Following a successful Kickstarter campaign - we ran a story back in 2015 - the BeeLine cycling navigation device is now available to buy. It’s a compact handlebar-mounted device that essentially works like a digital compass, using an arrow to direct you to your pre-planned route. It costs £99 and includes free international shipping.
“Ride with Beeline and make every journey an everyday adventure. By simply showing you the direction to your destination and the distance to go, Beeline allows you to take back control of your ride.”
How does it work?
The BeeLine takes the GPS signal from a connected and compatible smartphone and allows you to input your final destination. Instead of providing turn-by-turn directions like a car satnav, the smartphone and allows you to input your final destination. Instead of providing turn-by-turn directions like a car satnav, the BeeLine acts like a compass and indicates the direction of your final destination, but leaving the choice of route entirely up to you.
Inside the compact device are a suite of sensors, including a magnetometer, accelerometer, gyroscope and a Bluetooth receiver. Then there’s the companion app, available for iOS and Android, that you use to tell the BeeLine the destination that you want to cycle to.
It might be the office, a friend’s house, a new coffee shop, or the top of a big hill. You can add waypoints along the route if you need to run errands or go exploring. The small screen displays an arrow showing which direction you need to be heading in, along with the distance remaining.
The BeeLine features an e-paper screen so it can be read easily in any light, even bright sunshine, and a backlight for riding at night. It’s water resistant and shockproof thanks to a silicone mounting system.
Inside there’s a 350mAh battery that BeeLine claims will last 30-hours between charges. When the time does come to top up the battery, it’s simply a case of plugging in a USB cable.
It does, doesn’t it? The company reckons that the simplicity of navigation offered by the BeeLine allows cyclists to “rediscover the fun of cycling with their new-found freedom as BeeLine lets them pick their own path, unlike most navigation devices that use turn-by-turn GPS navigation.” Sounds like a novel way of navigating through a new city but might not be much use if you’re running late for work.
BeeLine co-founder Tom Putnam explains it best: “Mark (Jenner) and I wanted a navigation system we could rely on, one that is built on the idea that cycling is fun, but can also be used as a tool to explore the surroundings.
After months of refining the device to ensure it is both flawlessly engineered and beautifully designed, we are immensely proud to launch Beeline. We know our passionate backers are eager to start using their Beelines, and we hope their availability encourages more people to embrace exploration that Beeline enables – be it on their daily commute or weekend rides.”
You can also use BeeLine without navigation, and it’ll perform like a regular cycle computer, displaying your current speed and distance or a clock.
The BeeLine costs £99 and is available in three colours: Charcoal Grey, Hot Coal Red and Petrol Blue from http://beeline.co
Intrigued? We know you are. We are too, and we’re going to try and get one in for review to see what it is actually like to use. We reckon it could be good fun on those rides when you want to explore roads without plotting a detailed route in advance, but want to pass a few particular destinations.
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.