Feeds

Saddle up for the Tour de Firmware

Build a BONKERS BICYCLE laden down with gadgetry

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Lots of techies ride bicycles and it is not hard to see why: both pursuits involve the creation of heavily customised and finely-tuned machines coaxed to peak performance after arcane preparations and exhaustive effort, often at odd hours of the day or night.

The overlap looks even more likely of late, because bikes now pack in plenty more technology. Building plenty of it into a bike won't necessarily help you over the 3,664km of this year's Tour de France, which kicks off in Yorkshire this weekend, but will give you the chance to indulge in an unusual build.

One bit of kit you'll find built into some bikes these days is an electronic gear-shifting system. This kit isn't the equivalent of an automatic transmission. Instead they offer small motors to shift gears in ways said to be more precise than is possible with cables.

Such contraptions have been around for decades but went mainstream a few years back when colossal bike brand Shimano introduced the Di2 for its high-end Dura Ace range. The company has since reduced the price to around $2,000 or $3,000, a level at which serious hobbyists can consider the Di2. Those with a passion for things European and more cash to spare may prefer Italian firm Campagnolo's EPS system. Campagnolo is a venerable brand that can proudly point to the fact that NASA once asked it to machine some components, a pedigree that may appeal.

Whatever you buy, it has upgradeable firmware so you sysadmin skills can be put to work improving a bike's performance.

Electronic shifters rely on a USB-rechargeable battery. There are plenty of bike-mountable batteries out there, and plenty of smartphone mounts too. But when one is on the road it is ideal to bring a power source along for the ride.

Enter The Plug, a USB outlet that replaces the headset cap (the bit that holds the handlebars to the forks). Cunning wiring inside a bike's frame can pipe electricity generated by a dynamo into The Plug, and from there into your smartphone or the plethora of USB-rechargeable lights on the market.

The plug bicycle outlet

The Plug III bicycle USB outlet

While we're on USB-rechargeable lights, it's worth mentioning Fly 6, a USB-rechargeable rear-light-and-camera-in-one. Plenty of cyclists carry front-facing cameras to gather evidence of a fun ride, or a dodgy driver. Fly 6 offers the same chance to shoot a ride, albeit facing backwards.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Next page: Snot patches

More from The Register

next story
4K-ing excellent TV is on its way ... in its own sweet time, natch
For decades Hollywood actually binned its 4K files. Doh!
Oi, Tim Cook. Apple Watch. I DARE you to tell me, IN PERSON, that it's secure
State attorney demands Apple CEO bows the knee to him
Apple's big bang: iPhone 6, ANOTHER iPhone 6 Plus and WATCH OUT
Let's >sigh< see what Cupertino has been up to for the past year
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Get your Indian Landfill Android One handsets - they're only SIXTY QUID
Cheap and deafening mobes for the subcontinental masses
Apple's SNEAKY plan: COPY ANDROID. Hello iPhone 6, Watch
Sizes, prices and all – but not for the wrist-o-puter
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.