Smart Horn -- a light, a horn, and a hell of a warning
Kickstarter is full of little gizmos that you just wish you'd thought of yourself, and this is no exception.
The Orp Smart Horn - or Smorn - is a combination dual decibel bike horn and front beacon bike light all in a super small, USB rechargeable, weather proof package.
As a result, it's a two in one safety device - if they can't see you coming, they'll certainly hear you.
In an emergency, your response time is everything, and the acivation of the horn is intuitive. Orp's Wail Tail trigger is easily moved up or down. With a small movement in either
direction, a 76 dB friendly sound emits to alert other cyclists and pedestrians.
But if you need a bit more to get you noticed in traffic, you "floor it" - and the Orp emits a piercing 96dB loud sound and fires twin 87 lumen LEDs in a fast strobe alerting drivers that you're there.
There are 4 lighting modes actuated by Orp’s centrally located power / mode switch: off, slow strobe, fast strobe and constant on, that can do the usual bike light duties as well.
To prevent accidental horn-firing or the light staying on when Orp is in your bag, there's a 'full power down' mode (a three-second hold) that gives you peace of mind in that important business meeting.
For more info see Orp's Kickstarter page.
Enigma bikes sell-off
Enigma bikes, the handmade British bike company, have been in touch to let us know they're moving into much bigger premises come January, and so they're having a big clearout on ex-demo, photoshoot and show samples.
We've had a poke about their site and found some rather tasty deals, including this custom steel fixie frame with more than £250 off at £999:
There are also some full bikes on sale, like this Eclipse that's a steal at £1999 - thats £556 off the full price. Definitely worth saving up your Christmas money for.
For more info see the Enigma bikes clearance page.
Hero: is it a mint? Is it a drink?
We've not tried these yet, so we can't vouch for the efficacy or taste, but it's an intriguing idea and might be a winner for those of you who don't like traditional energy gels or drinks.
Hero energy mints have caffeine and taurine in, so they're a bit like a chewable Red Bull or similar - but the difference is, they're chewable.
Hero claim that the chewing gets the boost into your bloodstream faster. One mint is roughly equivalent to 1.5 cans of Diet Coke in terms of stimulation.
If you're a serious mile-eater, this won't be for you, as there's none of the carb hit you need when the miles get long and the hills get tough. But for a quick fix to get you out on your bike on a dark winter's night, you might just find a place for a tin of Hero mints in your jersey pocket.
For more info see Hero.
On Yer Bike Seat: a dry butt and better visibility
Pimp your saddle with a durable cover from On Yer Bike Seat. Having successfully made promotional bike seat covers, the company has developed higher quality, more durable covers with a PVC coating for an extra level of weather proofing.
The seams have been strengthened and the heavy duty elastic hem helps keep things in place - but what you'll notice are the silkscreen printed designs.
Each cover has a reflective OnYerBikeSeat label designed to loop down the back of the saddle to create an additional level of visibility at night. And it does double duty - the loop can be used to tie or suspend a back light from.
Zip ties are included with each cover to secure it to the underneath of the saddle and reduce the opportunity for theft, meaning you can always be sure of a dry seat on your return from the shops or work. The RRP is £9.99
For more info see On Yer Bike Seat.
Prendas oversocks - in fetching yellow
Now available in eye-catching fluoro yellow, the Prendas oversocks are pretty much exactly modelled on the original oversocks - that is, a large pair of wollen socks with cleat holes cut out of them.
They work to keep the tootsies warm when the temperature is low, but if you do sacrifice your holey socks for the purpose you'll find they don't last long.
These Prendas versions are a bit more high tech, as they are produced in Italy, in Cordura fabric that's breathable, quick to dry, durable and provides good insulation.
Another feature is that the heel and cleat cut-outs are stitched around to prevent immediate fraying in these areas, which seems obvious but you won't always find.
Ideal for damp and cool conditions these make a perfect intermediate solution when a full overshoe is too warm, and saves too much scrubbing of your lovely kangaroo-hide (or whatever) shoes when you get home.
They retail at around £7.95, which is a small price to pay for winter-long cosy feet - and they should see you well into spring too.
For more info see Prendas.
English Cycles custom job: a bare naked TT machine
The English Cycles company, makers of lovely custom frames, have been in touch to showcase one of their latest creations - a handmade steel TT bike that's even more eyecatching thanks to its clearcoat over bare steel finish.
Rob English, who trained in the US with Bike Friday, makers of performance folding bikes in the USA, is now in Eugene, Oregon and making his beautiful machines to order.
He told us: "I have had many people admire my time trial bike over the years, with its custom fork, bar and aerobar assembly, but no-one else had yet had a low enough position to warrant a similar design.
"Dave is a local rider -who had better not start going quicker than me with his new bike - who wanted a full Di2 machine, and opted for a clearcoat over the polished bare steel for a unique look.
"The bike features a TRP timetrial V-brake on the back of the fork blades (which required the cable to pass through the steerer tube), with a TriRig Omega brake tucked under the chainstays.
"There is a custom battery inside the seattube, with a micro-usb port for charging located in the back of the seatmast cap, which will normally have a rubber cover.
"Fully built up as shown the bike weighs in at exactly 18lb."
If you're tempted, or have ideas of your own for your dream machine, Rob can make them come true.
For more info see English Bikes.
<p>After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.</p>