Cycle-commuters, you will understand that carving your way through a lawless scrum of un-helmeted pedallers up Borough High Street hardly makes for the most serene start to your workday. The threat of HGV blind-spots and ruthless cab-drivers provides little comfort. And heaven help you if you’re not 100% assured of your route and destination. Either you sellotape an uncomfortable headphone into your ear and follow slow-mo instructions from the despotic voice of Google Maps, or you dismount on every other street corner to check your phone screen for directions – which isn’t much fun in sleet. Neither are safe, and neither are a particularly great look…
The answer? BeeLine, an app-led compass that sits like a watch strap on your handlebars and guides you with graceful simplicity towards your destination. Just pop your endpoint into the BeeLine app, and an arrow will appear on its e-Paper display indicating the ‘geodesic’ direction – in other words, as-the-crow-flies. The BeeLine’s backlit display counts down the distance as you ride, and its USB-charging battery lasts for an impressive four weeks of regular use.
Unlike other GPS options, it’s non-prescriptive, so you choose your own route. What’s so good about that? Well, first off, it’s safer. When you’re fending off a testy BMW-driver on the middle of Old Street roundabout, you don’t have the time to start cross-referencing street names. With one glance, BeeLine puts you on track, freeing up your attention for the myriad road hazards that London reliably offers. Secondly, it’s fun. By leaving you to choose your route, it’s ‘fuzzy’ navigation system allows room for exploration and creativity. It’ll give you better sense of place too. A hundred sat-nav journeys will likely leave you none-the-wiser as to your surroundings. A few BeeLine journeys on the other hand, will compel you to expand on your skeletal geography and re-engage with your city.
Fat Lama didn’t think twice about backing the BeeLine guys when they announced on KickStarter, and Wimbledon winner Andy Murray followed suit soon after. So, if you want to put a bit of adventure back into your ride, pre-order now for £49.99 (£20 less than the expected MSRP). You can expect your BeeLine sometime between September and October this year.
The Bottom Line: Safe, intuitive navigation which puts the cyclist back in control and allows for a little bit of wanderlust en route. Magellan himself would approve.