impaired break down for carrying. It weighs about 75 grams (2.6 ounces) and is 7-10 inches when folded up.

The Click-Stand sells for $31 directly from the manufacturer, who also offers a carrying bracket for mounting on the bike and some “Fat Feet” for supporting the Click-Stand in sand or soft earth. 

About the author

Tim Dees is a writer, editor, trainer, and former law enforcement officer. After 15 years as a police officer with the Reno Police Department and elsewhere in Northern Nevada, Tim taught criminal justice as a full-time professor and instructor at colleges in Wisconsin, West Virginia, Georgia, and Oregon.

He was also a regional training coordinator for the Oregon Dept. of Public Safety Standards & Training, providing in-service training to 65 criminal justice agencies in central and eastern Oregon.

Tim has written more than 300 articles for nearly every national law enforcement publication in the United States, and is the author of The Truth About Cops, published by Hyperink Press. In 2005, Tim became the first editor-in-chief for Officer.com, moving to the same position for LawOfficer.com at the beginning of 2008. He now writes on applications of technology in law enforcement from his home in SE Washington state.

Tim holds a bachelor’s degree in biological science from San José State University, a master’s degree in criminal justice from The University of Alabama, and the Certified Protection Professional credential from ASIS International. He serves on the executive board of the Public Safety Writers Association.

Dees can be reached at tim.dees@policeone.com.

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