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TECH NEWS

Crashed? Ridersmate uses GPS & mobile phone tech to call for help

Device aimed at solo riders launches funding campaign on Kickstarter

What happens if you're on a solo ride in the middle of nowhere and you crash? A new Kickstarter project, Ridersmate is one answer. With built-in GPS and GPRS mobile phone connectivity it automatically sends an alert if you crash so help can get to you ASAP.

Designer David Coleman says the first 60 minutes after a crash are vital; if you don't get help in that period the consequences can be serious.

His answer is Ridersmate, a device that attaches to your bike, with a detachable tether that clips to your clothing. If you fall and become separated from your bike, the tether detaching triggers a text message to be sent to a designated number.

If you've just had a minor spill, or forgotten you were using the Ridersmate and walked away from your bike, rejoining the tether sends a message that it's a false alarm.

Here's a video to show how it works:

Coleman says that the advantage of Ridersmate over a system that uses the GPS in a mobile phone is battery life.

He said: "We wanted Ridersmate to have enough battery life for a full day’s riding, whilst still being lightweight and portable enough to take with you wherever you go, so we had to come up with a unique solution.

"Ridersmate … uses our unique location system, which has mapped out the positions and movements of all the world’s GPS satellites.

"Ridersmate always knows exactly where it is, without having to waste power finding the satellites. This enabled us to make Ridersmate small and lightweight enough to fit easily onto any cycle, motorbike or saddle, whilst still providing 8+ hours of battery life."

As well as sending automatic emergency message the Ridersmate has a manual SOS function, and can also send a non-emergency message.

It's USB-rechargeable, as you'd expect, and has ride-logging functions too.

Coleman is looking for £19,900 to manufacture the first Ridersmates, and so far has 10 backers. The main Kickstarter reward on offer is the unit itself. The RRP will be £249, but backers can get one for £199.

Find out more over on Kickstarter.

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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