Earlier in the year, we reported on research that said Bradley Wiggins could save £11 a year running his washing machine by pedal power - a fact that was disputed by some of our readers, but nonetheless made the point that all the power being put out by a cyclist on a static trainer is wasted.
Not any more. The South African product design consulting firm Ideso has come up with a prototype of the PowerPac, a turbo trainer cum generator that turns your pedal strokes into juice in a portable battery.
Winning the Red Dot Design Award for Best of the Best for 2012, the PowerPac battery can be charged in about 80 minutes of pedalling, and although the designers admit it's not going to be enough to power your whole household, it will definitely keep a laptop or phone running, as 132Wh of charge or potential energy can be stored in the battery. Numerous devices can then be charged or powered from this stored energy.
Red Dot judges praised the "sleek, robust, and functional feel that will not look out of place in any household."
For more info, see Red Dot.
If you ever find it hard to hear your riding buddy as you whizz downhill, you might well consider these Cat Ears noise reducers. Or possibly not. Anyway.
They work in supposedly the same way as the fur in a cat's ear, protecting the ears and breaking up and dampening the wind. They're aerodynamic, according to the blurb, as "the faux fur can move with the wind 'flow' vs. being a rigid object". Hmmm.
According to the makers, Cat Eyes can reduce wind noise by about 40 - 60%. Here's a technical drawing (cough) that shows you how:
Simply wrap the faux-fur around the leading helmet strap and attach using the hook and loop Velcro strips. Sadly original Cat Ears are only available in black at the moment.
Cat Ears cost between 8 and 15 dollars.
For more info see Cat Ears.
We brought you news of the the Limited Edition Van Moof 'Noir' earlier this week but what we didn't tell you is that you'll need to sharpen your elbows and get straight to the front of the queue, because there are only 20 going to be produced - ever.
The Noir is based on the recently introduced Van Moof M2. It has a striking dark coloured aluminium rust-free frame, with an innovative solar powered LED light system built inside its tubes. These LEDs are not only solar powered, but can also be charged through the micro USB cable on your phone.
That means the lights are un-nickable, and won't run out on you, provided they spend some time in the light each day.
The thick wide wheels make riding on and off pavements and obstacles problem-free. The broad handlebar, SYAD saddle and durable Schwalbe tires top-off the smooth no-nonsense look.
For more info, see Leftfield Bikes.
Biologic has announced its Bike Mount for the iPhone 5 and a Soft Shield for the iPad, providing essential protection if you feel the need to drag your gadgetry into the great outdoors.
The Bike Mount is a fully-enclosed, hard plastic case that is secured with a heavy-duty, double-pivot latch. A welded, touch-sensitive membrane on the front allows full use of the iPhone’s applications, while a soft silicone liner provides a secure fit while providing shock resistance for the phone. Integrated RidgeSeal technology forms a tight seal between the case cover and liner for protection against the elements.
A clear plastic window on the back allows full use of the rear camera, even while riding. The Bike Mount for iPhone 5 can fit on handlebars or stems with a diameter of 38 mm or less.
In addition to the new iPhone case, BioLogic also announced the release of its Soft Shield for iPad, a waterproof fabric cover for iPad.
“For quite a few of us, the iPad has become indispensable travel gear and out in the real world an iPad needs a bit of protection from things like sweat, rain, dust, and dirty fingers,” said uke Hsu, Biologic Project Manager. “The Soft Shield keeps the elements out and your iPad safe inside.”
The Soft Shield for iPad is crafted from a waterproof, sonically-welded fabric to meet rigorous IP66 water and particle protection standards. The dark grey linen-like fabric is a non-slip material, making the iPad easier to handle even with gloves on.
With the Soft Shield on, iPad features are fully accessible, including the front touchscreen, rear camera, volume controls, and on/off button. The Soft Shield also includes a TRRS in-line earphone adapter, so users are able to listen to and control their iPad through earphones equipped with in-line remotes.
For more info, see Biologic.
The new 100% Omni rain poncho from Rainwave is the perfect way to make riding on a wet day a happy experience.
In stylish blue or brown animal print these are full length ponchos, complete with reflective stripe across the back, that pack down into a matching carry bag, ready to whip out in a rain emergency.
They're generously proportioned (one size fits all) and fit over your normal coat. The hood looks plenty big enough to tuck under or over a helmet, and the fabric is windproof and waterproof, but also breathable so you don't arrive at your destination wetter on the inside than the outside.
Unlike Dutch-style ponchos, this one doesn't cover the handlebars, but in this case it's a bit of a blessing, as you can sling it on when you're not on the bike as well. Cuff and waist straps stop it from flapping about when you're riding. The ponchos are £80 each.
For more information, visit Rainwave.
He's widely asserted to be one of, if not the greatest rider of all time, so there's really no better mascot for cyclists.
Here's a little curio - a vinyl figure, but definitely not a toy.
It's designed by Richard Mitchelson, based on his original 'Eddy' illustration for Rouleur Magazine.
This vinyl figure is 6 inches tall, and comes in a presentation box. Costs £35, so let's help it makes you ride faster too.
For more info, see Rouleur.
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.