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An 18-year old French inventor has created a contactless locking system for bicycles - is this the future?

"The goal of the bike is to be fast. I found it a bit paradoxical to waste time protecting your bike." Those are the words of French Junior Science and Life INNOVEZ award winner Benoît Thomas whose contactless locking mechanism won the 2016 award.

Junior Science and Life is a magazine that runs annual innovation awards for participants under the age of 18, and this year's cohort's winner offered an interesting solution to the logistical issue of locking up your bike.

Frustrated by the time consuming nature of securing his bike, 18-year old Benoît Thomas entered the Junior Science and Life competition with his contactless 3d-printed contactless bike lock.

The lock features a card similar to the debit and credit cards we use on a day-to-day basis which is stored in part of the lock on the seat tube. The lock mechanism automatically slides through the spokes near the rear brake on the seatstay of the bike when the card is removed from its slot, securing the bike in moments.

>Read more: road.cc's Beginner's Guide to Bike Security

The mechanism also contains movement senors which trigger an alarm if the bike is moved while still locked.

While the young Frenchman's invention is relatively low-tech and not production-ready, perhaps the idea, which offers incredibly fluid bike security, is a glimpse into the future of bike security.

>Read more: road.cc's Bike Lock Buyer's Guide

"Just put the bike against a wall or pole, lock the card, and the bike is locked," Benoît told Hauts-de-France

If peace of mind were that easy to come by, you bet we'd all be using devices like Benoît's. Perhaps it will be in the near future.

Elliot joined team road.cc bright eyed, bushy tailed, and straight out of university.

Raised in front of cathode ray tube screens bearing the images of Miguel Indurain and Lance Armstrong, Elliot's always had cycling in his veins.
His balance was found on a Y-framed mountain bike around South London suburbs in the 90s, while his first taste of freedom came when he claimed his father's Giant hybrid as his own at age 16.

When Elliot's not writing for road.cc about two-wheeled sustainable transportation, he's focussing on business sustainability and the challenges facing our planet in the years to come.

9 comments

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brooksby [2230 posts] 4 months ago
3 likes

Not this sort of thing again. What's wrong with a physical key which goes in a hole and manually turns the mechanism? Far less to go wrong, I'd think.

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davel [1242 posts] 4 months ago
2 likes

I've got a massive chain and U-Lock fastened to the sheffield stands where I work - too heavy to lug around. Each time I get to work I have to unlock the locks, thread them both through frame/wheels, and lock them, sometimes to a different stand if there's no room on the one my locks are on, sometimes very delicately avoiding a bike on the other side of the stand. Each time I Ieave, it's the reverse.

It's a PITA, so it's a problem I'd really happily have solved, and would gladly throw money at it.

But convenience seems to me to mean either less secure (at least when my locks are on there's sold secure gold stuff wrapped round every bit of my bike) or more susceptible to screwing up (?) as brooksby says, or they come built-in, adding weight to a bike that I don't want.

So 'secure' to me at the moment means massive, inconvenient, old-school heavy locks with keys - but I'd happily be told otherwise.

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Simon E [3020 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes
brooksby wrote:

Not this sort of thing again. What's wrong with a physical key which goes in a hole and manually turns the mechanism? Far less to go wrong, I'd think.

I guess that you've never had your key lock bunged up with glue.

People manage with contactless payments and remote locking car keys so why not? This won't make key locks disappear but it sounds interesting.

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tourdelound [168 posts] 4 months ago
1 like
Simon E wrote:
brooksby wrote:

Not this sort of thing again. What's wrong with a physical key which goes in a hole and manually turns the mechanism? Far less to go wrong, I'd think.

I guess that you've never had your key lock bunged up with glue.

People manage with contactless payments and remote locking car keys so why not? This won't make key locks disappear but it sounds interesting.

Sorry, but what's to stop anyone putting glue in the card slot?

D lock/chain fixed to a solid object has got to be more secure.

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riggbeck [2 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

AXA already make something like this. Take a look at their Electronic Framelock and Connect system.

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Grahamd [461 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

I would have thought that an app for your phone would be far more sensible. Something less to carry or lose.

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hsiaolc [343 posts] 4 months ago
2 likes

I think its great to be innovative and I like the idea. 

Except that I don't think I will be brave enough to use it on my bikes because I can see that anyone can just pick up my bike and run with it on a scooter or in a van and it's gone.  A bike needs to be locked to something strong. 

I personally would love it if London can start adopting what they have in Japan of those underground cycle parks. 

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flathunt [239 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes
hsiaolc wrote:

I personally would love it if London can start adopting what they have in Japan of those underground cycle parks. 

Too expensive, can we not just introduce Sharia law when it comes to cycle theft? Not the whole lot, obvs, that would make the cabbies too happy.

Avatar
davel [1242 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes
flathunt wrote:
hsiaolc wrote:

I personally would love it if London can start adopting what they have in Japan of those underground cycle parks. 

Too expensive, can we not just introduce Sharia law when it comes to cycle theft? Not the whole lot, obvs, that would make the cabbies too happy.

The Taliban are asking people to plant trees.  How much more progressive than the LTDA does that make them?