This new cycling device from Montreal isn’t so much an accessory as a permanent fixture that converts any bike into a smartbike – something that, as far as I (and more significantly, my cycle commuting friend Leo) know, isn’t even a thing yet.
Yet for £170, with this weatherproof, easily installed device, you do get a smartbike. It navigates for you, communicating via an ethereal circle of coloured lights to signal turns, obstacles and more. It also works as a loud theft alarm and automatically triggered front LED light (not as good as the Blaze Laserlight I covered last year, but still excellent). The SmartHalo also tracks speed, saved CO2 emissions and calories burnt, and alerts you to calls and texts so you can pull over if you need to answer urgently.
All these functions, however, are ancillary to the navigation, which offers an aim‑and-go compass mode and a street-by-street option, to guide you through cycle-friendly backstreets, although it seems unsure of London’s cycle highways, which can make for confusing, bitty routes. The direction instructions are nonetheless very intuitive. The SmartHalo beeps before you have to turn, so you don’t need to constantly look down, as you would at a map on a handlebar-mounted smartphone. It’s also less fiddly than a phone. “Quite magical; I found myself chatting to it while I cycled because it’s like a little animal,” said Leo. Clever and stress-reducing cycle technology.