Part of the genius of a bicycle is its simple analog design. But a basic non-digital bike may eventually be rare, as parts like handlebars, seats, and helmets start to connect to the Internet. The latest smart bike part: A pedal that can track a bike if it’s stolen.
If a thief starts to move the bike, the pedal sends the owner an immediate alert. “The bike alerts before it is actually stolen, like when it feels someone is shaking it,” says Christian Kravanja, co-founder of Connected Cycle, the Paris startup behind the idea. “That gives you the time to see what’s happening and eventually prevent the theft.”
If you can’t arrive in time, the pedal also tracks the bike’s location so the police can go find it. That simple GPS feature could change depressing statistics about bike theft; right now, most stolen bikes never make it back to owners. In Montreal, one study found that only 2.4% of bikes were recovered.
As the designers developed their product, they realized that the pedal was the perfect place for it–in part because the motion of pedaling keeps the gadgetry perpetually charged without the rider ever needing to plug it in or change a battery. It’s also simple to install.
The pedal also automatically tracks the speed, route, incline, and calories burned on each trip. These are things that smartphone apps can also track, but this way someone riding for fun, or on a longer trip, can leave the phone at home.
The designers plan to launch a crowdfunding campaign soon, and expect to offer the pedals for sale later this year.